The Future Ruler of the World?

China Tech Threat’s Future of BIS project is out today with a new paper: “Build an AI Workforce at BIS to Strengthen Controls and Stop Illicit Acquisition of American Artificial Intelligence Technologies”. AI – which essentially causes machines to perform human-like functions – is one technology that is poised to live up to the hype. Five years ago Russian President Vladimir Putin said “Whoever becomes the leader in this sphere will become the ruler of the world.” What would make him make such a sweeping statement about something we normally associate with iPhone autocorrect and Netflix recommendations? In a military context, AI has enormous application for intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, logistics, command and control capabilities, lethal autonomous weapons systems, and many… Read More

China Tech Threat Applauds Confirmation of Alan Estevez to Lead BIS

China Tech Threat applauds the confirmation of Alan Estevez to lead the Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS), which is the most important agency most Americans have never heard of. Mr. Estevez brings unprecedented experience to the role with some 30 years in defense, supply chain, and logistics. It has been 5 years since there was a confirmed BIS Director, and 9 months since Mr. Estevez was nominated. The clock has been ticking, and as Mira Ricardel, former Deputy National Security Advisor and BIS Under Secretary for Export Administration, told us, “The only parties that benefit from a lack of senior leadership at BIS are our adversaries.” China Tech Threat Co-Founder Roslyn Layton, PhD welcomed the news… Read More

The Clock is Ticking: #VoteEstevezNow

This week China Tech Threat (CTT) launched a new campaign around the urgency for the Senate to confirm the next Director of the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS). It has been five years since the last confirmed BIS Director and seven months since President Biden nominated Alan Estevez, a national security veteran, to take the post. We’ve written extensively about the importance of BIS, calling it the most important agency most Americans have never heard of. Tasked with ensuring an effective export control system to promote America’s strategic technology leadership, the agency and its leaders play an important role in the U.S. government’s response to China’s unabashed ambition to dominate semiconductor and other critical technology… Read More

Russia Tech Export Restrictions Have A Weakness: No BIS Leader Yet 

The centerpiece of President Biden’s new round of Russia sanctions is a complete embargo on selling semiconductors to Russia. While the sanctions by the Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) will deliver a powerful punch to Russia, they also expose a weakness: BIS, the enforcer of export controls as tools for our national security strategy, has no leader at the top at this critical time.   President Biden nominated Alan Estevez to serve as Undersecretary for Industry and Security seven months ago, but Congress has not yet held a vote to confirm him. This already concerning vacancy at the top of “the most important agency most Americans have never heard of,” creates a glaring hole in the United States’ export control regime, hindering its… Read More

Next Week: “Give Alan Estevez Up-or-Down Vote” Special Series

More than seven months after President Biden nominated Alan Estevez to serve as Undersecretary for Industry and Security, Mr. Estevez has yet to receive a confirmation vote in Congress. Next week China Tech Threat is launching a new special series, Give Alan Estevez an Up-or-Down Vote, meant to track the time this important post has been unfilled and highlight vulnerabilities the vacancy creates. The White House and Congress roundly agree that China’s ambitions to dominate emerging technology markets pose a serious threat to U.S. economic and national security interests. “If there’s any subject that unifies the most conservative Republican and the most liberal Democrat, it’s a deep skepticism of China and a motivation to ensure U.S. economic competitiveness,” CNBC reported… Read More

BIS Agenda Recommendation #3: Strengthen Semiconductor Manufacturing Equipment Restrictions to Stop China’s Self-Sufficiency

Today, China Tech Threat released the third installment in its continuing policy recommendation series intended to help leaders at the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) to prevent adversaries from acquiring and weaponizing sensitive U.S.-made technologies. Semiconductors are critical to power virtually all forms of modern technology, from everyday devices like smartphones and tables to sophisticated defense systems. Yet, in the wrong hands or wrong applications, U.S.-born semiconductor and semiconductor manufacturing equipment (SME) technology can present a national security risk. While the United States enjoys a competitive advantage over China in chip design and manufacturing, the People’s Republic of China (PRC) has made self-sufficiency a pillar of its national strategy to dominate the global market. The… Read More

Coming Next Week: CTT’s Third Installation in Our Policy Recommendation Series for Incoming BIS Leaders

The third policy recommendation from China Tech Threat to help leaders at the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) prevent adversaries from acquiring and weaponizing sensitive U.S.-made technologies, will be launched next week. This recommendation will reinforce a continued need for policymakers to strengthen the U.S. export control regime to better prevent American semiconductor manufacturing equipment (SME) from being sold to and exploited by the Chinese government and Chinese-operated entities.  “Semiconductors are part of China’s national strategy,” Nazak Nikakhtar, former Assistant Secretary for Industry and Analysis at the U.S. Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration said during a recent China Tech Threat event. “The transfer of semiconductor technology from the United States to China is what… Read More

As Biden Pushes Congress to Strengthen U.S. Semiconductor Industry, Reports Indicate Divisions on China Policy

As the Biden Administration begins a push on Capitol Hill to bolster U.S. competitiveness against China, Axios reports that a recent dispute among senior advisors may signal disagreement in the White House over trade policy. With support from Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the White House recently urged members of Congress to support legislation that would allocate $250 billion to strengthen U.S. supply chains in key industries, including semiconductors.      In a speech on January 21, President Biden urged Congress to pass funding to incentivize U.S. chipmakers. “To be able to say, made in Ohio, made in America—what we used to always be able to say 25, 30 years ago—that’s what this is about,” the… Read More

Next Recommendation in BIS Agenda Series: Publish Emerging and Foundational Technology Lists

Today, China Tech Threat released the second in a series of policy recommendations meant to help leaders at the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) prevent adversaries from acquiring and weaponizing sensitive U.S.-made technologies. BIS Agenda Recommendation 2: Within 90 days of starting, the new BIS Director should publish Congress’ required lists of emerging and foundational technologies. The globalized world enables a relative free movement of goods and services, but this also allows the proliferation of weapons and items to be used for hostile purposes. Countries adopt export controls to manage the distribution of sensitive items to help ensure that people live in a secure environment. The Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) at the U.S. Department of… Read More

Coming Next Week: CTT’s Second Installation in Our Policy Recommendation Series for Incoming BIS Leaders

The second policy recommendation from China Tech Threat to help leaders at the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) prevent adversaries from acquiring and weaponizing sensitive U.S.-made technologies, will be launched next week. This recommendation explores a key policy issue for BIS: the process and efficacy to control new and innovative dual use technologies. Major Congressional reforms adopted in 2018 require BIS to take leadership in an interagency process to identify and report on emerging and foundational technologies in foreign countries, to assess what effect export controls imposed on these technologies may have on their development in the United States, and to judge the effectiveness of export controls on limiting the proliferation of emerging and foundational… Read More