CTT Research Memo Finds Three Main Lessons on BIS Nominee Alan Estevez

Two weeks ago, President Joe Biden nominated Alan Estevez as the director of BIS. On that day, China Tech Threat hosted an online panel of four previous BIS directors’ views on Mr. Estevez’s pending challenges. (China Tech Threat’s coverage of the BIS nomination, opinions, news articles, and expert videos can all be found at chinatechthreat.com/future-of-bis/.) In order to better understand the nominee’s views on export controls, the Entity List, and other BIS tools, China Tech Threat has studied his career and compiled this research memo summarizing three main lessons. While there is limited material to examine,- after all, having spent 36 years as a Department of Defense civil servant, Mr. Estevez provides little public commentary, speeches, and writings upon which to… Read More

CTT Roundtable: U.S. Can’t ‘Balance National Security with Sales’

Dr. Roslyn Layton hosted a roundtable discussion yesterday, How Should BIS Evolve to Ensure the U.S. Leads in Critical Technologies? The event—which coincided with news that President Biden plans to nominate Alan Estevez to head the U.S. Department of Commerce Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS)—featured four former BIS undersecretaries: William Reinsch (Clinton), Mario Mancuso (George W. Bush), Eric Hirschhorn (Obama) and Cordell Hull (Trump). The participants largely applauded Mr. Estevez’s expected nomination, but cautioned that lawmakers on the Senate Banking Committee, which will oversee his confirmation, should be direct in questioning Mr. Estevez about his position on China. “While the jury is out,” Mr. Estevez’s nomination is “encouraging,” Mr. Mancuso said. “The next BIS undersecretary is going to have… Read More

Statement: Estevez Nomination Signals Biden Administration’s Focus on China Threat

China Tech Threat Co-Founder Roslyn Layton issued the below statement on Alan Estevez, who President Biden named today to head the U.S. Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS). Read here for more on the elevated importance of BIS as the People’s Republic of China seeks to acquire strategic U.S. technology to advance its military. “We congratulate Mr. Estevez on his nomination at a time of expanded responsibility and oversight at BIS,” said Roslyn Layton. “Without the Bureau’s due diligence, the latest and greatest American-made, sensitive and strategic technologies could end up in the hands of the Chinese military and threaten our national security. During his confirmation hearing, we expect the members of the Senate Banking Committee to ask Mr.… Read More

President Biden Officially Nominates Alan Estevez to serve as BIS Under Secretary

Originally reported this morning in the Wall Street Journal and Reuters, this afternoon President Biden announced his intention to nominate Alan Estevez to serve as Under Secretary for Industry and Security at the Commerce Department. The White House press release called Mr. Estevez “a recognized leader in the defense and aerospace community, [that] joined Deloitte Consulting as a national security strategy and logistics executive in June 2017 after completing a 36 year career with the Department of Defense.” Earlier today, China Tech Threat provided an initial analysis of Mr. Estevez’s expectant nomination followed by a panel featuring four prior BIS directors. China Tech Threat will continue to cover Mr. Estevez’s nomination in the days and weeks to come.… Read More

Biden Expected to Tap Alan Estevez to Lead BIS

News outlets report today that President Joe Biden will nominate Alan Estevez to lead the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS). This is a critical and timely appointment as U.S.-China tensions continue to escalate. Mr. Estevez—who served as U.S. Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics and as the DoD representative to the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS)—brings more than three decades of experience in defense technology procurement and supply chain security. That expertise provides an ideal background to head the agency charged with protecting U.S. strategic technological advantages. President Biden’s nomination signals the Administration’s commitment to upholding the United States’ strategic security and suggests the President will direct the BIS… Read More

Let the Chips Fall at BIS? Highlights Challenges, Opportunities for Biden Nominee

President Biden’s nominee to lead the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) will need to advance offensive and defensive measures to curtail China’s ambitions to dominate modern technology markets. That was among the participants’ recommendations during today’s virtual roundtable, “Let the Chips Fall at BIS?” The event, hosted by Dr. Roslyn Layton, featured Emily de La Bruyère, Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies; Stephen Ezell, Vice President of Global Innovation Policy at the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation; and Will Hunt, Research Analysist at the Center for Security and Emerging Technology. The event coincided with the release of the White House’s 100-day supply chain review report. Among the findings, the report highlights the… Read More

“China Has Figured Out How to Weaponize America’s Advantages”

Just Announced: FDD’s Emily de La Bruyère to Join Tomorrow’s Webinar. The outcome of the U.S. and China vying for control over modern technology markets will be decided within months or years, not decades, say Emily de La Bruyère and Nathan Picarsic, senior fellows with the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD). ***Two weeks ago, Mr. Picarsic and Ms. de La Bruyère co-published a study, “Defusing Military-Civil Fusion: The Need to Identify and Respond to Chinese Military Companies.” Now Ms. de La Bruyère will join Dr. Roslyn Layton, Stephen Ezell and Will Hunt for tomorrow’s online panel discussion, “Let the Chips Fall at BIS?” Register for the event here. While there is growing consensus about the need to counter China’s… Read More

Rasser: Three Principles to Protect U.S. Advantages over China

A report from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence last month offers a candid assessment of the largest threat to U.S. national security: “China increasingly is a near-peer competitor, challenging the United States in multiple arenas—especially economically, militarily, and technologically—and is pushing to change global norms.” Martijn Rasser, Senior Fellow with the Center for New American Security’s Technology and National Security Program, has been ringing that bell for some time. In January Mr. Rasser offered an equally solemn assessment: “For the first time in nearly a century, the United States confronts a strategic rival that is capable of overtaking it as the world’s leading economic, military, and technological power, and one that is economically entangled with the United… Read More

Deciding Factors in Picking BIS Leadership

In their May 8th edition, The Economist published a narrow sighted piece regarding the forthcoming decision of who will lead The Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS). While it aptly spotlights the critical role of BIS, which may be the most important agency most Americans have never heard of, it’s missing the bigger picture on other points. In response, China Tech Threat submitted a Letter to Editor explaining our concerns which was published here. The Economist suggests that a tough on China policy is about “curtailing China’s rise,” but that is not what export control – a key part of BIS’s stated mission – is about. It is about stopping the proliferation of sensitive technology into enemy’s… Read More

The Importance of People and Continued Vigilance: Part III of Cordell Hull on the Future of BIS

Having served as the prior Undersecretary to the Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security, Cordell Hull has a unique and important perspective on its future. This is Part III of a three-part series with his reflections on several topics pertaining to BIS. If you missed the prior posts, check out Part I on license processing and emerging and foundational technologies and Part II on enforcement and Entity List and Military End Use. Section 232 BIS is also responsible for administering tariffs under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act. Although perhaps unknown outside of trade lawyers before the last administration, Section 232 tariffs on steel and aluminum have become important in conversations with industry and other governments.It’s not… Read More