Part I: Risk Management Experts Assess Estevez for Top BIS Position

Alan Estevez was nominated to be the next Undersecretary of the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) at the Department of Commerce, an important but little-known federal agency responsible for export control, treaty compliance, and leadership in strategic technology. Not a lawyer steeped in the statues of export controls, Estevez is considered an interesting choice for his defense background, the selection of which could signal greater emphasis on security concerns. Notably Estevez won the National Security Medal for his efforts to transform military logistics for the 21st century. Consider this: During Desert Storm, the US military did not have an efficient way to track and locate containers. Hence the supplies in more than half of 40,000 containers went unused, some $2 billion in… Read More

House Hearing on SMEs and National Security: National Security is Paramount

The House Intelligence Committee held a hearing on the subject of microelectronics and national security. The witnesses included the Center for Security and Emerging Technology’s Will Hunt, Semiconductor Industry Association’s David Isaacs, and former Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering, Dr. Lisa Porter. The hearing was yet another opportunity to shine light on the critical topic of the U.S semiconductor equipment manufacturing (SME) market and the government’s role in it. However, at China Tech Threat, we were concerned with a variety of comments, most notably from Dr. Porter, that encouraged noninterference in the market, even when national security concerns are of grave consideration for the protection of all Americans.  It appears that Dr. Porter is espousing a view of perfect… Read More

Who’s to blame for “toothless” export controls?

A recent opinion piece by Financial Times Greater China correspondent Kathrin Hille makes some powerful assertions. In “Huawei woes hide ‘toothless’ US export controls against Chinese tech,” she asserts: Huawei’s revenues are in “free fall” from the Entity List designation.The US should not construe this as a victory in its “technology war” with China.Huawei is just one company among many in China. While Huawei is hurting, other Chinese companies are thriving, notably in the semiconductor industry.US policymakers now have a difficult road ahead with export controls because US companies rely on money from China to earn revenue to fund future innovation.Corporate lobbying is slowing down the Bureau of Industry and Security’s (BIS) implementation of the 2018 Export Control Reform Act… Read More

“The Chinese are in a Massive Campaign in Collecting Data”: Part II of Vlog Series on Banking Cybersecurity

In the second vlog of our High Tech Heist Series on Banking Cybersecurity, Dr. Roslyn Layton sat down with Congressman Robert Pittenger to discuss the growing threat of Chinese data collection and the ways in which we can prevent rising technology issues. From 2013-2018, Congressman Pittenger represented the Charlotte, NC area, the country’s second-largest banking center by assets. At the time, he served as Chairman of the Congressional Task Force on Terrorism and Unconventional Warfare, and as Vice Chairman of the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Terrorism and Illicit Finance. Congressman Pittenger was a lead author of the 2018 Foreign Investment Risk Review Modernization Act (FIRRMA), which reformed the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) to crack… Read More

CNAS’ New Report Proposes a “whole-of-nation approach” on Tech Competition

Last week the Center for New American Studies (CNAS) published its third report in the series entitled U.S. National Technology Strategy project. The latest report, From Plan to Action: Operationalizing a U.S. National Technology Strategy, “focuses on concrete and pragmatic measures that U.S. policymakers should take to operationalize a national technology strategy.” The executive summary notes “four premises to the security and technology competition” that help inform the paper and the recommendations it offers for policy makers. These include: the utility of industrial policies, the convergence of national and economic security, gaps in knowledge, and the need for international partnerships. From there, CNAS provides four recommendations for the Administration to help build a well-rounded technology policy approach: Bolster the Department… Read More

Biden Nominates China Trade and Export Control Professional to BIS

This week President Biden nominated former Justice Department prosecutor Thea Kendler as assistant secretary for export administration at BIS. If confirmed, she would lead the export arm of BIS, an increasingly important role as US-China tensions rise. This announcement comes off the back of Biden’s nomination of Alan Estevez earlier this month. In a statement on his nomination to be the Under Secretary of Industry and Security at the Commerce Department, China Tech Threat founder Roslyn Layton noted that “placing Mr. Estevez at the helm of BIS signals that the Biden administration understands the threat posed by China and is taking it seriously.” Further, through research into his career, China Tech Threat produced a memo to give further insight into what BIS might look… Read More

Dr. Layton Pens Op-ed About the #FutureofBIS

This morning Real Clear Defense published an op-ed by China Tech Threat founder, Dr. Roslyn Layton. The op-ed, entitled “Can Strategic Trade Nominee Lead Crucial Agency to Compete with China?” examines and explains the importance of the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS). As Dr. Layton notes the “once a relatively unknown government agency, BIS’ responsibility of enforcing strategic export controls on sensitive technologies has elevated the office to a more prominent role, especially as U.S.-China relations have grown increasingly tense.” Dr. Layton also give thoughtful insight into the recent nomination of Alan Estevez to lead the department during the Biden Administration. The op-ed explores Mr. Estevez’s qualifications for this leadership position, the career path that… Read More

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

China Tech Threat Headlines International Event On Global Security Challenges

Last month, China Tech Threat’s Co-Founder John Strand spoke about the future security challenges at the Parliamentary Intelligence-Security Forum (PI-SF) at the Latin American Parliament, or Parlatino, in Panama. The gathering brought together leading US Senators like Bill Cassidy and Marco Rubio; the President of Panama Laurentino Cortizo, members of the European Parliament, and international policymakers working in cybersecurity, anti-money laundering, and cryptocurrency  PI-SF is the brainchild of Robert Pittenger, a former Congressman who led efforts to strengthen US policy toward China, notably with the FIRRMA and ECRA bills updating the Committee on Foreign Investment and export controls (ECRA). Pittenger co-authored a paper on reforms at CFIUS with China Tech Threat co-founder Roslyn Layton. Strand’s message was simple: policymakers must… Read More

US and Allies Accuse China of Major Cyberattacks

Yesterday, the U.S., NATO and other allies are came together to call out China for malicious cyberattacks, including a March attack that exploited a flaw in Microsoft’s Exchange Server. It’s the first time that NATO has signed onto a formal condemnation of China’s cyber activities. They authorities are detailing more than 50 different techniques that Chinese state-sponsored actors used, and offering up recommended mitigations that businesses and organizations can take. The U.S. says that China’s Ministry of State Security is using contract hackers to conduct the attacks, many of which are being done for profit, including via ransomware. As part of Monday’s announcement, the Justice Department unveiled criminal charges against four Ministry of State Security hackers for a “multiyear campaign… Read More