Loos­en­ing ex­port con­trols

The Washington Times Weekly - - National Security -

Pres­i­dent Obama re­cently shifted au­thor­ity for ap­prov­ing sales to China of mis­sile and space tech­nol­ogy from the White House to the Com­merce Depart­ment — a move crit­ics say will loosen ex­port con­trols and po­ten­tially ben­e­fit Chi­nese mis­sile de­vel­op­ment.

The pres­i­dent is­sued a lit­tleno­ticed “pres­i­den­tial determination” Sept. 29 that del­e­gated au­thor­ity for de­ter­min­ing whether mis­sile and space ex­ports should be ap­proved for China to Com­merce Sec­re­tary Gary Locke.

The pres­i­den­tial no­tice al­ters a key pro­vi­sion of the 1999 De­fense Autho­riza­tion Act that re­quired that the pres­i­dent no­tify Congress whether a trans­fer of mis­sile and space tech­nol­ogy to China would harm the U.S. space-launch in­dus­try or help China’s mis­sile pro­grams.

The law was passed af­ter a late 1990s scan­dal in­volv­ing the U.S. com­pa­nies Space Sys­tems/Lo­ral and Hughes Elec­tron­ics Corp.

Both com­pa­nies im­prop­erly shared tech­nol­ogy with China and were fined $20 mil­lion and $32 mil­lion re­spec­tively by the State Depart­ment af­ter a U.S. gov­ern­ment in­ves­ti­ga­tion con­cluded that their know-how was used to im­prove China’s lon­grange nu­clear mis­siles.

Eu­gene Cot­tilli, a spokesman for Com­merce’s Bureau of In­dus­try and Se­cu­rity, did not com­ment in time for pub­li­ca­tion.

Sec­tion 1512 of the 1999 law re­quires the pres­i­dent to cer­tify to Congress in ad­vance of any mis­sile equip­ment or tech­nol­ogy ex­ports to China that the ex­port will not harm the U.S. space­launch in­dus­try and that “mis­sile equip­ment or tech­nol­ogy, in­clud­ing any in­di­rect tech­ni­cal ben­e­fit that could be de­rived from such ex­port, will not mea­sur­ably im­prove the mis­sile or space launch ca­pa­bil­i­ties of the Peo­ple’s Repub­lic of China.”

The new pol­icy ap­pears aimed at in­creas­ing U.S.-China space co­op­er­a­tion, which has been lim­ited since the Lo­ral and Hughes case. It fol­lows the Chi­nese mil­i­tary’s test of an anti-satel­lite mis­sile that pro­duced po­ten­tially danger­ous space junk af­ter the mis­sile de­stroyed a Chi­nese weather satel­lite in a Jan­uary 2007 test.

Henry Sokol­ski, di­rec­tor of the Non­pro­lif­er­a­tion Pol­icy Ed­u­ca­tion Cen­ter, said restor­ing Com­merce Depart­ment con­trol over the sen­si­tive ex­perts is a “step back­ward.”

“It’s as though com­merce’s mis­han­dling of mis­sile-tech trans­fers to China in the 1990s never hap­pened,” said Mr. Sokol­ski, a for­mer Pen­tagon pro­lif­er­a­tion spe­cial­ist. “But it did. As a re­sult, we are now fac­ing much more ac­cu­rate, re­li­able mis­siles from China.”

Mr. Sokol­ski said he ex­pects the U.S. gov­ern­ment un­der the new pol­icy to again boost Chi­nese mil­i­tary mod­ern­iza­tion through “what­ever re­newed ‘be­nign’ mis­sile tech­nol­ogy” is ap­proved.

“It was fool­ish for us to do this in the 1990s and is even more danger­ous for us to do now,” he said.

Gary Mil­hollin, di­rec­tor of the Wis­con­sin Project on Nu­clear Arms Con­trol, which mon­i­tors ex­port con­trol poli­cies, said he was sur­prised by the de­ci­sion to shift re­spon­si­bil­ity back to Com­merce — a change that Pres­i­dents Clin­ton and Ge­orge W. Bush did not make.

“It is shock­ing that it would be del­e­gated to the sec­re­tary of com­merce, whose job it is to pro­mote trade, rather than to the sec­re­tary of state or the sec­re­tary of de­fense, who have far more knowl­edge and re­spon­si­bil­ity within their or­ga­ni­za­tions for mis­sile tech­nol­ogy,” Mr. Mil­hollin said.

Mr. Mil­hollin said a sim­i­lar del­e­ga­tion of power would have been crit­i­cized in pre­vi­ous ad­min­is­tra­tions. “In fact, the del­e­ga­tion turns the present law up­side down be­cause Congress passed it af­ter find­ing that the Com­merce Depart­ment had im­prop­erly helped China im­port U.S. mis­sile tech­nol­ogy in the 1990s,” he said.

Ed­ward Tim­per­lake, a Pen­tagon tech­nol­ogy-se­cu­rity of­fi­cial dur­ing the Ge­orge W. Bush ad­min­is­tra­tion, said he agrees that the new pol­icy likely will loosen ex­port con­trols on dual-use tech­nol­ogy that could be used to boost China’s large-scale mis­sile pro­gram.

China’s mil­i­tary re­cently dis­played new long-range and cruise mis­siles dur­ing a mil­i­tary pa­rade in Bei­jing mark­ing the 60th an­niver­sary of com­mu­nist rule.

“It looks like we’re go­ing to have Lo­ral-Hughes part two,” Mr. Tim­per­lake said of the pol­icy shift.

“The is­sue is that this will re­new the pat­tern and prac­tices of the Depart­ment of Com­merce in the 1990s, when sen­si­tive tech­nol­ogy flowed un­der the rubric of space co­op­er­a­tion and trag­i­cally the Chi­nese ICBM force was fixed and mod­ern­ized,” he said.

Mr. Tim­per­lake said the new pol­icy is “green­light­ing en­gage­ment with China in very bad ar­eas that will neg­a­tively im­pact United States’ na­tional se­cu­rity.” has any po­lit­i­cal as­pi­ra­tions. He has no in­ten­tion of chang­ing his mind, a col­league told spe­cial cor­re­spon­dent Rowan Scar­bor­ough. The col­league asked not to be named be­cause he was dis­cussing pri­vate con­ver­sa­tions.

The pub­lic­ity re­calls the first time the topic of Gen. Pe­traeus as a po­lit­i­cal can­di­date arose. As the Iraq troops surge proved suc­cess­ful in late 2007, pun­dits be­gan float­ing his name.

“Gen. David Pe­traeus has a ster­ling rep­u­ta­tion, the love of the press and the ado­ra­tion of the GOP,” wrote the lib­eral Amer­i­can Prospect in Jan­uary 2008. “Don’t be sur­prised if a Demo­cratic pres­i­den­tial win in ‘08 starts an ef­fort to re­cruit Pe­traeus as the Repub­li­can can­di­date in ’12.”

The clat­ter be­came so in­ces­sant that year that Gen. Pe­traeus, then the top gen­eral in Iraq, con­vened a meet­ing of a few close ad­vis­ers to find a way to put out the fire and end the dis­trac­tion.

He had in­voked “Sher­manesque” type state­ments to no avail. When Civil War Gen. William Te­cum­seh Sher­man was be­ing prod­ded to run as a Repub­li­can in the 1884 elec­tion, he said, “I will not ac­cept if nom­i­nated and will not serve if elected.”

Since then, that state­ment has been ut­tered in var­i­ous forms by scores of Amer­i­can politi­cians, in­clud­ing Pres­i­dent Lyn­don John­son when he de­clined to run for re-elec­tion in 1968.

But Sher­man was fail­ing Gen. Pe­traeus. He wanted a new way of say­ing “no.”

That is when his pub­lic re­la­tions of­fi­cer, Col. Steven A. Boylan, tapped into his love of coun­try mu­sic. He sug­gested the gen­eral re­cite a clas­sic song, “What Part of No Don’t You Un­der­stand?”

The gen­eral was im­me­di­ately in­trigued. “Find me ex­actly what was said and who said it,” Gen. Pe­traeus or­dered.

Col. Boylan re­searched, found the 1992 Lor­rie Mor­gan hit and the lyrics and pre­sented them to his boss.

By April 2008, Gen. Pe­traeus had the world au­di­ence he needed. Brian Wil­liams asked him on NBC “Nightly News” if he had a po­lit­i­cal fu­ture.

“Never,” the gen­eral an­swered. “And I’ve tried to say that on a num­ber of oc­ca­sions. Some folks have re­minded me of a coun­try West­ern song that says ‘What part of no, don’t you un­der­stand?’ ” Nu­clear Se­cu­rity Ad­min­is­tra­tion also will be able to shift $15 mil­lion more from other pro­grams to the bomb up­grade once the Pen­tagon com­pletes its Nu­clear Pos­ture Re­view.

The House Ap­pro­pri­a­tions sub­com­mit­tee on en­ergy and wa­ter cut all funds for the B61 up­grade be­cause of what the sub­com­mit­tee said was a lack of di­rec­tion for U.S. nu­clear weapons. The coun­ter­part Se­nate Ap­pro­pri­a­tions sub­com­mit­tee ver­sion of the fund­ing bill con­tained the full $56 mil­lion re­quest.

The B61 up­grade study will help meet a dead­line of 2017 for mod­i­fy­ing the bomb so it can be car­ried by the F-35, ac­cord­ing to de­fense of­fi­cials. The F-16s that now can carry the bomb are be­ing phased out of ser­vice over the next eight years.

The U.S. Strate­gic Com­mand has said the B61 is the old­est nu­clear weapon in the stock­pile and needs “ur­gent up­grades” to in­clude mod­ern safety and se­cu­rity fea­tures.

Com­mand brief­ing slides show that the B61 up­grade would boost reli­a­bil­ity by up­grad­ing arm­ing, fus­ing and fir­ing.

No mat­ter how many times you ask, the an­swer’s still the same: Gen. David H. Pe­traeus

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