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Export Controls: More Thorough Analysis Needed to Justify Changes in High Performance Computer Controls.

GAO-02-892 August 2, 2002

For national security and foreign policy reasons, U.S. export control policy seeks to balance economic interests in promoting high technology exports with national security interests to maintain a military advantage in high performance computers over potential adversaries. In January 2002, the President announced that the control threshold above which computers exported to countries such as China, India, and Russia would increase from 85,000 millions of theoretical operations per second (MTOPS) to 190,000 MTOPS. The report justifying the changes in control thresholds for high performance computers focused on the availability of such computers. However, the justification did not fully address the requirements of the National Defense Authorization Act of 1998. Although not required by law, the December 2001 report did not address several key issues related to the decision to raise the threshold. First, the unrestricted export of computers with performance capabilities between the old and new thresholds will allow countries of concern to obtain computers that they have had difficulty constructing on their own. Next, the United States is unable to monitor the end-uses of many of the computers it exports. Finally, the report does not acknowledge the multilateral process used to make prior changes in high performance computer thresholds.
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Publication:General Accounting Office Reports & Testimony
Date:Sep 1, 2002
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