Export Controls

These treaties and agreements are supported by national measures designed to prevent the advanced weapons-related technologies, materials, and know-how from falling into the hands of potential proliferators. Export controls in particular are an essential element of our approach to nonproliferation. Here too, technical support-in understanding what technologies must be controlled, and how-is indispensable. Fundamentally, the spread of scientific and technical know-how is the crux of the supply side of the proliferation problem. Technological advances on which modern society depends also make it easier to design, manufacture, and use advanced weapons. Our firm goal is to draw a balance that will allow countries around the world to reap the economic benefits of these advances, without compromising national security.

Our domestic export control system addresses the full range of weapons-related exports, from weapons of mass destruction to dual-use equipment and technology. The Department of State, pursuant to the provisions of the Arms Export Control Act, regulates the export of munitions items including weapon systems, missiles, specially designed components for those systems, and related technology. The Department of Commerce regulates the export of dual-use items under the Export Administration Act. Nuclear-related exports are controlled by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the Department of Energy, and the Department of Commerce pursuant to the Atomic Energy Act and in coordination with the Departments of State and Defense and the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency.

The United States is a member of all the non-proliferation-related multilateral export control regimes: the Missile Technology Control Regime, for missiles capable of delivering weapons of mass destruction; the Australia Group, for chemical and biological weapons related materials; the Nuclear Suppliers Group, for nuclear and dual-use equipment and materials and related technologies; and the Zangger Committee, also for nuclear supplies. Each of these regimes coordinates the controls of member states on the export of equipment, material, and technology that has a particular utility in the development of weapons of mass destruction and delivery systems.

The United States has also proposed that a new regime be established to succeed the Coordinating Committee on Multilateral Export Controls (COCOM), focusing on conventional arms sales and dual-use technologies. Our goals for this regime are to increase transparency of transfers of conventional arms and related technology, to establish effective international controls, and to promote restraint-particularly to regions of tension and to states that are likely to pose a threat to international peace and security.

Potential proliferators unable to buy technologies in one country are likely to turn to another, so the international export control system is only as strong as its weakest links. Therefore, the United States has taken the lead in assisting other countries in developing their own export controls on weapons-related technology and materials. Around the globe, the United States has conducted international seminars on export control, provided equipment, and helped set up legal infrastructures to implement effective national export control systems.

National Controls To Prevent Unauthorized Transfers

Each nation that possesses advanced weapons and weapons-related technologies, materials, and know-how bears the responsibility for ensuring that these items do not fall into the wrong hands through theft or diversion. The global black market in conventional arms, ever-increasing reports of smuggling of deadly nuclear materials, and the unauthorized leakage of chemical and biological technologies pose serious threats to international security that must be addressed.

Within the United States, programs to ensure against theft and diversion of such items are extensive and highly effective. As just one example, the Department of Energy spends some $800 million every year on safeguards and security in the U.S. nuclear weapons complex.

In addition, the Administration supports a wide range of cooperative programs to combat these threats around the world. In particular, the United States is a leader in cooperative efforts to stop nuclear smuggling and to ensure that all stocks of fissile materials worldwide are held under the highest standards of safety, security, and international accountability. Some of the initiatives we have undertaken include converting research reactors to run on non-weapons-usable low-enriched uranium and taking back spent U.S.-origin HEU fuel for safe storage in the United States. We are working actively with other countries to end the accumulation of excess stocks of plutonium and HEU, and, over time, to reduce these stocks.

Detection, Monitoring, and Verification

Technologies for detection, monitoring, and verification are the centerpiece of the U.S. nonproliferation and arms control S&T program. From satellites that can snap pictures of a new weapons facility under construction, to airborne sensors that can "sniff" the effluent from a chemical weapons production plant, to ships that can track missiles as they streak across the sky, the United States has developed and deployed a wide-ranging global network of national technical means of verification that can support arms reduction and nonproliferation monitoring. National technical means of verification are the cornerstone of our national monitoring capability and provide a vital underpinning for cooperative measures as well, offering critical clues to focus inspection efforts. In addition, the United States is a world leader in developing new technologies and approaches for cost-effective on-site inspections-a critical part of most international regimes.

All these programs rely heavily on advanced science and technology. Technological advancements are the key to better and cheaper detection and monitoring, which, in turn, can facilitate new agreements to enhance national security.

Our science and technology program in detection and monitoring is extremely broad, encompassing sensors for virtually every part of the electromagnetic spectrum as well as detectors of other indicators of weapons-related activities. Most activities are directed at establishing technological feasibility, although some develop operational capabilities. These systems are designed to operate on a variety of platforms, under conditions ranging from cooperative to noncooperative. They depend on sophisticated control, communications, data processing, and analysis methods. Much of the R&D in this area is conducted at Federally funded laboratories, including those of the Departments of Energy and Defense, and by commercial firms under contract to the U.S. Government. To maintain the ability of these laboratories to respond to specific requirements that emerge, often with little lead time, a continuing broad-based program of basic science in fields as diverse as biology, chemistry, optics, and solid-state physics is essential.

Detection technologies can be placed into three broad categories: space-based, land-sea-air-based, and on-site.

Space-Based Detection Technologies

Satellites are used for a vast array of monitoring tasks, from photoreconnaissance to detection of atmospheric nuclear tests. We are conducting a wide-ranging program of research and development on new monitoring technologies, which includes the design and fabrication for actual deployment of sensor systems needed for treaty verification and proliferation detection. The technology of satellite detection is expensive and exacting, but it must be supported if our monitoring capabilities are to keep pace with a fast-changing world.

As one critical example, we are expanding our research and development efforts to detect nuclear proliferant activities before the assembly of weapons. New space-based sensor systems may offer the capability to identify some of the signatures associated with the early stages of nuclear weapons development programs-such as waste heat from a hidden nuclear reactor.

Land-Sea-Air-Based Detection Technologies

Ground stations around the world are used to track potentially threatening activities, with radar, radio, and other sensors. Aircraft can take photographs, listen to radio signals, and pick up air samples for chemical analysis. Ships at sea are particularly useful for monitoring missile tests and naval and coastal activities.

In all these areas, too, our ongoing S&T program is opening new opportunities for arms control and nonproliferation. For example, we have established research and development programs to develop the capability to remotely detect trace gases associated with proliferant activities through active or passive sensing techniques, to analyze extremely small samples and detect small concentrations of key chemical signatures, and to extract critical information from huge amounts of data from multiple sources. These technologies will be key to our ability to detect, characterize, and locate proliferation activities.