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Blog Category: National security

Acting Secretary Blank Delivers Remarks at BIS Update Conference on Export Controls and Policy

Acting Secretary Blank gestures from the dais

On Tuesday, Acting Commerce Secretary Rebecca Blank delivered the keynote address at the Conference on Export Controls Policy, hosted by the Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security. This annual conference is the U.S. Government’s major export control outreach and education event of the year.

In her remarks, Dr. Blank highlighted progress on President Obama’s Export Control Reform Initiative and the National Export Initiative, saying that success in both areas is important for strengthening the American economy and creating more jobs, which are the president’s top priorities.  

Blank emphasized that the United States must have a strong, effective export control system through the powerful partnership between federal agencies like BIS and American companies that sell cutting-edge products, calling such a system “a national security imperative.”

The last major changes to export control regulations took place over 15 years ago, and those changes were more organizational than substantive. Through the President’s Export Control Reform (ECR) initiative, this is changing.

This initiative has at its core a continued commitment to national security, to prevent key goods and technologies from falling into the wrong hands, Acting Secretary Blank said. The proposed changes over controls on less-significant military items do not mean that key items will be “de-controlled.”  In fact, the departments of Commerce, Justice and Homeland Security will continue to aggressively investigate and prosecute illegal exports to countries and end users of concern.

Acting Secretary Blank noted that these export control reforms will not only enhance national security by focusing resources on the greatest threats, but will also generate other benefits, including increased U.S. interoperability with allies, reduced incentives for foreign companies to avoid American-made parts that in turn will strengthen the American defense industrial base, and, importantly, reduce unnecessary regulatory burdens, expenses and red tape on American exporters.

Spotlight on Commerce: Kevin Kurland, Bureau of Industry and Security

Photo of Kurland

Ed. Note: This post is part of the Spotlight on Commerce series, which highlights members of the Department of Commerce who are contributing to the president's vision of winning the future through their work.

Kevin Kurland is Acting Chief of Staff for Export Administration and Director, Office of Technology Evlauation at the Bureau of Industry and Security

As a member of the White House Task Force on Export Control Reform (ECR), I have been fortunate to play an integral role in helping further the president’s vision for “Winning the Future.”  The interagency Task Force was directed by the president to build and help implement a blueprint for a new system that addresses current national security and economic challenges.  In April 2010, Secretary Gates announced the results of the Task Force efforts – a single control list, single licensing agency, single information technology platform and single primary export enforcement coordination agency – which agencies and the Task Force have been busily working toward for the past 15 months.

My role on the Task Force stems from my current positions of Acting Chief of Staff for the Assistant Secretary for Export Administration and Director of the Office of Technology Evaluation in the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS).  These positions have exposed me to national security and economic issues across the Bureau and Department-wide.