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With the exception of wartime, free international scientific co munication rarely has been perceived as detrimental to America defenses against foreign military adversaries. However, initiativ have been undertaken over the past several years to prevent th dissemination of certain U.S. research results from providing mil tary advantages to America's adversaries. The reaction to thes measures has included strong statements of principle both by adv cates of scientific freedom and of national security; that is, state ments vigorously decrying and supporting such measures.
The issue, in my view, is somewhat paradoxical, for the qualit of our new military and commercial technologies derives from U.S scientific superiority, and that superiority depends upon the oper exchange of ideas. The health of the research enterprise depends crucially on scientists building on each others' ideas and on the ability to test new ideas against the best existing ideas worldwide. The informal exchange of draft scientific papers among leading specialists in the field, travel to scientific meetings and conferences, personnel exchanges, and the publication of papers and their exposure to global scrutiny by other researchers is the essence of productive science. It is, I think, no accident that a nation founded on personal liberties enjoys world leadership in science, and it is no accident that closed societies have been forced to look outward for the science that must underlie their technological advances.
Thus, American scientists are extremely sensitive to the possibly chilling effects of various governmental efforts to control scientific communication. These include attempts to prevent certain unclassified research results from being presented at meetings attended by scientists from Warsaw Pact countries. This occurred, for example, at a meeting on magnetic bubble devices held by the American Vacuum Society in 1980, at the annual technical symposium of the Society of Photo-Optical Engineers in 1982, and at the Fourth International Conference of Permafrost in 1983.
There are also initiatives to require scientists to secure governmental permission before they make their unclassified research results accessible in foreign countries. That would, of course, include virtually all scientific publications, since almost all have an international readership. An example is the "no foreign distribution' condition in some unclassified governmental research contracts.
Perhaps most disquieting, from the point of view of individual United States scientists, is that these and other governmental actions to control scientific communication have been largely disjointed, unpredictable, and vague in specifying the scientific fields they are intended to cover. The result is that any particular scientist is quite unclear about what obligations and sanctions, if any, might apply to her or his work.
More generally, advocates of openness in science point out that e imposing national security controls on scientific work may be counterproductive. For example, restrictions on scientific meetings held in the United States may result in international scientific organizato tions banning meetings in the United States and the relocation of these meetings to other sites that are more accessible to foreign scientists and less accessible to ours.
Also, as the international scientific enterprise continues to add
vance, the proportion of scientific fields in which United States scitemen
ence has a clear lead will diminish, meaning that international I communication in more and more fields will be in our own scientific and technological interest.
Finally, there is same danger that in those scientific areas where controls are imposed, some of the best United States scientists and, importantly, some of their best students, will simply transfer their interest to unrestricted research areas, thus depriving military and civilian technologies of their contributions.
Proponents of stricter controls offer arguments that must be seriously evaluated. They point out that increasingly United States security is related to our technological lead over our military adversaries. The days in which the advantage went to the Nation with the largest military, the best trained soldiers, or the most defensible boundaries are largely behind us. Second, they point out that military technology is increasingly what is called high technology; that is, more and more critical military technologies are in areas that are very close to current scientific frontiers. In addition, many of these new technologies are dual use technologies, like advanced electronics, having both military and civilian applications. The significance of the rise of dual-use technology is that one can no longer be certain, even if research is not funded by the military, that it will be irrelevant to military needs.
Citing these trends, those whose job is to protect United States national security often point to the danger that we thoughtlessly give away the advantage of our scientific superiority in critical fields.
Both points of view are based on legitimate concerns. The objectives of the Academy study by the Corson Panel were to consider those concerns, to examine the evidence, and to explore ways to resolve the dilemma. The organization and mission of the Panel on Scientific Communication and National Security was designed to ensure that it received views from all sides of the issues. Its membership included several former national security officials, as well as university and industry scientists. Furthermore, the Panel solicited evidence and differing views from many groups.
The Panel offered 15 specific recommendations, and these recommendations rested on four basic findings:
First, although there is substantial evidence of damaging transfers of military technologies to the Soviet Union, and of Soviet interest in acquiring Western science by both overt and covert means, the Panel found that-and I quote-"in comparison with other channels of technology transfer, open scientific communication involving the research community does not present a material danger from near-term military implications."
The Panel carefully evaluated both published and highly classified information of known technology losses and found no examples of damage to United States military interests from academic
Second, the governmental effort to control technology transfer is generally diffuse. Many separate agencies are involved, and the effort is spread over many different scientific and technological fields. Enforcement personnel cannot hope to accomplish effective control across all fields. Also, their practical knowledge of the pos
sible technological applications of these many scientific subfields is limited.
The Panel suggested explicit criteria for narrowing the reach of controls, and encouraged the Government to endorse a strategy of "tall fences around narrow areas." For example, the Panel concluded that the vast majority of university research should be free of controls, and that only in a very small number of gray areas-and that's an extremely small number-may control be appropriate. These are the exceptional cases that Dr. Magrath referred to.
Such gray areas, the Panel argued, must satisfy four criteria concurrently-and these are very strict criteria: One, the technology is developing rapidly and the time from basic science to application is short; two, the technology has identifiable direct military applications, or it is dual-use and involves process or production-related know-how; three, transfer of the technology would give the U.S.S.R. a significant near-term military benefit; and four, the United States is the only source of information about the technology, or other friendly nations that could also be the source have control systems as secure as ours.
I repeat that all four of these conditions have to be concurrently applied in establishing a gray area.
A third general conclusion was that export control regulations are normally not appropriate tools for the control of scientific communication. Our export control system was assembled to prevent the unwarranted shipment of physical devices, not of knowledge. When control of unclassified research results is necessary, the Government should try to use contractual obligations in funding agreements, not export control regulations. Such contract provisionsstipulating, for instance, that the Government's contract officers concurrently receive for comment materials submitted for publication-provide researchers with relatively clear, advance information on their obligations, in contrast to controls based on export regulations.
I might add that these contractual obligations would still reserve to the university the final decision about publication.
Finally, we need more reliable and complete information about the nature of the overall technology loss problem and the most ef fective means of staunching it. The Panel was somewhat discouraged at the imprecise understanding of the extent and nature of lost technology, the relative contributions of the many channels by which adversaries acquire Western military technologies, and the adverse effects of control measures.
The Corson Panel report was released in October 1982. There have been some encouraging events since that time. For example, two of the Panel's specific recommendations have been implemented. First, the intelligence community has moved to establish a scientific advisory committee to assist it in reviewing prospective scientific exchange visitors from adversary nations. Second, the Academy itself has established a new Government-university roundtable that will serve as a forum for give-and-take discussions of issues, such as the control of scientific communications, in which there is political conflict between the government and the research communities.
There has also been proposed legislation that drew on the Panel's report. I am pleased that both the Senate and the House have seen fit to incorporate into their proposed revisions of the Export Administration Act the following language:
It is the policy of the United States to sustain vigorous scientific enterprise. To do so requires protecting the ability of scientists and scholars freely to communicate their research findings by means of publication, teaching, conferences and other forms of scholarly exchange.
This language closely reflects the views of the Panel and other scientific groups on scientific communication, and views that I have expressed earlier.
But these initiatives do not really address the major provisions of the Panel report and will not, of themselves, achieve the major changes that are needed to effect a clear, overall policy.
Shortly after the completion of the Panel study the National Security Council initiated an interagency effort to see if and how the Panel's report could be implemented. The terms of reference for this initiative were set forth in a National Security study directive. An ambitious 2-month completion schedule was set. I am somewhat disappointed that delays have occurred and that for various reasons the administration has not in the course of its review consulted with the outside research community. I understand that the government still hopes to complete its review in the coming months. I am sure that the scientific and university communities would be happy to cooperate, if asked. Moreover, it is important that the results of such a review, when it is completed, be open up and widely communicated.
In any event, I hope the process is a fruitful one. The currently diverse and ad hoc policies are creating considerable apprehension among scientists, who have been and should continue to be active partners in keeping U.S. technology strong.
I recognize that there may be no simple answers to the problems of communications in areas where research is particularly close to military application. However, we should not unthinkingly apply to American science a national strategy of security by secrecy. As Dr. Magrath said, our continuing scientific excellence, and the successful transformation of science into new military technologies of all kinds, depend on extensive dissemination of research results. An alternative national strategy, one of security by scientific accomplishment, by staying ahead of everybody else, has much to recommend it.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
[The statement of Dr. Press follows:]