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The DOC sought comments from the public about the recommendations from its IG before proposing any changes. The department earned praise for this effort to reach out to potentially affected groups and is currently reviewing the 300 plus comments it received, including those from the leaders of the National Academies.11

On July 12, 2005, the Department of Defense (DOD) issued a notice in the Federal Register seeking comments on a proposal to amend the Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement (DFARS) to address requirements for preventing unauthorized disclosure of export-controlled information and technology under DOD contracts that follow the recommendations in its IG report. The proposed regulation includes a requirement for access-control plans covering unique badging requirements for foreign workers and segregated work areas for export-controlled information and technology, and it makes no mention of the fundamental-research exemption.12 Comments are due by September 12, 2005.

Many of the comments in response to the DOC expressed concern that the proposed changes were not based on systematic data or analysis and could have a significant negative impact on the conduct of research in both universities and the private sector, especially in companies with a substantial number of employees who are not US citizens. Similar comments are expected in response to the DOD proposals. Among the recommendations that have been offered to date to address these concerns are the following:

  • Create a clearly defined regulatory “safe harbor” for fundamental research so that universities can have confidence that activities within the safe harbor are in compliance with security restrictions, thus permitting a focus on whatever occurred outside the safe harbor.13

  • Do not change the current system of license requirements for use of export-controlled equipment in university basic research until the following steps have been implemented:

    • Greatly narrow the scope of controlled technologies requiring deemed-export licenses, and ensure that the list remains narrow going forward.

    • Delete all controlled technology from the list whose manuals are available in the public domain, in libraries, on the Internet, or from the manufacturers.

    • Delete all equipment from the list that is available for purchase on the open market overseas from foreign or US companies.


The letter from the presidents of the National Academies may be found at Comments_to_DOC.PDF.


Federal Register 70(132)(July 2005):39976-39978. Available at:


See footnote 11.

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