(Washington, DC) — Following today’s U.S. Senate floor vote on the Grams-Boxer amendment to the Department of Defense (DoD) Authorization Bill,CCIA Vice President and General Counsel John Scheibel called the final 72-27 tally a “resounding victory” toward maintaining the important decontrols on high speed computers in place since 1995.
The Grams-Boxer amendment substituted for the Cochran-Durbin amendment which would have required export licenses for computers between 2,000 MTOPS and 7,000 MTOPS going to 51 countries, including Israel, India, Russia and China. Grams-Boxer requires that the government publish a list of questionable end users, and mandates that the General Accounting Office perform a study of the effects of the existing controls on our national security.
“The Senate understands that we cannot turn back the clock on technology and we cannot attempt to control technology that was determined to be widely available two years ago,” Scheibel said. “Our view, and the one which prevailed in the Senate, was that export controls must focus principally on exports that have significant national security applications and which are not so widely available from foreign sources that U.S. controls are ineffective. The Cochran-Durbin amendment would not have restricted the foreign availability of these mid-level computers. It would only have ensured that U.S. companies would lose sales as European and Japanese companies filled the vacuum.
“We congratulate the Senate for a job well done, and hope that the Senate’s wisdom will prevail during the upcoming House-Senate Conference Committee deliberations on the DoD bill,” Scheibel said.
CCIA is an association of computer and communications industry firms, as represented by their most senior executives. Small, medium and large in size, these companies employ over a half million workers and generate annual revenues in excess of 200 billion dollars. As CCIA members, these companies seek open, barrier-free competition for computer and communications products and services worldwide.