NATIONAL DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION ACT FOR FISCAL YEAR 1998 (House of Representatives - June 19, 1997)

Mr. SPENCE. Mr. Chairman, I join the gentleman from California [Mr. Dellums] in offering this amendment to halt the diversion of sensitive technologies to potential adversaries.

This amendment will fix a serious national security problem caused by the administration's decision last year to decontrol the export of so-called supercomputers. Among many uses, supercomputers can help other countries design, build and test nuclear weapons, and to develop advanced conventional munitions. The administration's decision to relax exports controls has allowed the U.S. supercomputers to be exported to countries of proliferation concern without appropriate safeguards on how they are used.

Earlier this year, the head of Russia's Ministry of Atomic Energy confirmed that Russia had obtained U.S. supercomputers for use at two of Russia's premier nuclear weapons research laboratories. According to the Russian Energy Minister, these supercomputers are 10 times more powerful than any computers the Russians have.

In addition, U.S. officials have stated that at least 47 U.S. supercomputers have been sold to China. At least some of these, it has been reported, are under the control of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, which is involved in nuclear weapons and missile research. In fact, according to a report earlier this week, China has obtained hundreds of U.S. supercomputers, most of which cannot be accounted for by our U.S. officials and could easily be used for Chinese weapons research and development.

As the New York Times, citing intelligence sources, reported earlier this month, the newly acquired computers could be used by the Chinese to design more efficient or lighter nuclear warheads that could be put on missiles capable of reaching the United States. The supercomputers sold to China would allow the country to significantly improve its nuclear weapons.

The Spence-Dellums amendment would put Government officials back into the decision loop before such exports can occur. This amendment would reverse the administration's current honor system policy that relies on industry to figure out who should or should not receive this critical technology.

Mr. Chairman, the national security implications of exporting these technologies are too significant, and the stakes too high, for U.S. policy to be one that leaves our Government blind, deaf and dumb to where our supercomputers are going. The Spence-Dellums amendment would put Government officials back to where they belong, protecting our security interests instead of remaining on the sidelines while Russia, China, and other nations of proliferation concern go on a shopping spree.

Vote `yes' on the Spence-Dellums amendment.

Mr. Chairman, I reserve the balance of my time.

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