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Seal of the Bureau of Industry and Security
|Headquarters||Washington, DC, United States|
US$84 million (2009)|
US$100 million (est. 2010)
US$113 million (est. 2011)
|Parent agency||U.S. Department of Commerce|
The Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) is an agency of the United States Department of Commerce that deals with issues involving national security and high technology. A principal goal for the bureau is helping stop proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, while furthering the growth of United States exports. The Bureau is led by the Under Secretary of Commerce for Industry and Security.
The mission of the BIS is to advance U.S. national security, foreign policy, and economic interests. BIS's activities include regulating the export of sensitive goods and dual-use technologies in an effective and efficient manner; enforcing export control, anti-boycott, and public safety laws; cooperating with and assisting other countries on export control and strategic trade issues; assisting U.S. industry to comply with international arms control agreements; monitoring the viability of the U.S. defense-industrial base; and promoting federal initiatives and public-private partnerships to protect the nation's critical infrastructures.
Items on the Commerce Control List (CCL) - which includes many sensitive goods and technologies like encryption software - require a permit from the Department of Commerce before they can be exported. To determine whether an export permit is required, an Export Control Classification Number (ECCN) is used.
The main focus of BIS is the security of the United States, which includes its national security, economic security, cyber security, and homeland security. For example, in the area of dual-use export controls, BIS administers and enforces such controls to stem the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and the means of delivering them, to halt the spread of weapons to terrorists or countries of concern, and to further U.S. foreign policy objectives. Where there is credible evidence suggesting that the export of a dual-use item threatens U.S. security, the Bureau is empowered to prevent export of the item.
In addition to national security, BIS's function is to ensuring the health of the U.S. economy and the competitiveness of U.S. industry. BIS promotes a strong defense-industrial base that can develop and provide technologies that will enable the United States to maintain its military superiority. BIS takes care to ensure that its regulations do not impose unreasonable restrictions on legitimate international commercial activity that are necessary for the health of U.S. industry.
BIS works with the private sectors of the aerospace manufacturers, microprocessor, defense and other high-tech industries, which today controls a greater share of critical U.S. resources than in the past. Because the health of U.S. industry is dependent on U.S. security, BIS has formed a symbiotic relationship between industry and security, which is reflected in the formulation, application, and enforcement of BIS rules and policies.
BIS activities and regulations also seek to adapt to changing global conditions and challenges. The political, economic, technological, and security environment that exists today is substantially different than that of only a decade ago. Laws, regulations, or practices that do not take into account these new global realities - and that do not have sufficient flexibility to allow for adaptation in response to future changes - ultimately harm national security by imposing costs and burdens on U.S. industry without any corresponding benefit to U.S. security. In the area of exports, these significant geopolitical changes suggest that the U.S. control regime that in the past was primarily list-based must shift to a mix of list-based controls and controls that target specific end-uses and end-users of concern. BIS also should be creative in thinking about how new technologies can be utilized in designing better export controls and enforcing controls more effectively.
BIS strives to work cooperatively with state and local government officials, first responders, and federal executive departments and agencies, including the National Security Council, Department of Homeland Security, Department of State, Department of Defense, Department of Energy, Department of Justice, and the Intelligence Community. BIS consults with its oversight committees, (the House Foreign Affairs Committee and Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee) and other appropriate Members of Congress and congressional staff on matters of mutual interest.
International cooperation is critical to BIS's activities. The mission of promoting security depends heavily upon international cooperation with the United States's principal trading partners and other countries of strategic importance, such as major transshipment hubs. BIS takes the viewpoint that when seeking to control the spread of dangerous goods and technologies, protecting critical infrastructures, and ensuring the existence of a strong defense industrial base, international cooperation is critical. With regard to export control laws in particular, effective enforcement is greatly enhanced by both international cooperation and an effort to harmonize the substance of U.S. laws with those of our principal trading partners. International cooperation, however, does not mean "settling on the lowest common denominator." Where consensus cannot be broadly obtained, the BIS will maintain its principles, but should seek to achieve its goals through other means, including cooperation among smaller groups of like-minded partners.
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