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Stanford President Hennessy comments on Obama's plans to change export regulations

Stanford President John Hennessy has been at the forefront of the issue of export control reform. In a statement released through the Association of American Universities, Hennessy commended President Barack Obama's administration for moving forward on the issue.

L.A. Cicero John Hennessy

President John Hennessy testified at the House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing "The Impact of U.S. Export Controls on National Security, Science and Technological Leadership," held at Stanford in January.

Stanford President John Hennessy has commended President Barack Obama for proposing to revise and simplify the U.S. export control system in order to strengthen the country's national security and its ability to compete.

On Tuesday, Obama announced a major step in his administration's efforts to reform the export control system, which outlines what technological information can be shared with foreign nationals. Originally designed to protect the nation's interests, it has failed to keep pace with today's technological realities, according to many scientists, researchers and scholars. 

In a statement released by the Association of American Universities, Hennessy, who heads the AAU's Export Controls Task Force, applauded the announcement.

"President Obama and this administration are to be commended for taking a serious look at the changes that are needed in our export control policies to make them more effective in the global business, research and education environment of the 21st century," said Hennessy, who has been at the forefront of the export control reform issue. Hennessy co-chaired the National Academies' Committee on Science, Security and Prosperity, which recommended changes to the laws.

"The export controls regulations that served the United States well 40 years ago no longer meet the country's needs," he added. "In fact, many current requirements actually impede our national security and thwart our ability to compete. As we noted in our National Academies' committee report, Beyond 'Fortress America,'  in a world of globalized science and technology, our security will come from our ability to 'run faster' than our competitors, not from building walls around our nation. A more agile and responsive system of controls will allow us to focus our energies on serious security risks, make informed decisions, and make them more quickly."

President Hennessy testified on the subject before a special meeting of the U.S. House of Representatives' Committee on Foreign Affairs, which met on the Stanford campus Jan.  15, 2010. 

At the time, he said, "In this new century, the conduct of science takes place in a highly collaborative and geographically distributed research community ...  Much of it – particularly the breakthrough advances and innovations – involves many players from wide-ranging backgrounds and areas of expertise. … Our goal should be to design national security controls without negatively impacting our ability to conduct fundamental research that can benefit the United States economically and militarily."