THE HISTORICAL CONTEXT OF NATIONAL SECURITY CONCERNS ABOUT SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
Prior to World War II, only the armed services and the departments of War and State maintained security classification programs. These were designed to protect military secrets and to safeguard diplomatic communications. The legal authority for these programs was derived from a general administrative statute.
In September 1942, however, the Office of War Information issued a government-wide regulation on creating and administering classified materials. The principal responsibility for military research during the war was assigned to the Office of Scientific Research and Development (OSRD), directed by Vannevar Bush. Basically, OSRD adopted the security classification system used by the armed services. However, because of the rigid requirements with respect to handling, transmitting, and filing data, OSRD tried to avoid top secret assignments, particularly within the university environment. Most OSRD projects were, in fact, classified at lower levels, such as confidential or secret.
When the war ended, a problem arose with respect to the declassification and release of scientific and industrial data obtained in Germany and Japan by allied forces. President Truman decided that these spoils of war should be released promptly, but that in doing so close attention should be paid to national security, given growing Soviet belligerence.
A somewhat parallel situation also arose when OSRD faced the problem of publishing the large mass of information that had accumulated during the five years of wartime scientific silence. The resulting OSRD “summary technical reports” were very broad in the scope of topics covered and consequently were placed under tight security restrictions. Only 250 copies of the reports ultimately were printed. But OSRD did approve public disclosure of some of the results of wartime research,
The material in this appendix is drawn from information provided to the Panel during its briefing meetings and a variety of primary and secondary source documents. It has not been possible, however, to undertake the kind of exhaustive, historical review necessary to ascertain the detailed accuracy of every event cited. Rather, the intent here is to convey to the reader a sense of the order and flow of the major developments that have contributed the present situation.
such as that undertaken at the M.I.T. Radiation Laboratory, which was the primary U.S. microwave radar research facility. The publication of these materials proved to be of enormous benefit to universities and industry, both in the United States and abroad (including the Soviet Union), in the further development of microwave and related technology.
SECURITY AND TRADE RESTRAINTS IN THE POSTWAR PERIOD
In the period after World War II, as the ideological struggle between the United States and the Soviet Union intensified, the federal government became increasingly concerned about protecting scientific information. The Atomic Energy Act of 1946, for example, precluded public dissemination of most of the results of the Manhattan District Project or subsequent atomic research. The act, which was amended in 1954, included a “born secret” provision, meaning that all information about atomic energy was automatically classified at the moment of its creation. In 1950 President Truman issued an executive order that contained a vaguely defined standard for protecting national security as the rationale for classifying secret documents. This justification on the grounds of a need to protect national security has continued to the present day, although the definition of national security has been modified several times.
Government restraints on the movement of goods out of the United States also originated during World War II. In fact, export controls have existed in one form or another since July 1940. Although it originally had been anticipated that these restrictions would be terminated at the end of the war, the advent of the Cold War prompted the passage of the Export Control Act of 1949. This act, which remained in effect for the next 20 years, provided for continuing examination of exports to the Soviet Union and most other Communist countries. The 1949 act was succeeded by the Export Administration Act of 1969, and more recently by the Export Administration Act of 1979. All three laws have been implemented by the Department of Commerce through a comprehensive set of procedures known as the Export Administration Regulations (EAR), which are in turn used to administer the Commodity Control List, an extensive itemization of restricted products and processes. Although modified by subsequent acts (see Chapter 3, Volume I of this report), the original Export Control Act required the government to prevent the exportation of goods that might assist either the economic or military potential of communist countries.
Another method of controlling the export of security-related goods was developed in 1954, when the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) were established, initially as part of the Mutual Security Act of 1954. Administered by the Department of State, the ITAR rules are used to control the export of military systems, including the “design, production, manufacture, repair, overhaul, processing, engineering, development, operation, maintenance or reconstruction of…implements of war on the U.S. Munitions List” or “any technology that advances the state of the art or establishes a new art in any area of significant military applicability.” The current foundation for the ITAR is the Arms Export Control Act of 1976.
In order to control the movement of militarily sensitive goods at the international level, the Coordinating Committee for national export controls (COCOM) was established by informal agreement in 1949 (see the annex to this appendix). COCOM, which comprises all the NATO countries except Iceland, plus Japan, has provided a forum for the consideration of trade controls on exports to the Warsaw Pact countries and the People’s Republic of China. COCOM is a voluntary organization, and its decisions can only be implemented through the national policies of its members. These national policies sometimes differ significantly. COCOM maintains three separate lists covering munitions, atomic energy, and dual-use items. The latter accounts for a majority of the trade matters considered by the group.
For a brief period during the 1950s there was a third dimension to the U.S. effort to regulate the flow of information and goods to the Soviet Union and other potential adversary nations. At the behest of the National Security Council, the Office of Strategic Information (OSI) was established within the Department of Commerce in 1954 (see Panel Working Paper on OSI, available from the National Academy Press). Although never authorized by legislation, OSI was created by the Eisenhower administration because of growing concern about Soviet efforts to obtain U.S. industrial and military information. Ultimately, however, OSI ran afoul of both the Department of Defense, which viewed its security role as redundant, and Congress, which was concerned about OSI’s negative impact on scientific projects. As a result, OSI ceased operations in June 1957.
SECRECY AND LOYALTY DURING THE 1950s
In addition to the efforts to protect sensitive technological information through classification and through export restrictions, other approaches have also been taken to prevent the transfer of information. The Internal Security Act of 1950 (the so-called McCarran Act) and the Immigration and Naturalization Act of 1952 (the so-called McCarran-Walter Act) established rigid and indiscriminant restrictions on the issuance of visas to aliens seeking to enter the United States. One result of these two laws was that large numbers of distinguished European scientists found it much more difficult to visit the United States to attend meetings or to assume appointments at American universities. In some cases visas were refused outright; in others visas were approved only after such long delays that the scientific meeting had already taken place or the offer of a teaching appointment had been withdrawn.
At the same time, Congress became concerned about the loyalty of scientists conducting unclassified research with the aid of federal grants, primarily from the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH). As a result, Congress placed increasing pressure on both NSF and NIH to adopt restrictive policies, particularly in the form of required loyalty oaths for those receiving grants. NIH apparently did draft an oath-signing procedure (which was never implemented), but the National Science Board at NSF rejected the
idea and reaffirmed its support of the principle that approval of grants should be based on the “experience, competence, and integrity” of those seeking grants, “based on the judgments of scientists having a working knowledge” of an applicant’s qualifications. Ultimately, the question of the need for loyalty oaths was referred to the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) at the request of presidential assistant Sherman Adams. An NAS committee, under the chairmanship of J.A. Stratton of M.I.T., subsequently recommended against the use of special loyalty requirements for persons conducting unclassified scientific research. The NAS committee also proposed specific criteria for defining government policy on loyalty matters in scientific research. These recommendations were accepted by the Eisenhower administration and were made part of executive branch policy in 1956.
Two other efforts to protect scientific secrets also deserve mention here. The first was the passage in 1951 of the Patent and Invention Secrecy Act. Under the terms of this legislation, which still remains in effect, the Patent Office is charged with sending all requests for patents that may have military applications to the Department of Defense. The Patent Office is empowered to block the granting of such a patent and to prohibit the inventor from disclosing the invention to anyone else. In FY 1979, about 5 percent of the over 100,000 patent applications apparently were sent to defense agencies for review. These reviews resulted in 243 secrecy orders, approximately 40 of which pertained to unclassified research and development. In addition approximately 3,300 secrecy orders were renewed in FY 1979.1
The second secrecy-related effort was an executive order issued by President Eisenhower on the classification of secret documents. Like subsequent directives issued by Presidents Nixon, Carter, and Reagan, the Eisenhower order was intended to adjust the classification system to the needs of the current administration. In the case of the Eisenhower order this actually meant a certain degree of relaxation of the classification system used during the Truman period.
THE IMPACT OF DETENTE ON SCIENTIFIC COMMUNICATION
The 1957 launching of Sputnik by the Soviet Union stimulated an enormous increase in the federal government’s investment in scientific research, training, and facilities. This support was further strengthened during the Kennedy administration, which held that a robust scientific enterprise was critical to the maintenance of national prosperity and national security. In addition, President Kennedy made the race for the moon the centerpiece of his administration’s science and technology effort.
While science and technology were being emphasized for their importance to continued security and prosperity, some rudimentary but nevertheless significant initiatives were being undertaken to expand
scientific cooperation between the United States and the Soviet Union. Chief among these was the decision of both sides in 1958 to declassify certain aspects of research on nuclear fusion and to share the results publicly. This action is generally credited with significantly advancing the state of the art in fusion research, as well as with establishing a useful precedent for future scientific exchanges.
Approximately one year later, in July 1959, scientific exchanges between the United States and the Soviet Union were formalized in a historic agreement between the NAS and the Academy of Science of the U.S.S.R. (ASUSSR). The agreement provided for exchange visits by scientists of both nations and for joint symposia, of which eleven were held between 1961 and 1979. Despite this modest thaw in relations, however, it was not until the early 1970s that the United States was able to rid itself fully of its Sputnik era fears, having demonstrated by that time its clear technological superiority through the lunar landing and other achievements. Thus, cooperation in science and technology became an increasingly attractive instrument of foreign policy in the evolving detente with the Soviet Union.
A clear indication of this changed environment was a new U.S.-U.S.S.R. agreement on interacademy cooperation in 1972. Between 1972 and 1974 eleven bilateral intergovernmental agreements in science and technology were also concluded between the two countries, marking a major increase in the level of contact. This shift in attitude was further reinforced by the report of the Task Force on Secrecy of the Defense Science Board, chaired by a former NAS president, Dr. Frederick Seitz. The task force recommended a significant modification of U.S. policy on the classification of secret materials, including a significant decrease in the amount of information classified and in the length of the restrictions.
The keystone of detente, however, was in the realm of trade. A fundamental tenet of the foreign economic policy of the Nixon administration, a policy continued under Presidents Ford and Carter, was the belief that Soviet adventurism could be constrained through an explicit policy of linkage whereby U.S. trade with the U.S.S.R. would be expanded in return for tacit Soviet agreement to abide by the status quo in international affairs. What clearly interested the Soviets beyond all else was greater access to developments in the emerging high-technology industries. As a result, the Export Administration Act of 1969 openly encouraged trade with all nations, including communist countries. The result was a substantial increase in U.S.-Soviet trade, much of it involving dual-use technology, such as computer hardware and ballbearing grinder machinery.
GROWING CONCERN ABOUT TECHNOLOGY LOSS
By the mid-1970s, however, some disturbing new trends had begun to emerge, both with respect to the configuration of U.S. scientific and technological enterprise and with regard to the U.S.-Soviet trade relationship. In many fields at the cutting edge of science, the distinction between basic and applied research was becoming less
relevant. In microelectronics, for example, fundamental physics research increasingly was being carried on side-by-side with the development of industrial applications of that research, which became known as production “recipes.” Furthermore, an increasing number of technologies were dual-use in character, and in many cases it was difficult, if not impossible, to separate military applications from civilian ones. And there were growing indications that the Soviet Union, through both legal and illegal channels, was making special efforts to acquire information about dual-use technologies and, wherever possible, to obtain access to production know-how, i.e., to the recipes.
In view of these developments the Defense Science Board commissioned a task force chaired by J.Fred Bucy, president of Texas Instruments Corporation, to examine the entire question of controlling exports of U.S. technology. The task force report, An Analysis of Export Control of U.S. Technology—A DOD Perspective, called for a break with past practices. Basically, the Bucy task force argued that, with the exception of technologies of direct military value to potential adversaries, efforts to control exports should not focus on the products of technology but on design and manufacturing know-how. The report recommended that primary emphasis should be placed on (1) arrays of design and manufacturing know-how; (2) keystone manufacturing, inspection, and test equipment; and (3) products requiring sophisticated operation, application, or maintenance know-how. The Bucy task force concluded that preservation of the U.S. lead in critical technological areas was becoming increasingly difficult but that it could be maintained—first, by denying exportation for technology when it represented a revolutionary (rather than evolutionary) advance for the receiving nation, and second, by strengthening existing export control laws and the COCOM agreement.
Within the federal government, bureaucratic and legislative efforts were undertaken to gain better control over the movement of scientific and technological information out of the United States. The conception of restricted items was broadened to include not only products on the U.S. Munitions List but also technical data relating to those items. As defined under ITAR, “technical data” include the shipping, mailing or carrying by hand of various types of data outside the United States, the disclosure of such data by American citizens visiting abroad, or the disclosure of such data to foreign nationals in the United States during plant visits, briefings, or symposia. Enactment of the Arms Control Act of 1976 and the Nuclear Nonproliferation Act of 1978 both were intended, in part, to impose restrictions on the movement of goods and information related to militarily critical technologies outside of the United States.
It was recognized during the Carter administration that the U.S. intelligence community was poorly equipped to make informed judgments about the potential costs and benefits of granting visas to scientific visitors from the Soviet Union and other East European counties, many of whom were known to have been tasked to acquire scientific and technological information. Accordingly, in 1981 the Technology Transfer Intelligence Committee (TTIC) was established, which incorporated the Committee on Exchanges (COMEX) as well as other relevant agencies of
the intelligence community. COMEX itself, which advises the Department of State about the acceptability of foreign individuals proposed under exchange programs, had been in existence since the mid-1950s. COMEX meetings are attended by representatives of all the various agencies within the intelligence community as well as the line agencies having a responsibility or interest in the matter.
Perhaps the most significant recent government initiative was the passage of the Export Administration Act of 1979, which was intended to change the focus of the U.S. export system from an emphasis on goods to an emphasis on technologies. That part of the 1979 legislation that most clearly reflects the new perspectives articulated in the Bucy task force report was the provision calling for the creation of a “Militarily Critical Technologies List” (MCTL). The purpose of the list is to identify technological elements essential to an advanced military capability, with emphasis on manufacturing know-how, keystone manufacturing equipment, goods which contain sophisticated technology, and maintenance know-how. A classified document of many hundreds of pages, the MCTL was developed by the Department of Defense with input from other line agencies and is intended to serve as a guide for modification of the EAR Commodity Control List as well as the lists maintained under the COCOM agreements.
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY COMMUNICATION IN THE POSTDETENTE ERA
By the last year of the Carter administration the East-West political climate had deteriorated substantially because of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, the resulting American grain and technology embargoes, and the internal exile of Soviet physicist Andrei Sakharov. These events cast a chill over scientific communications between the United States and the Soviet Union. Moreover, beginning early in 1980, the federal government began to upgrade its efforts to control the dissemination of unclassified scientific and technical information to foreign nationals. These efforts began in February with the International Conference on Bubble Memory. The sponsor of the conference, the American Vacuum Society, was informed that it would have to obtain an export license before admitting Communist bloc scientists to the meeting. That same month a much larger meeting on inertial-confinement fusion research, sponsored by the Optical Society of America and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, also became the subject of government control efforts. Conference organizers were informed by the State Department that eight Soviet scientists would be denied visas to attend the meeting.
Heightened government sensitivity to the technology transfer issue also led to increasing difficulties in U.S.-Soviet scientific exchange programs. In mid-December 1981 the National Academy of Sciences notified Stanford, Wisconsin, Ohio State, and Auburn universities that the State Department had requested certain restrictions on a visit to the campuses by Dr. N.V.Umnov, an expert on robotics. These restrictions would have given Umnov access to work in robotics only at the theoretical level, prevented him from visiting industrial facilities,
and denied him access to production research or any classified or unclassified research funded by DOD. Stanford replied that it would be unable to receive Dr. Umnov under these restrictions, and researchers at all four universities indicated that the restrictions conflicted with the spirit of open scientific communication. It ultimately proved impossible to work out a compromise acceptable to both the universities and the government. The Umnov case is representative of a number of similar problems that have arisen in recent years (see Appendix J).
Some steps have been taken to develop a modus vivendi between government concern about security and the interest of the universities in open scientific communication. The problem was recently addressed, for example, by another task force of the Defense Science Board. The Task Force on University Responsiveness was chaired by Dr. Ivan Bennett of the New York University School of Medicine, and it considered the new and serious problems now facing the nation’s universities in the current economic climate and assessed the impact of these constraints on the capacity of universities to undertake DOD-funded research. The Bennett task force also took up directly the question of applying export controls to academic activities and the effectiveness of this mechanism in limiting the loss of sensitive information.
Another example of an attempt to reconcile the interests of the universities and the federal government came about as a result of concern expressed by the National Security Agency that the publication of certain information on new encryption methodologies in the field of cryptography might violate the Arms Export Control Act of 1976, since cryptography is classified as a munition (see Appendix E). After several years of often difficult debate between government officials and university researchers, the Public Cryptography Study Group (PCSG) was created by the American Council on Education and funded by the National Science Foundation. Under the arrangement subsequently recommended by the PCSG a trial system was established whereby the National Security Agency invites authors to submit papers voluntarily for prior review. A cryptographer who disagrees with the agency’s views on the paper can appeal to a standing committee composed of two members appointed by NSA and three appointed by the President’s science advisor.
In other fields of research, however, the conflicting views of the government and university researchers have proven more difficult to resolve. In December 1980, for example, the director of the Very High Speed Integrated Circuit (VHSIC) program of DOD released a memorandum raising the possibility that ITAR and EAR might be invoked to regulate the release of unclassified technical research data. The memorandum also suggested that only U.S. citizens and immigrant aliens should be permitted access to DOD-supported research projects. This memorandum brought a protest by the presidents of Stanford University, the California Institute of Technology, M.I.T., Cornell University, and the University of California, who said that:
It should be recognized that the only realistic way to “contain” VHSIC research is to classify the whole program. In our view
this would be a self-defeating effort: the science underlying high technologies cannot be put back into the bottle. Furthermore, most universities have concluded that performance of classified research is incompatible with their essential purposes. University scientists would pefer, for the most part, to change their field of interest rather than have their research and teaching so constrained. [The full text of this letter is included in Section II, Appendix G.]
As a result of the protest, a Defense Science Board task force on VHSIC was convened under the chairmanship of William Perry, former Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering. This task force recently made the following recommendations to DOD on the application of export controls to VHSIC research: (1) no controls on basic research, (2) research with commercial proprietary value should be subject to EAR, (3) dual-use research that has distinct military sensitivity should be regulated under ITAR, and (4) single-use defense technology should be classified.
Similar conflicts between the government and the scientific community occurred later in 1981. The Department of Defense released a report, Soviet Military Power, which was highly critical of the technology transfer occurring as a result of scientific exchange programs, international conferences and symposia, unclassified research reports, and publication of articles in scientific journals. William D.Carey, Executive Officer of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), subsequently argued that the same characteristics of open scientific communication criticized in the report contributed to the superiority of American technology and hence to U.S. military strength. Carey’s statement was published in the January 8, 1982, issue of Science, which also included a response by Frank Carlucci, Deputy Scretary of Defense, who elaborated on DOD’s position. Carlucci contended that the Soviet Union sends scientists to the United States who are “often directly involved in applied military research.”
In an article published in the Wall Street Journal on January 12, 1982, Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger stated that the Soviets “have organized a massive, systematic effort to get advanced technology from the West. The purpose is to support the Soviet military buildup.” During that same month, Admiral B.R.Inman, then Deputy Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, suggested to the annual meeting of the AAAS that the scientific community should be more cooperative in voluntarily submitting research results to prepublication review by appropriate government agencies because of the threat posed by advances in Soviet science and technology.
One of the results of this debate was the decision in February 1982 to establish a panel under the auspices of the NAS to make an objective and balanced assessment of the evidence. While this study has been under way, however, the government has taken two initiatives to restrain the flow of information. It has proposed amending the Freedom of Information Act to exempt certain categories of information from disclosure, and it has issued a new executive order on security classification that
frees the government from the obligation to show due cause when it makes classification decisions, thereby reversing the policy of the Carter administration.
A substantial number of other developments pertaining to technology transfer have occurred during the last year and a half:
In the wake of the Soviet-supported imposition of martial law in Poland, President Reagan ordered the cancellation of some U.S.-U.S.S.R. bilateral scientific exchange programs and the nonrenewal of others. Interacademy scientific exchanges between the NAS and the ASUSSR have also been curtailed due to the displeasure of U.S. scientists over the violation of the human rights of Andrei Sakharov.
The President has also ordered, as an economic sanction, that all validated export licenses for the Soviet Union be suspended, including exports of U.S. gas pipeline technology.
At the Ottawa Economic Summit in July 1981 President Reagan asked for greater cooperation among the COCOM allies in restricting technological flows to the Eastern bloc. This resulted in the first high-level meeting of COCOM in over 20 years. (The matter of COCOM is elaborated in the Working Papers of the Panel, which are available from the National Academy Press.)
In April 1982 the Institute for Scientific Information (ISI), was informed by the U.S. Customs Service that one of the weekly tapes of the Science Citation Index that the institute had been sending to the Library of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences had been confiscated because ISI had no export license for Hungary. The tapes had been shipped for many years to Hungary and other Eastern bloc countries. ISI was informed that it would be able to obtain a license for Hungary but not for Poland or the Soviet Union. The reason given for the distinction pertained to the technology of the computer tape itself rather than the information contained on it.
The ISI situation is illustrative of a broader effort undertaken by U.S. Customs Service under the code name “Operation Exodus.” This program has involved surprise inspections of cargo bound for Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union and special searches of the personal effects of foreign nationals as they-leave the United States. One example of the latter was an incident on May 6, 1982, during which Chinese graduate students waiting to board a flight in New York were detained and searched. Both they and their baggage were examined, but apparently nothing of a sensitive nature apparently was found.
Two papers scheduled to be discussed at the May 1982 meeting of the Electrochemical Society in Toronto, Canada, were withdrawn. The papers, which dealt with VHSIC research, were judged to contain information too sensitive to be imparted to foreign nationals.
The most recent case (to date) involving efforts to prevent the oral dissemination of unclassified research results at an international symposium occurred just as the Panel was concluding its
deliberations. Many researchers attending the 26th annual international technical symposium of the Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers, held in San Diego, California, August 23–27, 1982, were informed with less than ten days, notice that the public presentation of their papers was being blocked by the Department of Defense because of national security considerations and the presence of Soviet scientists and other foreign nationals. In all over 150 of a total of 626 papers ultimately were withdrawn.
Japan and all of the NATO countries except Iceland are members of COCOM. Thus, there are several important sources of technology, among them Sweden, Switzerland, South Korea, and Taiwan, that are not members.
COCOM controls apply to the U.S.S.R., the PRC, Eastern Europe except Yugoslavia, and Asian Communist countries. Cuba is not subject to COCOM controls.
COCOM is not based on international treaty or law but on a gentleman’s agreement. This has several important consequences for the organization’s operations and effectiveness. First, COCOM’s decisions are not legally binding on its members. Rather, they are recommendations, which the members must then implement through their own national laws. In the U.S. case, participation is effected through the Export Administration Act of 1979 as amended in 1981, which supersedes and incorporates the relevant provisions of the Battle Act. Second, COCOM has no enforcement mechanism or sanctions that can be brought to bear on a member that disregards its recommendations. Nonetheless, members
An extended version of this annex is printed with the collected working papers of the Panel, available separately. It appeared originally as an appendix to a paper entitled “Economic Interchange with the U.S.S.R. in the 1980s,” which was prepared by John P.Hardt and Kate S. Tomlinson of the Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress. The Panel is grateful for their permission to reprint parts of it here.
(with exceptions that will be explored below) seem to regard COCOM decisions as obligations to be met.
As befits an informal organization, unanimity or, in some cases, unanimity of all members present, is the decision-making rule. This has several important consequences for COCOM’s operations. First, no one member can impose its will on the others, but, paradoxically, each member has an effective veto. Secondly, COCOM’s method of decision making may therefore be characterized as consensual or, in the view of some, as a search for the least common denominator.
Deliberations within COCOM and most of the details about its operations are not publicized. The high degree of discretion with which COCOM operates is not surprising, considering its hazy status in law, but there are other reasons for it. For some countries participation in COCOM may be incompatible with domestic law or may arouse criticisms from nongovernmetal leftist political parties.
Officially, the three lists of embargoed commodities, which are the basis for the control system, are classified, but it is possible to get a fair idea of what they contain. For example, it is well known and officially acknowledged that the items on the COCOM lists are on the U.S. Commodity Control List (CCL). Despite the fact that the COCOM lists can be partially reconstructed from the U.S. list and those of some of the other members, a commonly advanced rationale for keeping the COCOM lists secret is that publication could show the Soviet Union where to focus its R&D efforts.
The three COCOM lists are the following: (1) a munitions list, (2) an atomic energy list including all sources of fissionable materials, nuclear reactors, and reactor components, and (3) an industrial/ commercial list, which includes dual-use items with both civilian and military uses. Understandings about COCOM procedures and operations are appended to the lists as footnotes. Since it is fairly clear what items belong on the munitions and atomic energy lists and because of the obvious security implications of exporting these kinds of commodities, the first two lists cause few disagreements within COCOM. As might be expected from the very nature of the commodities on it, the industrial/commercial list gives rise to most of the controversy within COCOM and accounts for most of its work. It is divided into a number of categories, according to product. According to some sources, the industrial/commercial list is divided into three sublists, depending on the degree of control.