On November 19, 2018, the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) at the Department of Commerce issued an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM) seeking public comment on criteria for identifying emerging technologies essential to U.S. national security. In the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2019, Congress passed the Export Control Reform Act of 2018, which included a section aimed at establishing controls on “emerging” and “foundational” technologies. Section 1758 of the NDAA outlined a process for interagency review considering both public and classified information, in addition to inputs from various interagency committees. Once an emerging or foundational technology is identified, the NDAA authorizes the BIS to establish appropriate controls on the export, reexport or transfer of that technology.

The BIS is seeking input from all interested parties on: (1) how to define emerging technology; (2) criteria to apply to determine whether there are specific technologies within certain categories, which are listed below, that are important to U.S. national security; (3) sources to identify technologies ; (4) other general technology categories that warrant review; (5) the status of development of these technologies; (6) the impact specific emerging technology controls would have on U.S. technological leadership; and (7) any other approaches to the issue of identifying emerging technologies, including the stage of development or maturity level.

The BIS will issue a separate ANPRM to identify foundational technologies important to U.S. national security but will accept public comments on treating emerging and foundational technologies as separate types of technology.

Written comments addressing the BIS’s seven criteria must be submitted no later than December 19, 2018. Written comments must be filed through the Federal eRulemaking Portal at https://www.regulations.gov in Docket No. BIS 2018-0024.

Representative Technology Categories

  1. Biotechnology, such as:
    1. Nanobiology;
    2. Synthetic biology;
    3. Genomic and genetic engineering; or
    4. Neurotech.
  2. Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning technology, such as:
    1. Neural networks and deep learning (e.g., brain modelling, time series prediction, classification);
    2. Evolution and genetic computation (e.g., genetic algorithms, genetic programming);
    3. Reinforcement learning;
    4. Computer vision (e.g., object recognition, image understanding);
    5. Expert systems (e.g., decision support systems, teaching systems);
    6. Speech and audio processing (e.g., speech recognition and production);
    7. Natural language processing (e.g., machine translation);
    8. Planning (e.g., scheduling, game playing);
    9. Audio and video manipulation technologies (e.g., voice cloning, deepfakes);
    10. AI cloud technologies; or
    11. AI chipsets.
  3. Position, Navigation, and Timing (PNT) technology.
  4. Microprocessor technology, such as:
    1. Systems-on-Chip (SoC); or
    2. Stacked Memory on Chip.
  5. Advanced computing technology, such as memory-centric logic.
  6. Data analytics technology, such as:
    1. Visualization;
    2. Automated analysis algorithms; or
    3. Context-aware computing.
  7. Quantum information and sensing technology, such as:
    1. Quantum computing;
    2. Quantum encryption; or
    3. Quantum sensing.
  8. Logistics technology, such as:
    1. Mobile electric power;
    2. Modeling and simulation;
    3. Total asset visibility; or
    4. Distribution-based Logistics Systems (DBLS).
  9. Additive manufacturing (e.g., 3D printing);
  10. Robotics, such as:
    1. Micro-drone and micro-robotic systems;
    2. Swarming technology;
    3. Self-assembling robots;
    4. Molecular robotics;
    5. Robot compliers; or
    6. Smart Dust.
  11. Brain-computer interfaces, such as
    1. Neural-controlled interfaces;
    2. Mind-machine interfaces;
    3. Direct neural interfaces; or
    4. Brain-machine interfaces.
  12. Hypersonics, such as:
    1. Flight control algorithms;
    2. Propulsion technologies;
    3. Thermal protection systems; or
    4. Specialized materials (for structures, sensors, etc.).
  13. Advanced Materials, such as:
    1. Adaptive camouflage;
    2. Functional textiles (e.g., advanced fiber and fabric technology); or
    3. Biomaterials.
  14. Advanced surveillance technologies, such as faceprint and voiceprint technologies.