Strategic Materials Advisory Council Praises Rep. Blackburn Proposal to Protect U.S Technology
January 8, 2013 The Strategic Materials Advisory Council today applauded the proposed legislation by U.S. Representative Marsha Blackburn (TN-7th) that will require the Department of Energy to conduct an assessment of the national impact when a non-allied foreign nation or its citizens attempt to acquire federally-funded energy research.
“Rep. Blackburn’s bill will go a long way toward keeping taxpayer-funded critical energy technology out of the hands of non-allied nations,” said Dean G. Popps, former Army acquisition executive and Council Co-Chair. “Even now, federally-funded battery technology that is critical to powering American satellites and military drones will be handed over to a Chinese company whose President has served in the National Communist Party Congress for 44 years, should the Government fail to block the sale.”
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“Under Rep. Blackburn’s legislation,” Popps continued, “the Department of Energy would have been notified immediately of this proposed sale, and would be mandated to conduct a threat assessment for Congress.”
Blackburn’s bill, the Stop Mergers, Acquisitions, and Risky Takeovers Supplied by American Labor and Entrepreneurship Act of 2013, or SMART SALE Act, would require immediate reporting to the Department of Energy whenever federally-funded energy research is about to be acquired by a citizen of a non-allied nation. The Department would then report to Congress whether the proposed acquisition represents a cyber security threat to the United States. It would also require a report on the technology rights held by the federal government, the value of the federal investment, and an assessment of whether the transaction will be in the best interests of the U.S.
In addition, Popps noted, the measure requires repayment of federal loans or grants for technology that is transferred.
“Under present law, transfers like the proposed A123 Systems, Inc. sale to the Shanghai-based Wanxiang Group can happen without Congressional notification,” Popps said. “The American people deserve a higher degree of scrutiny when it comes to taxpayer funded research and intellectual property being sold to non-allied foreign nations.”
About the Council
The Strategic Materials Advisory Council is a coalition of former U.S. Government leaders and industry experts who have significant experience with strategic and critical materials through decades of service in the public and private sector. The Council was formed with the clear objective to promote policy solutions that ensure continued access of both U.S. industry and military to those materials needed to support a robust 21st century economy and military.
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