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 TIME on politics Congressional Quarterly CNN/AllPolitics CNN/AllPolitics - Storypage, with TIME and Congressional Quarterly

High Performance Computers

page 5

Defense Department Review of Military Applications for HPCs

Pentagon officials advised the General Accounting Office that there was no document that summarized the results of the Department of Defense review of military applications for HPCs.95 One Defense Department official stated that these results were incorporated into the Stanford study.96 An August 24, 1995 Defense Technology Security Administration (DTSA) memorandum summarized some general points of a Defense Department "Supercomputing Study" that reviewed military applications.97 The DTSA memorandum concluded:

    • The maximum practical computing performance level available to Defense Department research laboratories at the time was the Cray C90 vector computer at 21,000 MTOPS (for a full 16-processor configuration)
    • Massively parallel processors provide higher composite theoretical performance, but not all of it is usable processing
    • High performance computing would play a critical role in the Defense Departmentís future plans to maintain technological superiority, and the Cray vector computer was the primary computer used for the most computing-intensive applications
    • Researchers need high performance computing to resolve significant problems in a reasonable time, and to reach effective conclusions rapidly regarding next steps to be taken
    • Massively parallel processors (such as the IBM SP2 and Cray T3D) had limited applicability to most of the Defense Departmentís then-current research efforts. Software did not exist to permit massively parallel processors to simultaneously be used on those applications
    • Workstations are critical to Defense Department programs. They are used to prepare programs and data for HPC runs and to analyze HPC data runs. However, they were not replacing HPCs, either in networked or clustered configurations
    • Symmetric multi-processors (such as the SGI Power Challenge and the DEC Alpha) would be major factors in future Defense Department research in spite of the higher performance of the Cray vector computers, because the lower overall costs of symmetric multi-processors make them affordable in a constrained defense budget environment
    • Symmetrical multi-processors were not being run effectively at Defense Department laboratories with more than 12 single processor workstation levels of between 200 and 500 MTOPS. Other symmetrical multi-processors were being run at levels between 1,000 and 5,000 MTOPS; vector computers were being run at levels between 10,000 and 20,000 MTOPS; and massively parallel processors were being run at levels over 5,000 MTOPS because of their scalability in parallel signal processing applications
    • There was no significant relationship between the maximum composite theoretical performance of the vector computers and the massively parallel processors. Therefore, export control levels should not be set on the basis of the maximum number of processors that can be included in a massively parallel processor98

Institute of Defense Analyses Technical Assessment

An IDA technical assessment reported that a consensus of computing experts, supported by available data, believed that supercomputing restrictions for systems above 10,000 MTOPS, but below about 20,000 MTOPS, could be circumvented to some extent by aggregating lower performance processors. However, the IDA assessment stated that it was difficult to go beyond this level as of 1996, except for a small set of "embarrassingly parallel problems" ó that is, problems that could easily be broken up into parts that could be solved simultaneously.99

The assessment predicted that, by 1996, users should be able to interconnect systems with a total of 40,000 to 80,000 MTOPS. Such a configuration could be programmed, according to IDA, "to yield computational capabilities approximating that of a single 20,000 CTP computer for a given problem or constrained set of problems." A user may achieve this by investing from six months to a yearís worth of effort, although the resulting system would be neither user-friendly nor economically competitive in the world market.100

The IDA assessment also stated that the security risk would depend on whether there are militarily critical problems that demand high performance computing capability between 10,000 and 20,000 MTOPS, and that cannot be attacked for some technical reason by aggregation. If such problems exist, IDA advised, the issue would become how much benefit to U.S. national security it is to delay or degrade a foreign entityís ability to achieve certain results for a given class of problems. The IDA study concluded that a user faced with limited computing power would simply run the program for a longer period of time or run it with coarser granularity.101 (Granularity of an application refers to the amount of computation relative to the amount of movement of data between processors.102 When this relationship becomes a processing bottleneck in the interconnect between processors, problems that are more easily broken up into parts ó that is, "coarsely grained" ó are those that can be run effectively.103)

The IDA assessment and its sponsors, Dr. Joseph Golden, Director of Multinational Technology Programs in the Office of the Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for International and Commercial Programs, and Norman Jorstad, Director of IDAís Technology Identification and Analysis Center, provided only minimal support and documentation (four articles) for the studyís conclusions.104

As IDA officials subsequently explained to General Accounting Office, IDA had assembled a group of specialists from the U.S. Government and the computer industry who discussed the issues and produced the report following a series of meetings. While the specialists might have assembled documentation, IDA retained none of it.105

A Defense Technology Security Administration official commented in July 1998 that the agency had concerns about the study.106

Defense Department Proliferation Criteria

In the 1995 effort to develop the country tier system, Defense Department officials assessed countries for the HPC export control review process on the basis of six criteria and assigned each country to a particular HPC country tier.107 Part of the information used in this process was a ranking of each country in the world by the level of risk associated with that countryís proliferation record. The PRC was ranked at the highest level of risk.

Former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Counterproliferation Policy, Mitchel Wallerstein, explained to the General Accounting Office that the Defense Department did not conduct a threat assessment regarding HPCs because it was not tasked do so.108 Wallerstein later said that he had consulted with a counterpart on the Joint Staff about the risk associated with the levels of HPC being considered for export, and that, while the Joint Staff had concerns, the risk was considered reasonable.109

The six assessment criteria used by the Defense Department to create HPC country tiers were:

    • Evidence of ongoing programs of U.S. national security concern, including proliferation of weapons of mass destruction with associated delivery systems and regional stability and conventional threats
    • Membership in or adherence to nonproliferation and export control regimes
    • An effective export control system including enforcement and compliance programs and an associated assessment of diversion risks
    • Overall relations with the United States
    • Whether United Nations sanctions had been imposed
    • Prior licensing history110

Details of the 1996 High Performance Computer Export Control Policy Changes

The export control policy announced in October 1995 and implemented in January 1996 removed license requirements for most HPC exports with performance levels up to 2,000 MTOPS.111

The policy also organized countries into four "computer tiers." Tier 1 represents the lowest level of concern to U.S. security interests, and each subsequent tier represents a higher level.112

The revised HPC policy was applied as follows:

    • Tier 1 (28 countries): Western Europe, Japan, Canada, Mexico, Australia, New Zealand. No prior government review or license for any computer exports, but U.S. companies must keep records regarding higher performance shipments (that is, over 2,000 MTOPS) and these records will be provided to the U.S. Government as directed.
    • Tier 2 (106 countries): Latin America, the Republic of Korea, Association of Southeast Asian Nations, Hungary, Poland, Czech Republic, the Slovak Republic, Slovenia, South Africa. No prior government review or license for computer exports up to 10,000 MTOPS, with record-keeping and reporting by U.S. companies as directed by the U.S. Government. Prior government review and an individual license are required for HPCs above 10,000 MTOPS. Above 20,000 MTOPS, the U.S. Government may require safeguards at the end-user location.
    • Tier 3 (50 countries): the PRC, India, Pakistan, the Middle East/Maghreb, the former Soviet Union, Vietnam, and the rest of Eastern Europe. No prior government review or license is required for computer exports up to 2,000 MTOPS. Prior government review and a license are required for HPC exports for military and proliferation-related end uses and end users. No government review or license is required for civil end users of computers between 2,000 MTOPS and 7,000 MTOPS, with record-keeping and reporting by U.S. companies as directed by the U.S. Government. Prior government review and a license are required for HPC exports above 7,000 MTOPS to all end users. Above 10,000 MTOPS, additional safeguards may be required at the end-user location.
    • Tier 4 (7 countries): Iraq, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Cuba, Sudan, and Syria. There is a virtual embargo on all computer exports.113

The U.S. Government continues to implement the Enhanced Proliferation Control Initiative, which seeks to block exports of computers of any level in cases involving exports to end uses or end users of proliferation concern, or risks of diversion to proliferation activities.114 Criminal as well as civil penalties apply to violators of the Initiative.115

Export Administration Act Provisions and Export Administration Regulations Currently Applicable to High Performance Computers

Specific provisions of the Export Administration Act of 1979, as amended, and the Export Administration Regulations apply to HPCs. In addition, Export Administration Regulations that regulate dual-use exports generally apply to HPCs.

The Commerce Departmentís Bureau of Export Administration maintains the Commerce Control List that includes items (commodities, software, and technology) subject to the authority of the Bureau. HPC technology is included on the Commerce Control List under Category 4, "Computers." HPCs specifically fall under 4A003 (which includes "Digital computers," "electronic assemblies," and "related equipment, and specially designed components") and D001 ("Software specially designed or modified for the ëdevelopmentí, ëproductioní or ëuseí of equipment or ësoftwareí controlled by" various other export control categories).116

The Export Administration Regulations identify six bases for controlling HPC technology, in order of restrictiveness. Those requiring licenses for a larger number of countries or items are listed first:

    • National security
    • Missile technology
    • Crime control
    • Anti-terrorism
    • Nuclear nonproliferation
    • Computers117

The Export Administration Regulations state the terms of the Composite Theoretical Performance license exception and the country tier structure. They also detail the new requirements on notification, post-shipment verifications for Tier 3 countries mandated by the Fiscal 1998 National Defense Authorization Act, and other restrictions and reporting requirements.118

The Export Administration Regulations contain special provisions for exports, re-exports, and certain intra-country transfers of HPCs, including software and technology. License requirements reflected in this section are based on particular destinations, end users, and end uses. These license requirements supplement those that apply for other control reasons, such as nuclear nonproliferation.119

License applications for HPC technology covered by this section are also to be reviewed for nuclear nonproliferation licensing policy. The Commerce Department may also require end-use certifications issued by the government of the importing country and safeguard conditions on the license.120

The Export Administration Regulations state security conditions and safeguard plans for the export, re-export, or in-country transfer of HPCs that the Bureau of Export Administration may impose to certain destinations. Up to 36 safeguard conditions are available.121 These include the following:

    • Applicantís responsibility for providing adequate security against physical diversion of the computer during shipment
    • No re-export or intra-country transfer of the computer without prior written authorization of the Bureau of Export Administration
    • Inspection of usage logs daily to ensure conformity with conditions of the license and retention of records of these logs for at least a year
    • Independent auditing of the end user quarterly by an independent consultant, including auditing of computer usage and implementation of safeguards122

The Export Administration Regulations contain prohibitions against exports, re-exports, and selected transfers to certain end users and end uses. They state that the exporter may not export or re-export any item without a license to any destination, other than those specified in the regulations, if at the time of the export, the exporter knows the item will be used directly or indirectly in proscribed activities.123

These activities include nuclear, missile, chemical, and biological end uses.124 The Export Administration Regulations define "knowledge" of a circumstance not only as positive knowledge that the circumstance exists or is substantially certain to occur, but also an awareness of a high probability of its existence or future occurrence.125 Such awareness is inferred from evidence of the conscious disregard of facts known to a person, and is also inferred from a personís willful avoidance of facts.126

The Export Administration Act provides that the Secretary of Commerce and his designees may conduct, outside the United States, pre-license investigations and post-shipment verifications of items licensed for export.127

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pages 1 | 2 | 3 | 4

PRC Acquisition of U.S. Technology
pages 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9

PRC Theft of U.S. Nuclear Warhead Design Information
pages 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5

High Performance Computers
pages 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10

PRC Missile and Space Forces
pages 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9

Satellite Launches in the PRC: Hughes
pages 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9

Satellite Launches in the PRC: Loral
pages 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6

Launch Site Security in the PRC
pages 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 5 | 6

Commercial Space Insurance
pages 1 | 2 | 3 | 4

U.S. Export Policy Toward the PRC
pages 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9

Manufacturing Processes
pages 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10

pages 1 | 2 | 3

pages introduction | A | B | C | D | E | F

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