Reed Smith Client Alerts

On February 16, 2023, the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Department of Commerce announced the creation of a joint Disruptive Technology Strike Force. The strike force will be co-led by the assistant attorney general for the DOJ’s National Security Division and the assistant secretary for export enforcement at the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS).

Working with experts across the government—including the FBI, local U.S. attorneys’ offices, and Homeland Security Investigations—the strike force is intended to strengthen supply chains and target illicit actors who attempt to acquire and use critical technological assets to threaten national security. Countries of concern include China, Iran, Russia, and North Korea.

The strike force will focus on enhancing administrative enforcement of U.S. export controls, as well as investigating and prosecuting criminal violations. The joint announcement about the strike force highlights technologies related to supercomputing and exascale computing, artificial intelligence, advanced manufacturing equipment and materials, quantum computing, and biosciences.

In remarks announcing the Disruptive Technology Strike Force, Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco also reiterated that the United States continues to explore options for monitoring the flow of outbound investment in dual-use technology. The concept has been referred to as a “reverse CFIUS” based on its similarity to the current review of inbound foreign direct investment by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS).

Deputy Attorney General Monaco’s comments come on the heels of Congress’s $1.7 trillion funding package passed at the end of December, which includes a provision calling on the Biden administration to establish an outbound investment screening mechanism. The funding bill also includes $20 million to fund the screening mechanism if the president takes executive action.