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January 21, 2010 

Senate Holds Confirmation Hearing on BIS Officials

As mentioned in our previous post, the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs held a hearing today on the confirmation of two senior Bureau of Industry and Security officials, Kevin Wolf, nominated as Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Export Administration, and David Mills, nominated to serve as Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Export Enforcement. The webcast of the hearing, which also included nominees for other agencies, can be viewed here.  

The hearing was presided over by Senator Dodd (D-CT) and Senator Shelby (D-AL), the committee's chairman and ranking member.

While not a member of the Senate Banking Committee, Senator Blanche Lincoln (D-AR) gave a very nice introduction to Kevin Wolf. Unfortunately, due to audio problems, Kevin Wolfe's introductory remarks were inaudible, but in his prepared opening statement, which can be found here, he said note that "his background will also be helpful in crafting and implementing . . . the details of the significant export control reforms the President and the Secretary have announced . . . " He added that "if confirmed, [he will] be committed to the rule of law, transparency, and advancing the use of modem technology."

In his prepared remarks, David Mills discussed how his long time service at OFAC prepared him for this position and indicated that he believes that "the enforcement of those regimes must not only be fair and firm, but also as clear and transparent as possible, in order to advance both our national security and foreign policy interests and our economic potential through export promotion."

Several Senators asked questions to Messrs. Wolfe and Mills, including questions on a variety of export controls-related issues, including diversion-related issues, export control modernization, foreign availability, export enforcement penalties and whether BIS and its agents have the sufficient resources and powers to accomplish their goals. Senator Dodd's initial questions on export control issues start at the 71 minute mark of the webcast.

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