By Karen Freifeld (Reuters) -Alan Estevez, a former Pentagon official, is expected to be nominated as the U.S. Commerce Department’s undersecretary for industry and security, a key post in the U.S.-China tech battle, according to a person familiar with the matter. The post at the Commerce Department’s once obscure Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) […]
Biden to tap ex-Pentagon official for key China tech position -source
By Karen Freifeld
(Reuters) -Alan Estevez, a former Pentagon official, is expected to be nominated as the U.S. Commerce Department’s undersecretary for industry and security, a key post in the U.S.-China tech battle, according to a person familiar with the matter.
The post at the Commerce Department’s once obscure Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) garnered attention in recent years as U.S. escalated the use of export controls to keep China from obtaining U.S. technology.
BIS restricted U.S. sales to China-based Huawei Technologies during the Trump administration, hobbling the world’s largest telecommunications equipment maker and giving the bureau a prominent role in that administration’s efforts to limit the expansion of Chinese companies in telecommunications infrastructure on national security concerns.
Estevez had a 36-year-career with the Department of Defense and during the Obama administration served as the department’s representative to the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), which reviews investments for national security. He is now an executive with Deloitte Consulting.
“He’s a very solid guy,” said Eric Hirschhorn, who served as undersecretary for industry and security during the Obama administration.
A spokesman for the Commerce Department declined to comment and Estevez did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
His nomination, which is expected as soon as Tuesday, was first reported by the Wall Street Journal. The position requires Senate confirmation.
Estevez’s Defense Department career includes serving as principal deputy undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics, according to his Deloitte biography, and he was involved in supporting operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as Hurricane Sandy relief.
It’s unclear how much experience Estevez has in export controls, a key aspect of the post. For example, Huawei was placed on the Commerce Department’s “entity list,” overseen by BIS. Dozens of other Chinese companies, including video surveillance manufacturers Hikvision and Dahua Technology, were also added under Trump.
U.S. suppliers are banned from selling to companies on the list without licenses, which are difficult to obtain.
In recent weeks, the Biden administration added more Chinese companies to the trade blacklist over alleged human rights abuses and high-tech surveillance in Xinjiang.
(Reporting by Karen Freifeld; Editing by Andrew Heavens, Steve Orlofsky and Chris Sanders.)