A New Jersey native who was previously a prosecutor in the Department of Justice’s National Security Division has been working for the past year at the Department of Commerce in a key role to prevent China from obtaining advanced U.S. technology that aids ruling Communist Party’s military or enables human rights violations.
Thea D. Rozman Kendler was sworn in as the Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Export Administration at the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS), following unanimous confirmation by the United States Senate on December 14, 2021.
Her boss is a graduate from Rutgers University, Under Secretary of Commerce for Industry and Security Alan Estevez.
When the Biden administration doubled down on its high-tech containment of China, expanding a ban on commercial exports, Estevez and Kendler were front and center in the action.
They announced the addition of some three dozen Chinese companies to a U.S. export blacklist, including one of the country’s largest chipmakers, expanding the Commerce Department’s crackdown in October on the sale of advanced semiconductor chips to China for use in artificial intelligence and supercomputers.
“Today’s rules further the Biden administration’s efforts to deny the PRC access to advanced technologies for military modernization and human rights abuses,” said Kendler.
“Following on BIS’s advanced computing and semiconductor manufacturing equipment rule of October 7, today’s additions to the Entity List further our efforts to decisively restrict access to advanced technologies in furtherance of U.S. national security requirements,” said Kendler.
Kendler leads Export Administration’s highly trained technical professionals in controlling the export of dual-use and military items for national security and foreign policy reasons, analyzing the impact of export controls, and supporting the U.S. defense industrial base.
Among other responsibilities, Kendler chairs the Advisory Committee on Export Policy, which is an interagency dispute resolution panel that consists of the departments of State, Energy and Defense, plus the Arms Control & Disarmament Agency.
To advance U.S. national security and foreign policy interests, Kendler regularly engages with Congress, industry, academia, and other stakeholders on the nature and scope of BIS’s activities and the Export Administration Regulations (EAR).
“National security, foreign policy, economics, and technology are more interconnected than ever, and these issues all converge in BIS,” said Kendler. “We are at the forefront of our nation’s response to the challenges involving China, Russia, supply chains, and emerging and foundational technologies, just to name a few.”
“While these issues are complex, I have great confidence in the dedicated professionals of Export Administration,” said Kendler. “I look forward to working with my interagency counterparts and with our allies to ensure we have a rigorous and effective export control system that furthers global security.”
Kendler said the Biden administration remains firmly committed to taking strong, decisive action to target entities that use U.S. technology to fuel China’s destabilizing military modernization efforts.
She said America will continue to aggressively use export controls to hold governments, companies, and individuals accountable for attempting to access U.S.-origin items for subversive activities in countries like China, Iran, and Russia that threaten our national security interests and are inconsistent with our values.
The Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) released two rules.
The first rule adds 36 entities to the Entity List, which applies stringent license requirements that will severely restrict these entities’ access to commodities, software, and technologies subject to the Export Administration Regulations (EAR).
These entities are primarily located in the People’s Republic of China (PRC) with one entity, which is a subsidiary to a PRC entity being added in this rule, located in Japan.
The second rule removes entities from the Unverified List (UVL) due to satisfactory completion of End-Use Checks (EUCs) and verification of those entities’ bona fides in cooperation with the PRC government.
A net total of 25 Chinese parties are being removed from our restricted party lists. The second rule also adds 9 Russian parties to the Entity List from the UVL due to the inability to complete EUCs.
“Today we are building on the actions we took in October to protect U.S. national security by severely restricting the PRC’s ability to leverage artificial intelligence, advanced computing, and other powerful, commercially available technologies for military modernization and human rights abuses,” said Estevez.
“This work will continue, as will our efforts to detect and disrupt Russia’s efforts to obtain necessary items and technologies and other items for its brutal war against Ukraine, including from Iran,” said Estevez.
Estevez leads the Bureau of Industry and Security, which advances U.S. national security, foreign policy, and economic objectives by ensuring an effective export control and treaty compliance system and promoting U.S. strategic technology leadership.
Estevez arrived at that Department of Commerce following an accomplished 36-year career at the Department of Defense, including in two Senate-confirmed leadership positions.
His last position at the Department of Defense was Principal Deputy Under Secretary of Defense (Acquisition, Technology & Logistics), where he was responsible for developing, implementing, and managing acquisition, contracting, installation, and logistics programs and policies that increased combat effectiveness, as well as the department’s efficiency and buying power.
Estevez held several key positions within the Office of the Secretary of Defense, including as the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Logistics and Materiel Readiness. In this position, he was responsible for providing world class military logistics support to the men and women of the United States Armed Forces. He was the first career federal official to hold that position.
Estevez also served as the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Logistics and Material Readiness.
Estevez has been honored numerous times, including three Department of Defense Distinguished Public Service Medals, the Distinguished Civilian Service Medal, two Presidential Rank Awards, and the Service to America Medal (SAMMIE) for National Security.
The Assistant Secretary’s father is Gilbert F. Rozman, a sociologist specializing in Asian studies who earned a doctorate at Princeton University, where he was a faculty member between 1970 and 2013.