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February 15, 2022

Biden Administration Updates List of Critical and Emerging Technologies


On February 8, 2022, the Biden Administration released an updated list of Critical and Emerging Technologies (CETs) adding several new technology areas including: hypersonic capabilities, renewable energy generation and storage, directed energy, nuclear energy, and financial technology. The updated list modifies and builds upon the previous list published in October 2020 by removing several CETs and by identifying subfields within each CET. The updated list will help guide development of US export controls including multilateral controls, areas of focus of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the US (CFIUS), US domestic investment policies and encouragement of research and study in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).

CETs are defined as subsets of advanced technologies that may significantly impact US national security. The CET List specifies certain advanced technologies the US government has deemed important to its technological competitiveness and national security strategies.

The 2022 list includes:

  • Advanced Computing
  • Advanced Engineering Materials
  • Advanced Gas Turbine Engine Technologies
  • Advanced Manufacturing
  • Advanced and Networked Sensing and Signature Management
  • Advanced Nuclear Energy Technologies
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Autonomous Systems and Robotics
  • Biotechnologies
  • Communication and Networking Technologies
  • Directed Energy
  • Financial Technologies
  • Human-Machine Interfaces
  • Hypersonics
  • Networked Sensors and Sensing
  • Quantum Information Technologies
  • Renewable Energy Generation and Storage
  • Semiconductors and Microelectronics
  • Space Technologies and Systems

The 2022 list goes a step further than the prior list and breaks down specific subcategories within each of the CETs outlined above to focus on core technologies rather than performance characteristics or application areas. For example, the hypersonics CET includes propulsion; aerodynamics and control; materials; detection, tracking, and characterization; and defense.

The latest modification to the list closely tracks with the several of the key technologies described in the Pentagon’s National Defense Science and Technology strategy outlined in a February 1 memo. Both the memo and the updated CET list signal growing consensus within the US government to identify and develop critical technology capabilities domestically and foster partnerships abroad, while also suggesting higher risk related to investments and trade in such technologies with countries not aligned with US National Security interests.

Companies and organizations in these fields should expect an enhanced focus by the federal government on US resources to encourage developments in these areas as well as heightened review of exports and foreign investment in these critical areas. It is important to note the identification on list does not automatically impose export control regulations on the listed technologies, which under CFIUS may trigger a mandatory filing. However, the inclusion on the list suggests that the US government is scrutinizing the importance of such technologies to US national interests and interested parties should keep a close eye on any future export control regulations. Further, participants in a transaction involving foreign investors and one or more CETs should assess CFIUS’ likely level of interest in the transaction and formulate strategy accordingly.

© Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer LLP 2022 All Rights Reserved. This Advisory is intended to be a general summary of the law and does not constitute legal advice. You should consult with counsel to determine applicable legal requirements in a specific fact situation.