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February 28, 2024

White House Releases Updated Critical and Emerging Technologies List


On February 12, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) released an updated list of critical and emerging technologies (CETs), refining and building upon the previous version issued in 2022. This update outlines the Biden administration’s focus on technologies that could “strengthen the nation’s security” and “chart a new pathway in American innovation” such as generative AI systems and micro- and nano-electromechanical systems. Companies in CET fields should expect the updated list to help guide development of U.S. export controls, including multilateral controls, areas of focus of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S. (CFIUS), U.S. domestic investment policies, and encouragement of research and study in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).

The most notable revisions from the 2022 list include adding Positioning, Navigation, and Timing (PNT) Technologies and Data Privacy, Data Security, and Cybersecurity Technologies, which were previously addressed as separate subtopics. In addition, the 2024 list consolidated and identified new subfields for each CET focusing, where possible, on core technologies that continue to emerge and modernize. CETs are defined as subsets of advanced technologies that may significantly impact U.S. national security.

The critical and emerging technology areas in the 2024 update are:

  • Advanced Computing
  • Advanced Engineering Materials
  • Advanced Gas Turbine Engine Technologies
  • Advanced and Networked Sensing and Signature Management
  • Advanced Manufacturing
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Biotechnologies
  • Clean Energy Generation and Storage
  • Data Privacy, Data Security, and Cybersecurity Technologies
  • Directed Energy
  • Highly Automated, Autonomous, and Uncrewed Systems, and Robotics
  • Human-Machine Interfaces
  • Hypersonics
  • Integrated Communication and Networking Technologies
  • Positioning, Navigation, and Timing Technologies
  • Quantum Information and Enabling Technologies
  • Semiconductors and Microelectronics
  • Space Technologies and Systems

(All CETs and their respective subfields are listed below.)

The 2024 list does not significantly differ from the 2022 list, with many of the same CETs listed. However, certain technologies previously covered within subcategories have now been highlighted as one of the 18 main CET topic areas: (1) Clean Energy Generation and Storage; (2) Data Privacy, Data Security, and Cyber Technologies; (3) Integrated Communication and Network Technologies; and (4) PNT technologies.

Like the 2022 list, the 2024 list also identifies refined subcategories for each of the CETs listed above. For example, the PNT CET includes diversified PNT-enabling technologies for users and systems in airborne, space-based, terrestrial, subterranean, and underwater settings; interference, jamming, and spoofing detection technologies, algorithms, analytics, and networked monitoring systems; and disruption/denial-resisting and hardening technologies. Notably, the 2024 list also includes several new subcategories such as generative AI systems and micro- and nano-electromechanical systems.

While not a “priority list for either policy development or funding,” the updated CET list may help inform government-wide and agency-specific efforts concerning U.S. technological competitiveness and national security. For example, the Export Control Reform Act of 2018 charges the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) with implementing a robust process to identify “emerging” and other types of “critical” technologies. This latest update aligns with the National Security Strategy issued in October 2022, highlighting the U.S. government’s focus on technology that is central to geopolitical competition and to the future of U.S. national security.

Given the continued scrutiny regarding the importance of these technologies as they relate to U.S. national security interests, interested parties should keep a close eye on any future regulations regarding CETs. It is important to note that identification on the list does not automatically impose export control regulations on the listed technologies, which under CFIUS may trigger a mandatory filing. However, parties in these industries involving one or more CET should assess the likely level of government interest, consult legal counsel as needed, and formulate a strategy accordingly.

Critical and Emerging Technologies List With Subfields
CET Technology Subfield
 Advanced Computing
  • Advanced supercomputing, including for AI applications
  • Edge computing and devices
  • Advanced cloud services
  • High-performance data storage and data centers
  • Advanced computing architectures
  • Advanced modeling and simulation
  • Data processing and analysis techniques
  • Spatial computing
Advanced Engineering Materials
  • Materials by design and material genomics
  • Materials with novel properties to include substantial improvements to existing properties
  • Novel and emerging techniques for material property characterization and lifecycle assessment
Advanced Gas Turbine
Engine Technologies
  • Aerospace, maritime, and industrial development and production technologies
  • Full-authority digital engine control, hot-section manufacturing, and associated technologies
Advanced and Networked Sensing
and Signature Management
  • Payloads, sensors, and instruments
  • Sensor processing and data fusion
  • Adaptive optics
  • Remote sensing of the Earth
  • Geophysical sensing
  • Signature management
  • Detection and characterization of pathogens and of chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear weapons, and materials
  • Transportation-sector sensing
  • Security-sector sensing
  • Health-sector sensing
  • Energy-sector sensing
  • Manufacturing-sector sensing
  • Building-sector sensing
  • Environmental-sector sensing
Advanced Manufacturing
  • Advanced additive manufacturing
  • Advanced manufacturing technologies and techniques including those supporting clean, sustainable, and smart manufacturing, nanomanufacturing, lightweight metal manufacturing, and product and material recovery
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
  • Machine learning
  • Deep learning
  • Reinforcement learning
  • Sensory perception and recognition
  • AI assurance and assessment techniques
  • Foundation models
  • Generative AI systems and multimodal and large language models
  • Synthetic data approaches for training, tuning, and testing
  • Planning, reasoning, and decision making
  • Technologies for improving AI safety, trust, security, and responsible use
  • Novel synthetic biology including nucleic acid, genome, epigenome, and protein synthesis and engineering, including design tools
  • Multi-omics and other biometrology, bioinformatics, computational biology, predictive modeling, and analytical tools for functional phenotypes
  • Engineering of sub-cellular, multicellular, and multi-scale systems
  • Cell-free systems and technologies
  • Engineering of viral and viral delivery systems
  • Biotic/abiotic interfaces
  • Biomanufacturing and bioprocessing technologies
Clean Energy Generation
and Storage
  • Renewable generation
  • Renewable and sustainable chemistries, fuels, and feedstocks
  • Nuclear energy systems
  • Fusion energy
  • Energy storage
  • Electric and hybrid engines
  • Batteries
  • Grid integration technologies
  • Energy-efficiency technologies
  • Carbon management technologies
Data Privacy, Data Security, and
Cybersecurity Technologies
  • Distributed ledger technologies
  • Digital assets
  • Digital payment technologies
  • Digital identity technologies, biometrics, and associated infrastructure
  • Communications and network security
  • Privacy-enhancing technologies
  • Technologies for data fusion and improving data interoperability, privacy, and security
  • Distributed confidential computing
  • Computing supply chain security
  • Security and privacy technologies in augmented reality/virtual reality
Directed Energy
  • Lasers
  • High-power microwaves
  • Particle beams
Highly Automated, Autonomous,
and Uncrewed Systems (UxS),
and Robotics
  • Surface
  • Air
  • Maritime
  • Space
  • Supporting digital infrastructure, including High Definition (HD) maps
  • Autonomous command and control
Human-Machine Interfaces
  • Augmented reality
  • Virtual reality
  • Human-machine teaming
  • Neurotechnologies
  • Propulsion
  • Aerodynamics and control
  • Materials, structures, and manufacturing
  • Detection, tracking, characterization, and defense
  • Testing
Integrated Communication and Networking Technologies
  • Radio-frequency (RF) and mixed-signal circuits, antennas, filters, and components
  • Spectrum management and sensing technologies
  • Future generation wireless networks
  • Optical links and fiber technologies
  • Terrestrial/undersea cables
  • Satellite-based and stratospheric communications
  • Delay-tolerant networking
  • Mesh networks/infrastructure independent communication technologies
  • Software-defined networking and radios
  • Modern data exchange techniques
  • Adaptive network controls
  • Resilient and adaptive waveforms
Positioning, Navigation, and
Timing (PNT) Technologies
  • Diversified PNT-enabling technologies for users and systems in airborne, space-based, terrestrial, subterranean, and underwater settings
  • Interference, jamming, and spoofing detection technologies, algorithms, analytics, and networked monitoring systems
  • Disruption/denial-resisting and hardening technologies
Quantum Information and
Enabling Technologies
  • Quantum computing
  • Materials, isotopes, and fabrication techniques for quantum devices
  • Quantum sensing
  • Quantum communications and networking
  • Supporting systems
Semiconductors and Microelectronics
  • Design and electronic design automation tools
  • Manufacturing process technologies and manufacturing equipment
  • Beyond complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor (CMOS) technology
  • Heterogeneous integration and advanced packaging
  • Specialized/tailored hardware components for artificial intelligence, natural and hostile radiation environments, RF and optical components, high-power devices, and other critical applications
  • Novel materials for advanced microelectronics
  • Microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) and Nanoelectromechanical systems (NEMS)
  • Novel architectures for non-Von Neumann computing
Space Technologies and Systems
  • In-space servicing, assembly, and manufacturing, as well as enabling technologies
  • Technology enablers for cost-effective on-demand and reusable space launch systems
  • Technologies that enable access to and use of cislunar space and/or novel orbits
  • Sensors and data analysis tools for space-based observations
  • Space propulsion
  • Advanced space vehicle power generation
  • Novel space vehicle thermal management
  • Crewed spaceflight enablers
  • Resilient and path-diverse space communication systems, networks, and ground stations
  • Space launch, range, and safety technologies

© Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer LLP 2024 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.