It is long past time for Congress to reform the current laws governing the export of commercial satellites – an outmoded and counterproductive system intended to enhance national security while inadvertently undermining America's domestic space industry, a recent Defense Department report makes clear.
Whatever Congress's good intentions when it passed this law in 1998, the results have crippled the U.S. space industry. The barriers to export have, in effect, turned the domestic space industry into a de facto arsenal sustained almost exclusively by U.S. military purchases.
The World War II Memorial on America's national mall has two main sections. A central core honors the bravery and sacrifice of our service men and women who fought abroad, and an outer ring celebrates the effort here at home, from the children who ran scrap drives to the workers who built the defense machinery needed to win the war. "Most historians agree that World War II was won as surely on the American home front as it was on the battlefield," according to the government's Home Front study published in 2007.
First and foremost, investments in critical programs such as stealth fighter jets, spy satellites, and bunker-buster missiles that can destroy buried nuclear plants are critical to our nation’s security. Voices from both parties have said the “slash and burn approach” of sequestration would devastate our capabilities.
The following came from Robert Stevens, chairman and CEO of Lockheed Martin during a keynote last month: “The aerospace and defense industry cannot wait until a lame duck session to deal with the consequences of sequestration. We are already taking action by not hiring and training new workers, not investing in new plants and equipment, and not investing in new R&D. An additional $53 billion a year in defense cuts starting in January 2013 would be catastrophic for our industry and our nation.”
That is the reality this industry faces, even before the January 2013 cuts…