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The departments of Defense and State released their long-awaited joint report on revising export controls for commercial satellites April 25 at the National Space Symposium in Denver, Colorado. A full copy of the report can be found here. AIA’s January 2012 study, Competing for Space, listed the “prompt” release of the export report as its first recommendation.
Ambassador Greg Schulte, deputy assistant secretary of defense for space policy, officially unveiled the report during a press event at the symposium. AIA has long championed the need for export control reform, especially for U.S. commercial satellites, which have continuously been disadvantaged in the global marketplace by overly restrictive U.S. export controls. You can see AIA’s satellite export study here. The Defense Department satellite report, commissioned by Section 1248 of the 2010 National Defense Authorization Act – now known as the 1248 report – offered an assessment on the implications of moving commercial satellites and their parts and components from the restrictive U.S. Munitions List to the more flexible Commerce Control List.
A White House fact sheet released in conjunction with the report noted that “if authorized by Congress, the risks of removing space-related dual-use items from the USML could be acceptably managed through controls and licensing policies under the Commerce Control List. Without such authorization, national security will be harmed because the current export controls required of satellites and related items harm the U.S. satellite industrial base.”
AIA will continue to reach out to Capitol Hill to educate Members of Congress and their staffs on this important issue. AIA President and CEO Marion C. Blakey noted “at a time when the budget request for national security space is already slated for a 22 percent reduction, Congress needs to act to ensure the U.S. space industrial base remains viable and stays Second to None. These companies, many of them small and medium sized enterprises, can only sustain our technological edge if they are no longer over-regulated out of legitimate commercial markets.”
Congressman Howard Berman (D-CA) has taken a lead on this topic, drafting legislative language to address the commercial satellite issue. Support from individual companies for a legislative fix will be critical in achieving satellite export control reform.