In a move praised by industry groups, a report issued by the Departments of State and Defense has recommended removing hundreds of thousands of items that are now part of the U.S. Munitions List, a designation that makes them difficult or impossible to export. Included among the items to be removed from the list are commercial communications satellites and their components, and some remote sensing satellites not considered militarily sensitive.
“Today’s release of the Defense Department assessment of the implications of normalizing export controls on satellites and related components gives decision makers in Congress crucial information on how reform can strengthen both our national security and space industrial base,” said Aerospace Industries President and CEO Marion C. Blakey in a statement.
Critics of America’s strict export control laws have said that they far too many items. As a result, the restrictions have hurt American industry while building up competition abroad.
“AIA’s recent report, Competing for Space: Satellite Export Policy and U.S. National Security, outlines the devastating impact these draconian controls have had on the U.S. space industrial base,” Blakey added. “We estimate that U.S. manufacturers lost $21 billion in satellite revenue from 1999 to 2009, costing about 9,000 direct jobs annually. 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.”
The Satellite Industry Association, a U.S.-based trade group that represents the industry worldwide, also praised the report and its call for legislative report.
“SIA and our members are gratified that, after thorough and careful assessment, the nation’s national security and export control communities supported reform of the current outmoded approach to regulating exports of satellites and related items,” said SIA President Patricia Cooper in a statement.
“The satellite and space communities are reviewing the Report’s detailed technical analysis and recommendations, which collectively reflect a more contemporary picture of the national security, space, and satellite environments. SIA and its member companies look to the House of Representatives to support the existing satellite export control reform bill, H.R. 3288, and seek the introduction of companion legislation in the Senate,” she added.