Industry Groups Applaud House Bill Supporting Satellite Export Reform

The Commercial Spaceflight Federation, Aerospace Industries Association and the Satellite Industry Association are all praising the passage this week of a House bill that will loosen the nation’s restrictive laws on satellite exports.

Washington D.C. (CSF PR) – The Commercial Spaceflight Federation lauds the passage of H.R. 4310 today, the National Defense Authorization Act, with Rep. Adam Smith’s amendment providing authority to the President to remove some satellites and related components and technology from the U.S. Munitions List, but calls for further progress regarding spaceflight participant training and the appropriate regulatory position for manned space vehicles.

The Commercial Spaceflight Federation also thanks amendment sponsors Rep. Adam Smith, Rep. Buck McKeon, Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, Rep. Kevin McCarthy, Rep. Howard Berman, Rep. Rick Larsen, Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Rep. Loretta Sanchez, Rep. Rob Bishop and Rep. Earl Blumenauer for their leadership on this issue.

For many years, the export of non-military satellites and space vehicles has been regulated by the Department of State, due to the presence of these items on the US Munitions List. For more than a dozen years, the President has been barred from removing any item of this class from the US Munitions List, so that it could be regulated instead by the Commerce Control List of the Department of Commerce, even though many of these technologies are available around the world and are routinely approved for export by the State Department.

The Smith Amendment implements some of the findings of the “Final Section 1248” report released late last month by the Department of Defense. The report concluded that keeping many space-related items on the munitions list would put the United States at a disadvantage in the global marketplace. Specifically the report stated, “Applying more stringent export control policies and practices than are imposed by other advanced satellite-exporting countries places the U.S. satellite industry at a distinct, competitive disadvantage that undermines the U.S. space industrial base to the detriment of U.S. national security, while doing nothing to protect the technological advances that are critical to giving our war fighters the advantages that U.S. technology can afford them.”

The report concluded that the decision-making power to remove items from the space portion of the US Munitions List should be transferred back to the Executive branch. The Smith amendment provides the authority for the President to remove many of the items mentioned in the “Final Section 1248” report. However, the amendment is somewhat unclear on whether the commercial spaceflight participant experience and training are among the items the President has the authority to remove. The Commercial Spaceflight Federation will continue to work with the House and Senate to make that authority perfectly clear.

In addition, the “Final Section 1248” report recommends keeping all man-rated spacecraft, including manned suborbital spacecraft, on the US Munitions List. Because of the growing civilian commercial uses for these vehicles CSF will continue to work to improve the regulatory treatment of manned vehicles, without compromising national security in any way.

CSF Executive Director Alex Saltman said, “This amendment is an important step toward reforming our export controls, which should be written to promote national security, but currently harm it. A one-size-fits-all approach to satellite and space technology is the wrong one. We look forward to working with the House and Senate to clarify that the spaceflight participant experience should not be regulated through the U.S. Munitions List.”

“We also support the removal of manned suborbital spacecraft from the U.S. Munitions List, as these vehicles now have countless civilian uses, and the eventual removal of all civilian spacecraft. The Commerce Control List is the appropriate place to regulate these vehicles, as it has successfully regulated many dual-use technologies with predominantly civilian uses in the past. We look forward to working with the Administration and Members of Congress to modernize the US Munitions List so that it effectively protects our national security without impeding the growth of American industries and jobs.”

Aerospace Industries Association

Arlington, Va. (AIA PR) — The Aerospace Industries Association welcomes House action on satellite export reform in the fiscal year 2013 National Defense Authorization Act. The language would return authority to the president for determining export controls for satellites and related technologies and is an important step towards strengthening our national security and opening export opportunities. AIA urges the Senate to address this critical issue and ensure the U.S. space industrial base stays second to none.

We would like to express our strong appreciation to HASC Chairman McKeon (R-Calif.), HASC Ranking Member Smith (D-Wash.), HFAC Chairwoman Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.), HFAC Ranking Member Berman (D-Calif.) and HASC Strategic Forces Subcommittee Chairman Turner (R-Ohio) for their leadership on this matter.  With the U.S. national security space budget facing a 22 percent reduction, the greater commercial market opportunities that will come from these export control reforms are more important than ever.

Our recent report, Competing for Space: Satellite Export Policy and U.S. National Security, outlines the devastating impact these draconian export controls have had on the U.S. space industrial base. We estimate that U.S. manufacturers lost $21 billion in satellite revenue from 1999 to 2009, costing about 9,000 direct jobs annually. These companies, many of them small- and medium-sized enterprises, can only sustain our country’s technological edge if they are no longer over-regulated out of legitimate commercial markets.

AIA is committed to an overall export control environment that is predictable, efficient, and transparent. The amendment does include provisions impacting the broader export control reform effort that concern our members, but we look forward to working with the Senate to find a reasonable solution.

Satellite Industry Association

Washington, D.C. (SIA PR) – The Satellite Industry Association (SIA) applauds the passage of H.R. 4310, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013 (“NDAA”), which includes a provision that would reform the U.S. framework for satellite export controls. The provision was offered as an amendment to the NDAA on May 17, and was endorsed by a strong and bipartisan group of Representatives: Berman (D-CA), Rob Bishop (R-UT), Blumenauer (D-OR), Connolly (D-VA), Heinrich (D-NM), Keating (D-MA), Larsen (D-WA), Manzullo (RIL),

Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), McKeon (R-CA), Rohrabacher (R-CA), Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Royce (R-CA), Ruppersberger (D-MD), Loretta Sanchez (D-CA), and Adam Smith (D-WA).

“The passage of a satellite export control reform provision by the House of Representatives is a vital step for the U.S. satellite industry. We applaud the initiative demonstrated by all the Members of the House of Representatives who have supported the competitiveness of the satellite industry, and worked on this provision, and particularly the leadership of Representatives Berman, McKeon, Ros-Lehtinen, and Adam Smith, who brought this amendment to fruition,” said

Patricia Cooper, the President of SIA. “SIA is committed to working with the House, Senate, and Administration to perfect this provision. We continue to encourage the reform of satellite export controls to ensure the competitiveness of the U.S. satellite and space industries.”