US report urges easing rules on satellite exports

Apr 18, 2012

Congress should ease restrictions on US satellite exports that are unnecessary and place US firms at a "disadvantage," the Pentagon and the State Department said Wednesday.

Current rules are outdated and undermine the competitive position of US companies without bolstering , the Defense and State departments said in a report to Congress.

Keeping satellites that are commonly available on a restricted export list, and insisting on special monitoring of "low-risk activities" by foreign companies using US satellites, has resulted in only "limited national security benefits," the report said.

"Moreover, this practice places the US space industrial base at a distinct competitive disadvantage when bidding against companies from other advanced satellite-exporting countries that have less stringent export control policies and practices," it said.

The US president has the flexibility to decide when to impose restrictions for other exports, but under current law satellites fall into a special category with strict rules.

The report said satellite exports should be treated like other "dual-use" technology, with the executive branch given the authority to chose when to block some deals.

Over the past 15 years, large numbers of commercial systems have become less vital to military and and now have mostly civilian uses, such as earth mapping and direct broadcast television, according to the report.

"As a result, US export controls over these items should reflect their decreased sensitivity," it said.

The report recommends that some types of exports should be regulated by a less restrictive Commerce Department list instead of the State Department's list. The suggested items included without classified components, satellites with remote sensors that fall below certain thresholds, and parts associated with these satellites.

But certain items needed to remain on the State Department's restricted "US munitions list," the report said, citing satellites that perform a purely military or intelligence mission, high-performing remote sensing satellites, and components related to those satellites.

Explore further: NASA team lays plans to observe new worlds

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Video: A dizzying view of the Earth from space

13 hours ago

We've got vertigo watching this video, but in a good way! This is a sped-up view of Earth from the International Space Station from the Cupola, a wraparound window that is usually used for cargo ship berthings ...

NEOWISE spots a comet that looked like an asteroid

13 hours ago

Comet C/2013 UQ4 (Catalina) has been observed by NASA's Near-Earth Object Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (NEOWISE) spacecraft just one day after passing through its closest approach to the sun. The comet ...

What the UK Space Agency can teach Australia

13 hours ago

Australia has had an active civil space program since 1947 but has much to learn if it is to capture a bigger share of growing billion dollar global space industry. ...

Discover the "X-factor" of NASA's Webb telescope

14 hours ago

NASA's James Webb Space Telescope and Chandra X-ray observatory have something in common: a huge test chamber used to simulate the hazards of space and the distant glow of starlight. Viewers can learn about ...

User comments : 0