Export Control Reform Inches Forward

Export Control Reform Inches Forward

Export control reform moved another step forward yesterday. Secretary of Defense Bob Gates, Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke, Undersecretary of State (and former Congresswoman) Ellen Tauscher, and National Security Adviser Jim Jones met with members of the House and Senate Armed Services and Foreign Relations committees to brief them on the President’s “ambitious plans to dramatically reform our nation’s outdated export control system,” according to Department of Defense (DOD) spokesman Geoff Morrell at a DOD press briefing.

Mr. Morrell added that Mr. Gates is committed to working with other agencies and with Congress to “make meaningful and lasting changes” because he believes it is “imperative to keep our nation competitive in this global economy, as well as to keep our friends and allies equipped well enough to contribute in a meaningful way to global security.”

A review of the U.S. export control regime ordered by President Obama is due tomorrow.

In response to a question about whether Mr. Gates supports changes that could specifically help the satellite industry, Mr. Morrell said he did not have that level of detail but Mr. Gates believes that —

“…what is required here is not, you know, tinkering around the edges of what is a rather cumbersome, antiquated, outdated, bureaucratic set of rules and regulations governing the export of technology.

“He believes you need to conduct a wholesale reform of export controls, really starting with a blank sheet of paper. And, you know, this is not his initiative. This is an initiative that the president has proposed, it’s being led, I think, by the Department of Commerce, but one that he fully supports and is willing to go to bat for.”

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