Export Control Relief for Satellites May Be A Step Closer

Export Control Relief for Satellites May Be A Step Closer

An assessment of the national security risks that would result from removing satellites and related components from the U.S. Munitions List (USML) is required by the conference version of the FY2010 Department of Defense (DOD) authorization bill (H.R. 2647, Sec. 1248).

The conferees direct that the Secretary of Defense and Secretary of State, in consultation with other departments and agencies as appropriate, submit a report within 180 days of the bill’s enactment that:

  • Reviews the space and space-related technologies now on the USML;
  • Assesses the risk of removing them from the USML;
  • Examines the degree to which other countries control or limit export of those technologies for national security reasons; and
  • Recommends which should be on or off the USML, any safeguards or verifications needed, and improvements to the U.S. space export control policy and processes that do not adversely affect national security.

In accompanying report language (p. 212), the conferees say that “believe the time has come” to analyze the risks and benefits of satellites and related components remaining on the USML. They note that maintaining a robust satellite industrial base is one aspect of U.S. national security and satellite manufacturers in other countries have used the U.S. export control policy to their competitive advantage. They did not make any commitments about revising export control policy, however, saying only that they hope the report “will serve as a basis for future discussion about possible revisions to U.S. export policy.”

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