Home Geospatial Applications Miscellaneous ‘US Congress should ease satellite export controls’

‘US Congress should ease satellite export controls’

USA: Satellite export controls should be relaxed by the US Congress so that US companies can better compete globally for sales of communications and remote-sensing equipment, observed a report by the Pentagon and the US State Department.

“Limited national security benefits” are provided by a 1998 law that applies more stringent controls on satellites than on other equipment that may have both civilian and military uses, the departments said in the report requested by Congress. The report is “a key step toward relieving US commercial satellite system, component and part manufacturers of unnecessary controls,” said John Ordway, an export-licensing attorney with Berliner, Corcoran & Rowe LLP in Washington.

According to Bloomberg, among companies that may benefit are Northrop Grumman Corp. (NOC), Boeing Co. (BA), Loral Space & Communications Inc. (LORL), Honeywell International Inc. (HON), L-3 Communications Holdings Inc. (LLL), Alliant Techsystems Inc. (ATK), Orbital Sciences Corp. (ORB), Moog Inc. (MOG/A) and America Pacific Corp., according to Ordway.

The report recommends removing license requirements for communication satellites that don’t contain classified components and remote-sensing satellites that fall short of certain performance parameters as well as subsystems, parts and components for those systems.

“Current law forces the US government to continue to protect commonly available satellites and related items, thus impeding the US ability to work with partners and putting US manufacturers at a disadvantage but providing no noticeable benefit to national security,” according to the State and Defense departments.

The 1998 law “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 practices and policies,” the report found.

GPS equipment and radiation- hardened circuits should remain subject to trade controls, the departments said because both have military applications and aren’t exclusively satellite technologies.

Their “final disposition” will depend on pending reviews and agency discussions, according to the report.

Source: Bloomberg & defense.gov