United States of America: Relaxation of export restrictions on satellites
A provision in the Department of Defense authorization bill for Fiscal Year 2013, as approved by the House of Reresentatives in May, 2012, would ease restrictions on the exportation of commercial satellites. The Senate has not yet acted on the matter, which areises from a request that the executive branch made of Congress earlier this year.
The Obama administration asked Congress to permit it to move commercial satellites and some remote-sensing satellite technology from the restrictive U.S. Munitions List (USML) to the more permissive Commerce Control List (CCL). The departments of State and Defense recommend in the Report to Congress: Section 1248 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010 (Public Law 111-84) Risk Assessment of United States Space Export Control Policy that the U.S. satellite technology export law be amended to give the president the authority to make this change.
Under Public Law 105-261 Congress retains the sole authority over granting export licenses for militarily sensitive space technology, including such dual-use items as commercial satellites (COMSATs). Section 1513 of that law moved this category of goods from the CCL to the USML. COMSAT exports peaked at $1.1 billion in 1998, the same year that Congress enacted that law.
The report identified two satellite types and related items that are not purely defense-related and should not be designated as defense articles on the USML or controlled under the International Traffic In Arms Regulations (ITAR). These satellites and related items do not contain technologies unique to the U.S. military industrial base nor are they critical to national security, the report argued. In particular, the departments believe the following items are more appropriately designated as dual-use items:
· COMSATs that do not contain classified components;
· Remote sensing satellites with performance parameters below certain thresholds; and
· Systems, subsystems, parts and components associated with these satellites and with performance parameters below thresholds specified for items remaining on the USML.
The matter now passes to Congress.
Any Evidence-Based Deliberation:
|Is there anything in the public record to suggest that evidence of the effectiveness of the proposed measure was considered during official deliberations?|
|Is there any evidence that alternatives to the proposed measure were considered?|
|Is there anything in the public record that suggests that empirical evidence informed the comparison across the alternatives available to government?|
|Was such evidence identified?|
|Is such evidence publicly available?|
|Did the official decision-maker in question provide an explanation as to why a chosen measure was favoured over alternatives?|
|Is there any evidence to suggest that potentially affected trading partners were consulted before the measures were taken?|
|Is there any evidence that safeguards have been put in place to ensure that implementation of the initiative is transparent and non-discriminatory?|
|Did the government state its intention to review the measure within one year of implementation?|
Date of inception:
GTA Evaluation: Amber
See the hyperlinked material in the description.