U.S. Rep. Howard L. Berman, the top Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, released the following statement upon the release of a report to Congress titled "Section 1248 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010" issued by the Department of Defense recommending the transfer of certain satellites and related items from the U.S. Munitions List to the Commerce Control List provided they contain minimal risk to national security.
Bipartisan legislation introduced by Rep. Berman (D-CA) and Rep. Don Manzullo (R-IL), the Safeguarding United States Satellite Leadership and Security Act of 2011, authorizes the President to remove commercial satellites and related components from the United States Munitions List to the Commerce Control List. It also prohibits satellite sales to the People's Republic of China, as well as state sponsors of terrorism and North Korea.
"Southern California is a vital hub of commercial satellite and aerospace manufacturers in the United States," said Berman. "Today's report makes clear that restricting exports of all commercial satellites and components as if they were lethal weapons, regardless of whether they're going to friend or foe, has gravely harmed U.S. space manufacturers. U.S. national security depends upon these manufacturers for our own defense needs; if they can't compete commercially internationally because of onerous restrictions, they can't innovate and cannot survive."
"My bipartisan bill would fix this situation, and refocus our export controls on the true national security threats -- Iran, North Korea, Cuba, Syria, Sudan and China -- not keeping militarily non-sensitive technology from our friends and allies. Space manufacturers and American workers deserve our support. Today's report, along with my legislation, will help encourage a new generation of satellite expansion and development."