A group of sixteen organizations and trade associations have added their support to a bill Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet introduced to reform our export controls that unfairly penalize the American aerospace industry and benefit countries that may not share our interests. The bill would allow the Administration to tailor export restrictions on certain less sensitive satellites and components.
The organizations co-signed a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Minority Mitch McConnell, urging their support for the Safeguarding United States Satellite Leadership and Security Act.
In the letter, the groups write, "Ensuring that America's space industrial base is able to meet the needs of our warfighters as we enter an increasingly complex and demanding global security environment, is more important than ever. The Department of Defense has acted, but satellites remain the only category mandated by Congress for blanket treatment as military items. Now, we strongly encourage you to help update this obsolete policy and put U.S. space leadership back on the right trajectory by supporting S. 3211, legislation that returns discretion to the Executive Branch to determine the export control jurisdiction for satellites and related technologies."
The letter was signed by the Aerospace Industries Association, the Aerospace States Association, the American Association of Exporters and Importers, the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, the Coalition for Employment through Exports, the Coalition for Security and Competitiveness, the Commercial Spaceflight Federation, the National Association of Manufacturers, the National Defense Industrial Association, the National Foreign Trade Council, the National Space Society, the Satellite Industry Association, the Space Foundation, TechAmerica, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and the Universities Space Research Association.
The bill is based on recommendations from a joint Department of Defense and Department of State report on United States export controls in the satellite industry.
Earlier this year, Stanley O. Kennedy, Jr., Senior Vice President & General Manager of Commercial, Civil, and International Programs at Comtech AeroAstro located in Littleton, Colorado expressed his support saying, "Comtech AeroAstro, Inc. has been a staunch proponent of ITAR and export control reform and is highly encouraged by the Safeguarding United States Leadership and Security Act of 2012."
Eric Anderson, president & COO of SEAKR Engineering based in Centennial, Colorado is also backing the bill, "Reforming the ITAR process and allowing U.S. satellite and satellite component manufacturers to compete on a level field with foreign sources is vital for the growth and maintenance of the U.S. industrial base. SEAKR Engineering has lost market share to foreign competition due to the previous restrictions and reform is long overdue and welcome."
"Our outdated export controls are undermining our nation's ability to compete and innovate in the international marketplace. They are putting American businesses at a disadvantage, and countries that do not share our interests are benefitting," Bennet said. "I'm glad to see support for this bill is continuing to grow. If we pass it, we can ensure that our nation's export controls will treat satellites and their components in a manner that is consistent with other items that serve both a military and a commercial purpose."