Bennet, Coffman Launch Working Group to Further Reform Aerospace Export Regulations

Group Will Offer Recommendations for New Reforms to Help U.S. Companies Export Products

Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet and U.S. Representative Mike Coffman today announced the formation of a working group on aersopace export control reforms.

Building on their successful efforts to secure satellite export reforms in last year’s Defense Authorization bill, the working group will examine additional opportunities for reforms to the export control regulations that will help U.S. companies export their products and technologies to international customers while still protecting our national security interests.

“The space industry in Colorado is a national hub of innovation with companies at the forefront of developing next generation aerospace systems and supporting technologies,” Bennet said. “Representative Coffman and I recognize that we should work closely with these businesses so that we can strengthen their ability to compete and succeed in the global marketplace. With a trained eye on our national security interests, we can increase high-skilled jobs and economic growth in Colorado.”

“Senator Bennet and I will continue to work together to make sure that the satellite export control reforms that we fought for and won are fully implemented in a way that will protect and strengthen job growth in this important sector of the Colorado economy,” Coffman said.

“Reforming the export control system for satellites is vital to the competitiveness of the U.S. satellite industry as well as to U.S. national security,” said Patricia Cooper, president of the Satellite Industry Association. “Senator Bennet and Congressman Coffman are aiding our ongoing satellite and space manufacturing leadership by ensuring that the satellite export control reform envisioned by legislation is implemented as expeditiously as possible.

“Colorado is at the center of the nation’s satellite industry, and we applaud the leadership of Senator Bennet and Representative Coffman in driving forward the recently passed satellite export control reform legislation,” said Vicky Lea with the Colorado Space Coalition. “During this time of increasing budget uncertainties, this development is welcome news for our satellite companies and provides them the platform they need to maintain a competitive edge in the global marketplace. The Colorado Space Coalition looks forward to supporting Senator Bennet and Representative Coffman in their continued efforts to ensure the successful implementation of this legislation.”

“The announcement by Senator Bennet and Congressman Coffman on the effort to form an ITAR/Export Control Reform Working Group is the next step in the process of re-establishing the United States’ competitiveness in the international marketplace,” said Stanley O. Kennedy, Jr., president of Oakman Aerospace, Inc. headquartered in Littleton, Colorado. “ITAR / Export Control reform benefits the U.S. aerospace industry writ large; and, is critical to small, innovative companies like Oakman Aerospace, Inc. as it will alleviate some of the administrative burden and allow us to focus on rapid and responsive space solutions to our customers’ needs.”

The group will provide recommendations to Bennet and Coffman, who plan to share them with the Department of Defense, Department of State, and Department of Commerce.

Prior to the passage of the Defense Authorization bill, the Administration did not have authority to determine the appropriate export controls for satellites and space-related items. They were controlled as defense articles under International Trafficking in Arms Regulations (ITAR), even if they had civilian applications and were available commercially abroad. This put U.S. manufacturers at a competitive disadvantage in the global market while foreign competitors continued to make technological advancements.