Bennet: Report Confirms Outdated Regulations Risk to National Security, Hurting American Satellite Businesses

Bennet Plans to Introduce Bill to Address Outdated Regulations That Stifle American Satellite Exports

Key Administration Officials Release Report at National Space Symposium in Colorado Springs

Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet released the following statement regarding today’s joint Department of Defense and Department of State report recommending that the Administration be allowed to tailor export restrictions on certain non-sensitive satellites. Current export controls on the satellite industry risk a continued weakening of the nation’s space industrial base to the point that it will be unable to fully meet our national security needs or maintain a technological edge against foreign competitors.  

“This report highlights a serious national security threat,” said Bennet. “Our satellite businesses continue to lose market share at an alarming rate. The report makes clear how much we have been undercutting American businesses and pushing this critical work abroad to places that don’t share our interests. In Colorado and across the country, our aerospace companies are capable of producing the best technology in the world. We need to allow the U.S. satellite industry to compete globally.”

Key administration officials released the report, Risk Assessment of United States Space Export Control Policy, at the 28th National Space Symposium, which is April 16-19 in Colorado Springs.

Bennet also announced that he is drafting a bill to address the report’s recommendations that would give the Administration authority to determine the appropriate export controls of satellites and related items based on the national security and foreign policy objectives of the United States.

Under current law, the Administration does not have authority to determine the appropriate export controls for satellites and space-related items. They are controlled as defense articles under International Trafficking in Arms Regulations (ITAR), even if they have purely civilian applications and are available commercially abroad. This puts U.S. manufacturers at a competitive disadvantage in the global market while foreign competitors continue to make technological advancements. 

The report, which was required under the National Defense Authorization Act of 2010, recommends that the Administration be granted authority to determine the appropriate export control status of satellites and other space-related items. The report is the result of an interagency process that includes input from the Department of Defense, the State Department and the Department of Commerce.

By placing non-sensitive satellites under the control of the Export Administration Regulations (EAR), instead of ITAR, American manufacturers would be able to compete abroad and reinvigorate our space industrial base, and the United States would have more knowledge of satellite capabilities of other countries.