On May 24, the US State Department and Department of Commerce each released their half of draft regulations relating to US export control. The move comes six months after passage of the FY2013 Defense Authorization Bill in December reinstated presidential privilege to determine whether some space objects – such as communication satellites – are considered munitions and should be regulated as weapons or whether they fall under civilian laws of commerce. Congress had suspended that privilege during the Clinton administration in the midst of a series of incidents in which it became apparent that sensitive information was shared by US corporations with their Chinese counterparts inappropriately. Since that time, ITAR – International Traffic in Arms Regulation, the common name for the regulation that governs spacecraft – has become infamous in much of the world, and a barrier to international collaboration involving the United States.

The draft regulations begin to show the outlines of what ITAR could look like in the near future. Comments from the public are being invited through July 8. No doubt it will take some months if not years to shakedown the new regulations, but you can get a head start with a read of the current drafts:

Commerce Department: Export Administration Regulations (EAR): Control of Spacecraft Systems and Related Items the President Determines No Longer Warrant Control Under the United States Munitions List (USML)

State Department: Amendment to the International Traffic in Arms Regulations: Revision of U.S. Munitions List Category XV and Definition of ‘‘Defense Service’’





About the author

Merryl Azriel

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Having wandered into professional writing and editing after a decade in engineering, science, and management, Merryl now enjoys reintegrating the dichotomy by bringing space technology and policy within reach of an interested public. After three years as Space Safety Magazine’s Managing Editor, Merryl semi-retired to Visiting Contributor and manager of the campaign to bring the International Space Station collaboration to the attention of the Nobel Peace Prize committee. She keeps her pencil sharp as Proposal Manager for U.S. government contractor CSRA.

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