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)