Press Release

Satellite Industry Association Thrilled to Announce the Passage by Congress of Satellite Export Control Reform

By SpaceRef Editor
December 21, 2012
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Washington, D.C., December 21, 2012 – The Satellite Industry Association (SIA) congratulates the U.S. Congress for passing this year’s National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that reforms the export control framework for satellites and related items. The satellite export control reform provision in the NDAA reverses a 1998 requirement to treat exports of satellites differently from those of other high-technology products, a reform that SIA has sought for over a decade. The legislation will provide a more even playing field for U.S. satellite companies, spurring economic and job growth and bolstering the leadership of the U.S. space community for many years.

“By repealing an outmoded law from more than a dozen years ago, Congress has significantly aided the competitiveness of the U.S. satellite industry, a crucial driver for the success of the U.S. space and technology sectors. The provision passed in the NDAA will remove the legislative mandate that required one-size-fits-all regulation for satellite trade. This mandate caused unintended harm to the health of the U.S. space industry and our nation’s security,” said Patricia Cooper, the President of SIA. “The industry is gratified by the tireless work of the legislative, technical, and policy experts from an unprecedented bipartisan collection of advocates from the Administration, House of Representatives, and Senate, all of whom deserve credit for this major step in sustaining U.S. space leadership. We at SIA look forward to working with the Administration and Congress to implement these vital reforms in 2013.”

The law that required that satellite items had to be uniformly regulated as munitions harmed the U.S. satellite industry’s international standing, dampened investment and innovation in our nation’s space manufacturing sector, and deterred training and advanced research in space technologies to the detriment of our national security. By passing the Fiscal Year 2013 NDAA, Congress and the Administration have taken the first step needed to remedy these negative impacts and restore the United States as a dominant player in the global satellite marketplace. Simultaneously, the Administration will retain the power to protect sensitive U.S. satellite technologies, with continuing support from industry.

SIA is grateful for the expertise and support from many in Congress and the Administration who have championed reform over the past decade. In the House, Representatives Howard Berman (D-CA), Adam Smith (D-WA), Ileana Ros- Lehtinen (R-FL), and Buck McKeon (R-CA), and their staffs, led the charge to include reform legislation on the defense authorization bill, with support from other key co-sponsors including: Representatives Amodei (R-NV), Bishop (R-UT), Blumenauer (D-CO), Coffman (R-CO), Connolly (D-VA), DeGette (D-CO), Harris (R-MD), Heinrich (D-NM), Keating (D-MA), Larsen (D-WA), Manzullo (R-IL), Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), Perlmutter (D-CO), Polis (D-CO), Posey (R-FL), Royce (RCA), Rohrabacher (R-CA), Ruppersberger (D-MD), Loretta Sanchez (D-CA), Schakowsky (D-IL), Schock (R-IL), and Waxman (D-CA).

In the Senate, Senator Bennet (D-CO) introduced a stand-alone reform legislation in May 2012, the first in the Senate in almost a decade, and Senators Warner (D-VA), Rubio (R-FL), Cardin (D-MD), and Mark Udall (D-CO) joined him in co-sponsoring a related amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act of 2013 (NDAA). During conference negotiations on the underlying bill, Senators Kerry (D-MA), Lugar (R-IN), Levin (D-MI), and McCain (R-AZ), and their staffs, worked diligently with their counterparts in the House to craft the reform language contained in the final version of the NDAA.

The leadership and technical expertise of the Obama Administration was vital to enacting satellite export control reform. Their recommendations contained in the Final Section 1248 Report to Congress in April 2012 provided a strong recommendation for satellite export control reform, a thorough technology analysis, and detailed guidance on how to sensibly and safely regulate satellites and related items. The Report itself and countless discussions with Congressional members and staff provided added confidence in the path toward reform. SIA thanks the officials at the Departments of Defense, State and Commerce, the Intelligence Community, and the National Security Staff of the White House for their commitment and leadership on this critical issue to right-size satellite export control regulation.


SIA is a U.S.-based trade association providing worldwide representation of the leading satellite operators, service providers, manufacturers, launch services providers, and ground equipment suppliers. Since its creation more than sixteen years ago, SIA has become the unified voice of the U.S. satellite industry on policy, regulatory, and legislative issues affecting the satellite business. SIA Executive Members include: Artel, Inc.; The Boeing Company; The DIRECTV Group; EchoStar Satellite Services LLC; Harris CapRock Communications; Hughes Network Systems, LLC; Intelsat, S.A.; Iridium Communications Inc.; Kratos Defense & Security Solutions; LightSquared; Lockheed Martin Corporation.; Northrop Grumman Corporation; Rockwell Collins Government Systems; SES S.A.; and Space Systems/Loral. SIA Associate Members include: AIS Engineering, Inc.; ATK Inc.; Cisco; Cobham SATCOM Land Systems; Comtech EF Data Corp.; DRS Technologies, Inc.; Encompass Government Solutions; Eutelsat, Inc.; Globecomm Systems, Inc.; Glowlink Communications Technology, Inc.; iDirect Government Technologies; Inmarsat, Inc.; Marshall Communications Corporation.; MTN Government Services; NewSat America, Inc.; Orbital Sciences Corporation; Panasonic Avionics Corporation; Spacecom, Ltd.; Spacenet Inc.; TeleCommunication Systems, Inc.; Telesat Canada; TrustComm, Inc.; Ultisat, Inc.; ViaSat, Inc., and XTAR, LLC.

SpaceRef staff editor.