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April 01, 2009 

For U.S. Satellite Makers, a Bid for a Bailout That Wouldn’t Cost Billions

In anticipation of tomorrow's House International Relations Subcommittee hearing on possible reforms to export controls on commercial satellites, today's New York Times contained a good article entitled "For U.S. Satellite Makers, a Bid for a Bailout That Wouldn’t Cost Billions". The article, which examines the history of and debate over export controls on commercial satellites, notes that:

Proponents of change are optimistic, pointing to a campaign pledge by President Obama and the support of respected figures like Brent Scowcroft, national security adviser to Presidents Gerald R. Ford and George Bush.

But the export revision is by no means a sure thing. The national security arguments cited in imposing the limits still resonate with conservatives who believe strict regulation is needed to keep China and other countries from stealing secret technology.

The article discusses the National Academies' "Beyond Fortress America" report on export control reforms that was issued in January of this year. The report, which was written by a committee co-chaired by Stanford University president John Hennessy and Brent Scowcroft, found that many current U.S. export controls "aimed at protecting national security, in fact weaken U.S. innovation and competitiveness in global markets, thereby reducing economic prosperity, which is an essential element of U.S. national security."

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