ITAR (which I hate with a passion) Slammed by the Economist
Posted by Coyote on August 22, 2008
In my humble opinion, the greatest impediment standing in the way of greater business opportunity and international partnerships for the American space industry are our export laws contained in the International Traffic in Arms Regulation (ITAR), which I hate with a passion!
It is important for us to understand how ITAR (WIHWAP) can affect our space industry, because space-based solar power is such a huge undertaking that international partnerships will be required not only for construction, but also for ownership and development of an international customer base.
The Economist published an article yesterday criticizing ITAR (WIHWAP). The AIAA Daily Launch (an email news service for members of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics–you are a member, aren’t you?) described the article this way:
The Economist (8/21) editorialized that “the zealous application of the export rules is the American space industry’s biggest handicap,” noting critics who say the system “fails to distinguish between militarily sensitive hardware that should be controlled and widely available commercial technologies.” The Economist cited several examples of “American components and satellites…suffering” on the international market “because of the cost and delays in doing business with the firms that make them,” and added that in the past “the State Department ignored such complaints.” However, “there are signs of change,” including “small adjustments” to the administration of ITAR regulations and “a promise that licensing decisions would be taken within 60 days of an application.” Additionally, “work is also afoot to update the munitions list, which contains the set of military technologies that must be protected.” The Economist concluded, “Such change is overdue.”
Here is the link to the Economist article, which is titled: “Gravity is not the main obstacle for America’s space business. Government is.” Please give it a good read.
What are your thoughts on the issues raised in the article? How can we ensure that the export control environment is conducive to the types of partnerships space-based solar power requires?