It’s no secret that the space industry in general is unhappy with the effect that export controls are having on their ability to sell their products and services to, or even hold discussions with, foreign parties. At the Space Access ’06 conference in Phoenix a few days ago, several people were sporting buttons with the slogan “ITAR delenda est”: ITAR must be destroyed.
However, as I pointed out in my summary of the conference for The Space Review, at least one person believes that a less confrontational approach is needed. In a presentation, Berin Szoka of the Institute for Space Law & Policy said that rhetoric like the above “will undermine efforts for reform.” Instead, what’s needed is to quantify the “perverse national security effects” ITAR is having on the industry by inhibiting innovation and encouraging foreign competitors to develop their own products. and then develop detailed reform alternatives: a process that will take three to five years, he believes. What sort of button would Szoka wear? “An ITAR that works for America.”