From the “better late than never” department: according to several reports, including Defense News, the Defense Department will release the final so-called “Section 1248″ report about satellite export control reform later today. A press conference at the National Space Symposium in Colorado Springs is scheduled for midday today titled “Update on Space Export Control Reform”, where the release of the final report is the likely topic.
The report, nicknamed after the section of the fiscal year 2010 defense authorization bill that called for it, is intended the analyze the national security implications of moving satellites and related components off the US Munitions List (USML), and thus out of the jurisdiction of the restrictive International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR). Congress put those items on the USML in the late 1990s in response to concerns that China acquired sensitive technologies from US-built commercial communications satellites, and this report is seen a major prerequisite to any move by Congress to take the technologies off the USML or otherwise reform export control rules for space items. The report, through, is about two years late, with a due date of April 2010 in the legislation. The Defense Department provided a draft report last spring, but with insufficient detail for Congress to take action.