Last week, a Commerce Department official said that the administration’s long-awaited revisions to Category XV of the US Munitions List, which covers satellites and related components, would be published in draft form soon for public review. Those lists appeared as planned: Friday’s Federal Register includes both the draft revised Category XV list as well as a separate list of items that will now be on the Commerce Control List. The draft Category XV list follows the proposed the proposal for a revised Category XV in last year’s “Section 1248″ report.
The publication of the drafts in the Federal Register initiated a 45-day public comment period. At last week’s meeting of the Commercial Space Transportation Advisory Committee (COMSTAC) in Washington, Mike Gold, chairman of COMSTAC and a leading advocate of export control reform, warned industry not to sit back and take for granted that these draft rules will be enacted. “If companies and organizations fail to submit positive comments” about the draft rules, he said, “don’t come back here and complain when export control falls apart or doesn’t go through. We’re not done here, folks. We need to submit positive stuff in the next 45 days.” Gold said that there are still critics of export control reform in Congress. “If they get few comments, or just negative comments, we could be back to square one.”