Jul 20, 2011 19:25 UTC
Canada’s $3 billion frigate modernization program, which specifically aimed to exclude American technologies from key areas, was just one example of a growing problem for American defense firms. Major players in the defense industry have been pushing for years to change US ITAR export controls. Unfortunately, the USA’s use of export controls for protectionist and political purposes has had a predictable effect, and made American defense components toxic to some potential export customers. Even as cumbersome rules, and a slow American bureaucracy, add additional layers of export control across more than 3 different agencies. The end product is significant friction for important international deals, impediments to partnerships with friends and allies, and erosion of global market share for American defense products.
On April 20/10, American Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, backed by several other departments, crystallized a reform push that has been underway for years. The proposed “4 singles” approach would make significant changes to American technology export controls. Nor is that the only initiative underway:
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Jul 18, 2011 17:52 UTC
USNS Bridge & USS Nimitz
Far out at sea, no-one can hear your cell phone. That’s why ships of all kinds need satellite communications, in order to stay in touch beyond their immediate task group. The USA’s Military Sealift Command operates government ships, but they’re crewed by civilian mariners. To provide them with the satellite communications they need, the US Defense Information Technology Contracting Organization has awarded Inmarsat subsidiary Stratos Government Services Inc. in Washington DC a maximum $315 million, 8-year indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity contract.
MSC’s next generation wideband commercial satellite communications infrastructure and service will replace the current MSC Afloat Bandwidth Efficient Satellite Transport (BEST) contract. Inmarsat’s FleetBroadband service delivers simultaneous broadband data and voice, with data rates up to 432 kbps and guaranteed data rates on demand up to 256 kbps, using Inmarsat’s I-4 satellite constellation. The contract is structured as a 4-year base period from July 2011 – July 2015, plus 4 more 1-year option periods that could run the contract to July 2019 (HC1013-11-D-0102).