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Rapid Fire April 19, 2012: Space Export Control Policy

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* The Pentagon released a report [PDF] on space export control policy after it reviewed, in cooperation with the Department of State, whether satellites and their components could be taken off the United States Munitions List (USML). They found that other countries have less restrictive rules and recommend loosening US legislation as well as giving more authority to the executive branch in such decisions. “Higher fences around fewer items” is how the Administration describes its policy. Early expressions of support or opposition in Congress seemed to follow party lines. Will this eventually make life easier for Thales Alenia? * The Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments (CSBA) loves directed-energy weapons [PDF]. Cost asymmetry – imposed by or to the enemy – has a lot to with it: “For example, in future conflicts with capable enemies possessing large inventories of guided missiles, it may be operationally risky and cost-prohibitive for the U.S. military to continue to rely exclusively on a limited number of kinetic missile interceptors. Such a ‘missile competition’ could allow an adversary to impose costs on U.S. forces by compelling them to intercept each incoming missile with far more expensive kinetic munitions. […] High-energy lasers and high-power microwave weapons, […]

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