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Topic: Suggested Policy Changes to Benefit Commercial Space

Page history last edited by Ken Davidian 12 years, 1 month ago

Question for Discussion: What changes to U.S. policy would you recommend to benefit the commercial space industry, and why?

 

Below is a collection of links and (mostly) a reposting of an essay by Eligar Sadeh from The Space Review regarding this precise issue. Recommendations have not yet been added, and it's up to you to add them in the appropriate sections!

 


 

1. Reduce the Barriers Created by ITAR

(Discussion below from The Space Review essay entitled "Space policy questions and decisions facing a new administration" by Eligar Sadeh, Monday, dated June 9, 2008.)

 

Issue

The United States government’s approach to export control of commercial space technologies places political, legal, and bureaucratic restrictions on the aerospace industry in the United States. These restrictions posit a cost to the United States satellite industry and the space industrial base.

Discussion

  • Export controls of commercial space technologies are governed through the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR), which is administered by the Department of State. These Regulations prevent international partnerships in commercial space by making it more difficult and bureaucratic to implement.
  • As a result of ITAR, domestic manufacturing capabilities for vital space-related hardware and components are reduced. The regulations, in contrast to the intended goal of retaining preeminence for the United States in the aerospace and defense fields, brings about the opposite effect.
  • The United States has fallen behind and has lost leadership status in global space commerce competition due to its export control regime.
  • Export controls are an impediment to United States competition in the international marketplace. International competition in space commerce is stiff and growing, and ITAR harms United States industry and limit the ability to access and make use of the best capabilities. Globalization of space is desirable and ITAR is a barrier.
  • ITAR damages national security by placing legal and bureaucratic restrictions on the United States military use of commercial space assets that rely on a robust satellite industry and space industrial base. The fact is that the United States military is dependent on commercial space services.
  • ITAR directly impacts approaches to national security space whereby the United States is denying allies access to warfighting and space protection capabilities.

Policy Choice

Support reform efforts for export control policies or mandate, in addition to political reform, that export control laws be updated by the United States Congress.

  • Act on behalf of space companies to create and ensure an open, free-market environment in global space commerce. The current approach to export control of commercial space technologies prevents this from taking place. The export control issue must be addressed at the level of policy by reforming the “rule set” for how ITAR is applied. The current January 2008 Presidential Directive on export control reform is a start, yet more is needed. This encompasses a reassessment of what technologies need to be controlled for export, and dealing with issues of timing, review, transparency, and cost in the export licensing process.
  • The United States Congress with the support of the President can address the issue of export controls by updating export control laws to better match the dynamics of global space commerce. This starts with reforming the current approach to ITAR by moving jurisdiction on all dual-use commercial space technologies from the Department of State to the Department of Commerce, to legislating new export control laws that update and replace the antiquated Cold War legislation that is still in place– Arms Export Control Act and Export Administration Act.

 

Additional Discussion

 

Recommended Policy Changes

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2. Increase in Educated Workforce

(Discussion below from The Space Review essay entitled "Space policy questions and decisions facing a new administration" by Eligar Sadeh, Monday, dated June 9, 2008.)

Issue

An important element of space leadership is about education and workforce development. Space education and workforce development are foundational issues for anything the United States wants to do in space now and in the future.

 

Discussion

  • A qualified and energized workforce is a priority for the current National Space Policy put forward by President Bush in 2006. There are many other studies supported by government and industry that support this priority.
  • A robust industrial base depends on addressing educational and workforce development issues. As capability in the industrial sector erodes, due to issues related to export controls, a lack of education in technical and scientific disciplines, and insufficient workforce development, the government sector erodes as well.
  • Close to 30% of all graduate students in science and engineering disciplines in universities and colleges in the United States are foreign nationals. At the post-doctorate level, the percentage of foreign nationals in science and engineering disciplines climbs to 60%.
  • There is “brain drain” across the space sectors. Approximately 30% of the engineering and science workforce in the United States is eligible to retire.
  • Space professional development is in need of improvement.

 

Policy Choice

Maintain support for the National Space Policy priority on space education and workforce development or build upon this priority by formulating policies and laws to bring about a national commitment to education in science, technology, engineering, and math disciplines.

  • Establish clear imperatives to motivate and recruit tomorrow’s engineers and scientists. This is necessary to sustain the long-term availability of educated Americans for both government and industry. The United States Space Exploration Policy is a good model to help accomplish this end. Additional consideration needs to be given to other ways to motivate and recruit. This entails addressing global infrastructural challenges, like alternative energy production from space, e.g., space based solar power, as a national goal. A challenge of this magnitude can motivate and inspire technical and scientific education as the Apollo program did for the United States in the 1960s.
  • Near-term workforce issues must be addressed due to the anticipated retirement numbers in aerospace over the next several years. A prudent course of action in the near-term, until there are a sufficient numbers of educated American nationals for government and industry aerospace work, is to increase quotas on H-1B visas (professional in a specialty occupation visa) to match aerospace industrial needs. In this way, foreign national talent enrolled in graduate programs in the United States can be used for national purposes to ensure a robust space industrial base. Also, Better professional development is in need of government support and encouragement in program and project management, systems engineering, and spacecraft development.
  • Emphasize a national commitment to education in the science, technology, engineering, and math disciplines. A fruitful model to formulate a national commitment is the National Defense Education Act of 1958 that led to educational reforms, academic and curriculum development, and fostered education in the foundational disciplines (science, technology, engineering, and math) for space.

 

Recommended Policy Changes

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3. Definition of Government's Role in Commercial Space

(Discussion below from The Space Review essay entitled "Space policy questions and decisions facing a new administration" by Eligar Sadeh, Monday, dated June 9, 2008.)

 

Issue

United States government support for space commerce development is largely confined to cost plus contracting with the aerospace industry. This approach limits competitive commercial development, constrains technological innovation, and contributes to the loss of United States leadership in global space commerce.

 

Discussion

  • The predominance of the United States government as a user of space creates economic opportunities in the form of contracts to support a robust aerospace industrial sector. These contracts are leveraged to transfer technology and know-how acquired in developing United States government space systems to commercial space systems.
  • Further consideration needs to be given by the United States government to other, non-contracting ways to leverage and foster space commerce development.
  • The creation of public-private partnerships that are directed toward developing space technologies can dramatically change the space commerce landscape. Partnerships between the government, and private space companies and non-space companies are important.

 

Policy Choice

Maintain a national space policy commitment to space commercial development or build upon that commitment by supporting public-private partnerships to foster commercial space development.

  • Maintain a national space policy commitment to foster space commerce development. This entails a renewed commitment to encourage fixed price and reward-based contacting, procurement of commercial services, as opposed to physical systems, and lending political support to legislative initiatives in the United States Congress that call for taxed-based incentives and prizes to incentivize space commerce development. Presidential support for the following congressional initiatives furthers national space policy in the area of commercial space– Space Tourism Promotion Act; Zero Gravity Zero Tax Bill; Invest in Space Now Act; and the Spaceport Equality Act. Support for an expansion of congressional funding of prizes, like the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s Grand Challenge and NASA’s Centennial Challenges, advances national space policy directed at fostering space commerce development.
  • A commitment to expand public-private partnerships in the space arena paves the way for space infrastructural development. One example is the contracting undertaken by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency with new space companies to develop technologies of interest to security space. NASA is implementing partnerships with the private sector as exemplified by the Commercial Orbital Transportation Services and Space Act Agreements with new space companies. A further expansion of such relationships and support for new public-private-partnerships fosters emerging space businesses and efforts in areas ranging from operational responsive space, smallsats, reusable launch, and space tourism to developing areas in space based solar power, space based zero-gravity manufacturing research, propellant depots, and point-to-point sub-orbital travel. These technologies, if supported and developed with the help of the United States government, will be contributors to the long-term national security and prosperity of the United States, and will benefit global security concerns and the global economy.

 

Recommended Policy Changes

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4. Centralization of Space Policy-Making

(Discussion below from The Space Review essay entitled "Space policy questions and decisions facing a new administration" by Eligar Sadeh, Monday, dated June 9, 2008.)

 

Issue

The United States government lacks a centralized, strategic vision for space to guide space policy making. Space represents a set of strategic capabilities that cannot be solely “stovepiped” for specific ends. The space enterprise is interdependent and cuts across many areas from security to civil, commercial, and allied space, implying that space is strategic.

 

Discussion

  • Since President Eisenhower, there has been continuity in space policy. This includes: commitments to space as a cooperative domain and space protection in the area of security space; encouraging and fostering the development of space commerce; and supporting civil space programs in both science and human spaceflight.
  • There is an issue concerning implementing and operationalizing space policy. Strategic problems, like space, require strategic solutions, including steps other than simply building more hardware for specific ends. The United States lacks a global space strategy, i.e., a roadmap for means to achieve strategic ends.
  • Making space work—operationalizing space through modernizing and investing in the space infrastructure—is about the need for a set of strategic choices to guide what and how the United States develops space capabilities. This is a matter of some strategic urgency as there are some difficult strategic choices because the development of space systems does not show any trends of shorter development times.
  • The space community today is too insular to get to a strategic vision. There are rigidities that stovepipe thinking and capabilities. This needs to be overcome with new approaches that integrate existing capabilities across all space sectors, including internationals.

 

Policy Choice

Maintain continuity in national space policy or establish centralized guidance for national space policy through the formulation of a national space strategy.

  • Maintaining continuity in national space policy provides an adequate framework to guide the role of the United States government in advancing security, commercial, and civil space interests. This policy choice offers the least bureaucratic resistance in the implementation of key programs and projects vital to national interests. The issue with this approach is that policy making is dispersed and fragmented among many bureaucracies and organizations. This dispersion tends to stove-pipe how policy is operationalized. In addition, there are no strategic links between national interests and the set of strategic capabilities desired by the United States. As such, national space policy drives programmatic decisions that are tied to specific interests and budgetary allocations. Program development along these lines is one of the factors underlying space acquisition problems characterized by the dynamic of “too long to develop and cost too much.”
  • Centralize space policy making through an interagency group within the Executive Office of the President. Either the re-establishment of the National Space Council at the White House or a new interagency “space group” tied to the National Security Council demonstrates senior leadership on space and galvanizes the national will to formulate a space strategy. An effective national space strategy is one that is directed at realizing spacepower for the United States. Spacepower is the ability to use space to influence other actors and the external environment to achieve one’s objectives. Hard power (military and economic), which equates to military-intelligence sectors of space activity, and soft power (diplomatic and informational) dealing with civil-scientific and commercial space areas are applicable for spacepower. A spacepower framework for formulating a national space strategy allows for a focus on strategic capabilities and how these capabilities can be realized through the use of space assets. Within this context, it is important that the United States government, first and foremost, secure the peaceful uses of the space domain for all humankind.

 

Recommended Policy Changes

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