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House Lawmaker: Traffic in Arms Regulations Hurt U.S. Space Efforts

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Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger (D-Md.) is claiming International Traffic in Arms Regulations have directly affected U.S. space competitiveness, Defense Systems.com reported.

Ruppersberger spoke at the Satellite 2012 conference March 12 in Washington.

U.S. space technologies are regulated under ITAR regulations.

Two decades ago, the U.S. dominated the space industry with a 70 percent market share.

The country’s market share has dropped to 27 percent since the bill was introduced, according to Defense Systems.

Deputy Defense Secretary William Lynn said in February that the U.S. no longer has space as a private preserve.

Ruppersberger, a ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, wants Congress to repeal or greatly modify the law.

Reuppersberger said the industry is losing millions of dollars due to outdated regulatory measures implemented under ITAR, Defense Systems reported.

The committee marked up a bipartisan bill to revoke ITAR that was approved by the full House.

The bill failed to pass in the Senate by one vote.

The committee has pressured the Obama administration to draft its own set of guidelines for distributing U.S. space technology abroad, Defense Systems reported.

Ruppersberger also recommends to the federal government should partner with the private sector to acquire flexible and cost-efficient space services.

Paradigm supplies the U.K’s Defense Ministry with secure satellite communications.

Ruppersberger said SpaceX, or any similar commercial provider, could also provide the U.S military with competitive launch services, according to Defense Systems.

Aside from the ITAR, Ruppersberger also revealed Congress’ displeasure with DoD’s proposed cuts for commercial space assets.

Obama’s proposed fiscal year 2013 budget allocates $9.6 billion for space programs.

The funds are intended to target programs for missile warning, navigation, satellite communications and space situational awareness

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