Co-Authored by Sharath Patil
National Space Policy Unveiled
On December 9, 2020, the White House released the National Space Policy of the United States of America. Among other objectives, the policy seeks to drive U.S. leadership in space commerce by encouraging the cultivation of U.S. industrial capacity in space innovation.
The new policy seeks to develop and protect the U.S. space industrial base by committing to:
- Strengthen U.S. technological leadership in space-related technology
- Enhance capabilities for assured access to space
- Safeguard space components of critical infrastructure
- Maintain and enhance space-based position, navigation, and timing systems
- Develop and retain space professionals
- Improve space system development and procurement
- Strengthen interagency and commercial partnerships
Commerce Department Secretary Wilbur Ross said, “This new National Space Policy reflects the emergence of space commerce as a driving force for positive change in our economic and national security, contributing to America’s leadership in commercial space. The policy sets the stage for American businesses to thrive domestically and compete internationally as the global space economy grows into a trillion dollar market over the next two decades.”
Speaking at the National Space Council in Cape Canaveral, Florida, Vice President Mike Pence discussed the threats posed by China and Russia to U.S. strategic interests in space:
“…China and Russia are continuing to develop space weaponry. Russia demonstrated a space-based anti-satellite weapon earlier this year. China is developing a new manned space station, and its robotic spacecraft will return samples from the Moon in just a matter of weeks. In fact, China is increasingly emerging as a serious competitor in space, just as they are in other areas of the global economy and to the strategic interest of the United States.”
Vice-President Pence’s announcement coincided with the U.S. Space Force (“USSF”) announcing on its one-year anniversary that it has decided a moniker for U.S. military service members serving in that new branch: guardians. In a press release, the USSF said: “The opportunity to name a force is a momentous responsibility. Guardians is a name with a long history in space operations, tracing back to the original command motto of Air Force Space Command in 1983, ‘Guardians of the High Frontier.’”
This space policy is part of a series of actions of by the Trump administration focused on developing and protecting key critical industries. In recent weeks, the administration has also released a national strategy for promoting and protecting critical technologies, and the U.S. Bureau of Industry & Security is currently seeking comments on strengthening the public health industrial base.
Export Opportunities Abound
Boundless opportunities exist for U.S. businesses when they export their products and services to foreign markets. In fact, over 95% of the world’s consumers are located outside of the United States. Opportunities are particularly plentiful in the space economy. As Secretary Ross identified – the global space economy will grow into a trillion dollar market over the next two decades. The aerospace, defense, and space industry is particularly impactful in Florida and the Washington, DC area economies. According to Enterprise Florida, Florida exports more than $7.2 billion in aviation and defense goods annually. Meanwhile, companies in the Washington, DC / Northern Virginia (many of which are in the defense and aerospace industry) received $80 billion in federal procurement awards in FY 2019.
Although export opportunities abound, U.S. companies in the space industry should have a process in place to ensure they diligently and effectively comply with U.S. export control laws under the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Export Administration Regulations (“EAR”) and the U.S. State Department’s International Traffic in Arms Regulations (“ITAR”). A foundation of export compliance is developing an effective export compliance plan and holding regular export compliance training opportunities for your employees.
Diaz Trade Law has extensive experience in export compliance. We can help you develop or improve your export compliance plan, regularly train your employees, vet proposed transactions to ensure they do not violate U.S. export control laws, and develop a personalized export report card from your Automated Commercial Environment (“ACE”) data to ensure that you are proactive about your export and Customs compliance. Diaz Trade Law is also fully equipped during the COVID-19 pandemic to provide engaging online training. If you have questions about export compliance or any other trade or customs matter, reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at 305-456-3830.