Foreign Commercial Satellite Services Bill Advances on Capitol Hill

Published on June 12, 2013 – Access Intelligence

The U.S. House Armed Services Committee is addressing concerns on foreign commercial satellite services, under a measure recently passing through committee – H.R. 1960, the National Defense Authorization Bill for Fiscal Year 2014, which could prevent a number of satellite providers from contracting with the U.S. Government.

“Legally speaking, these changes have the potential to impact future contracts,” said University of Mississippi School of Law School Professor Joanne Gabrynowicz who serves as director of the National Center for Remote Sensing, Air and Space Law and Research in Oxford, Miss.

In May, the Strategic Forces Congressional Subcommittee released their portion of the National Defense Authorization Act, specifying DoD’s budget and expenditures. Section 16 of H.R. 1960, titled Foreign Commercial Satellite Services, contains provisions, which, if passed, would amend Chapter 135, Title 10 of the United States Code and prohibit the U.S. Secretary of Defense from entering into a contract for satellite services with a foreign entity under certain circumstances. The prohibited foreign entities, according to the language of both the proposed bill and the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013, include the People’s Republic of China, North Korea, and “any country that is a state sponsor of terrorism.”

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