ITAR and the Law of Unintended Condequences

Posted: July 7, 2009 in competitiveness, Industrial Base, ITAR, Space Industry

ITAR–the International Traffic in Arms Regulation–is the guidance intended to keep U.S. businesses from selling potential adversaries the proverbial ropes from which they would hang us. To say the least, ITAR is a business-unfriendly, rule intensive, and cumbersome process. Now it seems ITAR is up for a wire brushing.

Within the defense industry, ITAR has become an industry-wide pariah–something approaching “it whose name cannot be spoken.” The U.S. space industry–and in particular, space launch–have especially demonized ITAR, as huge chunks of market have been lost to foreign competitors. It probably doesn’t help that State runs ITAR.

Is it possible the U.S. space industry has confused correlation with causation? The answer can’t be known with certainty, but GM and Chrysler do come to mind.

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