WASHINGTON — U.S. President Barack Obama has signed into law a defense policy bill that gives him the right to determine export licensing jurisdiction for space related items, paving the way for reforms long sought by the space industry, the White House announced.
Obama, who had previously threatened to veto the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2013 (H.R. 4310), signed the measure Jan. 3. In addition to the satellite export measures, the law effectively terminates a joint missile defense effort with Germany and Italy and directs the U.S. Department of Defense to place missile interceptors on a third site within U.S. territory.
The law also blocks a Pentagon move to close the Operationally Responsive Space Office, which is dedicated to fielding space capabilities rapidly in response to emerging military requirements. It also authorizes funds to continue the Space Test Program, which finds rides to space for experimental payloads but also had been marked for termination by the Pentagon.