The bill includes language that would end a fight being waged since the late 1990s by removing commercial satellites from the U.S. Munitions List. The satellite industry has fought against their inclusion on the list, saying that it has allowed other countries to increase their own satellite industries at the expense of the U.S. industry.
Rep. Adam Smith (Wash.), the top Democrat on the House Armed Services Committee, said the change is important to the nation’s security. “If U.S. companies cease to be leaders in critical technology … we are less safe,” Smith said.
Like last year’s defense policy bill, this one aims to block the Pentagon from providing funding to finish the final year of development on Lockheed Martin’s Medium Extended Air Defense System, a program that the U.S., Italy and Germany have been pursuing jointly.
Regarding biofuels, the conference report strikes the House prohibition on buying biofuels. Further, it limits fiscal 2013 funding for construction of a biofuel refinery until the Departments of Agriculture and Energy provide their share of funding agreed to in the initial Defense Production Act.