66 countries eligible to buy US drones

The administration last year began informally consulting Congress on plans to sell Global Hawk to South Korea before withdrawing the proposed sale for reasons that have not been publicly disclosed.

Japan, Singapore and Australia also have shown interest in acquiring the aircraft, a Northrop Grumman spokeswoman told Reuters last year.

Bush said that failure to allow such exports could spark a repeat of the 1990s, when strict curbs on U.S. commercial satellite sales prompted other countries to develop rival hardware and software. Those efforts eventually eroded the market share of U.S. satellite producers from more than 70 percent to just around 25 percent.

The consequences of the decisions that were made in the early '90s were devastating for the US industrial base, and ultimately did nothing to enhance security, and in fact, were detrimental to our security, he said.

EXPORT CONTROLS

The Obama administration, over the objections of some Republicans in Congress, is aiming to create a single list of items subject to export controls overseen by a single licensing agency, instead of the two separate lists now administered by the State Department and the Commerce Department.

Jim Hursch, director of the Defense Department's Defense Technology Security Adminstration, speaking at the ComDef event, said the administration was well into the overhaul but still had significant work to do.

Government agencies, as interim steps toward creating the single unified list, have worked their way through the 21 categories of the U.S. Munitions List administered by the State Department to see what items can be moved to the Commerce Department's Commercial List, Hursch said.

We'll see what happens in November and what the victors of that election want to do to move forward on that, Hursch said.

Beth McCormick, deputy assistant secretary for defense trade and regional security, said she hoped the reforms would continue whether President Barack Obama is reelected on Nov. 6 or Republican challenger Mitt Romney.

... contd.

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