H.R. 4147: To provide for rollover treatment to traditional IRAs of amounts received in airline carrier bankruptcy

November 20, 2009 at 3:36 pm | Posted in Aviation Law | Leave a comment

by P.J. Blount with the blog faculty

H.R. 4147: To provide for rollover treatment to traditional IRAs of amounts received in airline carrier bankruptcy was introduced on November 19, 2009 by Rep. John Lewis (D-GA5). The text is not yet available.

H. Res. 925: Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives regarding the meritorious service performed by aviators in the United States Armed Forces who were shot down over, or otherwise forced to land in, hostile territory yet evaded enemy capture or were captured but subsequently escaped.

November 20, 2009 at 3:01 pm | Posted in Aviation Law | Leave a comment

by P.J. Blount with the blog faculty

H. Res. 925: Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives regarding the meritorious service performed by aviators in the United States Armed Forces who were shot down over, or otherwise forced to land in, hostile territory yet evaded enemy capture or were captured but subsequently escaped was introduced on November 19, 2009 by Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR4):

HRES 925 IH

111th CONGRESS

1st Session

H. RES. 925

Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives regarding the meritorious service performed by aviators in the United States Armed Forces who were shot down over, or otherwise forced to land in, hostile territory yet evaded enemy capture or were captured but subsequently escaped.

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

November 19, 2009

Mr. DEFAZIO (for himself, Mr. STEARNS, Mrs. DAVIS of California, Mr. LARSEN of Washington, Mr. MARSHALL, Mr. MASSA, Mr. RODRIGUEZ, Ms. BORDALLO, Mr. LAMBORN, Mr. DOGGETT, Mr. BRALEY of Iowa, Mr. PERLMUTTER, Mr. BLUMENAUER, Ms. KAPTUR, Mr. BOCCIERI, Mr. SCHRADER, Mr. MICHAUD, Mr. COOPER, Mr. FILNER, Mr. FARR, and Mr. DICKS) submitted the following resolution; which was referred to the Committee on Armed Services

RESOLUTION

Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives regarding the meritorious service performed by aviators in the United States Armed Forces who were shot down over, or otherwise forced to land in, hostile territory yet evaded enemy capture or were captured but subsequently escaped.

Whereas aviators in the Armed Forces, including pilots, navigators, bombardiers, weapons control officers, and other aircraft crew members, have served the United States with great courage and distinction in every major conflict during the 20th and 21st centuries;

Whereas thousands of aviators in the Armed Forces have been forced down in hostile territory while performing their missions, either as a result of being shot down or because of mechanical problems with their aircraft;

Whereas many of these aviators overcame long odds and great hardships to return to their units and resume their service to the United States;

Whereas these aviators faced the added responsibility of maintaining the secrecy of their escape and evasion methods in order to protect the lives of people who assisted them and other aviators;

Whereas the need to maintain secrecy initially prevented these aviators from being recognized for their meritorious service in avoiding capture or in escaping from captivity; and

Whereas the Armed Forces still have not recognized these aviators for their meritorious accomplishment of avoiding capture or escaping from captivity: Now, therefore, be it

Resolved, That it is the sense of the House of Representatives that–

(1) aviators in the United States Armed Forces who were shot down over, or otherwise forced to land in, hostile territory yet evaded enemy capture or were captured but subsequently escaped to return to their units and resume their service to the United States should be recognized for their extraordinary service; and

(2) the Secretaries of the military departments should consider these aviators for appropriate recognition within their branch of the Armed Forces.

Subcommittee Examines Opportunities, Risks in the Growth of Global Space Capabilities

November 20, 2009 at 9:54 am | Posted in Space Law | Leave a comment

by P.J. Blount with the blog faculty

From the House Committee on Science and Technology:

Press Releases :: November 19, 2009
Subcommittee Examines Opportunities, Risks in the Growth of Global Space Capabilities

(WASHINGTON) – Today, the House Committee on Science and Technology’s Subcommittee on Space and Aeronautics held a hearing on the growth of global space capabilities. Members and witnesses discussed how the growth of global space capabilities may affect the future of the U.S. space program, including opportunities to partner with other nations to share costs and expertise, and the risks of losing the U.S. leadership in space.
“At a time when some in the United States seem to be questioning whether we should sustain a strong commitment to investing in our space program, the rest of the world has not hesitated to embrace the promise that the exploration and utilization of outer space can offer to them,” said Chairwoman Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ). “Those other nations recognize that space activities can spur innovation, help improve the quality of life of our citizens, promote national security and economic competitiveness, and advance geopolitical objectives. That recognition echoes the aspirations of our congressional predecessors when they established NASA and undertook other related actions some fifty years ago.”

The U.S. and Russia (formerly the Soviet Union) dominated the first fifty years of the space age as the only nations capable of launching humans into space. Recently, however, other countries have entered the space arena or are quickly displaying increasing technical capabilities for space activities. China launched a human into space in 2003 and performed a space walk in 2008. China and India have successfully launched their first lunar probes, India has announced plans for a human space program, and numerous countries around the world have established space agencies. A number of foreign nations have acquired the capability to develop satellites and instruments and to deploy them with independent launch systems. Others have purchased space assets such as communications satellites on the commercial market and operate them as part of their national infrastructure.

As more nations pursue an active presence in outer space, the global space landscape is becoming increasingly interdependent and competitive economically and geopolitically. There is also a growing drive to finding global solutions to some of the most pressing societal challenges.

“We can just look at the myriad ways that our space investments have transformed our economy, our defense, and our quality of life over the last fifty years to realize the space has become woven into the very fabric of our daily life,” said Giffords. “So it’s no surprise that other nations, seeing the benefits that space investments have delivered to our nation want to share in those benefits. I, for one, see that as a positive development and not one to fear. While we must always be vigilant against those who would use space capabilities to threaten others, we should not turn away from opportunities for constructive engagement in peaceful space cooperation.”

“Yet if we are to harness global space capabilities in cooperative ventures, the United States needs to make clear to the rest of the world that we are not wavering in our owncommitment to space exploration and to the path we have started down,” concluded Giffords.

U.S. – CHINA COMMISSION CITES CHINESE INDUSTRIAL POLICY, ROLE IN GLOBAL FINANCIAL CRISIS, ESPIONAGE, CYBER ATTACKS, AND INFORMATION CONTROLS AS CLOUDING U.S.-CHINA RELATIONSHIP Year-Long Study Offers 42 Recommendations to Congress

November 19, 2009 at 5:05 pm | Posted in Space Law Current Events | Leave a comment

by Joanne Irene Gabrynowicz with the blog faculty

Source: U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission

Download here

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE        November 19,2009      

Contact:  Jonathan Weston (202) 624-1487

jweston@uscc.gov           

Web site: www.uscc.gov

Nick Barone (202) 624-1484, nbarone@uscc.gov   

WASHINGTON, DC (November 19, 2009) – Despite evidence that global economic imbalances helped fuel the financial crisis, China persists in maintaining a wide variety of industrial policies to support an export and investment-led growth model. China continues to accumulate record sums of foreign currency reserves as a result of large trade surpluses. These surpluses result, in part, from China’s extensive web of subsidies to favored industries, which include tax rebates, low interest loans from state-owned banks, discounts on land, electricity and fuel, and a currency that is pegged to the U.S. dollar at an artificially low rate. These are among the concusions in the seventh Annual Report to Congress of the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission. “By providing these benefits, along with a cheap labor force without the ability to bargain collectively or join independent unions,  the Chinese government has created a low-cost haven for foreign and domestic manufacturers,” said Carolyn Bartholomew, chairman of the Commission, at the release of the group’s 2009 Report to Congress on Thursday.

The bipartisan Commission, established by Congress to analyze the economic and national security relationship of the two nations, made 42 recommendations to Congress for further action. The 367-page report was unanimously approved by the 12 Commissioners. The Commission held eight hearings, travelled to China, commissioned staff and original research, and consulted with the U.S. intelligence community.

The Report details stepped up efforts by China to pentrate U.S. computer networks, particularly those of the U.S. government and contractors, and to obtain information by increasingly sophisticated espionage methods. “Although attribution is a problem in cyber attacks, the scale and coordination of the attacks strongly indicates Chinese state involvement,” said vice chairman Larry Wortzel. “In addition to harming U.S. interests, Chinese human and cyber espionage activities provide China with a method for leaping forward in economic, technological, and military development.”

The Commission also describes China’s efforts at naval modernization. “The Chinese navy has vastly increased its arsenal of advanced weapons, particularly antiship and land attack cruise missiles, and advanced naval mines,” said Wortzel. ”Of partiular importance is China’s attempt to develop antiship ballistic missiles, specifically planned with U.S. aircraft carriers in mind.”

The Commission held a hearing in Rochester, New York, to assess the effect of China’s industrial policy on the upstate New York region. The Report examines China’s efforts to develop an optoelectronics industry, in part by enticing the U.S industry to move production and research and development activities there.

The Report to Congress is available on the Commission’s Web Site,  http://www.uscc.gov.  Copies may be obtained by calling the Commission at 202-624-1407.                             

 

 

 

Spy Agency Changes Spark Mistrust

November 19, 2009 at 4:44 pm | Posted in Remote Sensing Law, Remote Sensing Law Current Events | Leave a comment

by Joanne Irene Gabrynowicz with the blog faculty

Source: DOD Buzz

By Colin Clark Wednesday, November 18th, 2009 4:10 pm
Posted in IntelligencePolicySpace

Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair should sign by Dec. 1 a document laying out new responsibilities for the National Reconnaissance Office, builder and operator of America’s spy satellites.

This will set in motion the first substantial changes to the NRO charter since 1965, four years after then-Defense Secretary Robert McNamara created the NRO and drafted its charter. The NRO is led by former Air Force Gen. Bruce Carlson,

The new document, called a statement of principles, lays out eight core ideas meant to guide the NRO, according to a source familiar with the document. This will become the foundation for the new NRO charter, which most intelligence community and Pentagon officials feel strongly must be updated.

But the document’s main guiding principle has some observers worried that it will give the NRO too much power, particularly over some Air Force satellite systems. The key here is just what will the NRO build and operate. One phrase in the statement of principles worries these observers: “overhead reconnaissance systems.”

This, said our source, “could include Air Force systems,” and thus gives the spy agency powers it currently does not possess. That worries military space advocates. They worry that the NRO could take budgetary and programmatic control over some systems currently controlled by the services, especially the Air Force.

A former senior government official argued that no one should worry since the intelligence community performs different functions than does the military. NRO reconnaissance satellites look for the unknown, this source said, and then cue military systems which perform surveillance. This source said surveillance means watching known targets.

But two Pentagon sources vehemently disagreed. “In my opinion it would certainly create the potential for the NRO to intrude on military work. Those distinctions [between reconnaissance and surveillance] are not delineated in any clear way anywhere,” said one source with long experience in space issues. “What are we going to do? Ask the NRO director what he thinks and go by that?”

The other principle that sparked mistrust among the Pentagon sources is that the NRO director “will be the only person in government who knows everything we do in space,” thanks to language in the statement of principles to the effect that he or she must be aware of all space activities and “will inform other partners” of what is occurring.

With heavy sarcasm, the source familiar with the charter said “it would be so nice of the DNRO to tell us poor saps what is happening up there.”

The Pentagon source also described this as troubling: “I sure don’t see the utility of that. Why would the SecDef sign up to that and make the DNRO that person instead of the StratCom commander?”

Regardless of whose interpretation is correct about the principles, the need remains to clarify the NRO’s role. “People are somewhat confused about just what role the NRO plays vis-à-vis other U.S. entities involved in space,” the former senior government official said. “This has been clouded because ISR is being treated as one thing, and it’s not.”

Two other principles are worth noting. Another area that raised a red flag with the source familiar with the statement of principles was that the NRO director would be designated “principal advisor” to the Defense Secretary and to the Director of National Intelligence on space reconnaissance. This worried this source as it could appear to give the NRO director a handle on issues currently beyond his bailiwick. However, the Pentagon source and the former government official largely brushed off that concern, saying that it is largely in keeping with the current state of play.

Finally, the NRO will not fund systems on an annual basis but on a portfolio basis. The NRO is already doing something similar to this, funding 28 capability bunches instead of individual programs, according to the Pentagon source.

Space Law at the United Nations Audiovisual Library of International Law

November 19, 2009 at 2:31 pm | Posted in Library, Space Law | Leave a comment

by P.J. Blount with the blog faculty

The United Nations Audiovisual Library of International Law has recently added a lecture on space law by Vladimir Kopal:

The Progressive Development of International Space Law by the United Nations

Marked as forthcoming is a lecture by Judge Vladlen Stepanovich Vereshchetin:

The Law of Outerspace in the General Legal Field [Commonality and Particularities]

Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation

November 19, 2009 at 2:26 pm | Posted in Aviation Law, Space Law | Leave a comment

by P.J. Blount with the blog faculty

The Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation has reported two aerospace related bills favorably:

S. 2764: Satellite Television Extension and Localism Act of 2009

S. 2768: NTSB Reauthorization Act of 2009

European Court: Delayed Flights Are Not Cancelled Flights

November 19, 2009 at 2:22 pm | Posted in Aviation Law | Leave a comment

by P.J. Blount with the blog faculty

From Flight Global:

European Court: Long-delayed flights are not cancellations
By David Kaminski-Morrow

Passengers cannot claim that a flight has been cancelled simply because of an extensive delay, the European Court has ruled, but are nevertheless entitled to compensation if they are delayed by three hours or more.

The issue of passengers’ rights to compensation for flight delays has been a source of confusion, notably regarding clarification about whether a heavily-delayed flight should be treated as essentially having been cancelled.

In a ruling today the European Court says that a delayed flight “cannot be regarded as cancelled” on the grounds of duration alone, if all other aspects remain as originally planned, but only if passengers are transferred to a separately-planned flight. . . . [Full Story]

Satellite Firms Moving Ahead on Orbital Database

November 19, 2009 at 8:14 am | Posted in Space Law Current Events | Leave a comment

by Joanne Irene Gabrynowicz with the blog faculty

Source: Space News


By Peter B. de Selding

PARIS — Three of the world’s largest commercial satellite operators have issued a request for proposals for a company to design and operate a database on satellite positions, planned maneuvers and signal transmissions with a view to reducing the chance of orbital collisions and frequency interference.

The three companies — Intelsat, SES and Inmarsat — expect to select a contractor as early as December to create the Space Data Center, to be located at the newly established Space Data Association (SDA) in Britain’s Isle of Man.

If it is successful in persuading other satellite operators to overcome their natural hesitation in handing over sensitive corporate operating details, the SDA would become the satellite industry’s first global effort to address the related issues of space situational awareness and signal interference.

In bringing together three companies that regularly compete with each other, SDA already has proved it can overcome concerns about the release of proprietary information on satellite beam coverage areas, signal strength and planned in-orbit maneuvers.

Washington- and Bermuda-based Intelsat and SES of Luxembourg are the world’s two largest fixed satellite services companies in terms of revenue. Inmarsat of London is the oldest and, by revenue, the largest mobile satellite services operator. Taken together, the three companies operate about 100 satellites in geostationary orbit.

SDA Chairman Stewart Sanders, senior vice president for customer service at SES Engineering, said Nov. 17 that several other satellite fleet operators have signaled their intent to join the organization. In an interview, Sanders said the three founders have not sought additional members up to now to minimize legal complications that would slow the creation of the Space Data Center.

“There is a group of about eight operators including the three founders that have all indicated they support the project,” Sanders said. “In addition, there is a separate group of about 14 operators that have come together to discuss ways of combating [radio-frequency] interference. By sometime in the first quarter of 2010 you will see other members of SDA.”

SDA’s two other directors are Tobias Nassif, Intelsat vice president of satellite operations and engineering; and Ruy Pinto, Inmarsat vice president of satellite and network operations.

SDA’s request for bids asks prospective contractors to design a network that is backed up by identical databases on two other continents in addition to the home installation on the Isle of Man. The backup facilities could be nothing more than computer servers placed in operating centers already operated by an SDA member but kept separate, with restricted access.

SDA has two broad aims. The first is to provide highly accurate information on where commercial satellites are. General information on satellite locations is already publicly available, in part through the U.S. Defense Department’s Space Surveillance Network of ground sensors.

But this information is not always as precise or up to date — nor is it disseminated as quickly — as it needs to be to protect against close encounters between satellites, especially in the more-crowded Earth orbits below the geostationary arc 36,000 kilometers above the equator.

The second ambition of SDA is to act as a clearinghouse of information on satellites’ individual radio beams and power levels, and whether owners have encountered signal interference — intentional or otherwise.

Unintentional signal interference is viewed as a growing problem in some regions of the world as satellite communications links proliferate. More satellites in orbit means they are operating closer than ever to one another, while widespread adoption of the technology has led to occasionally sloppy satellite-antenna pointing or Earth station maintenance.

The result, satellite operators say, is increased incidence of signal interference that, despite new satellite signal-location technology, is difficult and often expensive to locate.

SDA’s request for proposals offers the winning company a five-year contract but does not identify a price range. “We’ll see what responses we get in” and then the member companies will agree on a budget, Sanders said. He said the biggest expense is likely to be not personnel, but software.

Sanders agreed that, to be effective, the SDA will require operators to submit data almost constantly on their satellites’ location, maneuvers and beam locations. “Operators already do this today, but it’s on an informal basis. You call someone you know who knows someone at the company who can get you the needed information.”

If SDA grows as its current members hope, it will face the question of whether to feed its data into the U.S. Defense Department’s Space Surveillance Network to improve what today is the world’s de facto satellite-tracking agency.

Alternatively, U.S. defense authorities could funnel information to SDA, whose Isle of Man location was selected in part for its perceived independence from any national space power.

One Defense Department official said U.S. authorities view SDA positively, and depending on its evolution may one day elect to contribute data to it. It remains to be seen whether satellite operators in China, Russia and India, for example, who in some cases are controlled by their national governments, will join SDA.

U.S. to Continue Using Russian Spacecraft After Shuttle Retirement

November 18, 2009 at 10:44 am | Posted in Space Law | Leave a comment

by P.J. Blount with the blog faculty

From RIA Novosti:

U.S. to continue using Russian spacecraft after 2010 – envoy

16:55 17/11/2009

MOSCOW, November 17 (RIA Novosti) – The U.S. ambassador to Moscow confirmed on Tuesday that the United States will continue to use Russian Soyuz spacecraft after space shuttles retire from service in 2010.

“Soon, when space shuttles are taken out of operation, we will only be using your Soyuz rockets to put our astronauts into orbit,” John Beyrle said in an online conference hosted by Gazeta.ru. . . . [Full Story]

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