Presidential Decision Directive/NSC – 23, Subject: U.S. Policy on Foreign Access to Remote Sensing Capabilities is Declassified

February 11, 2010 at 11:44 am | Posted in NCRSASL News, Remote Sensing Law, Remote Sensing Law Current Events | Leave a comment

by Joanne Irene Gabrynowicz with the blog faculty

Source: William J. Clinton Presidential Library and the National Center for Remote Sensing, Air and Space Law

On April 25, 2008, I made a Mandatory Review Request to the William J. Clinton Presidential Library to declassify Presidential Decision Directive – 23 (PDD-23) “Subject: U.S. Policy on Foreign Access to Remote Sensing Space Capabilities”, and any relevant supporting documentation.  Under the provisions of Section 3.5 of Executive Order 13526,  I received them today, February 11, 2010.

The Clinton Presidential Records were processed in accordance with the Presidential Records Act, 44 U.S.C. §§ 2201-2207 and the Freedom of Information Act, 5 U.S.C. §§ 552, as amended, related to PDD-23, and Executive Order 13489. As a result, a total of 9 pages were declassified. They are:

1.            Presidential Decision Directive/NSC-23, March 9,1994 (5 pages).

2.            Correspondence to President Clinton from Todd Stern, March 9, 1994 (1 page).

3.            Memorandum for the President From Samuel R. Berger, Subject: U.S. Policy on Foreign Access to Remote  Sensing Space Capabilities, March 3, 1994, (2 pages).

4.            Memorandum for Samuel R. Berger, Through: George J. Tenet, From: Regina A. Genton, Subject: PDD on Remote Sensing, March 9, 1994 (1 page).

Among the notable facts to be declassified are:

–The Definition of “Remote sensing space capabilities“:

“refers to all remote sensing space systems, technology, products, and data, other than those used for signals intelligence. In this context, ‘space system’ consists of the spacecraft, the mission package(s), ground stations, data links, and associated command and control facilities and may include data processing and exploitation hardware and software.” PPD – 23, pg. 1.

Transfer of sensitive technology will be considered:

“…on a restricted basis because it is not in the national security interests of the United States to assist foreign nations or entities to attain autonomous capabilities.” PDD – 23, pg. 5.

Interagency relationships:

“This memo was initially cleared through on March 3, but then pulled back when first State and then DOD raised objections.  Their problems have now been resolved…” Correspondence to President Clinton from Todd Stern, March 9, 1994.

Shutter Control and interagency relationships:

“Agencies disagree about whether the Land Remote Sensing Policy Act of 1992 grants the Secretary of Commerce discretion to issue a license or permit exercise of a license after the Secretary of Defense and/or State have determined conditions necessary to meet US national security, international obligations and/or foreign policies. The statute is subject to different interpretations on this point. The PDD is not intended to resolve this issue.” Memorandum for the President From Samuel R. Berger, Subject: U.S. Policy on Foreign Access to Remote Sensing Space Capabilities, March 3, 1994, page 2.

“A sentence has been added to condition seven on page 3 of the PDD to state explicitly that in the event of a disagreement between Cabinet secretaries concerning whether a commercial satellite system should be turned off or interrupted, an appeal may be made to the President.” Memorandum for Samuel R. Berger, Through: George J. Tenet, From: Regina A. Genton, Subject: PDD on Remote Sensing, March 9, 1994.

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