Case 243 - Trading Away Security? The Clinton Administration's 1994 Decision on Satellite Imaging Exports
Baker, John C.
In 1994 President Bill Clinton administration made an important decision on whether American firms should be permitted to sell satellite imagery products, services, and technologies to foreign customers. This issue required U.S. policymakers to weigh complex trade-offs between safeguarding American security and allowing the domestic satellite industry to take advantage of international trade opportunities in the growing market for high-resolution civilian imagery. This case study highlights the conflicting policy priorities that the Clinton administration confronted in adapting U.S. export control policy to the evolving post-Cold War era. It also describes how the restricted nature of the policymaking process initially limited the debate over this important issue to a relatively narrow set of participants who had the most direct interests in the outcome of the administration's decision. This case is relevant to courses on U.S. foreign policy, defense policy, and intelligence policy.