Tier Categorization

To determine the appropriate tier for a NOAA license, CRSRA considers foreign or domestic systems whose data is available. Applicants and licensees are encouraged to provide CRSRA with new information and examples of data that is available using the Data Availability Notification Form.

CRSRA will, as evidence becomes available, update tiering thresholds and reassess tiering of applicable licenses as necessary. Tiering thresholds are found in the Tiering Threshold document and will be updated at least quarterly.

Tiering categories are described in 15 CFR PART 960.6, which states:

“If the application proposes a system with the capability to collect unenhanced data substantially the same as unenhanced data already available from entities or individuals not licensed under this part, such as foreign entities, the Secretary shall categorize the application as Tier 1;

If the application proposes a system with the capability to collect unenhanced data substantially the same as unenhanced data already available, but only from entities or individuals licensed under this part, the Secretary shall categorize the application as Tier 2.

If the application proposes a system with the capability to collect unenhanced data not substantially the same as unenhanced data already available from any domestic or foreign entity or individual, the Secretary shall categorize the application as Tier 3.”

“The system shall remain in the tier assigned to until such time as the Secretary determines, after consultation with the Secretaries of Defense and State as appropriate, that the system belongs in a lower-numbered tier due to the advancement of non-U.S. commercial remote sensing capabilities or due to other
facts, or until the Secretary grants the licensee’s request for a license modification that results in re-categorization under § 960.13.

When the Secretary determines that a lower numbered tier is appropriate due to reasons other than a modification under § 960.13, the Secretary will notify the applicant or licensee in writing that the system falls under a lower-numbered tier than the one previously assigned under this section. Upon receiving that notification, the applicant or licensee will be responsible for complying only with the license conditions applicable to the new tier.”