CIA and Pentagon oppose construction of Glonass ground stations in US

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The American intelligence services and the Pentagon object to the possible placement of Russian ground stations on American soil. The measuring points would only monitor the accuracy of GPS counterpart Glonass, the Russians claim.

Russia has been working on activating its own satellite positioning system since the 1980s. Under the name Glonass, the Russians want to develop an alternative to the American GPS, because the Russian army in particular feared that the US would have a major advantage. For example, in times of conflict, the US military could deliberately manipulate the GPS signal. 24 Glonass satellites are now available, offering worldwide coverage. Also, many recent GPS-compatible chips can also handle Glonass.

Because satellites slowly drift out of orbit over time, and with it the accuracy of the positioning will decrease, ground stations are needed to monitor and correct the deviations in the navigation calculations. That is why Russia, like the US for its GPS system, has installed ground stations in several countries. In May 2012, Russia requested the Americans to also be allowed to place a number of such measuring points on American soil.

The US State Department was sympathetic to the Russian request, as it would be good for relations between the two countries. However, the CIA and other US intelligence agencies, along with the Pentagon, are now objecting. They argue that such ground stations on US soil could pose a threat to national security, if writes The New York Times.

The security services and the US Department of Defense say they are especially afraid that the ground stations will increase the accuracy of satellite-guided Russian weapons. It is also feared that the ground stations could be used for espionage purposes. Russia denies that the ground stations offer additional offensive capabilities, stating that they are solely intended to calibrate the Glonass system.

Despite criticism from the military and intelligence services, the Obama administration has not yet rejected the Russian request. In addition, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs states that there is no danger in the ground stations. It is not yet clear when a final decision will be made.

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