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Leader
11 Feb 04,, 00:54
Europe Attacks U.S. Space System
Posted Feb. 10, 2004
By Scott L. Wheeler
Published: Tuesday, February 17, 2004

The U.S. and the Europeans are disagreeing about more than space technology.


Space technology is threatening U.S. relations with Europe. The European Union (EU) is pursuing space technology that the United States fears, if completed as planned, would become a serious threat to U.S. national security, particularly battlefield communications, and - barring European acceptance of a U.S. offer - is likely to become highly corrosive for the trans-Atlantic relationship.

The Global Positioning System (GPS) was developed by the United States, put in place at a cost to American taxpayers of more than $12 billion, and is provided free to users worldwide. It is a series of satellites in orbit that serves as a global navigation system and allows a user to pinpoint his location anywhere on Earth within 10 meters (32.8 feet). The EU, however, is in the process of developing its own GPS system, called Galileo. In general, U.S. officials have no objection to the European project, and indeed have agreed to provide substantial advice and technical assistance - provided that the EU accepts a proffered compromise on what is called the Binary Offset Carrier (BOC), or signal structure, of the systems.

The signal structure is at the heart of the disagreement, since the signal selected by the EU for Galileo is so close to the classified signal structure that the United States is about to deploy for military purposes - called the "M Code" - that U.S. security is threatened. When the United States built the world's first and only GPS system in 1973, it selected the optimum frequency range for the signal structure. This can be compared to a radio-station signal: When the frequency is tuned in precisely a clear signal is received from the radio, but when a slight turn from this frequency occurs, the signal weakens and static or other radio stations can be heard. At times even when the precise frequency is tuned in noise from a nearby radio frequency can bleed in. That is the problem U.S. officials say they have with the BOC that the European Union has selected for the Galileo project.

But there is more to it. "Our concern was that the signal structures chosen for Galileo not undermine the operation of [the] M Code and the ability of forces in the future to operate on a battlefield," said Charles Ries of the U.S. State Department at a briefing in early January. Ries, principal deputy assistant secretary for the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs, is handling ongoing negotiations with the EU on Galileo. The M Code is a new facet of the American GPS system with direct and vital national-security implications designed to "ensure NATO forces and U.S. forces access to encrypted and secure global positioning in the battlefield while allowing U.S. and allied forces to deny access to ... commercial global-positioning signals to the adversaries," Ries explained.

But secure communication with troops in the field and the ability to jam an enemy's GPS access are only part. It also is used to direct missiles and smart bombs to military targets with precise accuracy - functions that are absolutely essential to the sophisticated war-fighting capacities of the United States. And it is precisely here that U.S. officials say national security is being threatened by the European rival project.

The EU plans to use two main signal structures for Galileo. "One would be an encrypted signal called PRS, which is short for Publicly Regulated Service, and the other one would be an open signal [OS]," said Ries. The trouble results from the fact that the two Galileo signal structures have been scheduled for the same area as the M Code of the U.S. system, posing a strong potential for interfering with sensitive military communications. Ries said that in November "the Europeans made a proposal to us for the structure of the PRS signal that would not interfere with the M Code, and this was a major step forward." But that leaves the other Galileo signal structure, the OS, still in range to affect America's military M Code. The Europeans are sending signals through official channels that they have no intention of moving their interfering signal.

Anthony Gooch, a spokesman for the EU, tells Insight, "We are making a large investment" in Galileo, and "we want the best return for that investment." Gooch says the EU's position is not inflexible but that the Europeans intend to deploy the best system and "the degree of accuracy is higher at (1,5) than at (1,1), and we want a signal strength related to the best project." The reference is to the EU's desired BOC of (1,5) versus BOC (1,1), which is where the United States has requested the EU to operate. "If we have the latest model Aston Martin, why would we run it on low-octane fuel?" declared Gooch.

The State Department has signaled that the United States is committed to reaching some kind of a deal on this highly sensitive signal-structure problem. "We have proposed to the Europeans that, if they would adopt the BOC (1,1) signal structure, we would be prepared to adopt it ourselves" when the United States modernizes its GPS system, Ries notes. He says this would carry with it significant advantages. "First, from the standpoint of the Europeans, it removes technical and financial risk from the project. That is to say the commitment of the United States to put its own next-generation satellite civilian signal on the same modulation as the European signal establishes the European signal structure as the de facto international standard" for GPS. "It would offer a great deal of prestige to the Europeans. Their standard would be the standard for the world," Ries explains.

And the United States has offered more than prestige and the willingness to change its GPS to cooperate with Galileo. Also on the negotiating table is satellite technology. "We have a lot of experience on GPS, we've learned a lot over the years, and we think that we can offer this expertise to the Europeans if they go along with our offer," says Richard McKinney, deputy director of space acquisition for the Air Force.

The EU expects to spend $6 billion to $8 billion to launch the Galileo system, which may seem like a costly endeavor considering that the United States already provides the world with GPS for free, but Ries says there is another motivation. "We understand that part of the rationale for the Europeans in developing this system is that they want their own independently managed system that they have launched, that they put up there, that they maintain there, both for the commercial benefits of selling encrypted services over the PRS part of the system and also because they want to be able to be notionally independent of a system that is run from the United States for their own global positioning."

But some see Galileo as being more about EU determination to be militarily independent of the United States than an $8 billion gambit to boost European self-esteem. While Gooch, the EU spokesman, declined to discuss any military uses for Galileo, the Associated Press reported in March 2002 that after initial reluctance to embrace the program, "Germany signed on to the project ... citing the 'considerable political, strategic and economic importance' of Europe having its own system."

Is this disagreement an isolated space-technology issue? Perhaps not. A November 2003 column in the New York Times by Thomas L. Friedman focused on resistance by France and Germany to the U.S. action in Iraq, and emphasized that it may not be isolated to differences over the war in Iraq. "If you look under the European position you see we have two different visions, not just tactical differences," he wrote. "Many Europeans really do believe that a dominant America is more threatening to global stability than Saddam's tyranny." Friedman suggests that U.S. and European interest already may be on diverging paths. "Are we witnessing the beginning of the end of 'the West' as we have known it - a coalition of U.S.-led, like-minded allies, bound by core shared values and strategic threats?" Friedman asks.

Another troubling aspect of the Galileo project for the United States is who is buying into the deal. The People's Republic of China (PRC) reportedly has invested $200 million in Galileo. But Ries says that issue has been resolved to Washington's satisfaction. Oh yes, he says, "The EU has assured us that, if the PRC is involved in Galileo, they would be involved in parts of Galileo that are fully respectful of the requirements of the MTCR [Missile Technology Control Regime] and other export-control rules and there would not be ... leakage from multilaterally constrained technologies to China, and we have accepted those assurances." Critics are less trusting, citing concern about likely technology leakages to the PRC, particularly if no agreement is reached on the Galileo signal structure and should EU relations with the United States become even more prickly.

Battle lines are drawn as negotiations continue, and Ries is reluctant to discuss the lengths to which the United States will go to protect national-security interests involving the M Code signal structure should no agreement be reached. "I hope I don't have to address that problem," he says. "We have, by providing ample detail in classified format, by meeting with them regularly, by traveling around, we have demonstrated our good will and our effort to find a deal."

Scott L. Wheeler is a contributing writer for Insight.

http://www.insightmag.com/news/2004/02/17/Features/Europe.Attacks.U.Space.System-593477.shtml

tomas
13 Feb 04,, 13:08
not trying to offend anyone in america but you lot try to bully other just because you are the largest superpower and hold more nukes (execpt russia) and think your way is right just change your m code.

:flamemad

ok i got that off my chest sorry about that :ermm

griftadan
28 Jul 04,, 07:50
not trying to offend anyone in america but you lot try to bully other just because you are the largest superpower and hold more nukes (execpt russia) and think your way is right just change your m code.

:flamemad

ok i got that off my chest sorry about that :ermm

looks like you went out of your way to offend if you ask me..

Franco Lolan
05 Nov 04,, 13:20
PRC will have the Gailileo milit code in about 2 secs, regardless of any EU assurances

Donnie
05 Nov 04,, 18:33
not trying to offend anyone in america but you lot try to bully other just because you are the largest superpower and hold more nukes (execpt russia) and think your way is right just change your m code.

where do you see bullying, it looks like the US has offered up pretty significant concessions in its attempt to negociate, they offered to adopt the EU codes on thier updated satalites, this would litteraly mean the world would be under the EU standard.

as i see it, 2 different government bodies have spent allot of time and money developing a specific system that cant be compatable as its designed, so the 2 parties are negociating to rectify the problem. whats so wrong with that.

Injecteer
10 Nov 04,, 15:28
guys,
I wouldn't treat this article seriously from the technical POV,

the passage:

"This can be compared to a radio-station signal: When the frequency is tuned in precisely a clear signal is received from the radio, but when a slight turn from this frequency occurs, the signal weakens and static or other radio stations can be heard. At times even when the precise frequency is tuned in noise from a nearby radio frequency can bleed in. "

is very stupid to be considered as a meaningfull one.

When I was reading it, I felt like the author was writing for "dummies" or managers and barely knows the subject :). Too few technical details. even such important params, like modulation or transmitters' power, are given.

As I remember from my study, the whole (reasonable) frequency spectrum from Hz to GHz is divided and each band is already assigned to a certain country or service. there's a special international organisation (ISO? IEE? not sure about the name) which rules this stuff.

So, the problem is clear: if US's GPS deviates outside it's dedicated frequency band, it must be fixed and it's the problem solely of the USA. If EU or anybody else want to use it's part of spectrum, it MUST be free of anybody else's signals.


about the politics...

I think, that the EU is a new growing superpower, comparable to USA or former USSR.
So, it has to posses it's own systems, like military force, information network etc.

The Chap
11 Nov 04,, 03:39
I just like the title of this thread. :biggrin: :biggrin: :biggrin: :biggrin: :biggrin: :biggrin: :biggrin: :biggrin:
How? :biggrin: