U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers (R-AL), Chairman of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Strategic Forces, announced today legislation was included in the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2014 (Section 1602) to impose new restrictions on President Obama to limit his ability to approve locating ground-stations for Russia’s GLONASS system in the United States, as the State Department had reportedly proposed to do.
GLONASS is a Russian competitor to the U.S. Air Force’s Global Positioning System (GPS) and is known to be a personal priority of Russian President Vladimir Putin. Locating Russian-controlled global satellite ground monitoring stations in the United States creates the risk that Russia could locate electronic intelligence gathering equipment in those ground stations. This Russian proposal is reportedly backed by the State Department but has drawn the concerns of the Department of Defense (DOD) and the Intelligence Community (IC).
Rogers was the first Member of Congress to challenge this Russian proposal when he sent a letter in early November to Secretary Hagel, Secretary Kerry and General Clapper expressing his concerns over this issue and referencing the concerns of the DOD and IC.
“It is unconscionable to me that the State Department would consider allowing Russia to locate these capabilities on our soil. Any one of my kids would have no problem seeing the risks. I am pleased I was able to ensure this legislation included in the NDAA,” Rogers said.
The provision would be in effect until 2019, ensuring this protection lasts until President Obama leaves office. The House is expected to take up the NDAA this week.