Under the Republican-proposed bill, the Pentagon and CIA chiefs are to provide assurances that GLONASS stations will not be used for spying against the US or for improving the efficiency of Russian weapons, the New York Times says.
The signing was preceded by protracted debates between various US agencies and departments. The bill reflects their authors’ suspicions towards and distrust of Russia’s GLONASS global satellite navigation system.
One of the authors of the bill acknowledged in an interview that the aim was to make the construction of GLONASS stations in the US almost or totally impossible and also to prevent the Department of State from having a say on the issue.
The GLONASS bill was subsequently included into the Pentagon’s draft next year budget.
In an apparent attempt to play down the consequences of the move, the White House has announced that talks with the Russian side will continue.
The Office of the Director of National Intelligence has declined to comment on the issue. A spokesperson for the Department of State said that the matter would be handled in line with the existing legislation.
In 2012, Russia’s Roscosmos space agency announced plans to build eight monitoring stations on US soil to improve the accuracy of GLONASS. Russia has 19 ground-based GLONASS stations on its own territory.
In November, the Pentagon and the CIA, fearing that the move might enhance the capability of the Russian space system, urged the State Department to turn down Roscosmos’ request.