Brussels, 21 January 2002
An Information Note on Galileo prepared by the Energy and Transport DG reports that the U.S. Department of Defence has raised problems with Galileo which it feels are not accurate and are "in danger of muddying the waters in current discussions on launching the next phase of the project."
It outlines and responds to these issues in Annex 2 and Annex 3 of the Information Note.
Galileo: unjustified US action on frequencies
A letter from the American Department of Defence to some of its European counterparts on security problems associated with the frequencies to be used by the future satellite positioning system, Galileo, is in danger of muddying the waters in current discussions on launching the next phase of the project. The Commission is aware of the American arguments, and acceptable solutions are possible.
The American diplomatic move directed at European NATO members began on the eve of the Transport Council meeting of 6 and 7 December 2001. The impression it gives is that its main purpose is to safeguard the world monopoly on secure navigation services which is held by the United States.
The problem raised by the United States
Galileo's public regulated service (PRS) signal
One task of the PRS is to ensure continuity of service for specific government applications (civil, police and defence security) even at a time of crisis when other services may have been denied access. The PRS will therefore have to be encrypted using a government cipher and monitored by an appropriate European political body.
The United States takes the view that all non-military satellite radionavigation signals, including the PRS, can be used for hostile purposes, even for terrorism. They therefore wish to have the option of jamming them without disrupting the military Global Positioning System (GPS).
If, however, in accordance with the provisions of the International Telecommunication Union regulations, the same frequencies are used both by Galileo's non-military PRS and the GPS's military signal then it will not be possible to selectively jam one of the two signals without disrupting the other.
In order to find a solution to this potential problem, it is worth pointing out that the PRS can and indeed will be adequately secured (state encryption, users approved by the countries of Europe, service monitored by a European political body). Furthermore, at the last round of talks in Washington at the end of October 2001, the European negotiators already suggested flexible solutions for the use of the radiofrequency spectrum (see below) which would take the Americans' concerns into account.
Use of the radiofrequency spectrum
The World Radiocommunications Conference held in Istanbul in May 2000 authorised an increase in the number of frequencies that could be used for satellite radionavigation in general and for Galileo in particular.
It should be noted that the allotted frequencies do not belong to individual States but can be used by satellite radionavigation in general. The frequencies currently used by the GPS are therefore not the property of the United States or of the GPS. International regulations authorise Galileo to use the same frequencies as those carrying the GPS military signal on condition that Galileo does not cause disturbance in the American system.
Optimising the use of Galileo's allotted frequencies involves some "superimposition" with band L1 which the United States wish to use in future for their military code. The solutions put forward by Europe allow this superimposition without generating unacceptable interference for the military signal. In addition, the proposed solutions are flexible enough to take American security concerns into consideration. The United States cannot doubt Europe's capacity to design a PRS capable of not interfering with their military GPS. Following a two-year research programme carried out by businesses and government laboratories in Europe, we can be confident on that point.
The discussions on the matter held last October between the Commission and the United States were very productive and positive. It was agreed that talks would continue and, as things stand, the Commission is waiting for the United States' reaction to its latest proposals. The Commission is convinced that it will be possible to find an acceptable solution and to continue discussions with an open-minded and constructive attitude.
Cooperation between the United States and the European Union in satellite navigation security The letter from the Deputy Defence Secretary also asks whether Galileo has "military features". Once again, we should make it clear that the PRS service (public regulated service) would not be a military or even quasi-military service despite benefiting from encrypted signals and hence a higher guarantee of service than open signals.
It is clear, nonetheless, that the entire Galileo system, which will be operated by a private-sector manager, must be monitored and supervised by state authorities in terms of security aspects with a view to taking appropriate action in the event of a crisis.
Following the Council decision to launch the Galileo programme planned by the Laeken Council for March, the European Union will be in a position to commence discussions with the United States on structures for proper cooperation in security matters. This should also involve representatives of the CFSP and also, if necessary, NATO.
We must however beware of using the security argument to delay the Council decision on starting the Galileo programme, as the Americans are currently avoiding continued discussions until they can see more clearly whether the Galileo programme is going to go ahead or not.
The European side can do no other than endorse the Assistant Secretary of Defence's statement, "I believe that acceptable solutions can be found."
The importance of a quick decision on frequencies
With regard to the specific issue of frequencies, there are three basic reasons why a decision must be taken urgently on the Galileo programme.
1. The World Radiocommunications Conference (WRC) of May 2000
The Istanbul Conference (WRC-2000) discussed the satellite radionavigation sector at length, reaching the following conclusions:
• World agreement on opening new frequency bands dedicated to the new satellite radionavigation services.
• The countries of Europe, in line with that agreement, expressed their commitment to providing a world-wide satellite radionavigation system to complement GPS into practice and applied for frequencies to be used by the Galileo system. The applications were filed on 13 February 2001.
The applicable international regulations (through the International Telecommunication Union, ITU) stipulate that the Galileo applicants have 5 years to launch an initial satellite in the constellation emitting signals in the frequency bands applied for. In order for operation to be officially endorsed the designated altitude and inclination must be adhered to (same order of magnitude) and in order to provide a proper service the launched satellite must cover every point on earth (over a period of time).
The allocation of frequencies becomes void if the time limit is allowed to expire.
As a result:
• International regulations require a satellite to be launched before 13 February 2006. It may be noted that this is consistent with the operational phase of the Galileo programme scheduled for 2008.
• By their commitments at WRC-2000, the countries of Europe also committed themselves to a strict timetable predefined by international regulations.
• In order to be in a position to launch an initial satellite by 2006, the following technical phases must first be completed:
• Launch of an experimental satellite by the end of 2003 (or the beginning of 2004 at the latest) to validate the working hypotheses used. This means developing and setting up new test resources ("Galileo System Test Bed").
• Test programmes to be carried out in 2002 to confirm and refine the assessment of interference between Galileo and existing systems.
This work requires considerable funding to be set aside which is not currently available and which is subject to the relevant decisions.
2. World Radiocommunications Conference (WRC) of June 2003
In preparation for the Caracas Conference in June 2003:
• The countries of Europe have agreed to prepare for this conference which is expected to adopt resolutions defining the technical conditions for sharing Galileo with existing systems.
• In order for these resolutions to be adopted positions must be co-ordinated for the geographical areas of the world:
• CEPT for Europe as far as Russia, (meeting of January 2002)
• CITEL forNorth andSouth America (February 2002). Information note
• APT, Arab and African region, etc.
• Extremely short-term deadlines have been set for this (May 2002 is the deadline by which a definitive consolidated position must be agreed, which will be examined at the preparatory conference scheduled for November 2002).
The resolutions to be adopted must, of course, be favourable to Galileo. To that end, an information and lobbying campaign is crucial in view of the fact that some countries do not yet have a well-defined position with regard to Galileo (Russia, itself a member of CEPT, is very influential; Canada is less determined than previously) and that these resolutions are adopted world-wide.
Without a political signal very soon from the countries of Europe, it will be extremely difficult for these different regions to support our European position in the coming months.
3. Bilateral discussions with the United States
Bilateral discussions have been instigated with the United States, and the last round in Washington demonstrated the need to step up the pace and the content of these discussions in order to achieve good mutual co-ordination of Galileo and GPS and to ensure high levels of security for the provision of satellite radionavigation services.
• Detailed technical co-ordination on interference related to signal superimposition.
• Co-ordination of radionavigation signal security policy directed in particular at ensuring the continuity of strategic services in the event of a crisis situation affecting Europe or the United States.
According to the mandate which the EU Member States gave the European Commission for the bilateral discussions with the United States, it is important for Europe to present a clear position in order to step up the discussions initiated by both parties.
Galileo: strategic considerations
In the next 20 years satellite radionavigation is going to have a critical impact on the movement of vehicles by land, air and sea and hence on all associated transport policies. Many "strategic" aspects have been mentioned: the impact on Community transport policy through 'increased accuracy' applications for rail or the transportation of dangerous substances for instance, the impact on other Community policies (in the first, second and third pillars) and on the return on investment for European industry (telephones, receivers, components, software, services, etc.)
There are two "strategic" elements of the Galileo programme which are of the utmost importance to the Member States which have not been highlighted in the various documents published to date (communication, CBA, etc.):
- the impact on sovereignty and the independence of national defence policies. In 20 years' time, all aspects of European defence and of all defence systems (land, air and sea) will involve satellite radionavigation. If the Galileo programme is abandoned, we will in the next 20 to 30 years lose our autonomy in defence.
- exporting systems containing standard radionavigation receiving components is already subject to US domination and that trend will become stronger yet. In the long term, all systems will have this type of receiver. Placing the dual European industry (civil and defence) in competition with the American industry will be unbalanced and potentially subject to American decisions (aircraft, boats, associated equipment, etc.). The American defence industry accounts for around 100 billion dollars, with 22% exports, compared with some 50 billion for the European Union, with around 25% exports.
In addition, US domination with regard to a minimal-cost component, the cryptological processor or radionavigation receiver, is going to allow them to dominate the radionavigation sector which relies on hybridisation with other technologies such as inertial technologies .
At the present time, Europe is independent of the United States. In the next 20 years, the European aeronautics industry (Airbus, for example) will be threatened as American companies will be the only ones to dominate the radionavigation market, which will become a monopoly.
Already in the defence market one American company is refusing to sell the individual cryptological processors and insists on selling only complete receivers at 10 to 50 times the price. When questioned on the case, the US Department of Defence response is that it cannot intervene in matters of industrial policy. This is a situation which can only get worse.
Without Galileo, in 10 or 20 years, the entire navigation system will be subject to an American monopoly, including sectors other than the defence sector (sea- or land-based, etc.). This represents a threat to a major proportion of our industry as all means of transport need electronic or positioning functions.
Source: Energy and Transport DG
Source: Energy and Transport DG