- The Washington Times - Monday, November 18, 2013

Russia is pushing for permission to construct a network of GPS stations on American soil — a prospect that has at least one Alabama lawmaker a bit uneasy.

The New York Times reported that Russia plans to build several stations in the United States to bolster the accuracy of its Glonass GPS.

The State Department sees the idea as a way to warm relations with Russia, which have taken several hits in recent months.

Others aren’t so sure.

“I would like to understand why the United States would be interested in enabling a GPS competitor, like Russian Glonass, when the world’s reliance on GPS is a clear advantage to the United States on multiple levels,” Rep. Mike Rogers, Alabama Republican, told the Times.

National security officials aren’t on board with the idea, either. Intelligence analysts in the United States believe Russia may use the GPS stations as a stepping stone to spy on America’s communications.

The idea has yet to generate much interest on Capitol Hill, where lawmakers worry about the Russia system’s ability to dampen the United States’ own GPS system.

The U.S. doesn’t have any GPS systems on Russian grounds and have not been actively pursuing that deal. Russian-owned stations in the United States would be filled with electronic devices, and the facilities would include rooftop aerial technology, the Times reported. On top of that, the facilities would be placed under heavy security, and surrounded by fences.