Cablegate: Galileo: Ambassador Aragona Advocates Additional

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

C O N F I D E N T I A L ROME 003567



E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/06/2013



Classified By: A/ECMIN David W. Mulenex; reasons 1.5 B and D.

1. (C) Summary: Italian MFA Political Director Gianfranco
Aragona informed a U.S. delegation on July 16 that he still
believes technical solutions exist to the U.S.-EU dispute
over the Galileo Public Regulated Service (PRS) signal
overlay of the M-code. Aragona recognized US security
concerns regarding the overlay, but repeatedly insisted the
EU must safeguard the "Integrity and operability" of Galileo.
The U.S. delegation insisted that an overlay would harm U.S.
and NATO NAVWAR capabilities and put lives at risk in the
event of warfare. Aragona did not completely reject the
delegation's point that a political solution was necessary to
avoid this outcome but made it clear he does not believe the
dispute is ripe for high level political intervention.
Aragona did agree that the delegation's suggestion to merge
unclassified technical talks and plenary negotiations was a
good idea and promised to convey the idea to the Commission.
Aragona stated firmly that NATO would not be an acceptable
venue for classified discussions. He suggested they could
take place at the US Mission to NATO, but insisted that he
participants must be limited to the U.S. and the EC. See
Embassy comment para 16. End Summary.

2. (U) On July 16 a U.S. delegation met with Italian MFA
Political Director Gianfranco Aragona to discuss the US-EC
dispute over the Galileo Public Regulated Service (PRS)
signal overlay of the GPS M-code. The U.S. delegation was
led by Ralph Braibanti, Director, Space and Advanced
Technology, State Department Bureau of Oceans and
International Environmental and Technical Affairs and
included Mel Flack, Director, Communications Electronic
Division, US Mission to NATO; Richard McKinney, Deputy
Director Space Acquisition, US Air Force; Todd Wilson, EST
Officer, US Mission to the EU; Marja Verloop EUR/ERA; and
representatives from the political and science sections of
Embassy Rome. Those joining Aragona included Giovanni
Brauzzi, Director, Office of NATO Affairs, MFA; Sandro
Bernardin, European Correspondent, MFA; Mario Caporale,
Navigation Office, Italian Space Agency; and Umberto
Cantielli, Chief, Navigation Identification Office, Defense
General Staff, Ministry of Defense.

U.S. Delegation Insists Political Solution is needed

3. (C) Braibanti told Aragona that the U.S. believes it is
important to hold informal consultations with key EU member
States to advance U.S.-EC differences over Galileo towards a
decision. He recalled that the President raised M-Code
overlay at the last U.S.- EU Summit. In reviewing the USG
position on Galileo, Braibanti explained that the U.S.
accepts the EU satellite system as a reality, but the
security implications of having the Galileo Public Regulated
Service (PRS) overlay the GPS M-Code are unacceptable to both
the U.S. and NATO. so far, the U.S. has fought a defensive
battle with the European Commission (EC). Braibanti allowed
that some progress has been made in convincing European
officials that direct overlay of M-Code by the PRS is a bad
idea. However, consideration being given by the EC to use
BOC 2.2 for Open Service (OS) also involves a partial overlay
of M-Code, and damages navigational warfare capabilities.
The U.S. will be unable to accept this outcome.

4. (C) Braibanti assured Aragona that the USG is committed
to finding a solution, but cautioned that without some
flexibility and compromise from the EC, progress will be
difficult. The U.S. has proposed several technical options
for Galileo PRS and OS that our experts believe meet all
stated technical and performance requirements for Galileo
services. Braibanti underscored that, given the EC's
timetable for making design decisions on Galileo, member
states may find that the Commission has locked in technical
solutions that threaten U.S. and NATO capabilities to conduct
navigational warfare. To avoid this eventuality, which could
put allied lives at risk, member states need to give clear
political guidance now to the EC that the Galileo signal
structure cannot undermine NAVWAR operations.

But Aragona Puts Faith in Further Technical Talks

5. (C) Aragona, signaling his reluctance to take on U.S.
concerns vis-a-vis Italy's EU partners, underscored that
Galileo negotiations had been entrusted to the EC. He
assured the U.S. team that Italy recognized the security
issues at stake. "Given our NATO membership it would be
crazy for us not to be sensitive to U.S. arguments," Aragona
declared. These concerns are shared by the EC, he claimed,
but any solution must also safeguard the "integrity and
operability of Galileo for it to be a commercially viable and
reliable system (Note: Aragona came back repeatedly
throughout the course of the consultations to this theme. End

6. (C) Aragona pressed claims by EC experts that technical
negotiations could lead to a solution to both protect the
integrity and operability of Galileo and address US security
concerns. Referencing the U.S.-EU Summit, Aragona asserted
that, as an "agreement" had been reached to proceed with
technical talks, the pace of negotiations to try to reach a
"technical solution" to the overlay conundrum should be
intensified. Italy and the EC are ready to take into
account U.S. and NATO security concerns and believe that
technical solutions, which protect them, are available.

7. (C) Aragona wanted to know when the U.S. would be ready
to discuss the most recent EC proposals, which he understood
included a certain "inventiveness" and were "not so stuck in
the prejudices of the past." The EC was ready to sit and
discuss a mutually agreeable technical solution. As for
political input, Aragona said once more that the Commission
is well aware that U.S. security concerns must be addressed
while taking into account the "integrity" of the Galileo

8. (C) Braibanti countered that, with regard to EC
technical proposals, he was aware of only two to which a
formal reply had not been given: using filtering to mitigate
the navigation warfare problems posed by overlaying BOC 2.2,
and having the U.S. change the frequency for its military GPS
signals. In the spirit of cooperation, the U.S. had not
rejected these ideas out of hand, but instead asked its
technical experts to analyze them carefully. Now that he had
seen the results of this analysis, Braibanti could say with
some certainty that it is highly unlikely that either of
these options will work. Summing up this portion of the
discussion, Braibanti framed the state of play for Aragona:
We may well reach a situation in September where we will have
analyzed the EC's proposals and decided they can not provide
a solution which protects U.S. and NATO capabilities to
conduct NAVWAR. Our concern is that if EC technical experts
continue to operate within their current frame of reference,
we will arrive at a technical impasse. To avoid this
impasse, the EC team needs clear political direction from
member States that they should focus on options that do not
negatively impact NAVWAR. (Note: on the margins of the
meeting, Braibanti told Aragona that the USG worries the EC
negotiators may be positioning themselves to argue to the EU
member states that they had made a good faith effort to reach
a compromise, but the U.S. would not meet them halfway, so
Galileo must move ahead without an agreement to cooperate
with the U.S. Aragona discounted this possibility,
suggesting that the EC recognizes the need for Galileo-GPS
interoperability. (End Note)

NATO a Non-Starter for Classified Talks

9. (C) Aragona said the U.S. and EU face a practical
problem over where to hold classified discussions and that
this problem should be easily resolvable. Italy expects the
U.S. to provide a formal answer to the letter EC negotiator
Heinz Hillbrecht sent to Braibanti on July 2 (reftel).
Aragona maintained that the EC wants further discussions in a
classified setting, but that setting can not be NATO. He
underscored this point in uncharacteristically blunt
language. Aragona said holding the talks at the US Mission
to NATO was perfectly acceptable as long as they were U.S.-EC
rather than NATO-EC discussions. The issue under discussion
is between the U.S. and the EC, Aragona argued, and,
moreover, there are several non-EU members of NATO.
Braibanti took Aragona's points and assured him that the USG
was considering the issue of additional classified
discussions, including the modalities for such meetings.

Some Agreement on Procedure, but....

10. (C) Braibanti, moving the discussion to how and when to
hold the next plenary negotiating session, said the U.S. will
work with the Commission on dates for a September meeting to
review technical and trade issues He suggested folding the
technical discussions into the plenary negotiating session.
This could help to ensure transparency and avoid
misunderstanding among the political negotiators about the
available technical options. Aragona acknowledged that
Braibanti's idea had merit and committed to "see what could
be done" to make a political recommendation to the EC to
proceed along these lines.

Still Talking Past Each Other on substance

11. (C) The U.S. delegation raised concerns that France
might be driving the EC toward a decision counter to the
interests of other EU member states, the U.S. and NATO. Mel
Flack said it was difficult not to arrive at the conclusion
that France was interested in an M-Code overlay so it could
guarantee reliability for precision guided weaponry it might
seek to sell to third countries.

12. (C) "I have objected to Europeans who say that U.S.
actions demonstrate an intent to undermine Galileo," Aragona
told the delegation. "Likewise," he said, "I do not believe
that there is any maliciousness on the part of a particular
country or the EC." Above all, he maintained, Galileo is a
commercial undertaking; the system's signal structure was
selected according to well established criteria based on the
belief that it provided the most robust, reliable service.
"I accept your arguments about the need to jam adversaries in
a NAVWAR context," he said, but the U.S. "needs to keep in
mind that Galileo service must be sold. The problem of
selective jamming is not just political; commercial aspects
are also involved." When Aragona stated it would not be
acceptable to expect the EU to settle for alternate, less
robust, signals, Braibanti countered it would be unacceptable
for the U.S. and its allies to risk the lives of soldiers in
order to allow the EU to have more robust signals for

13. (C) Aragona acknowledged the point in passing, but
moved quickly to close and summarize the conversation. He
suggested the next step would be to find a suitable venue to
hold classified discussions. He claimed there is flexibility
and that the EU is aware of the need for a solution amenable
to both sides. Braibanti emphasized that after the September
discussions the USG would like to hold another set of
bilateral consultations with Italy. Aragona was
noncommittal, offering to share thoughts after the September
plenary session and then decide on a way forward. In terms
of U.S.-Italian engagement, he said he hoped that discussions
would not lead to the "extreme" situation in which the U.S.
and EU would be negotiating on exclusively U.S. terms, by
which he meant asking the EU to accept moving PRS to another
frequency band and to only then negotiate a solution. He
noted in closing that Italy had its own technological and
industrial interests to defend.

Better Signals, Less Political Clout from Other GOI Ministries

14. (C) Braibanti, Flack and EST Couns met with Vice
Minister for Research Guido Possa on July 15. Possa is
responsible for the Italian Space Agency and through it for
Italian participation in ESA. After a brief explanation of
the overlay problem and its implications for NAVWAR, Possa
immediately understood that a political, and not a technical
approach was needed to resolve outstanding problems. Possa
suggested that the U.S. should work closely with the Germans,
and in Italy with Minister of Defense Martino, whose
commitment to NATO and to close cooperation with the U.S.
were well known. On the margins of a July 28
representational event, ESTCOUNS and A/POLMINCOUNS raised
briefly the overlay problem with MINDEF Martino. Martino
said that, from his point of view, Galileo was unnecessary
and a huge waste of money -- one GPS system was enough. He
was unaware that the USG now supported Galileo in principle.
Martino was sensitive to our arguments on the security
implications of the overlay, but observed that he was
perceived within the GOI as too pro-American to be of much
assistance. He suggested that the Embassy's best bet for
moving the GOI closer to the USG position would be to
approach U/S to the PM Gianni Letta, who, we note, is PM
Berlusconi's closest political advisor.

with Ministry of Transport Diplomatic Advisor Maraini to
discuss the Aragona meetings and to seek the perspective of
the Ministry on the decisions to be taken concerning Galileo
at the December Transport Council. Maraini told us that he
believed that Galileo was now principally a political
problem, and a problem beyond the competency of the Transport
Ministry and Transport Council. In a candid appraisal of
Hillbrecht-whom Maraini admitted he did not know well--the
Diplomatic Advisor said that the decision to be taken was
beyond the competency of Hillbrecht's technical committee.
Maraini understood and agreed with our assessment that very
little time and scope remained for technical solutions, and
that an impasse requiring a major political decision by the
EU was likely. Maraini is worried about the outcome. He
undertook to prepare a note for Minister Lunardi to be sent
to the Prive Minister before the PM's departure for Crawford.

16. (C) Embassy Comment: The U.S. delegation made the trip
to Rome to follow up on indications from Aragona, made during
his recent trip to Washington, that he may have been willing
to carry some water for us with the EC and member states. We
were left with the impression that Italy's PolDir had instead
decided to keep his EU hat firmly in place and stick to the
script of the EC briefing book on Galileo. Despite
understanding within the functional ministries of the GOI,
peeling Aragona, the MFA, and Italy away from the EC position
will be difficult, judging from Aragona's assessment that
"technical solutions" still offer a way forward. He threw us
a quarter of a bone by offering to help give political top
cover to the expert level technical discussions. However,
Aragona's implicit insistence that Galileo's commercial
viability may depend on at least a partial M-Code overlay to
"guarantee" service is troubling for its resemblance to
French arguments.

17. (U) This message has been cleared by OES/SAT Braibanti.

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