By THOM SHANKERJAN
Even as Russia imposes the most intensive security apparatus in Olympic history, the top military officers from the United States and Russia have opened discussions about using sophisticated American electronic equipment in a new effort to help secure the Winter Games in Sochi next month.
The Russian delegation first raised the prospect of gaining access to the American technology, developed by the Pentagon to counter improvised explosive devices in Afghanistan and Iraq, Defense Department officials said on Tuesday. They emphasized that no decisions had been made yet.
The potential for a technological exchange was part of an extensive discussion here on Tuesday when Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, held his first face-to-face meeting with his Russian counterpart, Gen. Valery V. Gerasimov, chief of the general staff.
President Obama and President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia also discussed security at the Games in a phone conversation on Tuesday, Reuters reported. Few details were disclosed. General Dempsey said the Defense Department would be willing to provide equipment designed to detect and disrupt cellphone or radio signals used by militants to detonate improvised explosives from a distance. But he cautioned that technical experts from both nations first needed to make sure that the American systems could be integrated into the communications networks and security systems being set in place by Russia.
In discussing the Pentagon’s technology to counter improvised explosives, General Dempsey noted that this was “something that we’ve become extraordinarily familiar with.” Homemade bombs planted by militants have been the leading cause of deaths and injuries to American service members in Afghanistan and Iraq.
But the decision on whether to share the equipment is not a simple one. Especially during the early use of the technology, the American military found that it had created a muddle of electronic signals in which competing and overlapping systems canceled out the effectiveness of other systems in use at the same time and in the same area.
“If you’re not careful, you can actually degrade capability, not enhance it,” General Dempsey said.
During their meetings here, the American and Russian military chiefs sought to advance an agenda of exchanges and continued cooperation on counterterrorism and antipiracy operations, despite the fact that diplomatic relations between Washington and Moscow swing between caustic disagreement and cautious cooperation.
Even with their extensive agenda on bilateral security issues, the question of safety at the Olympics was thoroughly discussed, including a description by General Gerasimov of the close cooperation between the Russian military and its civilian law enforcement and intelligence services to provide security for the games.
General Gerasimov described in detail how Russian authorities “have in place the intelligence apparatus as well as the response apparatus to deal with the threats,” General Dempsey said.
The discussion between Generals Dempsey and Gerasimov came one day after Pentagon officials disclosed that the United States European Command was drawing up plans to have two Navy warships in the Black Sea at the time of the Games, should they be needed in case of emergency.
In addition to deploying tens of thousands of police officers and military reinforcements to the Sochi area, the Russian government has tightened control inside the city ahead of the opening of the Games on Feb. 7, banning vehicles that are not registered in the region and requiring even Russians who visit to register with the police within three days, as foreigners must do.
The threat of terrorism has become a grim reality of major sporting events, and Russian officials are acutely aware that these Games are being held near a region festering with Islamist separatists.
If our government really cared about out citizens they would recall everyone and ban any US citizens to Russia until it regained some...
“I think we have an opportunity to advance the relationship on areas of common interest,” General Dempsey said.
He noted in particular that Moscow remains a vital partner for supply lines for the NATO mission in Afghanistan, agreeing to allow the movement of nonlethal material to and from the war zone through Russian territory; that rail and road network is becoming increasingly important as protests in Pakistan choke efforts to use the more convenient supply line there.
General Dempsey said his Russian counterpart was concerned about the potential for further instability in Afghanistan after the NATO combat mission there officially ends this year. General Gerasimov has asked for updates on the American and NATO effort to train, advise and equip Afghan National Security Forces, General Dempsey said, as well as Afghanistan’s ability to maintain and control transportation lines in and out of the country.
“He is absolutely concerned, as I would be in his place,” General Dempsey said.
In brief remarks welcoming General Dempsey to the Russian mission to NATO in suburban Brussels, General Gerasimov endorsed “regular contacts” between the militaries as “quite useful.” http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/22/world/europe/us-offers-russia-high-tech-aid-to-thwart-sochi-terror.html?ref=thomshanker