Launch Site Security in the PRC
Lack of Intermediate Sanction Authority
One Defense Department monitor explains that several types of security violations can occur during a launch campaign or a technical interchange meeting.58 Most incidents fall into the category of infractions that do not rise to the level of a license violation, but may include such things as controlled documents being left out in the open, unescorted visitors, and broken security seals on doors or windows.
Tarbell characterized infractions as instances that run the gamut "from very, very minor things to things that require DTSAís attention, but donít rise to the level of an export control violation that we should report to the State Department." 59 Tarbell says that Defense Technology Security Administration guidance to monitors encourages them to try to resolve problems on site and, if that is not effective, to contact the agency immediately so that it can resolve the situation with the company.60
Tarbell says that he believes that his agency has a significant sanction available ó the ability to stop a launch. In addition, Tarbell also indicates that he believes that the Defense Technology Security Administration has additional enforcement powers by virtue of its relationship to the licensing process and the Arms Export Control Act.
However, there appear to be no intermediate sanctions available to discourage relatively common, repetitive security infractions.
Conflicting Industry Priorities
Tarbell acknowledges that the satellite manufacturerís program management staff is interested in pushing the schedule, making sure costs are low, finishing the project, and limiting risk to the project. This forces the satellite firm to make judgments that push as hard as possible against the barriers of security and technology transfer. This is why, in Tarbellís view, Defense Department monitors are necessary.61
One Loral site security manager indicates that industry project managers consider security to be an obstruction to the completion of their mission. It is an extra cost and poses additional obstacles to them.62 One Loral program manager repeatedly stated to a monitor that "Security was ninth on my list of priorities." 63
A former security manager for Loral says that he argued against having the program manager being placed in charge of satellite security during the Intelsat 708 launch in the PRC, because a program managerís main objective of launching the satellite will take precedence over security.64 He was overruled twice, even after several reports were received during the launch campaign that the Defense Department monitor was having problems with the program managerís lax attitude toward security issues.65
During the Loral-Intelsat 708 launch campaign, complaints were made that the program manager invited PRC nationals into the satellite processing building and allowed them to be photographed standing in front of the satellite.66 The PRC nationals were alleged to be employees of the local hotel, as well as members of the PRC technical team.67 Comments were made that the program managerís Chinese heritage invoked his sense of pity concerning the quality of life of the PRC nationals near the launch site, and motivated him to invite the visitors for a photo session.68 No record of this incident appears in Defense Technology Security Administration files.
Satellite Manufacturers, Not the Defense Department, Supervise Site Security Personnel
At the launch site, the security force reports to the U.S. satellite manufacturerís representatives (because the security personnelís contractual obligations run to the company that pays them, not to the U.S. Government). Therefore, the security force cannot be considered to constitute an independent security function.69 Yet some industry officials insist that the program manager should be responsible for the entire launch campaign, including security.70
Reliance on Private Contractor Security Is Inadequate
United States commercial satellite manufacturers routinely contract with a private security firm to provide security, including protection against technology transfers, at PRC launch sites. Since few, if any, other security firms currently provide this specialized service, Pinkerton Aerospace Division has been used almost exclusively by U.S. satellite firms launching in the PRC. Of the ten security firms identified in a recent business journal, for example, only Pinkerton currently offers foreign launch site security services.71 Another firm, Launch Security Services International, provided such services prior to going out of business in 1996.72
Both the Defense Department monitors and industry representatives have complained about the quality of work and the conduct of some members of the contractor security forces.73
One Defense Department monitor experienced a range of problems with the private security guard force on a PRC launch, including:
- Sleeping on the job
- Reporting to work under the influence of alcohol
- Poor reporting on daily logs and at shift changes
- Racial and gender slurs towards PRC nationals in the local village
- Routine bus trips into the town to meet prostitutes
- Overall lack of respect for management
The Defense Department monitor indicates that the solicitation of prostitutes became so intense that he was approached by a PRC foreign affairs officer who was assigned to the launch to report that one of the guards had been seen soliciting prostitution in front of the local police department.74
One security guard even reported for duty carrying a sleeping bag.75
Another Defense Department monitor describes a situation during a launch campaign in the PRC in which the contractor security guards moved a table out of the line of sight of a video surveillance camera, in order to use it as a bed.
Since the table on which the security guard was sleeping also obstructed entry and exit to the room, the Defense Department monitor called the guard on the telephone to request that the table be moved away from the door, and back into the position where it had previously been located.
The guard reportedly responded that he was "not in the furniture moving business." 76 In response, the Defense Department monitor had to leave his duties and walk to the remote building to confront the guard and ensure that the table
Insufficient Numbers of Security Guards at PRC Launch Sites
Each U.S. satellite manufacturer is permitted to develop its own security plans for launches in the PRC, with subsequent approval by the Defense Department. As a result, the number of security guards at PRC launch sites varies.
One U.S. satellite company security official indicates he believes that attempting to take less than ten contract security guards to a launch in the PRC is "rolling the dice" in terms of the ability to provide effective safeguards. Taking less than nine is, in his view, "crazy." Most satellite manufacturers take 12 or 13 security officers to a PRC launch.77
However, one Loral site security supervisor says he was asked by the program manager to try to reduce costs and investigate the possibility of reducing the number of contractor security staff, since the program manager had observed that security guards often were idle. The supervisor agreed to require only nine security officers ó even though he had never been to the PRC launch site, and even though he was aware that 12 security guards had been used at the same facility for the previous Loral launch. The Loral site security supervisor says that he experienced no problems maintaining proper security with only nine officers.78
Some satellite manufacturers attempt to augment the contractor security force by using their own technical staff to provide escorts for nationals during a launch campaign. During launches in the PRC, this has resulted in periods when PRC visitors were unescorted and unattended, because the technicians were called away or not attentive to their escort duties.79
Correcting Security Deficiencies
In recent months, an effort has been underway to standardize security practices among U.S. companies launching satellites in the PRC. Security managers from Hughes and Loral have been trying to form a working group with the Defense Department "to try to standardize . . . some of our practices." 80
Tarbell notes that U.S. satellite companies have expressed great interest in working with the Defense Department to achieve some standardization in their approaches to site security.81
Additionally, some companies hold "lessons learned" sessions after a launch occurs to incorporate circumstances and responses encountered during a launch, including site security, into future launch operations.
Following the failure of the Intelsat 708 launch, for example, the security manager reviewed the Defense Departmentís reports and findings and made changes to the companyís security system. He concluded that Loral needed "a much more intensive educational program to inform everybody that there will be a very stringent document control system with bright red covers and locked safes and daily inventories.82 Additionally, the Loral security manager requested that a representative from the Defense Department speak to company management to discuss how the company could improve its security procedures.
The 1999 Defense Authorization Act
The Strom Thurmond National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1999 provides that U.S. business interests must not be placed above U.S. national security interests, and that the export or transfer of advanced communication satellites and related technologies from U.S. sources to foreign recipients should not increase the risks to the national security.
Further, the Act states that the United States should not export missile equipment or technology to the PRC that would improve its missile or space launch capabilities, and should pursue policies that protect and enhance the U.S. space launch industry.
In furtherance of these interests, the Act calls for mandatory Defense Department monitors and reimbursement of related costs by the U.S. satellite manufacturer, in any case in which a license is approved for the export of a satellite for launch in a foreign country. The stated purpose is to prevent the unauthorized transfer of technology, including technical assistance and technical data.83
The Secretary of Defense is also directed by the Act to establish a program for recruiting, training and maintaining a staff dedicated to monitoring launches of satellites in foreign countries. The Act calls for mandatory Technology Transfer Control Plans approved by the Defense Department, and Encryption Technology Transfer Control Plans approved by the National Security Agency.84
The Technology Security Directorate within the Defense Departmentís Defense Threat Reduction Agency is developing plans for implementation of the Act. Tarbell indicated that the plans are undergoing funding review within the Defense Department. Tarbell also indicated that the Technology Security Directorate is reviewing the range of satellite-related activities in which it should be involved.85
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