Even as Russia imposes the most intensive security apparatus in Olympic history, top military officers from the US and Russia have opened discussions about using sophisticated US electronic equipment in a new effort to help secure the Winter Games in Sochi next month.
The Russian delegation has raised the prospect of gaining access to the US technology, developed by the Pentagon to counter improvised explosive devices in Afghanistan and Iraq, US Department of Defense 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 in Brussels on Tuesday when General Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, held his first face-to-face meeting with his counterpart, General Valery Gerasimov, chief of the Russian general staff.
Dempsey said the US Department of Defense would be willing to provide equipment designed to detect and disrupt mobile phone 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 US 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, Dempsey said 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 US troops 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 US 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.
Dempsey and Gerasimov met one day after Pentagon officials disclosed that US European Command was drawing up plans to have two US Navy warships in the Black Sea during the Games, should they be needed in case of emergency.