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New DHS PMO for PNT – Request for Help

September 23, 2016

Government officials tell us that the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is standing up a Program Management Office (PMO) for Positioning, Navigation and Timing (PNT) issues. The PMO will reside within the Office of Infrastructure Protection which is a component of the National Protection and Programs Directorate.  Here are a couple of org charts in case they might help:  DHS & NPPD.

About the same time we heard about the new PMO, we saw a notice in the Federal Register that DHS is looking for help understanding timing requirements in the electricity and wireless communications sectors.

We find this public request for help curious for several reasons.

The wireless communications industry standards group, ATIS, has written repeatedly to DHS and DOT about timing requirements. They are about as authoritative a source as one could imagine.

Information on electrical utility needs was collected last year as part of a Department of Transportation request for public comment. it is also also readily available from the North American Synchrophasor Initiative led by Pacific Northwest National Labs, and from the folks at MITRE who have studied the issue extensively over the years – see this presentation and this graphic.

Perhaps more significantly, in December the Deputy Secretaries of Defense and Transportation wrote to five members of Congress saying that they had enough information on national timing requirements to move forward with establishment of an eLoran timing network.

It took the deputy secretaries over three months to write that letter in response to concerns expressed by the congressmen.  It is hard to imagine  they got it wrong.

We wonder why the government thinks it still needs public input to gather more information on timing requirements.