Blog Editor’s Note: The House Report accompanying the National Defense Authorization Act for 2017 directs the Secretaries of Defense, Transportation, and Homeland Security to examine technologies to augment GPS and report to Congress within a year. At the end of the section below the Congress notes that the administration’s PNT Tiger Team identified eLoran as the leading candidate but that, as yet, no funds have been identified. We would have liked to see more, but it is a good sign that more explicit references are being included in legislation.
Legislation to put the Coast Guard in charge and direct establishment of an eLoran system was passed by the House and is with the Senate. If it is not enacted into law before the Congress adjourns for Christmas, the House proposal would be invalidated and the new Congress would have to start the process over.
Section 1613–Backup and Complementary Positioning, Navigation, and
Timing Capabilities of Global Positioning System
This section would direct the Secretary of Defense, Secretary of Transportation, and Secretary of Homeland Security to jointly conduct a study to assess and identify the technology-neutral requirements to backup and complement the positioning, navigation, and timing (PNT) capabilities of the Global Positioning System for national security and critical infrastructure.
This section would also direct the Secretary of Defense, Secretary of Transportation, and Secretary of Homeland Security to submit a report to the appropriate congressional committees not later than 1 year after the date of the enactment of this Act on the study.
The report would include the identification of the respective requirements to backup and complement the positioning, navigation, and timing capabilities of the Global Positioning System for national security and critical infrastructure; an analysis of alternatives to meet such requirements including at a minimum an analysis of the viability of a public-private partnership to establish a complementary PNT system and an analysis of the viability of service level agreements to operate a complementary PNT system; and a plan and estimated costs, schedule, and system level
technical considerations, including end user equipment and integration considerations, to meet such requirements.
This section would also require that each Secretary designate a single senior official to act as the primary representative of such Department for purposes of conducting the study.
The committee is aware that while a continental United States “enhanced” Long-Range Navigation (eLoran) system would not meet the Department’s requirements for worldwide operations, it could contribute to increasing resilience of PNT in the United States. The committee is also aware that a complementary PNT tiger team recommended eLoran as the leading candidate for fulfilling the maximum number of PNT user needs within the next 5 years for certain sectors, but that there is currently no planned funding for this capability. The committee expects that a joint study will help inform a coordinated, effective and efficient way ahead for a backup and complementary system to GPS.