Editor’s Note: The following excellent article by Dee Ann Divis points out that the US Congress remains very much int the lead for GPS/PNT policy in the United States. Virtually every high level issue associated with GPS is addressed in the bill. In addition to authorizing needed funding, the bill discusses numerous policy issues including:

  • Use of non-US satellite navigation systems by the US military
  • Frequency protection for GPS/GNSS signals
  • The need for a complementary and backup system
  • Obtaining a complementary and backup system through a public-private-partnership

With responsibilities for various aspects of GPS/PNT scattered across departments, the last two administrations have struggled to focus on what several officials have called a single point of failure for America. It is good to see the Congress able to address all of these high priority concerns in one place.

Authorization Bill Signals Full GPS Funding, Pushes GPS Back-Up

Dee Ann Divis
December 24, 2016

Yesterday (December 23, 2016) President Obama signed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2017, a $619-billion bill with a number of provisions affecting satellite navigation.

The legislation (S. 2943) fully authorizes the administration’s requests for all the elements of the GPS program — and signals indirectly that appropriators eventually will provide comparable support — although the NDAA does put additional requirements on those developing the new GPS ground system.

The bill also throws congressional support behind development of a GPS backup and limits the use of signals from other satellite navigation constellations — a significant consideration given that defense officials have said using non-GPS satnav signals was one way to help assure service in an increasingly hostile space operations environment.

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