Wednesday, Mr. John Acton testified at one of a series of House of Representatives hearings on national infrastructure needs. Two Coast Guard Vice Admirals and an official from the Government Accountability Office testified also.
Mr. Action is a retired USCG Reserve Rear Admiral, and a former senior executive with the Department of Homeland Security. Among his other roles, he is now Chairman of the Coast Guard Affairs Committee at the influential Navy League of the United States.
The following short video and transcript are an exchange between Congressman Garamendi, ranking member of the subcommittee, Mr. Acton, and Vice Admiral Ray, the USCG’s Deputy Commandant for Operations.
CONGRESSMAN GARAMENDI: Mr. Acton, the eLoran, we can go into it. Question, based upon your experience with the Department of Homeland Security and with the Coast Guard, do you think the eLoran system could help eliminate the problems with the GPS?
MR. ACTON: Yes, sir. As you know, the GPS system has been around for a while. It’s fairly easy to disrupt. There’s a growing reliance on that system in virtually every technology area and yet our adversaries are gaining a growing capacity to be able to disrupt that.
So from our perspective, GPS is a single point of failure for much of our infrastructure. And this issue has been known for quite a number of years. Although the Coast Guard should not have the lead and does not have the lead on that, I believe it’s the Secretary of Transportation overseeing the National Executive Committee on space- based PNT executive committee, the Coast Guard does have the key supporting role in that. So as a single point of failure, that’s been recognized for some time, the Navy League would support advancing a backup program like eLoran.
CONG. GARAMENDI: OK. In our Coast Guard reauthorization we actually instruct the Department of Homeland Security to take up this issue — excuse me — Department of Transportation to take up this issue and to work with the Coast Guard on implementing it. This is (inaudible).
One more thing and this brings us back to the overarching budget problem here. Ultimately the Coast Guard did do this or they did do the Loran system and the question is are they capable of doing the eLoran system. The answer is, of course, if they have the money. Correct, Admirals?
VICE ADMIRAL RAY: Yes, sir. Given the required resources, we’ve taken on a lot of missions over the years.
CONG. GARAMENDI: Give us the money and you can get it done, right? OK. I’ve been beating this drum so many times, but, yes, it’s in the re-authorization. We’re going to try to make sure the money is there also.