Editor’s Note: Unless there is a crisis, the government almost always takes small steps on things. The below announcement about the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for 2018 is a good example.
Several things to keep in mind for those prone to be too eager or too pessimistic:
- This is just the House version of the bill – though we see no reason the provision would not pass the Senate.
- It allows money to be spent – but it does not actually provide the money. Funding could come either from existing funds in the budget, or in the Appropriations Act for 2018 which is also in progress, or not at all.
- It does not ensure the nation has a system to complement and backup GPS – Yet NDAAs have mentioned the GPS vulnerability problem for several years. Last year’s directly addressed the need for a complement and backup.
- This bill directs action. – But if folks in the administration are determined to resist they can act so that nothing is really accomplished.
All in all, this NDAA is progress. It continues to show Congress’ concern and intent, and highlights the national need. It also reinforces other legislative efforts to support the Department of Transportation establishing a national complementary and backup system.
The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2018 act includes policy and funding guidance for the GPS program…
Demonstration of Backup and Complementary PNT
- Section 1617 of the House bill would require, during FY 2018, the the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of Transportation, and the Secretary of Homeland Security to jointly develop a plan for carrying out a backup GPS capability demonstration for the Global Positioning System. The Secretaries would be required to provide a briefing on this plan to the appropriate congressional committees within 120 days of the enactment of the Act. This section further states that, subject to the availability of appropriations, the Secretaries would be required to jointly initiate the backup GPS capability demonstration and that the demonstration would terminate 18 months after the enactment of the Act. At this date of termination, the Secretaries would be required to submit a report on the demonstration. This section would authorize for this demonstration, for FY 2018, $10.0 million as specified in the funding tables.