Blog Editor’s Note: Transmitting the best GPS signals possible is incredibly important, so we don’t begrudge the Air Force a dime.
But we have always been concerned that the nation spends heaps of money transmitting great signals, but virtually nothing to ensure that, once the signals get to Earth, they are usable and reliable. All too often natural and malicious interference make them unusable or, worse, misleading.
What could be done to address this problem if just 10% of this year’s GPS program cost increase was made available?
We estimate that for $93M the federal government could check any number of things off of its Protect GPS To-Do List:
- Establish an interference detection network to inform security officials and law enforcement whenever GPS signals are being disrupted
- Triple the enforcement staff and equipment at FCC allowing much better response to disruption incidents
- Work aggressively with providers to ensure GPS is no longer, in the words of DHS officials, “… a single point of failure for critical infrastructure.”
- Augment GPS signals with a very strong, difficult to disrupt, encrypted time signal that would provide authenticated, trusted time for all users. The resulting PNT service would be virtually bullet-proof.
But, as we all know, federal budgets don’t work like that. And while the Air Force is a very strong advocate for funding satellites to transmit good signals, there is no federal budget advocate to keep those signals good and their users safe.