Blog Editor’s Note: An excellent article by RNTF member Diana Furchtgott-Roth. Diana is a professor at GWU and previously served as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology at the U.S. Department of Transportation.
Diana is right on target. But we need to remember that, just because this bill does not specifically mention DOT and a complementary and backup system for GPS, that doesn’t mean all is lost.
There are sufficient laws on the books already to justify an appropriation to DOT for a complementary and backup system for GPS. These include:
- Organic DOT responsibilities outlined in Title 10 and Title 50 provisions regarding civil GPS and PNT
- The National Timing Resilience and Security Act of 20218
- Provisions included in the current infrastructure bill regarding support for broadband (PNT is a critical enabler)
- Provisions in the current bill related to Intelligent Transportation Systems
We aren’t attorneys or expert congressional staff. So if we can think of the above items there are likely more ways in which such funding can be supported by existing law and/or through the current infrastructure bill.
Question is whether anyone in Congress thinks it is important enough, and has enough pull to do so. Let’s hope.
And, of course, there is the regular appropriations process for fiscal 2022. That will still be in the works for the next month or so.
And let’s all keep up the input to our legislators telling them how important this is. Maybe by forwarding Diana’s excellent article!
Thanks for the great work, Diana!
The $1 trillionthat was voted out of the Senate on August 10 has no funding for strengthening the Global Positioning System (GPS) to make sure that Americans can navigate without getting spoofed. The House should correct the Senate’s omission.
With $50 billion over the next decade allocated in the bill for cyber-attacks and climate change, it makes sense to designate $1 billion of this amount to the Transportation Department to reinforce GPS.
In the last two decades, GPS has become essential foundational technology for many industries. Without accurate GPS, daily life would become almost unrecognizable. Imagine not having cell phone service, or the ambulance to your house being delayed while the driver consulted a road map and hunted for house number.
Malicious interference with GPS, an invisible utility paid for by the federal government, is increasingly common. GPS satellites could be damaged by electromagnetic storms or hostile military action.
Today GPS outages and gaps are real, not hypothetical. Naval ships operating in the Persian Gulf have been lured into Iranian waters and seized through GPS spoofing.