Image: Department of Defense

Blog Editor’s Note: This article brings together a number of concerns about possible nav warfare in the near future.

Note the comments at the very end of the article:

“A GPS outage could wreak havoc across all military activities involving aircraft, ships, munitions, land vehicles and ground troops. “In an active military conflict, even brief denials and spoofing of PNT might make a difference if well-timed with other operations,” said a RAND Corp. report.”

A Government Accountability Office report last year showed little leadership support for GPS alternatives within the Department of Defense.

For the homeland, there has been no action to implement the GPS complementary and backup system required by the National Timing Resilience and Security Act of 2018.


NRO warns satellite operators of possible Russian attacks

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Scolese said both government and commercial satellites systems are potential targets

CHANTILLY, Va. — As the Ukraine crisis escalates, U.S. National Reconnaissance Office Director Christopher Scolese warned that Russia’s military could target satellites to disrupt communications and GPS services. 

“I think we’re seeing pretty clearly that Russia is committed to doing what they want to do in Ukraine, and they want to win,” Scolese said Feb. 23 at the National Security Space Association’s Defense and Intelligence Space Conference.

“So I think it’s fair to assume that, to the extent that they can, and to the extent that they feel it won’t extend the conflict out of their control, that they will extend it into space,” Scolese said. 

The NRO operates U.S. government-owned spy satellites, but increasingly a lot of imagery and intelligence is collected and distributed by commercial satellite operators like Maxar, Planet, BlackSky, and others, so any attempt to disrupt the United States’ ability to gather intelligence could impact private and public assets. 

Scolese did not comment specifically on what actions the Russians might take, but he said it’s easy to imagine based on past behavior. “They are already doing GPS jamming, as an example.”