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What’s New:

  • An article by our colleague Dave Hughes who observes the primary challenge with GPS and greater resilience is a lack of government focus and action (i.e. leadership).
  • His focus on the government’s seeming inability to change outdated ITAR rules that harm resilience and American businesses, is a great example.

Why It’s Important:

Things to Know: 


July 2023

Taking GPS for Granted

By David Hughes

The U.S. government isn’t good at tracking interference with GPS signals, and an expert advisory committee on precision, navigation and timing to the government believes GPS is falling behind similar systems in China and Europe. In addition, many instances of serious GPS interference
have been reported, particularly to aircraft. There are well-established techniques such as multi-element antennas that would virtually eliminate the threat of such interference, but the U.S. government does not allow manufacturers to produce and sell them. Sadly, foreign (for example, Turkish) companies are advertising and selling such “jam-proof” GPS sets, but U.S. airlines and general aviation aircraft are prohibited from installing or using them.

If these shortcomings are not corrected, it could affect not only aviation users in the future but what is now one of the keystones of the entire U.S. economy. For example, most of the U.S. financial sector relies on timing from GPS to make financial transactions run on time.

In a November report to the U.S. government, the National Precision Navigation and Timing Advisory Board headed by Thad Allen, a former U.S. Coast Guard commandant, stated: “China’s BeiDou system and the European Union’s Galileo surpass U.S. PNT (from GPS) in both resilience and capability. China and other countries are gaining on the U.S. in PNT, and the U.S. needs to expand PNT education.”