Image: US DOT

What’s New: The US Dept. of Transportation unveiled its new Complementary PNT Action Plan at the CGSIC meeting last week. Among other things it says the government will start purchasing PNT services to protect itself starting in mid-2024.  BTW –  policy left over from the last administration says the rest of us are on our own.

Why It’s Important:

  • The plan outlines a bunch of things the Department is trying to do within extreme limits that have been set for it to improve civil PNT.
    • The last administration decided the government wasn’t going to protect users, they would have to protect themselves. That policy remains in effect.
    • This is much different than the current administration’s approach to cybersecurity in which they are trying to take much of the burden off users and have it assumed by government and major providers.
  • Most of the things in the action plan are policy and standards related. These will have little immediate impact on national and economic security in the USA.
  • BUT the action plan does talk about the government actually buying services and systems. That is a great step forward! See page 6 where it says:

“Congress has appropriated funds to the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology (OST-R) in Fiscal Years 2022 and 2023 suitable for early procurement of resilient PNT services that can be evaluated in more stringent settings than the 2020 Demonstration “best light” scenarios. In some early adoption cases, these PNT services may even be utilized in the context of mitigating PNT vulnerabilities as identified in the EO 13905 PNT Profile development. As Sector Risk Management Agencies (SRMAs) prioritize their PNT operational vulnerabilities through risk-based management, they can adopt suitable and effective PNT services from viable vendors to implement resilient mitigation of those risks.”

What Else to Know:

  • The passage above seems to say that at least the government is getting ready to set the example and protect itself.
  • The chart on page 17 says they are going to start procuring services in the middle of 2024.
  • Despite the best intentions of all, government timelines for this sort of thing often slip,
  • But what about the rest of us who aren’t a federal government agency?
    • Well, the Trump administration’s policy of “go protect yourself” still stands.