Tags: Donald Trump | Homeland Security | GPS | national | security | Coast Guard

The Next National Security Crisis: Protecting GPS

The Next National Security Crisis: Protecting GPS

(AP Photo/Bill Haber)

By    |   Thursday, 12 January 2017 08:26 PM

Two federal agencies have failed to comply with presidential directives to fortify the nation's GPS system — and senators failed to address the issue in confirmation hearings this week with President-elect Donald Trump's nominees to head the departments, retired Coast Guard Capt. Dana Goward said Thursday.

"America's Global Positioning System is a technological miracle and our gift to the world," Goward, president of the Resilient Navigation and Timing Foundation, said in an op-ed piece in The Washington Post.

"Highly precise and free for use anywhere one can see the sky, the system's timing and location signals have been incorporated into numerous essential technologies."

But "GPS signals are weak and easy to disrupt," Goward added. "Our national adversaries have no problems jamming GPS reception over large areas, and often do so.

"Even poorly rigged television antennae can block GPS reception by reflecting signals and confusing receivers."

In a 2004, President George W. Bush directed the Transportation Department to work with the Department of Homeland Security and other agencies to acquire and operate a backup system to protect the GPS system, Goward said.

President Barack Obama reaffirmed the order in 2009.

"Yet, despite announcements in 2008 and 2015 that the nation would establish a high-powered terrestrial eLoran system to work hand in hand with GPS, nothing has been done," he continued. "So, our national danger grows by the day."

He also noted "Russia, China and Iran have terrestrial systems to back up their GPS and similar satellite systems."

"The United States not only is at great risk, it is at greater comparative risk than some of our adversaries and competitors," Goward said.

Ret. Marine Gen. John Kelly, Trump's nominee for homeland security secretary, and Elaine Chao, for the Transportation Department, were in confirmation hearings this week.

Neither was asked about the threats facing the GPS system, he said.

Kelly and Tom Bossert, Trump's homeland security adviser, "have both dealt with the issue in their previous government roles" — and "senior members of Congress and leaders within the incoming administration have been briefed on this danger to the nation."

Goward said private investment "spurred by a modicum of government leadership and participation" could solve the issue "fairly quickly."

"Let's hope the Trump administration uses its focus on national security and private infrastructure investment to do what the previous two have only promised: protect America's national and economic security with a difficult-to-disrupt complementary and backup system for GPS."

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Two federal agencies have failed to comply with presidential directives to fortify the nation's GPS system – and senators failed to address the issue in confirmation hearings this week, retired Coast Guard Capt. Dana Goward said Thursday.
GPS, national, security, Coast Guard
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2017-26-12
Thursday, 12 January 2017 08:26 PM
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