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CHIPS Articles: Protecting America's Global Positioning System

Protecting America's Global Positioning System
By DoD News - June 26, 2020
"The Global Positioning System signal and service need to be protected based on the importance of GPS to national security, civil services and the economic benefits to the nation."

— Defense Secretary Dr. Mark T. Esper

GPS at Risk
The Defense Department opposes a license the Federal Communications Commission has granted to a private company, Ligado, to deploy a low-power nationwide mobile broadband network.

Here's why:

GPS disruptions caused by Ligado interference could have global ramifications to U.S. national security, commercial and civil sectors, the economy, and those who rely on this service in their everyday lives.

There are too many unknowns, and the risks are too great, to allow the proposed Ligado system to proceed. We risk lives and the security of the nation if GPS is interrupted for any amount of time.

There is no need to put GPS at risk. Mid-band spectrum for 5G exists, and DoD is working with industry on a dynamic spectrum sharing framework. Ligado's proposal is unnecessary.

Ligado's proposed network lacks the bandwidth, power or global ecosystem to deliver robust 5G services. The only beneficiaries are Ligado shareholders.

The GPS satellite-based navigation system has become critical to everyday living for billions of people worldwide who use it for communications, travel, financial transactions, recreation and commercial and military aviation.

The military developed GPS to meet its critical need to determine precise locations in any battlespace — on land, sea or in the air. GPS remains an indispensable asset to U.S. forces at home and deployed around the globe. Our military uses GPS in operations ranging from search and rescue missions to missile launches, reconnaissance and guiding unmanned systems.

GPS Fast Facts
• Adds $70 billion to U.S economy annually.
• $1.4 trillion to U.S. economy since 1980s.
• $1 billion potential daily loss due to outage.
• 24 U.S. satellites in space.
• 12 hours a GPS satellite circles the Earth.

Visit the Defense Department website for more information about GPS and its importance

Practical Uses of GPS by the U.S. Public. DoD infographic
How GPS knows where you are. DoD infographic
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