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CHIPS Articles: Naval Oceanography's Positioning, Navigation, Timing Mission Undergirds All Navy Operations

Naval Oceanography's Positioning, Navigation, Timing Mission Undergirds All Navy Operations
By Office of the Oceanographer and Navigator of the Navy - November 10, 2016
WASHINGTON (NNS) — Positioning, Navigation, and Timing (PNT) is a key component of the Navy's information warfare community.

The PNT mission enables maneuver, weapon employment, communication, and assured command and control by providing position and precise time references to surface, subsurface, air and space-borne assets.

PNT is under the direct oversight of Oceanographer and Navigator of the Navy, Rear Adm. Tim Gallaudet. As navigator, he is the resource sponsor for research, development, and testing of all fleet PNT systems, and also acts as the chief of naval operations' senior advisor regarding PNT policy matters at both the Navy and Department of Defense (DoD) level.

A principle component in successfully executing PNT is advocating for funding and support of the U.S. Naval Observatory (USNO), the nation's provider of precise time, celestial reference frames, and earth orientation parameters.

"PNT is critical to every aspect of naval warfare, with nearly every Navy platform, sensor, weapon system, and information network requiring some component of PNT to successfully perform its mission," said Gallaudet. "In support of DoD's PNT capabilities, the Navy via USNO is responsible for deriving and maintaining the standard for Precise Time and Time Interval (PTTI), as well as the astronomical reference frame for celestial navigation and orientation of space systems."

Positioning, the first component of PNT, is accurately and precisely determining one's position and orientation within a specific reference frame. Navigation follows and derives from the process of determining current and desired position, and applying corrections to course, orientation, and speed to attain a desired position anywhere within the battle space. The last component, timing, entails the ability to acquire and maintain accurate and precise time from a standard.

Most recently, the navigator's main focus is addressing PNT resiliency to counter cyber threats and developing complements to GPS to assure PNT services in contested environments.

"PNT capabilities must be survivable, providing robust, uninterrupted capabilities in all environments to the operator through an optimized and integrated mix of functional components," said Deputy Navigator of the Navy, Capt. Sean P. Memmen. "Additionally, the Navy continues to invest in upgrades to its Master Clock ensemble — the collection of oscillators responsible for providing the most accurate time in the world."

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