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House hearing discusses backup for GPS

Aug 25, 2015
Former Coast Guard loran station

Former Coast Guard loran station

USCG

When President Obama gave the order in 2010 to shut down the loran radio navigation system, there was a group of loran supporters who said that relying on GPS alone meant that we had no backup navigation or timing system should GPS go off the air. The idea that the U.S. needs such a backup system is evidently still being discussed on Capitol Hill. As recently as July, during a House hearing of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, two representatives from California, Duncan Hunter (R-CA) and John Garamendi (D-CA), raised the issue for discussion. Witnesses from the Department of Transportation, Coast Guard, and industry talked about "the vulnerability of critical infrastructures to GPS disruptions, and the possibility of fielding an enhanced loran (eLORAN) system and/or other technologies to complement or back up GPS" according to The GPS Bulletin newsletter.   

The GPS Bulletin also reported that Rep. Garamendi has introduced a bill, H.R. 1678, the National PNT Resilience and Security Act of 2015, which proposes, "the Secretary of Defense, in consultation with the Commandant of the Coast Guard and the Secretary of Transportation, shall provide for the establishment, sustainment, and operation of a reliable land-based positioning, navigation, and timing system to provide a complement to and backup for GPS to ensure the availability of uncorrupted or non-degraded positioning, navigation, and timing signals for military and civilian users if GPS signals are corrupted, degraded, unreliable, or otherwise unavailable." 

"The House report on the NDAA already includes language that 'directs the Secretary of Defense to provide a briefing to the House Committee on Armed Services by January 15, 2016, on the Department of Defense requirements for backup position, navigation, and timing capabilities, including the plan and estimated cost to address such requirements.'"

So the loran lobby is apparently still around, even if loran itself isn't.  

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