Resilient GPS

We all know GPS as an app on our phone used for directions when we are travelling. The Global Positioning system is so much more than that and of great importance to both the civilian and military sectors. This satellite constellation is owned the the United States government and operated by the US Space Force. The constellation is how the US Military receives its precision timing and how the world get its geolocation data. Recently the US Space Force announce it was considering launching a constellation of small navigation satellites to augment the current 31 GPS satellite currently in Orbit. The aim was to make the constellation more resilient. This augment would be more affordable and smaller, so more can be launched at one time or use a smaller rocket. However, congress raises concerns if this plan will inherently boost resiliency against jamming or spoofing.

the concern of losing GPS is an increasing concern of the pentagon due to it being used to help troops navigate and help guide weapons. Currently, Russian has taken advantage of this vulnerability in Ukraine, using electronic warfare to jam signals on a regular basis. While the Space Force envisions these additional satellites enhancing GPS resilience, the House Appropriations defense subcommittee questions their effectiveness against jamming threats and suggests exploring alternative navigation systems. The panel’s proposed fiscal 2025 defense spending bill denies the Space Force’s request to realign funds for the initiative, noting the absence of ground system and user equipment improvements in the plan. The subcommittee has directed the Pentagon’s Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation office to evaluate the program’s overall viability and its alignment with the Department of Defense’s priorities.

There is a huge cyber security concern with the GPS constellation. These attacks could cripple the GPS constellation and severely degrade many functions of the US military. The timing piece of the GPS constellation being a huge part of communications systems and global networks. Ensuring the resilience of this satellite systems should be a top priority, but in the same thought having an alternate means is always important. Its like having your main servers where a company may have all their options. To make your company’s operations more resilient, the company employs a Hot site, a site ready to go, in the event of compromise. Both ideas are great and get the job done. Ensuring adapting this constellation the the evolution of technology must be a top priority of an administration.