Office of Science and Technology Policy
National Security Council
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 29, 1996
Contact: (202) 456-6020
U.S. GLOBAL POSITIONING SYSTEM POLICY
The President has approved a comprehensive national policy on the future management and use of the U.S. Global Positioning System (GPS) and related U.S. Government augmentations.
BackgroundThe Global Positioning System (GPS) was designed as a dual-use system with the primary purpose of enhancing the effectiveness of U.S. and allied military forces. GPS provides a substantial military advantage and is now being integrated into virtually every facet of our military operations. GPS is also rapidly becoming an integral component of the emerging Global Information Infrastructure, with applications ranging from mapping and surveying to international air traffic management and global change research. The growing demand from military, civil, commercial, and scientific users has generated a U.S. commercial GPS equipment and service industry that leads the world. Augmentations to enhance basic GPS services could further expand these civil and commercial markets.
The basic GPS is defined as the constellation of satellites, the navigation payloads which produce the GPS signals, ground stations, data links, and associated command and control facilities which are operated and maintained by the Department of Defense; the Standard Positioning Service (SPS) as the civil and commercial service provided by the basic GPS; and augmentations as those systems based on the GPS that provide real-time accuracy greater than the SPS.
This policy presents a strategic vision for the future management and use of GPS, addressing a broad range of military, civil, commercial, and scientific interests, both national and international.
Policy GoalsIn the management and use of GPS, we seek to support and enhance our economic competitiveness and productivity while protecting U.S. national security and foreign policy interests.
Our goals are to:
- Strengthen and maintain our national security.
- Encourage acceptance and integration of GPS into
peaceful civil, commercial and scientific applications
- Encourage private sector investment in and use of
U.S. GPS technologies and services.
- Promote safety and efficiency in transportation and
- Promote international cooperation in using GPS for
- Advance U.S. scientific and technical capabilities.
Policy GuidelinesWe will operate and manage GPS in accordance with the following guidelines:
- We will continue to provide the GPS Standard
Positioning Service for peaceful civil, commercial and
scientific use on a continuous, worldwide basis, free
of direct user fees.
- It is our intention to discontinue the use of GPS
Selective Availability (SA) within a decade in a
manner that allows adequate time and resources for
our military forces to prepare fully for operations
without SA. To support such a decision, affected
departments and agencies will submit
recommendations in accordance with the reporting
requirements outlined in this policy.
- The GPS and U.S. Government augmentations will
remain responsive to the National Command
- We will cooperate with other governments and
international organizations to ensure an appropriate
balance between the requirements of international
civil, commercial and scientific users and
international security interests.
- We will advocate the acceptance of GPS and U.S.
Government augmentations as standards for
- To the fullest extent feasible, we will purchase
commercially available GPS products and services
that meet U.S. Government requirements and will not
conduct activities that preclude or deter commercial
GPS activities, except for national security or public
- A permanent interagency GPS Executive Board, jointly chaired by the Departments of Defense and Transportation, will manage the GPS and U.S. Government augmentations. Other departments and agencies will participate as appropriate. The GPS Executive Board will consult with U.S. Government agencies, U.S. industries and foreign governments involved in navigation and positioning system research, development, operation, and use.
This policy will be implemented within the overall resource and policy guidance provided by the President.
Agency Roles and ResponsibilitiesThe Department of Defense will:
- Continue to acquire, operate, and maintain the basic
- Maintain a Standard Positioning Service (as defined in
the Federal Radionavigation Plan and the GPS
Standard Positioning Service Signal Specification) that
will be available on a continuous, worldwide basis.
- Maintain a Precise Positioning Service for use by the
U.S. military and other authorized users.
- Cooperate with the Director of Central Intelligence,
the Department of State and other appropriate
departments and agencies to assess the national
security implications of the use of GPS, its
augmentations, and alternative satellite-based
positioning and navigation systems.
- Develop measures to prevent the hostile use of GPS and its augmentations to ensure that the United States retains a military advantage without unduly disrupting or degrading civilian uses.
The Department of Transportation will:
The Department of State will:
Reporting RequirementsBeginning in 2000, the President will make an annual determination on continued use of GPS Selective Availability. To support this determination, the Secretary of Defense, in cooperation with the Secretary of Transportation, the Director of Central Intelligence, and heads of other appropriate departments and agencies, shall provide an assessment and recommendation on continued SA use. This recommendation shall be provided to the President through the Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs and the Assistant to the President for Science and Technology.
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