Author:Lee, Connie
Position:SOCOM'S TOP 10

Positioning, navigation and timing capabilities are moving to the forefront of the military's acquisition priorities.

Technology is developing to a point where GPS may now be susceptible to spoofing and jamming, said Dana Goward, president of the Resilient Navigation and Timing Foundation. Jamming involves stopping or disrupting a signal, whereas a signal can be "spoofed" by being replaced with alternative information, he noted.

To counter these interferences, the services have implemented new programs and examined more advanced ways to provide PNT capabilities outside of traditional GPS technologies. For example, the Navy has begun fielding its next-generation PNT distribution system while the Air Force works to field GPS III, a satellite that will provide new civil and military signals and increased accuracy.

Special Operations Command is also pursuing ways to provide assured PNT solutions to its commandos, Navy Lt. Phillip Chitty, a spokesperson for SOCOM, said in an email. He noted that the command pursued the effort through a classified collaboration event through SOFWERX, an initiative that allows for technology experimentation with nontraditional partners. Chitty did not provide additional information about the event or when it occurred.

"This classified session generated concepts that USSOCOM is developing," he said. "Due to maturity of the systems under development, it is too early to determine a timeline."

A Defense Systems Information Analysis Center announcement released last year stated SOFWERX's intention to hold a "GPS Out of the Box" event in April 2017 geared towards examining GPS alternatives. SOCOM's program executive office fixed wing sought participants who were subject matter experts on the utilization of GPS applications, the notice stated.

"The SMEs are sought to identify suitable alternatives to the PNT functioning of GPS in environments where GPS performance is unavailable, denied or degraded," it noted. The outcome of the event had the potential to inform future requirements for development programs, according to the notice.

The event was also expected...

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