Why is having a backup to GPS/GNSS such a big deal?

Failure to implement fully capable GPS/GNSS backup solutions in a timely manner would pose an unacceptable risk to the effective functioning of our nation’s critical infrastructure for communications, finance, power distribution, and transportation. As such, the alliance fully supports the efforts of national governments (e.g., Executive Order 13905 in the U.S.) to require effective alternative PNT capabilities for national critical infrastructure.

Given the scale and scope of GPS/GNSS, it seems that it would be a good idea to have just a single, all-encompassing backup, right?

No. This is because establishing any particular system as the sole backup to GPS/GNSS would continue to expose any nation to a single point of vulnerability for a primary or backup capability.

A heterogeneous backup to GPS/GNSS is in the best public interest. Thankfully, there are existing, mature PNT systems developed in the commercial sector that are available today and currently being used by critical infrastructure providers for a variety of applications as secure and robust GPS/GNSS backup solutions.

Wouldn’t a system mandated by the government offer the best technology?

No. Member companies are concerned that there are those in industry and government who believe that developing and implementing a single, government-imposed solution is the best approach to solve this resilience issue. Also alarming is that others have sought a government mandate that stipulates a specific technology with certain technical requirements that clearly describe only one specific solution.

Members of the alliance hold that only the spirit of free enterprise will ensure the most viable offerings. This is because an open and competitive marketplace is essential to provide full resilience, drive continuing innovation, and deliver cost-effective solutions. In other words, truly resilient and globally available GPS/GNSS backup capabilities are only possible with an open, technology-neutral approach that encourages technology diversity throughout our industry.

What new capabilities could additional PNT systems support?

Using a combination of alternative systems will meet a range of performance specifications and operational characteristics as well as ensure the most resilient backup to GPS/GNSS. Various applications across multiple industry sectors have different timing and location requirements in terms of precision, availability indoors/underground, geographic coverage, 2D vs. 3D positioning, security, support for autonomous vehicles, etc.