Fri, Sep 21, 2007
Will Shift To GPS Without Reduction Capability
The Pentagon says it no longer needs
to hamper signals from the Global Positioning System network in
times of crisis, due to advancements in those systems.
The next generation of GPS satellites won't carry the capability
to degrade the commercial GPS signal in favor of military uses,
Pentagon spokesman Major Patrick Ryan told Reuters.
Current satellites allow the US government to reduce the
accuracy of civilian signals -- by as much as 10 percent -- if the
military deems it necessary to focus resources on a specific area,
or to prevent enemies from intercepting the signal.
The military turned off its signal reduction capability in 2000,
under an order from President Bill Clinton. That change alone
boosted accuracy of civilian GPS readings from 100 meters, to about
10 meters... but it also allowed the military the option of
restoring the signal blockage if necessary.
The Pentagon says its decision to eliminate the reduction
capability on future GPS satellites should appease lingering
concerns the federal government could still interfere with those
"While this action will not materially improve the performance
of the system, it does reflect the United States' strong commitment
to users by reinforcing that this global utility can be counted on
to support peaceful civil applications around the globe," the
The decision -- signed off by President Bush -- affects
satellites scheduled for launch in 2013. Boeing and Lockheed are
now in competition to provide the military with those
next-generation satellites, according to Reuters.
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