We Have Met the Enemy ...

U.S. and coalition forces are the single largest source of jamming of Global Positioning System (GPS) receivers in Iraq, according to a co-inventor of the system.

As much as 85 percent of the jamming of GPS receivers in Iraq was caused by U.S. and coalition forces, according to GPS co-inventor Bradford Parkinson with Stanford University, and Martin Faga, former president and CEO of MITRE Corp. and a former director of the National Reconnaissance Office. Parkinson and Faga reported their findings in a briefing given this month to the multi-agency National Space Based Positioning, Timing and Navigation Meeting.

The origins of the GPS jamming was made by personnel from the 14th Air Force, which provides space support to operational missions, but the 14th Air Force did not identify which U.S. or coalition systems had inadvertently jammed GPS receivers. The14th Air Force did not know how many GPS receivers were in use in Iraq, according to the briefing, reporting only that a “significant number” of receivers were in use.

The 14th Air Force team also determined that 15 percent of jamming incidents in Iraq were of unknown origin, raising the possibility that opposing forces or groups in Iraq have access to GPS jamming gear.

In March 2003, prior to the invasion of Iraq, President Bush called Russian President Vladimir Putin to voice his concern that Russian companies were supplying the Iraqi military with GPS jamming equipment.