Executive order looks to safeguard GPS infrastructure

Federal agencies are being tasked with developing guidance to protect signaling and spectrum capabilities that undergird GPS and other services.

global network (greenbutterfly/Shutterstock.com)

The White House moved to increase the resiliency of a crucial piece of the signal and spectrum capabilities that support Global Positioning Systems.

A Feb. 12 executive order seeks to protect against disruption and manipulation of positioning, navigation and timing signals (PNT) that are a "largely invisible utility for technology and infrastructure" including the power grid, communications, transportation and more.

PNT signals are included among the 16 critical infrastructure systems guarded by federal agencies such as the Department of Homeland Security, as well as private industry.

Officials from a number of federal agencies on a Feb. 12 press call said the order protects emerging industries, such as autonomous vehicles, as well as existing location-based systems that undergird a growing array of commercial and federal networks, systems and capabilities.

The order calls for the Commerce secretary, in coordination with other critical infrastructure-sector agencies, such as the DHS and the Department of Transportation, to develop a set of "PNT Profiles" with their private-sector stakeholders. The profiles will give agencies and private-sector users a view to how to identify PNT services in their infrastructure and protect them against disruption.

The order sets a deadline of one year to develop the profiles.