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Defense Navigation Capabilities: DOD is Developing Positioning, Navigation, and Timing Technologies to Complement GPS (GAO-21-320SP) (May 10, 2021) (full-text).


DOD uses satellite-based GPS for critical operations with its aircraft, ships, munitions, land vehicles, and ground troops. DOD is developing positioning, navigation, and timing (PNT) technology to complement GPS or as an alternative when GPS is unavailable. This report looks at challenges DOD faces in developing and fielding these new technologies, and identified policy options to help address them.

For example, the level of precision that GPS provides may not be needed for all applications. Clarifying the performance requirements for new technologies — instead of defaulting to GPS-level precision — could help get appropriate technology into the field faster.

The GAO was asked to assess the alternative PNT technologies DOD is developing. This report discusses (1) how DOD plans to meet future PNT needs and the capabilities and limitations of alternative PNT technologies, (2) how alternative PNT technologies integrate with one another and with current PNT capabilities, and (3) policy options that may help address challenges with the development and integration of alternative PNT technologies.

The GAO developed six policy options that may help address challenges with developing and integrating alternative PNT technologies. The policy options identify possible new actions by policymakers, who may include [[Congress], federal agencies, and industry groups.