communications, electric power industry, electric power requirements, Global Positioning System, GPS, GPS Interference San Diego, Grid stability, Loran-C, NIST, redundant timing system, regulatory requirements, Synchronization, timing and synchronization services, Timing criticality and vulnerability, WWV, WWVB
“Given the growing dependence of the electric power industry on the GPS timing and synchronization services, and given the accelerated deployment of wide-area monitoring and disturbance detection and data collection systems such as WAMS, PMU, and SCADA, a plausible case can be made for the cost-effectiveness of funding a redundant timing system such as the NIST broadcast time, clock oscillators, or Loran-C (eLoran). In addition to using GPS and NTP servers, a number of systems within each power company can be synchronized with WWV, WWVB,…” “GLOBAL POSITIONING SYSTEM TIMING CRITICALITY ASSESSMENT” by Dr. James Carroll and Mr. Kirk Montgomery, 2008. Loran was defunded-stopped. WWV and WWVB still exist, but Trump is trying to shut them down, and will succeed unless the US Congress restores funding in the Dept of Commerce budget. Even if Loran is eventually restored, the NIST WWV radio stations are operating now.
While the US Congress ordered the Trump administration to come up with a plan for a backup system to GPS, Trump has decided to try to scuttle the existing backup. It’s also unclear if Congress is following through (See more below). Regardless, the WWV, WWVB radio stations are operating now and Congress should restore funding to them in the 2019 budget:
“LORAN-C Infrastructure & E-LORAN
LORAN-C was a ground-based navigation system operated by the U.S. Coast Guard. In May 2009, President Obama declared the system obsolete and announced plans to terminate it.
That year, Congress debated whether to retain and upgrade the LORAN-C infrastructure to become E-LORAN, a national backup to GPS. In October 2009, Congress enacted a DHS appropriations measure allowing LORAN-C termination. The Coast Guard began shutting it down in February 2010.
In February 2014, the House transportation committee reopened the topic during a hearing on navigation aids and the markup of the 2014 Coast Guard act.
UPDATED National Timing Resilience and Security Act of 2018
BILL This act would amend Title 49 of the U.S. Code to include the following language.
§ 312. Alternative timing system
(a) In General.—Subject to the availability of appropriations and not later than 3 years after the date of the enactment of the National Timing Resilience and Security Act of 2018, the Secretary [of Transportation] shall establish a land-based, resilient, and reliable alternative timing system—
(1) to reduce critical dependencies on, and provide a complement to and backup for, the timing component of the Global Positioning System; and
(2) to ensure the availability of uncorrupted and non-degraded timing signals for military and civilian users in the event that GPS timing signals are corrupted, degraded, unreliable, or otherwise unavailable.
The act goes on to provide specific direction regarding: establishment of requirements; implementation plan; funding (including LORAN infrastructure transfer); and agreement authority.
On May 24, 2018, the House of Representatives incorporated the National Timing Resilience and Security Act of 2018 into the National Defense Authorization Act for FY 2019 (H.R. 5515), where it appears as Section 4514, “Backup Global Positioning System.” https://www.gps.gov/policy/legislation/loran-c/
“VIEW BILL STATUS:
* The House’s proposed increase for GPS III procurement included this note: “GPS backup technology demonstration”. See table for source.
* The House report (page 227) includes directive language regarding the GPS backup demonstration.
“GPS Backup Demonstration
The committee continues to support the demonstration of backup and complementary positioning, navigation, and timing capabilities of the Global Positioning System (GPS) as required by section 1606 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2018 (Public Law 115–91). The committee encourages the Secretary of Defense, Secretary of Transportation, and Secretary of Homeland Security to continue to work together to jointly develop and implement a plan for carrying out this backup GPS capability demonstration in 2019 and 2020. Further, the committee expects the Secretaries to submit the final report next year as required by Public Law 115–91. The committee directs the Secretary of Defense to provide a briefing to the congressional defense committees by December 1, 2018, on the progress being made on this demonstration….” p. 227 https://www.congress.gov/115/crpt/hrpt676/CRPT-115hrpt676.pdf
“UPDATED Section 4514 the House bill, titled “Backup Global Positioning System,” incorporated the National Timing Resilience and Security Act of 2018. The final act does not include this section. LEARN MORE” https://www.gps.gov/policy/funding/2019/#NDAA-status
“SEC. 1606. DEMONSTRATION OF BACKUP AND COMPLEMENTARY POSITIONING,
NAVIGATION, AND TIMING CAPABILITIES OF
GLOBAL POSITIONING SYSTEM.
(a) Plan.–During fiscal year 2018, the Secretary of Defense, the
Secretary of Transportation, and the Secretary of Homeland Security
(referred to in this section as the “Secretaries”) shall jointly
develop a plan for carrying out a backup GPS capability demonstration.
The plan shall–
(1) be based on the results of the study conducted under
section 1618 of the National Defense Authorization Act for
Fiscal Year 2017 (Public Law 114-328; 130 Stat. 2595); and
(2) include the activities that the Secretaries determine
necessary to carry out such demonstration.
(b) Briefing.–Not later than 120 days after the date of the
enactment of this Act, the Secretaries shall provide to the appropriate
congressional committees a briefing on the plan developed under
subsection (a). The briefing shall include–
(1) identification of the sectors that would be expected to
participate in the backup GPS capability demonstration described
in the plan;
(2) an estimate of the costs of implementing the
demonstration in each sector identified in paragraph (1); and
(3) an explanation of the extent to which the demonstration
may be carried out with the funds appropriated for such purpose.
(1) In general.–Subject to the availability of
appropriations and beginning not earlier than the day after the
date on which the briefing is provided under subsection (b), the
Secretaries shall jointly initiate the backup GPS capability
demonstration to the extent described under subsection (b)(3).
(2) Termination.–The authority to carry out the backup GPS
capability demonstration under paragraph (1) shall terminate on
the date that is 18 months after the date of the enactment of
[[Page 131 STAT. 1726]]
(d) Report.–Not later than 18 months after the date of the
enactment of this Act, the Secretaries shall submit to the appropriate
congressional committees a report on the backup GPS capability
demonstration carried out under subsection (c) that includes–
(1) a description of the opportunities and challenges
learned from such demonstration; and
(2) a description of the next actions the Secretaries
determine appropriate to backup and complement the positioning,
navigation, and timing capabilities of the Global Positioning
System for national security and critical infrastructure,
including, at a minimum, the timeline and funding required to
issue a request for proposals for such capabilities.
(1) Joint funding.–The costs to carry out this section
shall be consistent with the responsibilities established in
National Security Presidential Directive 39 titled “U.S. Space-
Based Positioning, Navigation, and Timing Policy”.
(2) Construction.–Nothing in this section may be construed
to modify the roles or responsibilities established in such
National Security Presidential Directive 39.
(f) Authorization of Appropriations.–There is authorized to be
appropriated to carry out this section for fiscal year 2018 not more
than $10,000,000 for the Department of Defense, as specified in the
funding tables in division D.
(g) Definitions.–In this section:
(1) The term “appropriate congressional committees”
(A) the congressional defense committees;
(B) the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology,
the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, and
the Committee on Homeland Security of the House of
(C) the Committee on Commerce, Science, and
Transportation and the Committee on Homeland Security
and Governmental Affairs of the Senate.
(2) The term “backup GPS capability demonstration” means a
proof-of-concept demonstration of capabilities to backup and
complement the positioning, navigation, and timing capabilities
of the Global Positioning System for national security and
“ (R) A plan to counter the military capabilities of
the Russian Federation, which, in addition to elements
the Secretary of Defense determines to be appropriate,
shall include recommendations for–
(i) improving the capability of United States
Armed Forces to operate in a Global Positioning
System (GPS)-denied or GPS-degraded environment;
(ii) improving the capability of United States
Armed Forces to counter Russian unmanned aircraft
systems, electronic warfare, and long-range
precision strike capabilities; and
(iii) countering unconventional capabilities
and hybrid threats from the Russian Federation.
“National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2018”.
The military is apparently moving forward with a backup plan in the form of portable Atomic Clocks. However, this doesn’t solve the civilian problem. And, the military portable ones are radioactive, whereas the NIST one is not (The NIST one is based on the atomic behavior of non-radioactive materials).