Defense PNT Newsletter

Where Am I?

January 12, 2012By

I have long advocated that our warfighters and first responders deserve the best equipment available so they can answer the basic question, "Where Am I?" quickly and with complete certainty. Or, "Where am I now and how do I get to someplace of relative safety quickly?" Unfortunately, government-furnished equipment (GFE), in this case the GPS handheld equipment we supply our warfighters, does not do a good or even adequate job of answering that question. read more

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Interview: 2nd Space Operations Squadron Commander, Lt. Col. Jennifer Grant

December 14, 2011By
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December is typically the month when writers of regularly featured columns wax nostalgic and engage in a certain amount of prognostication. This year I enlisted the help of Lt. Col. Jennifer Grant, the 2SOPS/CC at Schriever AFB, the home of GPS, to help us with our year-end review and crystal-ball gazing as we look ahead to the GPS horizon. Lt. Col. Grant reminisces about her first 16 months as 2SOPS/CC, reviews numerous major accomplishments, and updates us on the status of the GPS constellation as well as the often overlooked, ever contentious and always seemingly in flux critical Command and Control (C2) segment. read more

The Good, the Bad, and the Really Ugly

November 9, 2011By
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This month there is good news — great news, actually — where GPS and PNT (Position, Navigation and Timing) systems are concerned. On October 22, a Russian Soyuz rocket placed in orbit the first two validation satellites, built by EADS Astrium Germany, in the Galileo PNT constellation after making its maiden launch from Kourou. Don’t confuse these recent satellites with the earlier experimental satellites, GIOVE-A launched in 2005 followed by GIOVE-B launched in 2008. These initial satellites served to preserve the Galileo ITU frequency filings and test the first-ever space borne Hydrogen Maser atomic clock, which by all accounts is proving to be extremely accurate. read more

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Steve Jobs’ Impact on Defense; plus CGSIC, ION

October 11, 2011By

Like many who had the pleasure of interacting with the genius that was Steven Paul "Steve" Jobs, I have been reflecting recently concerning his incredible impact on our lives. Indeed his impact on every aspect of our lives including GPS is almost beyond description. For example, our warfighters are increasingly using iPads and iPhones in theater for multiple functions, including some dedicated and warfighter-developed GPS applications that far outshine any GPS application provided by the government. When will we learn that we must provide our warfighters what they need or they will go elsewhere to find it because lives are at stake? Today many of our warriors are developing their own applications on their individual iPads and iPhones, exactly as Steve Jobs intended. read more

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North Korea Jamming Incident; LightSquared Issue

September 14, 2011By

My mailbox is currently overflowing with comments and questions concerning rampant rumors that in the March 2011 time frame a U.S. military reconnaissance aircraft was forced to land during an annual major east Asian military exercise, known as Key Resolve, due to GPS jamming. The jamming reportedly took place along the northern portion of the 684-mile long Korean peninsula, with the jamming supposedly originating with the North Koreans. The jamming scenario should come as no surprise, but it is the emergency or forced landing due to loss of a GPS signal among other supposed “facts” with which I take issue. read more

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Product Review: The Trimble Ranger 3

August 10, 2011By

The Ranger 3 impressed me from the very first moment I saw the unit. First of all, it is designated correctly by Trimble, and the military and first responder users who wrote me, as a rugged handheld GPS-enabled computer, and it certainly fulfills all the requirements for that designation. If you are looking for a GPS device the size of an Apple iPhone, this is not the device for you. The Trimble Ranger 3 is for the user, and many of you are warfighters and first responders who need a portable and rugged but powerful handheld computer with tightly integrated GPS capabilities that can connect and communicate, wired and wirelessly, with other users and servers. The Ranger 3 can accomplish all that and much more. read more

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A Tale of Two Symposia

July 13, 2011By

It is not the best of times as we have been at war for ten years without significant upgrades to the military GPS user equipment supplied to our valiant warfighters. It is not the worst of times as war inexorably draws to a close; now of course come a few military GPS upgrades for which the warfighters have been clamoring for ten years. read more

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My 1967 Israeli GPS, Eyewitness to History

June 8, 2011By

The recent furor concerning President Obama telling Israel to withdraw to its 1967 pre-war boundaries brought back some vivid memories for me. I was there in Israel in 1967, coincidentally and thus unintentionally covering the Six-Day War for Radio Free Europe, along with several other genuinely surprised correspondents and journalists. We encountered many unusual situations and not a few difficulties, which I will relate shortly. In his Mideast statement, the President obviously misread his GPS (Geo-Political Situation) where Israel is concerned. He, along with his appointee at the Federal Communications Commission, also misreads the needs of this nation, and here I’m talking about the real GPS — the Global Positioning System. The two scenarios — Israel in 1967 and the United States today — are connected, and that connection has to do with GPS. I urge all my readers to take prompt action, as outlined at the end of this column. Believe me, it is in your own best interest. read more

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