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Global Positioning Systems (GPS) and other satellite tracking systems (GNSS) are significant and important tools that support military goals and missions, and they are also vital for the global economy. As of today, it is difficult to imagine a field that does not use GPS technology, since it is utilized in transportation services, public security services, economic services and many other sectors that would be adversely affected without GPS.

According to breakingdefense.com, GPS technology is at the heart of every U.S. military command and control system, including vehicles, ships, aircraft, tanks, and other mobile systems, as well as the most cutting-edge weapons. In any case, losing that capability would negatively affect the U.S. military’s performance. Additionally, as with any widely used system, criminals and hostile officials are always seeking ways to exploit GPS systems for monetary gain or political gain.

There have been various disruptions over the years, perpetrated by amateur hackers, cybercriminals, and suspect parliamentary organizations. There are a number of threats to satellites, such as temporary or permanent disruptions, signal forgeries, or even kinetic attacks. Russia conducted its latest satellite destruction in November 2021, following an official announcement that it is able to destroy GPS satellites.

Former senior government officials recently called for a safety plan for the future use of global positioning systems. From 2009-2010, Dennis Blair was Director of National Intelligence, and from 2016-2019, Paul Slava was Vice Chairman of the United States Joint Chiefs of Staff. In a joint column, the two discussed the challenges facing the global positioning system, and even provided suggestions for ways to keep them secure.

Currently members of Lockheed Martin’s technology committee, the two said upgrading existing systems was the only way to avoid damaging them to the point of severe consequences. As well as the immediate threat to existing GPS systems, they note that there is also a serious threat from the Chinese BeiDou system, which became operational last year and has even secured deals with several Middle Eastern countries. Furthermore, they recommend the improvement of segment control capabilities to meet physical and cyber attacks more quickly, and the establishment of a counter-PNT team within the US Space Command to simulate rival attacks on existing GPS systems.