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The Global Positioning System (GPS) is essential to nearly every industry in the country, but it’s a single point of failure. If GPS is attacked by one of our adversaries, there is no backup plan.

  • Three separate laws have requested the Department of Transportation to set up a backup to GPS, subject to appropriations, but Congress has not allocated the funds, said Diana Furchtgott-Roth, adjunct professor at the George Washington University, former deputy assistant secretary for research and technology at the Department of Transportation and former acting assistant secretary for economic policy at the Treasury Department.
  • Furchtgott-Roth said adversaries could destroy or damage the satellites comprising the country’s GPS system, which would have widespread impact and immeasurably large costs.
  • She said they could also hack the GPS to cut off signal or spoof it to send inaccurate location information to the receiver.
  • Furchtgott-Roth said multiple technologies would be necessary for a GPS backup system, including low-Earth orbit satellites, and that it would take a couple years to set up.
  • China, Russia and Iran all have backup systems, making it even more crucial for the United States to develop one, explained Furchtgott-Roth.
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