Office of Science and Technology Policy
National Security Council
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 29, 1996
Contact: (202) 456-6020
U.S. GLOBAL POSITIONING SYSTEM POLICY
The President has approved a comprehensive national policy on
the future management and use of the U.S. Global Positioning
System (GPS) and related U.S. Government augmentations.
The Global Positioning System (GPS) was designed as a dual-use
system with the primary purpose of enhancing the effectiveness
of U.S. and allied military forces. GPS provides a substantial
military advantage and is now being integrated into virtually
every facet of our military operations. GPS is also rapidly
becoming an integral component of the emerging Global
Information Infrastructure, with applications ranging from
mapping and surveying to international air traffic management
and global change research. The growing demand from
military, civil, commercial, and scientific users has generated a
U.S. commercial GPS equipment and service industry that leads
the world. Augmentations to enhance basic GPS services could
further expand these civil and commercial markets.
The basic GPS is defined as the constellation of satellites, the
navigation payloads which produce the GPS signals, ground
stations, data links, and associated command and control
facilities which are operated and maintained by the Department
of Defense; the Standard Positioning Service (SPS) as the civil
and commercial service provided by the basic GPS; and
augmentations as those systems based on the GPS that provide
real-time accuracy greater than the SPS.
This policy presents a strategic vision for the future management
and use of GPS, addressing a broad range of military, civil,
commercial, and scientific interests, both national and
In the management and use of GPS, we seek to support and
enhance our economic competitiveness and productivity while
protecting U.S. national security and foreign policy interests.
Our goals are to:
- Strengthen and maintain our national security.
- Encourage acceptance and integration of GPS into
peaceful civil, commercial and scientific applications
- Encourage private sector investment in and use of
U.S. GPS technologies and services.
- Promote safety and efficiency in transportation and
- Promote international cooperation in using GPS for
- Advance U.S. scientific and technical capabilities.
We will operate and manage GPS in accordance with the
- We will continue to provide the GPS Standard
Positioning Service for peaceful civil, commercial and
scientific use on a continuous, worldwide basis, free
of direct user fees.
- It is our intention to discontinue the use of GPS
Selective Availability (SA) within a decade in a
manner that allows adequate time and resources for
our military forces to prepare fully for operations
without SA. To support such a decision, affected
departments and agencies will submit
recommendations in accordance with the reporting
requirements outlined in this policy.
- The GPS and U.S. Government augmentations will
remain responsive to the National Command
- We will cooperate with other governments and
international organizations to ensure an appropriate
balance between the requirements of international
civil, commercial and scientific users and
international security interests.
- We will advocate the acceptance of GPS and U.S.
Government augmentations as standards for
- To the fullest extent feasible, we will purchase
commercially available GPS products and services
that meet U.S. Government requirements and will not
conduct activities that preclude or deter commercial
GPS activities, except for national security or public
- A permanent interagency GPS Executive Board,
jointly chaired by the Departments of Defense and
Transportation, will manage the GPS and U.S. Government
augmentations. Other departments and agencies will
participate as appropriate. The GPS Executive Board
will consult with U.S. Government agencies, U.S. industries
and foreign governments involved in navigation and
positioning system research, development, operation, and
This policy will be implemented within the overall resource and
policy guidance provided by the President.
Agency Roles and Responsibilities
The Department of Defense will:
- Continue to acquire, operate, and maintain the basic
- Maintain a Standard Positioning Service (as defined in
the Federal Radionavigation Plan and the GPS
Standard Positioning Service Signal Specification) that
will be available on a continuous, worldwide basis.
- Maintain a Precise Positioning Service for use by the
U.S. military and other authorized users.
- Cooperate with the Director of Central Intelligence,
the Department of State and other appropriate
departments and agencies to assess the national
security implications of the use of GPS, its
augmentations, and alternative satellite-based
positioning and navigation systems.
- Develop measures to prevent the hostile use of GPS
and its augmentations to ensure that the United States
retains a military advantage without unduly disrupting
or degrading civilian uses.
The Department of Transportation will:
Serve as the lead agency within the U.S. Government
for all Federal civil GPS matters.
Develop and implement U.S. Government
augmentations to the basic GPS for transportation
In cooperation with the Departments of Commerce,
Defense and State, take the lead in promoting
commercial applications of GPS technologies and the
acceptance of GPS and U.S. Government
augmentations as standards in domestic and
international transportation systems.
In cooperation with other departments and agencies,
coordinate U.S. Government-provided GPS civil
augmentation systems to minimize cost and
duplication of effort.
The Department of State will:
In cooperation with appropriate departments and
agencies, consult with foreign governments and other
international organizations to assess the feasibility of
developing bilateral or multilateral guidelines on the
provision and use of GPS services.
Coordinate the interagency review of instructions to
U.S. delegations to bilateral consultations and
multilateral conferences related to the planning,
operation, management, and use of GPS and related
Coordinate the interagency review of international
agreements with foreign governments and
international organizations concerning international
use of GPS and related augmentation systems.
Beginning in 2000, the President will make an annual
determination on continued use of GPS Selective Availability.
To support this determination, the Secretary of Defense, in
cooperation with the Secretary of Transportation, the Director of
Central Intelligence, and heads of other appropriate departments
and agencies, shall provide an assessment and recommendation
on continued SA use. This recommendation shall be provided to
the President through the Assistant to the President for National
Security Affairs and the Assistant to the President for Science
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