TR Daily Trump Signs EO Aiming to Protect PNT-Dependent Applications
News
Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Trump Signs EO Aiming to Protect PNT-Dependent Applications

President Trump today signed a first-of-its-kind executive order directing federal agencies to develop guidance to guard against disruption to critical infrastructure that relies on positioning, navigation, and timing (PNT) services such as GPS, including communications infrastructure, mobile devices, transportation, and the electrical power grid.

“As the first nation to take this action, President Trump is advancing America’s leadership in emerging technologies and securing infrastructure vital to national security, commercial industry, and our everyday lives,” White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham said in a statement. “PNT service, such as U.S. Global Positioning System (GPS), is among the most used utilities in the world. Americans rely on it every day for a variety of purposes ranging from electricity to smartphone applications. This action by the President will help to ensure that the United States maintains uninterrupted access to essential services that rely on PNT.”

“Since the United States made the Global Positioning System available worldwide, positioning, navigation, and timing (PNT) services provided by space-based systems have become a largely invisible utility for technology and infrastructure, including the electrical power grid, communications infrastructure and mobile devices, all modes of transportation, precision agriculture, weather forecasting, and emergency response,” the EO stressed. “Because of the widespread adoption of PNT services, the disruption or manipulation of these services has the potential to adversely affect the national and economic security of the United States. To strengthen national resilience, the Federal Government must foster the responsible use of PNT services by critical infrastructure owners and operators.”

“The Federal Government must increase the Nation's awareness of the extent to which critical infrastructure depends on, or is enhanced by, PNT services, and it must ensure critical infrastructure can withstand disruption or manipulation of PNT services. To this end, the Federal Government shall engage the public and private sectors to identify and promote the responsible use of PNT services,” the EO added.

“Within 1 year of the date of this order, the Secretary of Commerce, in coordination with the heads of SSAs [sector-specific agencies] and in consultation, as appropriate, with the private sector, shall develop and make available, to at least the appropriate agencies and private sector users, PNT profiles. The PNT profiles will enable the public and private sectors to identify systems, networks, and assets dependent on PNT services; identify appropriate PNT services; detect the disruption and manipulation of PNT services; and manage the associated risks to the systems, networks, and assets dependent on PNT services. Once made available, the PNT profiles shall be reviewed every 2 years and, as necessary, updated,” according to the EO.

“Within 1 year of the date of this order, the Secretary of Homeland Security, in coordination with the heads of SSAs, shall develop a plan to test the vulnerabilities of critical infrastructure systems, networks, and assets in the event of disruption and manipulation of PNT services. The results of the tests carried out under that plan shall be used to inform updates to the PNT profiles identified in subsection (a) of this section,” it added.

“Within 90 days of the PNT profiles being made available, the heads of SSAs and the heads of other executive departments and agencies (agencies), as appropriate, through the Secretary of Homeland Security, shall develop contractual language for inclusion of the relevant information from the PNT profiles in the requirements for Federal contracts for products, systems, and services that integrate or utilize PNT services, with the goal of encouraging the private sector to use additional PNT services and develop new robust and secure PNT services. The heads of SSAs and the heads of other agencies, as appropriate, shall update the requirements as necessary,” the document said.

The order also directs the Federal Acquisition Regulatory Council to “incorporate the requirements developed … into Federal contracts for products, systems, and services that integrate or use PNT services.”

Also, within a year of the PNT profiles being publicized and biennially after that, “the heads of SSAs and the heads of other agencies, as appropriate, through the Secretary of Homeland Security, shall submit a report to the Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs and the Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) on the extent to which the PNT profiles have been adopted in their respective agencies' acquisitions and, to the extent possible, the extent to which PNT profiles have been adopted by owners and operators of critical infrastructure.”

The secretaries of Transportation, Energy, and Homeland Security have 180 days to “each develop plans to engage with critical infrastructure owners or operators to evaluate the responsible use of PNT services. Each pilot program shall be completed within 1 year of developing the plan, and the results shall be used to inform the development of the relevant PNT profile and research and development (R&D) opportunities.”

OSTP must, within a year, “coordinate the development of a national plan, which shall be informed by existing initiatives, for the R&D and pilot testing of additional, robust, and secure PNT services that are not dependent on global navigation satellite systems (GNSS). The plan shall also include approaches to integrate and use multiple PNT services to enhance the resilience of critical infrastructure. Once the plan is published, the Director of OSTP shall coordinate updates to the plan every 4 years, or as appropriate.”

“Within 180 days of the date of this order, the Secretary of Commerce shall make available a GNSS-independent source of Coordinated Universal Time, to support the needs of critical infrastructure owners and operators, for the public and private sectors to access,” the EO directed. The Commerce agency that will be responsible for that task will be the National Institute of Standards and Technology, Commerce said today.

“President Trump’s commitment to making America safe and resilient is put into action by this Executive Order that will make the positioning, navigation, and timing services that keep our country running more reliable,” said Commerce Secretary Wilbur L. Ross, Jr. “The efforts resulting from this action will help protect against costly disruptions in PNT services that can put Americans in harm’s way.”

Commerce cited a NIST-commissioned study that said that “GPS-based PNT services have enabled over $1.4 trillion in U.S. economic benefits since GPS became available in the 1980s. The same study estimates that a hypothetical disruption to GPS could result in $30 billion to $45 billion in economic losses over a 30-day period.”

A Commerce official said during a background call with reporters this morning that “the initial profile set will be a generic tailoring of the [NIST] Cybersecurity Framework that will be applicable to many sectors across the U.S. who use or are dependent on PNT as the initial framework development. After that, as was discussed, sector agencies, NIST, and industry then will develop specific profiles for mission and context that then can be applied and used both by the government and then voluntarily by others should they wish to also follow the example.”

“From mobile phone applications to automobile navigation, our digital, interconnected society is dependent every day on PNT services. That is why it’s critically important that PNT services remain properly functioning as a major component of the Nation’s critical infrastructure,” said acting DHS0 Secretary Chad. F. Wolf. “By adopting responsible use of PNT services, the Federal Government and owners and operators of critical infrastructure can contribute meaningfully to national resilience and ensure the continuous, uninterrupted delivery of services to the nation.”

A reporter also asked about the status of implementing legislation that required the administration to establish a terrestrial backup system for GPS.

“The Department of Transportation put out request for proposals. We got 20 different companies interested in providing technology – terrestrial-based technology for PNT. We are testing 11 of these technologies,” a DoT official said. “And these tests are going to be completed by May. We intend to fully comply with the laws that say that we need to have a recommendation for a backup system or systems in place by the end of 2020. And then, it'll be up to Congress to provide the funds to fund this act.”

David Grossman, executive director of the GPS Innovation Alliance, said that his group “welcomes today’s Executive Order recognizing the critical economic and societal benefits of GPS and other Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS). Resiliency is among the core attributes that have made GPS the gold standard for delivering positioning, navigation, and timing (PNT) functions to our military as well as a wide range of other sectors, including transportation, agriculture, electricity, and finance. Today's Executive Order represents a crucial next step in ongoing efforts to maintain the security, robustness, and redundancy of PNT capabilities, including GPS, that millions of Americans rely on every day. GPSIA looks forward to working with key government stakeholders to support the implementation of this effort.” —Paul Kirby, [email protected]; Lynn Stanton, [email protected]

MainStory: Cybersecurity Satellites

Back to Top

Interested in submitting an article?

Submit your information to us today!

Learn More