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GAO Recommends Policy Options for DOD’s Alternative PNT Tech Pursuit

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The Government Accountability Office has proposed six measures to help the Department of Defense address challenges associated with the development and integration of alternative position, navigation and timing technologies.

GAO said Monday it came up with policy recommendations after the government audit agency reviewed efforts at the department to develop backup PNT or complementary systems to GPS.

The office found that DOD is pursuing strategies to produce relative and absolute PNT systems. The first approach involves inertial sensors and clocks capable of giving relative PNT information without external signals, while the second approach supports celestial and magnetic navigation and utilizes satellites in low Earth orbit or very low radio frequency bands for data transmission, according to the audit report.

Defense officials told the congressional watchdog that dependence on GPS systems, the lack of a central office that oversees PNT development efforts and unclear performance requirements are among the factors that hinder the work.

GAO recommended that government and industry stakeholders consider adopting policies to increase collaboration, boost resilience, clarify requirements, encourage public-private coordination, implement a permanent open architecture initiative and facilitate vulnerability analysis for the department's alternative PNT projects.