Today, President Donald J. Trump signed an Executive Order on Strengthening National Resilience through Responsible Use of Positioning, Navigation, and Timing (PNT) Services. Importantly, the order seeks to strengthen national resilience by identifying and promoting the responsible use of positioning, navigation, and timing services by the federal government and critical infrastructure owners and operators.
“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 DHS Acting 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.”
“This is a test of our resilience. DHS thanks the president for his leadership and looks forward to building on our relationships with our interagency partners and the private sector to implement this executive order. Our Department will continue to promote the security and resilience of critical infrastructure through the risk-based responsible use of GPS and other PNT services,” he added.
Importantly, DHS has developed an internal Position, Navigation, and Timing Strategy to guide the Department’s activities and promote continued collaboration with federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial decision-makers, sector-specific agencies, and private sector critical infrastructure owner-operators.
The free, accurate, and reliable positioning, navigation, and timing (PNT) services provided by the U.S. Global Positioning System (GPS) have become integrated into the fabric of the American economy. These services have enabled significant productivity gains across multiple industries including agriculture, telecommunications, electrical power distribution, financial services, oil and gas, and mining.
According to a study commissioned by the Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), 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.
“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 Secretary of Commerce 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.”
The Executive Order seeks to ensure that the nation’s critical infrastructures build in resilience against disruptions to GPS or any other single source of PNT. Under the Executive Order, NIST and other federal agencies will work with the private sector to identify and promote responsible methods of using PNT services — from GPS and other sources — that appropriately manage risks. These efforts will leverage the existing National Infrastructure Protection Plan and NIST Cybersecurity Framework.
In addition, NIST will maintain its independent source of precision time and make it available for the public and private sectors to access in support of the needs of critical infrastructure owners and operators.