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Washington View

September 21, 2012

NextGen Equipage Fund Takes Off While FAA Works to Cut Program Delays, Cost Overruns

Future of air traffic control (FAA image)

A public-private partnership created to reduce the financial burden involved in implementing the nation’s GPS-based, next-generation (NextGen) air transportation system has raised its first rounds of financing and is now negotiating contracts with its charter customers.

“We have  . . . closed our first tranche of equity,” said Jim Hughey, senior vice-president of the NextGen Equipage Fund. The fund has secured a total of $100 million in commitments with some $40 million of that coming from leading aerospace companies.

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By Dee Ann Divis
August 17, 2012

PNT Advisory Board Seeks Details on Economic Benefits of GPS

To help counter pressures from federal budget cutters and wireless advocates searching for more broadband spectrum, the National Space-Based Positioning, Navigation, and Timing (PNT) Advisory Board is crafting a study documenting the economic benefits of GPS.

“We have a new assignment . . . to discover and disclose the economic contributions of the Global Positioning System,” Chairman Jim Schlesinger told the board at an August 15, 1012 meeting of the advisory board.

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By Dee Ann Divis
July 31, 2012

UAVs: Homeland Security Under Pressure to Take a Greater Role in GPS Anti-Spoofing

A congressional committee overseeing activities at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) appears poised to push the agency into a more substantive role in overseeing the use of drones in the United States — a move that could force DHS to move more forcefully to protect GPS users from spoofing.

The Subcommittee on Oversight, Investigation and Management within the House Homeland Security Committee is looking to DHS to manage the civil use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) or drones.

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By Dee Ann Divis
July 18, 2012

Can Congress Rescue Itself?

In the 1974 Mel Brooks’ movie, Blazing Saddles, one of the characters — surrounded by his enemies — points a gun at his head and tries to escape by taking himself hostage.

As I recall, he gets away with the absurd move and survives to fight another day. That’s Hollywood!

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By Dee Ann Divis
July 17, 2012

Election Politics May Stall Final LightSquared Decision

Tim Farrar, TMF Associates

While members of the GPS community are pushing to formally end the threat of signal interference from LightSquared’s proposed wireless network, the political realities of an election year suggest they will have to wait for a decision.

“There are not a lot of reasons to rush,” said Tim Farrar of TMF Associates, a consulting firm that closely follows mobile communications industry, adding it was “unlikely” there would be any progress ahead of the vote in November.

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By Dee Ann Divis
May 27, 2012

IP Rights and Wrongs

As Desi Arnaz often said to Lucille Ball during an “I Love Lucy” episode on TV, “You’ve got some ’splaining to do.”

I refer, of course, to the untoward and unexpected initiative by the British Ministry of Defense (MoD) to patent the technical innovations that underlie the planned next generation of civil GNSS signals.

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By Dee Ann Divis
March 29, 2012

LightSquared Lessons Learned

Oh no! Not another learning experience!

Bumper sticker wisdom after the fact, but better late than never.

As this issue of Inside GNSS heads off to the printer, the regulatory phase of the GPS/LightSquared controversy appears to be winding down, and the litigation phase warming up.

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By Dee Ann Divis
January 19, 2012

GPS – The DoD’s Profit Center

Why Washington continues to talk about deficits while the country is talking about jobs and foreclosures is kind of a mystery, but let’s play along.

Following the failure of Congress’s would-be budget-cutting committee that wasn’t so super, the Department of Defense is facing about $500 billion in mandatory cuts over the next 10 years.

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By Dee Ann Divis
January 13, 2012

New Austerity Squeezes GPS as DoD Tightens Its Belt

Embracing the need for debt-driven discipline, the White House has revised its strategy for the nation’s defense, taking a more fiscally constrained approach that reduces the number of troops and future spending on defense systems.

The new plan, formally announced January 5, was already being put into effect last summer. “The strategic guid­ance was the compass by which we steered the budget review leading to the president’s budget for fiscal year ‘13 and the years thereafter,” Deputy Secretary of Defense Ashton B. Carter told reporters.

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By Dee Ann Divis