New Leaders to Gather for First Obama-Era PNT ExCom Meeting

Mike Shaw, NCO Executive Director

A June 18 meeting of the National Space-Based Positioning, Navigation, and Timing (PNT) Executive Committee (ExCom) will bring together leaders of the Obama administration in the key interagency setting for GPS issues.

Established under a 2004 National Presidential Security Directive, the ExCom advises and coordinates federal departments and agencies on matters concerning the Global Positioning System and related systems. The deputy secretaries of defense and transportation and co-chair the committee, which includes equivalent-level members from seven other federal agencies.

A June 18 meeting of the National Space-Based Positioning, Navigation, and Timing (PNT) Executive Committee (ExCom) will bring together leaders of the Obama administration in the key interagency setting for GPS issues.

Established under a 2004 National Presidential Security Directive, the ExCom advises and coordinates federal departments and agencies on matters concerning the Global Positioning System and related systems. The deputy secretaries of defense and transportation and co-chair the committee, which includes equivalent-level members from seven other federal agencies.

The primary purpose of the June meeting is to orient the new ExCom members to the committee and the National PNT Coordination Office (NCO), provides staff support for the work of the ExCom.

Bill Lynn, deputy secretary of defense, follows Robert England, who was widely acclaimed for the active role he took with the PNT group. His counterpart at the Department of Transportation (DoT) will be John Porcari, currently Maryland state secretary of tranportation.

The U.S. Senate approved Lynn’s nomination earlier this year. The Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation endorsed Porcari’s nomination on May 20. A full Senate vote on his nomination has not been scheduled but is expected to occur before the ExCom gathers for the first time.

Other new ExCom members or nominees include Department of State, Deputy Secretary James B. Steinberg; Department of the Interior; deputy secretary nominee David Hayes; Department of Agriculture, Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan; Department of Homeland Security, Deputy Secretary Jane Lute; and Joint Chiefs of Staff, Vice Chairman Gen. James Cartwright.

President Obama has not yet nominated the Department of Commerce deputy secretary or the deputy administrator for NASA, who represent those agencies on the ExCom.

The committee already has part of its work cut out for it. In February, the Executive Steering Group approved a 2009 workplan with 27 action items.

The June meeting will also mark the final meeting for Mike Shaw, who has served as the NCO’s executive director of the since its founding. Shaw will leave his post June 19 to join Lockheed Martin Corporation’s Crystal City, Virginia, operations.

Shaw told Inside GNSS that he will work on satellite programs with Lockheed’s international business development office, including the GPS IIIA and GPS ground segment activities.

In the meantime, the NCO will get a new deputy director on June 1: U.S. Air Force Col. Robert Hessin, who has a background in satellite programs including GPS at the 2nd Space Operations Squadron, Schriever AFB, Colorado. Hessin comes over from the Defense Threat Reduction Agency and will succeed Tony Russo, who will be leaving the NCO on June 30.

A process is under way to find a replacement for Shaw.