Paying for a “Public Utility”:

The Air Force or DOD should not bear the cost for what is now considered “equivalent to a public utility”—the Global Positioning System. That is the view of members of the National Space-based Positioning, Navigation, and Timing Advisory Board, which met for the first time in March but just released meeting minutes (see above). And, above all, the board believes the US must retain its international leadership role in this area and that will take money. Issues under discussion ranged from spectrum and integration concerns to a potential military code overlap because of an emerging Chinese navigation and timing system and a looming problem as 11 current satellites lose capability next year. Board member Robert Herman of Global Technology Partners, faced the core issue squarely, saying, “There is an elephant in the room: dollars and resources.” His recommendation was to handle funding on “a national level” because GPS cuts across military, civil, industry, and public lines.