The gist of this is that with the next generation of GPS satellites, the government is no longer having the ability to degrade accuracy built in.
Pentagon shifts to GPS with no signal reduction
By Kristin Roberts
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Pentagon no longer needs to hamper the entire Global Positioning System when facing a threat in one part of the world and will stop buying satellites that enable it do so, the military said on Tuesday.
The U.S. government can now reduce the accuracy of signals received by civilians within a much smaller area, said Pentagon spokesman Maj. Patrick Ryder.
Ryder said that means the next generation of GPS satellites won't require the capability to degrade the entire system.
GPS was developed by the Defense Department during the Cold War for precision targeting. Built into the system was the ability for the Pentagon to reduce the accuracy of signals by about 10 percent to protect against targeting by enemies.
The military switched off its signal reduction capability in 2000 under an order from President Bill Clinton, who cited the needs of the commercial sector. That decision boosted accuracy from 100 meters to about 10 meters.
The Pentagon said its decision to stop buying satellites that include the signal reduction capability should eliminate any lingering concern about potential U.S. government meddling with GPS signals.
"While this action will not materially improve the performance of the system, it does reflect the United States' strong commitment to users by reinforcing that this global utility can be counted on to support peaceful civil applications around the globe," the Pentagon said.
The decision was approved by President George W. Bush.
It will affect the next generation of satellites due to launch in 2013, Ryder said.
Boeing Co. and Lockheed Martin Corp. are competing for the contract to provide those satellites.
Gosh, if that is true, they weren't doing a good job of it, if you dropped a bomb where my car said it was, it would have blown my car up.
Perhaps I didn't get the meaning of the article.
Signal degradation has been turned off for several years. The government has the ability to switch it back on whenever it wanted, for example active war or serious terror attack.
The next generation of satellites will not have the ability to turn this on at all.
It's a step towards demilitarizing the American GPS system.
There is concern about the US government's control of and potential to disrupt GPS operation, and I think the intent is to change that perception.
This concern has led to some countries to create their own GPS systems.
Ah, it all make sense now.
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