The Global Positioning System is a central feature of the critical infrastructure supporting modern civilization, and GPS III satellites that begin launching next year will deliver big improvements in accuracy, security and reliability. However, the “next-generation operational ground system” (OCX) needed to control the satellites and deliver enhanced functionality has lagged due to a series of execution challenges. Prime-contractor Raytheon and its Air Force customer figured out that the program was seriously off track in 2013, and have fixed problems concentrated in cutting-edge cybersecurity software. Now OCX is meeting milestones and looks to be on track. That’s good news, because there is no “Plan B” for delivering the full potential of GPS III to over a billion civil and military users worldwide. I have written a commentary for The National Interest here.
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