Navigation Planning:

Need for a New Direction

LCD-77-109: Published: Mar 21, 1978. Publicly Released: Mar 21, 1978.

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Two general classes of navigation systems are radionavigation systems which consist of transmitters and receivers and self-contained systems which depend on internally generated radio signals or other means. A review covered 13 major enroute navigation systems, 11 radionavigation and 2 self-contained, used by civilian and military travelers and by the military to improve the accuracy of weapons delivery.

Overlapping navigation systems have proliferated because it has been costly to abandon older systems as new ones are developed. Of the 13 systems (1 was terminated after the review), only 4 and parts of a 5th may be required in the future because the military NAVSTAR satellite development has the potential for meeting the navigation needs of nearly all users. Departments and agencies plan to spend $277 million over the next 3 or 4 years for equipment or development of potentially unneeded systems. A Government-wide navigation plan is needed to reduce the proliferation and overlap of navigation systems, and a strong management focus is also needed. The Congress may have to decide whether a civil or military agency should manage the NAVSTAR navigation satellite system, recognizing that civil operation may encourage earlier civil and international use but that military operation may be needed to deny high accuracy signals to hostile forces during a war or national emergency.

Matter for Congressional Consideration

  1. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Matter: The Congress should question future requests for expenditures on navigation systems which may not be needed in later years and allow funds only when they are cost effective or on the basis of safety or combat readiness. The President should assign to a single manager the responsibility and authority to direct the prompt development and implementation of a Government-wide navigation plan along with the budgetary controls to implement those decisions. The plan should provide for its orderly and cost effective execution and be continually updated to fully recognize NAVSTAR development progress. The Secretaries of Defense and Transportation should defer unnecessary spending for unneeded navigation systems as long as NAVASTAR remains their potential replacement. The Secretary of Transportation should become an active participant in the NAVSTAR program to ensure that civil needs are considered.


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