SPEAKERS CONTENTS INSERTS
Page 1 TOP OF DOCPLEASE NOTE: The following transcript is a portion of the official hearing record of the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. Additional material pertinent to this transcript may be found on the web site of the Committee at [http://www.house.gov/transportation]. Complete hearing records are available for review at the Committee offices and also may be purchased at the U.S. Government Printing Office.
PREVENTING DELAYS AND COST OVERRUNS IN THE FAA'S NEW GLOBAL POSITIONING (SATELLITE NAVIGATION) SYSTEM
THURSDAY, JUNE 8, 1995
House of Representatives,
Subcommittee on Aviation,
Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure,
The subcommittee met, pursuant to call, at 9:35 a.m., in Room 2167, Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. John J. Duncan, Jr. (chairman of the subcommittee) presiding.
Mr. DUNCAN. Good morning, and I would like to welcome everyone to the hearing this morning on the Global Positioning System. Today's hearing will focus on this new Global Positioning System known as GPS and certainly something that I think almost everyone feels has the potential of being a revolutionary system.
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I want to say first that I applaud the FAA's efforts so far to modernize our Nation's air navigation system by the use of satellites. Satellites represent the cutting edge of new technology and certainly that I suppose it is an understatement to say even that.
As a matter of fact, the military has used satellites quite effectively in many cases, including the Gulf War and other modes of transportation are beginning to move toward satellite navigation as well.
It is only right, I think, that aviation be in the forefront of this effort. However, many people are concerned that when it comes to high-tech modernization efforts, the FAA's record has been spotty at best.
The Advanced Automation System is probably the prime example that immediately comes to mind as a high-tech system for which much was promised, but little has been delivered. The result of the delays in this system has been billions in cost overruns that were stemmed only by eliminating many of the system's best features. Billions in cost overruns. Too often in the past we have taken the FAA's word for it, which they told us that everything was under control; that everything was all right.
Only after the fact did we learn that FAA management had not paid sufficient attention to problems as they developed. The result, as I mentioned, has been huge cost overruns and delays. This time we want to make sure that these unneeded costs are not repeated.
We simply cannot afford this. The GAO has already raised the red flag with respect to warnings and has issued a report warning that the FAA may not be able to meet its deadlines for the GPS program. The subcommittee takes this warning seriously and is dealing with it in two ways.
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First of all, in the short term we are holding this hearing to focus on the potential problem and ensure that it gets attention from the top levels of the FAA.
Secondly, in the longer term we are working on FAA reform legislation that will provide for an administrator who will be there for the long term and who will be able to focus on the day-to-day operation of the agency.
Although it is the risk of delays and huge cost overruns that prompted this hearing, there are several other issues that deserve the attention of the subcommittee and I am sure will be referred to by some of the witnesses.
One question is who should control GPS. This has implications far beyond aviation. Although the satellites were originally launched by the military, witnesses today will discuss their report urging that a high level civilian board should now manage the program.
Another question is the impact of the FAA's program on private sector businesses that already offer a service similar to that which the FAA's program will provide. It would disturb me greatly in FAA's offer to provide the GPS service for free ended up putting people out of business.
It is my understanding that this potential would be avoided if the GPS signal was encrypted and we intend to ask about that and look into that to some extent this morning. However, we only want to do this if it won't further delay and cause problems and added cost for the FAA program.
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Other questions include when will the taxpayers see the savings from this program that will result from the shutdown of the current navigation aids that the GPS will replace. When will FAA establish the landing procedures that will enable the aircraft to take full advantage of the GPS? And is there any risk that terrorists could play havoc with the aviation system by jamming the GPS signal? That question, a serious question about security, was raised in a front-page story in the Wall Street Journal a couple of years ago or a year and a half ago and we need to look into that.
It will be noted that FAA is not on the witness list today. That is at their request. They felt that it would be better to wait until the contract was awarded before appearing before the subcommittee and I understood that request and respect it and have agreed to that.
However, the fact that the contract award has already been delayed by four months indicates that the concerns that prompted this hearing are well-founded.
It is the plan of the subcommittee to have a second day of hearings in order to give the FAA administrator a chance to respond to the questions and concerns that are raised here today. We will do that soon after the FAA contract award as the congressional schedule permits.
I now wish to recognize my good friend, the former Chairman of the full committee, Mr. Mineta, for any statement that he wishes to make.
Page 5 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. MINETA. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. I thank you for your continued leadership of this panel.
As all of you may know, Mr. Duncan, Mr. Oberstar's very close friend passed away so he had to return to the district and is not able to be here today. At today's hearings we will get an update on the progress that the FAA is making in its program to make GPS the primary means of navigation for the aviation system.
The importance of this program cannot be overemphasized. GPS can save FAA billions of dollars in capital costs since it will be much less costly than the MLS system that FAA had been planning to develop. GPS has the further potential to save the airlines and business aviation billions of dollars in operating costs by permitting aircraft to follow the most direct and fuel-efficient routes.
The potential benefit of GPS extend far beyond the aviation industry. GPS will provide substantial benefits to marine and surface transportation and provide valuable information to a variety of other businesses such as farming, gas and oil exploration and surveying. GPS will benefit many recreational activities and GPS is rapidly evolving into a major industry. It has been estimated that worldwide revenues from GPS-related products and services will increase from the current $2 billion a year to $30 billion.
The Aviation Subcommittee last reviewed GPS at hearings in July of 1993. Since that hearing, FAA's program has made substantial progress. In 1993, FAA's first major GPS program, the WAAS, the Wide Area Augmentation System, was still in a conceptual stage with initial implementation planned for the year 2000.
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Initial launch, the permit, GPS, was to be used as a primary means of navigation in end route and terminal airspace. In two years since the last hearing, FAA has advanced the implementation date for initial WAAS from 2,000 to 1997 and has moved through the procurement process almost to the point of awarding a contract.
I understand that this admirable progress was achieved through a series of internal reforms in the internal procurement process and in FAA's procedures for managing large contracts. If FAA can continue to keep the GPS program on track, the program will go from design to implementation in three years, compared to the five or more years which have been required for other large projects.
Now, I cannot resist this opportunity to note that these are the types of reforms that the FAA really needs. The GPS program shows that we do not need to break up the FAA and form a corporation to improve FAA's ability to acquire high-tech equipment for the air traffic control system.
Today's hearing will focus on potential problems which might prevent FAA from meeting its ambitious schedule. Unfortunately, we will have to wait until a later date to get FAA's response to these concerns as the Chairman has indicated. To avoid legal problems in the procurement process, FAA does not want to testify until a later date after the contract has been awarded.
I hope that this hearing format will not give us a distorted picture of the GPS program. It is our responsibility to consider potential problems in the program so that we can assist the FAA in overcoming the problems. But the potential problems should not overshadow the substantial accomplishments of the program to date.
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Mr. Chairman, if I might also, parenthetically, it is my understanding that this will be the last time that Mr. Mead will have the opportunity to testify before us, at least in this present capacity. I just want to thank him for what he has done for this committee in terms of his professionalism and with this new position that he will be assuming, I know we will still see him and we will still hear from him, but I just want to thanktake this moment to thank Mr. Mead and to wish him well in his new position as well. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. DUNCAN. Well, thank you, Mr. Mineta, and certainly, I was just asking Mr. Mead how many times he had testified before this committee, and he said somewhere between 60 and 70. And I don't know whether that is the record, but if it is not it certainly must be awfully close. And it is always a privilege to have him with us.
I now would like to recognize a man who has over the years been one of the most active members of this subcommittee and was formerly the Ranking Member of this subcommittee, is now the Chairman of the full Committee on Government Reform and Oversight, Mr. Clinger.
Mr. CLINGER. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. And I just want to commend you for holding this hearing to bring us up to date on the status of the GPS system and how the FAA is proceeding to implement that system. As somebody who practically flunked celestial navigation when I was in officer's candidate school in the Navy some years ago, I welcome any new addition to make navigation easier and sort of idiot-proof because I certainly need that sort of thing, but I think the FAA has made great progress in implementing this system.
Page 8 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Obviously, there have been glitches. There have been problems and we are going to address some of those today. I am particularly interested in following up on the comments of Mr. Mineta, and that is how the procurement has been going because I think that has been a major reason given for the sort of radical changes that have been proposed for the FAA, as the need to improve the ability for major acquisitions. And I think that my hope at least is that we have seen evidence that that is not going to be necessary. That, in fact, through some of the efforts that were made last year and hopefully are going to be continued this year in terms of procurement reform.
We will ease that burden and make it possible for us to proceed more rapidly toward achieving the Global Positioning System. So I am very interested, as you indicated, having been the former Ranking Member of this committee, and having been here for the hearing we held two years ago, I am very interested in seeing the progress that has been made and what still needs to be done. And I would join in saluting Ken Mead, who has been such a valuable asset for this committee and for the country over the years on the great contributions he has made and will continue to make. We are delighted to have you here again.
Mr. DUNCAN. Thank you very much, Mr. Clinger. We have another outstanding member of the subcommittee, Mr. Zeliff of New Hampshire, and I understand that he is going home this weekend and people are so excited about it that he has got 200 reporters following him home this weekend.
Mr. ZELIFF. Maybe this new system could provide us with a moose sighting. In the interest of time, I congratulate you for addressing this very important issue and look forward to hearing the testimony. So, and I appreciate your wishes of good luck, if that is what I interpret here on both sides, very nonpartisan. It will be an interesting four days.
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Mr. DUNCAN. Thank you very much.
Mr. LAHOOD. Mr. Chairman, I would be very brief, only to pick up on the point that the Ranking Member made and that is that I am a little more than astounded when I became a Member of the committee and the subcommittee to learn that the reason that we were going to reinvent government by privatizing or corporatizing or whatever the right word is, FAA, is because the procurement system was faulty. And I have never really been able to figure that out.
If our procurement system is lousy, let's fix that. Why the heck do we have to throw out the whole agency. And I concur with Mr. Mineta wholeheartedly and I have been baffled about this whole idea and I am very interested and I thank you for holding this hearing.
Mr. DUNCAN. Thank you very much, Mr. LaHood. And in a very short time on this subcommittee Mr. LaHood has become a very valuable member and always has some outstanding observations to make. I, first of all, once again, want to welcome all the witnesses here.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Costello follows:]
Page 10 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. DUNCAN. And we will start the hearing today with the first panel, and the first panel is Mr. Kenneth M. Mead, the Director of the General Accounting Office and he is accompanied by Mr. Robert E. Levin, the Assistant Director and Mr. Juan Tapia, who is the evaluator in charge of the General Accounting Office.
We are also honored to have Mr. Roger Sperry, who is the Director of Management Studies and GPS Coproject Director of the National Academy of Public Administration accompanied by Arnold Donahue, who is the GPS project director from the academy and Dr. Allison Sandlin, who is also the GPS Project Director for the National Research Council.
And we are certainly pleased to have all of you here today, and Mr. Mead, you may begin your testimony.
TESTIMONY OF KENNETH M. MEAD, DIRECTOR, TRANSPORTATION ISSUES, RESOURCES, COMMUNITY, AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT DIVISION, U.S. GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE, ACCOMPANIED BY ROBERT E. LEVIN, ASSISTANT DIRECTOR, AND JUAN F. TAPIA, EVALUATOR-IN-CHARGE; ROGER L. SPERRY, DIRECTOR OF MANAGEMENT STUDIES, NATIONAL ACADEMY OF PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION, ACCOMPANIED BY ARNOLD E. DONAHUE, PROJECT DIRECTOR, STUDY ON FUTURE MANAGEMENT AND FUNDING OF GPS, AND DR. ALLISON SANDLIN, GPS PROJECT DIRECTOR, NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL
Mr. MEAD. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I do not expect such kind words. And if I might, without cutting into my five minutes, I tried religiously to keep this within five minutes.
Page 11 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. DUNCAN. We will give you an extra minute or two today.
Mr. MEAD. I deeply appreciate the kind words of the committee and I think that my first passion will always be the transportation area. And I believe we are putting together a good team and, of course, a large part of the team that we have had will remain in place so that we continue to provide top level service. And where I am going, I will make certain that the best interests of this committee are well watched over. But thank you very much.
I would like to introduce my colleagues. Mr. Levin on my left, he leads our work on aviation infrastructure, and Mr. Tapia on my right led our GPS team. Mr. Chairman, in about 10 years of observing FAA, I cannot recall a time when there was so much positive excitement about a technological breakthrough as there is about the use of GPS satellites for navigation.
The current system is, of course, ground-based. And it provides a very safe means for aircraft to go from one airport to another. But because satellite-based navigation will give pilots and controllers more accurate information on the position of aircraft, including over the oceans and on precision approaches to runways, system users are very excited about the prospects of safer and more efficient flights at less cost.
The excitement is shared by those entrusted with watching how tax dollars are spent like ourselves at GAO. The day is coming when the ground-based system will be dismantled giving way to a more efficient satellite system that can be maintained at a lower cost.
As you know, FAA and DOT have the responsibility of making satellite-based civil air navigation a reality. Essentially, two systems are planned. One is called the wide area augmentation system which will augment GPS signals in the airspace around airports and between airports so that aircraft can navigate in air routes and then land on airport runways.
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A second system is called the local area augmentation system. And which will use ground-based equipment to augment the signals in the airspace around airports so that aircraft can land in the worst weather conditions referred to as categories 2 and 3. The need for two systems is based on the fact that GPS in itself does not satisfy aviation requirements for accuracy, system availability, and importantly the capacity to give timely warnings when there is a system malfunction.
Our testimony will summarize the findings of our recent report. I think we gave it to the committee on May 10th. We have three basic findings. First, we are concerned that FAA will not meet its published schedule for completing the enhancements to GPS or the so-called augmentations that will be needed to make satellites a primary means of navigation.
FAA plans to develop and implement the wide area system by 1997, so aircraft can begin using GPS without relying on other navigation aids for backup or even having such backup equipment on board the aircraft. We are focusing on the 1997 date initially. We think the schedule is highly ambitious. It basically gives FAA 27 months to commission the wide area system.
What do they have to do in that time? Well, in that time the agency must sign the contract with private companies to develop and implement the hardware and software. The companies must successfully, of course, build it, test it and install it and then FAA must certify and commission it, but FAA officials are telling us that software development alone may take that long or longer to complete.
Page 13 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Furthermore, completion of the wide area system could be slowed by potential problems in developing software or the launching of communications satellites needed to make the system function properly. The launch of the first of those satellites has already been delayed from late 1995 to early 1996. FAA attaches a likelihood of roughly 60 percent that the software schedule will be adhered to. And since the agency does have a history of problems, one might say, in the software area, we don't have a high level of confidence in that 1997 date.
Our second finding relates to FAA's management initiatives for bringing GPS navigation on line. We are very encouraged by FAA's actions to integrate GPS activities within the agency. Also, to secure funding, about $100 million, for development of the wide area system and also to come up with plans for implementing satellite-based navigation.
Our concern centers around the plans. They currently lack critical information such as a timetable for implementation of the local area system and funding needs for both the wide area system and the local area system.
FAA told us that they would address those omissions when they revise its plans in the future.
Our third and final point is that any significant delays implementing satellite-based navigation is going to have consequences for FAA's funding needs and they are important consequences. The trust fund will be paying for a time for basically dual navigation systems. One will be ground-based and one will be satellite-based. FAA foresees that after a transition period they will be able to start decommissioning the existing ground-based network.
Page 14 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC That process they estimate will last about 10 years. If the schedule for implementing the satellite-based navigation is delayed, FAA may defer significant cost savings associated with the phaseout. The delays could limit the agency's ability to reduce the spending for the ground-based systems which I would peg at $200 million per year. That would include the operations and maintenance costs plus any new acquisitions for ILS and other existing ground-based navigation equipment.
Mr. Chairman, that concludes our statement.
Mr. DUNCAN. All right. Thank you very much. And at this time we will call on Mr. Sperry.
Mr. SPERRY. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. Our statement this morning is really a joint statement of Arnold Donahue and me. We have agreed to a division of responsibilities in which I will read the statement and he will answer all the hard questions.
We also have Dr. Allison Sandlin with us who is the Project Director for the NRC part of this joint study. She has filed a separate written statement for the committee's consideration and will be able to answer any technical questions on our joint report.
We do appreciate the invitation to discuss the recently completed study, ''the Global Positioning System, Charting the Future,'' which was done jointly with the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Public Administration.
The NAPA panel was chaired by Dr. James R. Schlesinger. The NAPA panel assigned the highest priority to maintaining the military advantages associated with GPS. The panel concluded that the national security should be addressed simultaneously, however, with commercial and international aspects of GPS.
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Our panel found that the best approach for preserving national security is one that adapted to the rapidly evolving commercial and international dimensions shaping the future of GPS.
Powerful forces are shaping the future of GPS. Such force will affect the ways the United States maintains the military advantage inherent in GPS, which the NAPA panel believes is paramount, as I said. These forces include GPS as a potential weapon of war and terrorism a very important consideration.
Second, rapidly growing commercial markets are expected to be in excess of $30 billion worldwide by 2005. Third, use by much larger segments of the general public, perhaps a half million now, growing 10 to 20 million in 10 years. And fourth, the further potential of technological improvements, which can and are being made to the basic satellite system. And finally, international markets and influences. Rapid expansion is occurring in international markets as well.
Because these forces operate in concert, not independently, policymakers do not enjoy the luxury of developing categorical responses. Comprehensive policies to address interrelated challenges are necessary. Mr. Chairman, what we are saying here applies not only to the basic system, but to major augmentations as well.
The United States must not only stay at the leading edge of technological development, but also must establish a governance and management framework capable of balancing the various national goals set by GPS. The key, our panel said, was to design a flexible framework for reconciling the competing demands on the system in ways that respond to the national interest.
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The NAPA panel concluded that GPS is an invaluable asset that is rapidly becoming a de facto global utility. To maintain U.S. leadership in satellite navigation the NAPA panel recommends that, first, the President adopt a broad national strategy based on explicit national goals to guide GPS policy-making and implementation.
A short way of looking at this is to think of GPS as, yes, a military-developed system, but also a national asset and a global utility. All dimensions must be considered. The panel recommended an explicit set of goals aimed at protecting the national security, encouraging commercial growth and fostering international acceptance and continued U.S. leadership in this field.
Second, the United States should underscore its commitment to make GPS available free of direct charges to all users, a commitment going back to 1983. To sustain its military advantage, the DOD should develop the capability to counter adverse use of GPS and other radionavigation signals. Selective availability which degrades the signal is not fulfilling the purpose for which it was created and it should be turned to zero now and deactivated after three years.
Fourth, the United States should develop a more effective mechanism of governance in the form of a GPS executive board with broadened civil agency participation in U.S. policymaking and means for providing a greater voice for civilian, commercial and international interests in the future evolution of GPS.
And fifth, provision of stable funding for national security and public safety should be continued while pursuing contributions from other nations as international participation grows.
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Two fundamental questions now confront U.S. policymakers responsible for GPS. Who governs and manages it and who pays for it? The DOD has successfully developed and fielded this highly useful satellite-based system. Our panel believes that DOD deserves both public gratitude and congratulations for this impressive technological achievement. The DOD governance and management structure has worked well during the two decades of development, but demands on the system are widening and becoming far more complex than before and rival systems may emerge.
The Department of Transportation has been given a stronger role as representative of civil interests, but is still a relatively weak partner to DOD. The report suggests steps DOT can take to strengthen its role and participation. Governance and management will need to evolve further to meet effectively the challenges of the future.
Proliferating civilian users, domestic and foreign, will need to be better represented in Federal policy-making on GPS. As to funding, the NAPA panel concluded that GPS has extraordinary value both as a vital and proven military system and as a stimulus to the national and international economies.
GPS constitutes a national asset that the Nation should continue to own, support financially, and offer as a global utility. The panel said Congress and the administration should treat GPS as a public good and continue to fund it through general revenues, thus assuring the system a solid and reliable funding base. That, by the way, does apply primarily to the basic system, which was what we concentrated on.
Page 18 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC GPS has the potential to generate significant revenues under existing tax structures just through the corporate tax that is being paid on the additional economic activity generated by GPS. To date, DOD has borne the cost of providing a national program benefitting the entire world.
In the future, where possible, those who benefit from availability of the GPS signal should contribute toward the cost of providing them. In the panel's view, system enhancements and augmentations that benefit national security or public safety should receive Federal support and that includes the WAAS. Augmentations that benefit primarily the private sector should be paid for insofar as possible by the beneficiaries. If other nations agree to contribute, the DOD financial contribution should be reduced.
This completes our statement and we would be pleased to answer any questions.
Mr. DUNCAN. Thank you very much, Mr. Sperry.
Let me begin the questioning by asking you about this Wall Street Journal article that I made reference to earlier, and you have mentioned several times the Department of Defense and national security questions and so forth.
In the Wall Street Journal headline it said, ''Airliners can exploit the U.S. guidance system, but so can enemies.'' Global Positioning Systems could be used to direct cheap, accurate missiles. A defense aide was quoted as saying, ''It is a quandary.''
Page 19 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Do you have any security concerns? Do you believe that these systems which makewhich will make the GPS more accurate, do you think they make the U.S. more vulnerable in some way or do you think there is a security risk there?
Mr. SPERRY. I am going to ask Mr. Donahue to answer that since he did work on the national security part of this.
Mr. DONAHUE. Mr. Chairman, Arnold Donahue. I think the conclusion of the panel was that, yes, indeed there was a threat from GPS. It is a threat that exists today with selective availability because that system provides an accuracy of 100 meters. One hundred meters is very good accuracy in a lot of situations for a lot of weapons systems. So there is a threat from the availability of a good guidance system that is widely available.
I think the panel also concluded, however, that it is probably impossible to deny that capability to many people. And, with the proliferation of differential systems, that even greater accuracy, down to 5 meters, was going to be readily available or was already readily available in many parts of the world. Therefore, the panel, looking at a broader aspect of national security policy, suggested that the Department of Defense focus on alternative means rather than selective availability of dealing with the problem.
Mr. DUNCAN. Let me ask you this also, and it is somewhat related. An article in air transport world not long ago, it says this: On one side are airlines and aircraft manufacturers who say GPS could revolutionize ATC, air traffic control, quickly with the potential to save airlines around $5 billion annually in fuel and other costs. GPS also is a potentially lucrative industry. So manufacturers and many airlines want its implementation to begin immediately. The other side is the system's owner and operator, the U.S. Department of Defense, which does not want civilians to lose sight of who controls GPS.
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Is there a conflict there? And how do we resolve those differences? And who really, in your opinion, should control GPS?
Mr. SPERRY. I think that we have seen one potential conflict successfully worked out with regard to the accuracy issue on the WAAS, which we think is basically encouraging and it shows that the two departments with some difficulty can work together.
However, we are recommending that DOT take a stronger role and become a full partner, if you will, with DOD in the management of the system. A governing board should be put in place that will include additional governmental organizations, specifically the Departments of State, Interior and Commerce, all of whom have direct interest in at least the civilian side of this system.
And we think through this kind of an approach that we will see all perspectives brought to bear here. Our panel also thinks this idea of a national strategy, and national goals is very important. We are pleased that there is a policy review now underway in the White House, which is expected to take about six months and we hope that that will bring this kind of national perspective to this very important satellite navigation system.
There are also worldwide issues here that go beyond the United States and have to be taken into consideration if satellite navigation is to become the wave of the future throughout the world, and we really hope it does. So we hope particularly that the recommendations we have made on this executive board and the national goals will be taken seriously.
Page 21 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. DUNCAN. Yes Mr. Mead?
Mr. MEAD. One additional perspective on that, and it is good to see Mr. Clinger here, because there are some issues involved here that transcend the different congressional committees.
Mr. DUNCAN. Right.
Mr. MEAD. We issued a report last year that found that about 11 agencies involved in GPS in one way or another. FAA certainly is a big one. The Coast Guard is another. And not only do we have an issue here of governance of GPS with DOD and DOT, with DOT being something of a weak sister, but we have other agencies that DOT will have to represent in that governance.
Mr. DUNCAN. Mr. Mead, let me ask you this. I believe I understood you correctly to say that the FAA has told you that they feel there is only a 60 percent likelihood that they can meet their schedules on this. Is that what you said?
Mr. MEAD. On the software schedule, yes, sir.
Mr. DUNCAN. And you have participated, I have participated with you, on two or three hearings over the years on the Advanced Automation System, the AAS, and you heard me mention that in my opening statement that there have been billions in cost overruns and delays of several years. Do you thinkdo you foresee a repeat of some of those same problems in regard to GPS?
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Mr. MEAD. Mr. Chairman, Mr. Mineta mentioned in his opening remarks by reference that FAA may have learned some hard lessons and made some internal reforms. It would be very fortunate for FAA to have in place the oversight mechanisms especially on software development that they did not have in place on AAS. And I think we are very encouraged by what we see. And I will give you a perspective, some numbers here.
The ISSS was what we were really focusing on. At one point it had 1.6 million lines of code. In GPS we are probably talking around 200,000 lines of code in terms of what FAA has to do.
Software volatility, that is the number of times you have to rewrite lines of code, on ISSS was approaching 100 percent before FAA said we have got real problems here. So if FAA is finding that they have got software volatility as they develop the software to any substantial degree, I think it is very important that corrective action be taken then rather than waiting a couple of years.
Mr. DUNCAN. I have got some additional questions, but my time is up and so I am going to go now to Mr. Mineta.
Mr. MINETA. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
Let me ask Mr. Mead about the software. Do you think the FAA has been helpful in terms of trying to help on this facttrying to meet this 27-month schedule? Is there anything further that the FAA could be doing to try to help on that software situation?
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Mr. MEAD. Yes, there is.
Mr. MINETA. Do you know whether or not they are taking those steps to try and facilitate the software development?
Mr. LEVIN. Okay. I wish I could answer a flat, yes or no, or be very certain about it. Clearly, things are in the early stage. The contract hasn't even been signed yet. We have not gone in and taken an in-depth look at their software development processes to see if there are some of the same kind of problems today as there were when FAA was developing the ISSS. It may be something that several months down the road we might want to go look at. But at this point in time it is hard for us to really know how good those processes are.
Mr. MEAD. I can be candid on one point. I am hoping, Mr. Mineta, that the contract that FAA enters into has the proper incentives for the contractor to move along on what you might say is a better risk allocation between DOT and the contractor.
There was not that risk allocation in the former AAS. The government was paying out a great deal of money and things just went on.
Mr. MINETA. Well, are you having problems with trying to resolve this whole idea that the comprehensive schedule and plan that you would like to see in place is not going to be made public until after the contract is signed? Do you feel that that is not the right approach and it ought to be something in place before we even get to that point?
Page 24 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. MEAD. No, sir, I think they should go forward.
Mr. MINETA. Of course, the FAA, as I understand it, says, well, we already have these comprehensive plans and schedules, but we are not going to make it public until after the contract is awarded as it relates to the WAAS.
Mr. MEAD. Well, they are going through a contract negotiation at the present time so it would be difficult for them to announce now what the price was. For the LAAS, the local area systems, they do not have approved plans for its schedule and we do not have macro ball park numbers for what the wide area system or the local area system will cost.
Mr. MINETA. Is there a question as to whether or not there is a comprehensive plan and schedule and you folks don't agree with it as it relates to WAAS. Or again, I am sorry, is it a question of, no, I don't think it exists?
Mr. LEVIN. Well, the WAAS system schedule is clear.
Mr. MINETA. It is clear?
Mr. LEVIN. There are numbers in FAA on the cost of the WAAS. They have not lined up with the schedule yet in any formal way. But we are confident that they could do that.
They need to come forward, however, on the local area system for both cost and schedule. That has not been made public.
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Mr. MINETA. Let me ask about the local area augmentation system. Should they go ahead and prepare cost and schedule plans on that one? They are saying that until they have completed their feasibility tests of the project, they don't feel that they should go forward with that portion of the local system.
Mr. MEAD. I think when they complete their feasibility study, which is imminent, yes, they should. For the AAS, they were telling you what that was going to cost in 1983. They didn't let the contract for six more years.
Mr. MINETA. And where are they in terms of that prediction?
Mr. MEAD. They were off by a few billion.
Mr. MINETA. Let me ask about a statement that we are going to hear later on. A subsequent witness will be recommending that the WAAS signal be made available for free only to aviation users and that other users be required to pay a charge and purchase an encrypting or decrypting device to use the system and one of the arguments for this proposal is that companies such as Mr. Knoll's are now operating systems which improve the GPS signal for nonaviation users, and if the government offered augmentation services for free, then firms like DCI would be driven out of business.
I have two questions on this proposal. First of all, what effect would it have on the FAA's WAAS program to add a requirement that the signal be encrypted and would this require major change to cause substantial delays in the program?
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And secondly, what are your views on the fairness of the government offering for free a GPS augmentation service now being provided by the private sector and do you see any overriding policy benefits which outweigh the unfairness to the private companies?
Mr. MEAD. I will pass. After making a couple of comments, I am sure NAPA has some words on this, too.
First of all, encryption is going to increase the cost of receivers. That is a trade-off. I do not know exactly how much, but encryption will increase the cost.
Mr. MINETA. Will that create any kind of delay in terms of because of the changes in specifications.
Mr. MEAD. Yes, it will. It would almost certainly do that because present plans do not call for that. And it seems to me that one imperative that we need to consider is moving forward with the transition to GPS. It has been a long time coming as it is.
The second point I would like to make, in the NAPA study, they point out that currently the business for GPS is on the order of $2 billion a year and they are projecting it is going to go to $30 billion. So there are substantial public benefits involved here in what could arguably be said the delivery of a public good.
Mr. DONAHUE. Mr. Mineta, Arnold Donahue again.
Page 27 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. MINETA. Could I ask you to pull the mike up a little closer, please. Thank you, sir.
Mr. DONAHUE. The NAPA panel did look and consider and, in fact, rejected the idea of having an encrypted either basic GPS or WAAS approach. We did that for a number of reasons, but we found it extremely difficult to provide a free basic GPS service, having the basic signal out there as a free good, to then charge for a secondary signal.
We rejected that approach because of a number of circumstances. One, we had testimony that there was concern about public safety and the dangers of having an extremely complicated system to aircraft, boats and other transportation vehicles in that mode.
Second, we found that if you started employing encryption, you were walking down the road to an extremely complicated and complex system. It was described for us in one report as requiring an embedded module within a receiver requiring a magnetic card and requiring somebody to have a PIN number to make the system work. This was extremely complicated when you think of potentially millions of users in the private sector, including aircraft.
It should be noted that even the U.S. military would not require their pilots to have available a special module with a special magnetic card and a PIN number to make this system work.
For those reasons, the NAPA panel felt that encryption as an approach to the system, either as the basic system or for the WAAS, was extremely difficult and complicated to have. As an alternative, they looked on rather the system as a public good. And the same point that Mr. Mead just made, that here was an opportunity to provide a wide service with a wide range of benefits to a lot of people that would not require the cost and complexity of an encryption system. So that approach was basically rejected by the panel at that time.
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Dr. SANDLIN. Mr. Mineta, the NRC committee also examined encryption from a technical standpoint and they also determined that while it was technically feasible that it was very difficult from a logistical standpoint in terms of key management and international acceptance and fee collection.
One thing to point out also is that my understanding is the WAAS provides an accuracy that is less than some of the current differential systems and based on some of the market surveys, there is still a demand for differential corrections that can still be provided by private differential service providers that the WAAS will not meet in terms of accuracy.
Mr. MINETA. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. I just wanted to comment that, you know, yesterday's exciting rescue of the pilot is a combination of the pilot and GPS and ELT. So the need and the kind of potential there is just really exciting and yet at the same time, if there is a possibility that terrorists could spoof the system, then it seems to me we have got to be wary of that.
Encryption is a possibility in terms of helping on that score. And it also helps in terms of the private sector in terms of where they are coming into this picture. But, again, as you say, the delay, all the other complications that come into it, create other problems as well. But we will, I know, get into that matter deeper in a more extensive way. Again, thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. DUNCAN. Thank you, Mr. Mineta.
Page 29 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. Clinger.
Mr. CLINGER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. And I thank the panel for their testimony. I think we have all been frustrated over the years with the sort of poor track record with regards to the FAA's ability to predict when they can get things accomplished. I mean, this is not unique. It has been almost epidemic that they have failed to make dates that they have projected and they failed, you know, to properly estimate the cost of what they were doing.
And I am just wondering in this instance, again, Mr. Mead, you have indicated that they are probably going to miss the predictedsome of the predicted dates that they have for implementing the WAAS. Is thereto what do you attribute their pretty lousy track record in making these predictions? Why are they not able to do a better job at telling us how long it is going to take them to do certain things?
Let me refine that a little bit and say, I am particularly interested in the impediments that the procurement system may have imposed upon them that made it difficult for them to do these things. If that is a part of the equation, there are things we need to do to straighten that out?
Mr. MEAD. I believe you have a different set of issues on the timing with GPS than you did with AAS, at least as we see things right now. The schedules that FAA had initially set for WAAS, that was the wide area system, was 2000 or 2001. Because of industry pressures in the National Performance Review, there was pressure applied to accelerate those schedules so FAA moved that schedule to 1997.
Page 30 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC And our work is suggesting that it is probably too ambitious, that they in all likelihood are going to need a little extra time on that. But that is what is happening here. I do not see the procurement process in any way throwing out an obstacle.
Of course, if we were to encrypt the signal, that would cause a delay because they would presumably have to repeat the bidding. But so far what we see are good efforts. I think FAA has learned some hard lessons, Mr. Clinger.
Mr. CLINGER. On the question ofyou raised the issue of governance and I think that is a very real issue here, because there are a number of entities that have a piece of the action, if you will, that are involved in decisions as to the implementation and how GPS is going to be managed.
The NAPA NRC study suggests that DOD would control the operation and maintenance of GPS, but a high level board composed of DOD, DOT, and the Departments of State, Commerce, and Interior would basically shape policy.
Do you think that will work? I mean, is that going to be an effective way to ensure that we don't have sort of interagency gridlock with regard to shaping policy? In other words, I guess do you accept NAPA's recommendation in this regard?
Mr. MEAD. Yes, I don't want to understate the problematics involved in governance of that type. This will be tough. But I don't see as though we have any alternative. Perhaps the White House could bring some leadership to bear on this in setting up the stature of this governing board and laying out the marching orders in such a manner that there is not a bunch of bureaucratic squabbling and that it is truly issue resolution, such as the signal availability/degradation issue. That is an issue that needs to be resolved. It has gone on for some time now and this is one forum for resolving it.
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Mr. CLINGER. So what we really need is some sort of action-forcing mechanism that says, okay, the decision will be made at some point by some entity and it will be final and not subject to argument.
Mr. MEAD. Yes, sir.
Mr. SPERRY. On these kinds of issues, there really is no ideal conclusion, Mr. Clinger. As you know, we looked at a variety of options, including a possible White House working group to oversee it rather than a multiagency board. And our panel simply concluded that for this to have a continuing oversight, it would be needed to be composed of agency representatives perhaps with a final appeal to the White House.
The other thing is we are calling for an Executive Order here or perhaps a Presidential decision directive that would set broad policy and hopefully the goals that our panel recommended. The decisions and policy-making by this executive board would be in that context.
And to the extent that the board wants to be able to resolve issues, then obviously they can be appealed to the White House. But there are no perfect solutions here. This one seemed to be the best one that is available with government continuing to operate the basic system and the need for coordination of augmentations of GPS as well.
Mr. CLINGER. Thank you.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
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Mr. DUNCAN. Thank you, Mr. Clinger.
All right, gentlemen, I have a couple more questions. I would like to ask first, Mr. Mineta got a little bit into this and the next panel, I believe, will testify that the FAA supplemental systems will put them out of business. And we have gotten into the possibility of encryption a little bit to protect these businesses in some way.
Is there something else that can be done that might help these businesses that we are going to hear from next? Or make sure that they stay in business? Is there, for instance, a possibility of encryption of the LAAS system rather than WAAS or something else that we have not discussed yet?
Mr. DONAHUE. Well, we looked at this to some extent within the report. First of all, we did an analysis by talking to the major differential service providers ourselves, including some of those that you will hear testimony on later on and talked to them about the nature of the problem.
The panel ended up with a recommendation that said for the government to provide services beyond those for national security and public safetyand that is where we sort of drew the lineit was probably going to be a mistake. That it should reach out to the private sector to be the primary provider of those services.
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With respect to the economics of it, we found that even in our survey of the differential service providers, that some of them felt, indeed, that they could have a business increase with, for example, selective availability turned off which provides service in a rough sense comparable to that that will be provided free, for example on an unencrypted WAAS. So some of them were predicting increased business.
Third, we had a market analysis done by the National Research Council, had a market analysis done which indicated differential service providers would, in fact, continue to grow because the higher accuracy demands would continue to require differential service providers.
Nonetheless, there is an area here that at some point one has to begin to say, is the government going to provide service down to extreme accuracy levels as a public safety, public good and where do we draw that line?
It was difficult for us to come up with a definitive line on that. We felt clearly that for the purposes of public safety that the need for a free signal sort of overwhelmed the requirement to protect those specific companies.
In addition, our analysis showed that those companies would do extremely well even with that free signal down to that level.
Mr. SPERRY. Even in the use of local area systems, you still run into the problem of the airliners themselves having to deal with an encrypted or coded signal and the question is do you want to introduce that level of complexity? We were told that that is a problem just as much in the local area as it is in the wide area. So I want to be sure that that will make that much of a difference.
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Mr. MEAD. A basic problem on encryption on local area is that if you do it in the local area, you might as well do it in the wide area, too, because it is going to be the same receiver. And if you are talking about exponential costs, the receiver's cost will go up whether it is LAAS or WAAS or whatever.
Mr. DUNCAN. Mr. Mead, let me ask you if you know this. There was an article in Business Week about this in 1992, and it has got the interesting title of, ''Who Knows Where You Are? The Satellite Knows.'' But anyway, what I really want to ask about, it says in this article, that the government, the Federal Government primarily the Defense Department, has spent a little over $3 billion over the past 15 years developing this system. And that was written in February 1992. Do you know roughly how much the Federal Government has spent developing this since that time?
Mr. MEAD. The exact figures may be classified. I would
Mr. DUNCAN. It is classified, but it is in Business Week Magazine.
Mr. MEAD. In the neighborhood of $6 billion, $5 or $6 billion for the GPS. There is probably another 4 billion in there that has strictly other things that they need to do to equip the military, but basically $6 billion. And so far Congress has given about $100 million to FAA. Coast Guard, maybe 10 million bucks.
Mr. DONAHUE. Mr. Chairman, we have rather complete figures in our report. I think we calculated a little over 5 billion for the satellite system itself, the ground control and associated operation of the satellites. In addition, there has been spending of about 3 to 4 billion on user equipment by the military services. So the Federal Government total investment has been on the order of 9 to $10 billion.
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Mr. DUNCAN. You heard me refer earlier to an Air Transport World article in which they said that the airlines and aircraft manufacturers say that the GPS could potentially save them as much as $5 billion each year. Have any of you looked at that figure?
Do you think that that is realistic? Or is that just some sort of exaggeration to get us to go furthera lot further into this? Is that an accurate figure? Does anybody know? Is that just some wild guesstimate?
Mr. MEAD. I would not characterize it as wild. Perhaps a bit soft. But I have seen some analysis on the savings over the Atlantic Ocean, over the Pacific Ocean for 747 aircraft operating under GPS and with the GPS receiver equipage. And per aircraft it is over half a million dollars a year. That is a substantial amount of money.
Mr. DUNCAN. Yes, it sure is.
Mr. DONAHUE. Can I just expand on that one minute.
Mr. DUNCAN. Yes, sir. Yes, sir.
Mr. DONAHUE. I think there are some cost-benefit analyses that have been done by FAA. Some of them leave something to be desired. For example, calculating the worth of waiting time for a passenger because he cannot take off because of weather problems. And those are very difficult calculations.
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Nonetheless, when one looks at the broader economics sphere, the economics of GPS look tremendously favorable and that is sort of where our panel ended up in the conclusion. The economics of applying this in many areas, not just aviation, but particularly aviation, were very, very strong, not only as a substitute for microwave landing systems, but for savings in the operation of aircraft. And this we found to be true not only in the United States; one UK airline cited flying to Beijing on a GPS route would save $40,000 per flight just in fuel. Those are the kind of savings that over a year's worth of aviation or multiyears of aviation just amount to a tremendous amount of savings.
Mr. MEAD. Here is another figure that you will find of interest, I think. To buy, install, and commission an instrument landing system for the category one would be about $1.5.
For a satellite-based in a local area system, it will be about $250,000$300,000 per unit. So we will be able to enormously expand the number of airports that are capable of receiving precision landings.
Mr. DUNCAN. Let me ask one last thing, I guess just more out of interest or curiosity. But thisthe Air Transport World article to which I have referred, it is entitled, ''Delaying the GPS Promise,'' and it says it has been called the navigation tool for the future. But turf battles, competing technologies, and politics may put off implementation.
Do you all see that happening, turf battles and competing technologies and politics putting off implementation?
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And second, the curiosity part, or sort of just interesting to me, I suppose, the people who know about GPS seem to be really excited about it. And I mentioned in my opening statement, I used the word revolutionary, and yetand I noticeI read in the NAPA report that the market for GPS goods and services is $2 billion now and you predict that it is going to go to 31 billion in 10 years' time and you describe that growth as phenomenal and it really is, and yet I have the feeling that if I went out here and stopped a thousand people on the street and asked them what GPS stood for, I don't know if I could find five that could tell me.
And why is that? I mean, is this really the revolutionary, exciting development that we seem to think it is? And are more people going to hear about this in the future or is this something that has been exaggerated and, as this article says, the navigation tool of the future, but turf battles and competing technologies and politics are all going to put it off and delay it so that we really do not get the promise fulfilled? Do you all have any comments about that?
Mr. MEAD. I truly think there is a revolution occurring here. I think it is inevitable, certainly at FAA. You ask about turf battles and things, certainly maybe GAO doesn't want to go on record and say that there are turf battles over at FAA, certainly, but I would go so far as to say that FAA's persistence on the microwave landing system got in the way of progress in moving to GPS.
It took years, it seemed to get off the track on microwave landing systems. So maybe we would be a little further ahead than we are now. Also, the whole GPS program, before we went in, was fragmented. Different places in FAA would run it. Now, it has been brought together, it is integrated under one management, which I think is an important internal reform. And Mr. Sperry might wish to add.
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Mr. SPERRY. Arnie Donahue had some responsibility for this when he was with OMB before he retired. I come to this quite new in this particular study, and I can assure you it has been a very exciting experience to see what the possibilities are.
Our report has one page in it that we were provided by DOT that lists all the applications, at least all the ones that they could think of at that time and it is in very fine print. It is a remarkable list. And the ingenuity that we have seen applied by users and manufacturers is close to astounding. So it is a very exciting development.
As to the issue of turf battles I don't know that that is so much a problem as it is the practical problems of administering a dual use system. The National Research Council has recommended several technical improvements to this system that are going to cost a modest amount of money to put in place, but they could benefit quite a number of people and continue to make the GPS the best system in the world for navigation and for positioning and for timing services.
But there are some practical problems in finding the mechanism through the DOD to fund these matters. And I think that this particular committee has to take a greater interest in assuring that the civil side of GPSboth enhancements to the basic system and augmentations are given proper due in the course of the management of this, both by the DOD and DOT.
Mr. DUNCAN. Is there any other country in the world that is spending a large amount of money doing research and development of GPS?
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Mr. SPERRY. Well, there are two key places that we know of right now, one is the Russian GLONASS system, which is a constellation of 19 satellites scheduled to go to 24. It has perhaps more, short-lived satellites and uncertain future, but is already up there and they pledge to keep it going.
The other organization that has a strong interest and the wherewithal to do something about it is Inmarsat. They have a plan that would eventually provide for about 15 satellites with navigation packages on them and an intermediate orbit that could provide a service comparable to what is now provided by GPS.
So there are potential competitors out there. The European Community is looking at the possibility of putting up its own system if they are not satisfied with what the U.S. is providing. So these factors have to be taken into account.
Mr. MEAD. It is worth noting on this, Mr. Chairman, that the Russian system will be free, unencrypted and I believe the signal will be undegraded.
Mr. SPERRY. That is correct.
Mr. DUNCAN. I have gone far too long. Let me turn to Mr. Mineta.
Mr. MINETA. Mr. Chairman, I appreciate your indulgence. One of the things that we have had in the past as a problem in trying to convince the Europeans to join us on the GPS has been the fact that they are afraid that being a DOD system, that in case of a national emergency that all of a sudden the civil users would not have access to the GPS.
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It is my understanding that DOD will say with a 27 full system and with a two-theater operation they can still have civil use of the GPS.
Let me just turn this slightly from that. I hadn't realized you had retired, Arnie, but in any event, because of your expertise on this, let me just clarify in my own mind.
Could you go through the whole issue of say spoofing, encryption, SA to zero and the benefits that would come given some of the civil concerns about where we are in terms of where we are going right now. I am wonderingI guess I need some clarification of the encryption versus what is the relationship to selective availability. Is there a relationship of any kind?
Mr. DONAHUE. Notnot directly. The military signal that is provided on the satellite currently is encrypted. The civilian signal is not encrypted. However, the civilian signal has the selective availability feature by which the technical parameters, the timing and the location of the satellite that is giving the signal, can be changed by the Department of Defense, which results in a degradation of the accuracy from approximately 30 meters to 100 meters.
The NAPA panel recommended that selective availability be turned off. Be turned to zero. With the option of reinstituting it if national security
Mr. MINETA. Let me ask, does that impact on spoofing? Does it impact on its being invaded by nonlegitimate users to the system?
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Mr. DONAHUE. That would be true whether selective availability was on or off. It is neutral in that. But Allison has looked much more closely at the spoofing aspect and maybe you could address that.
Dr. SANDLIN. Spoofing is essentially providing false signals to a user.
Mr. MINETA. And so the only way to protect on that is encryption.
Dr. SANDLIN. Encryption helps.
Mr. MINETA. Is there a way to protect yourself
Mr. DONAHUE. There are a lot of built-in advantages in the Global Positioning System to eliminate spoofing by itself. It has to correlate between a set of satellites. It can toss out a signal that looks bad because of its location. It knows the location of the satellites and, if suddenly somebody comes with a false signal, it can be tossed out.
If it is coming from the wrong direction, it can sometimes toss it out. You can build certain other features into the system like special antennas that diminish the problem of spoofing. Clearly, if you put an antenna on the top of an aircraft where most of them would be because you are looking for a satellite system, the really only way to spoof is to have something coming down from another satellite. You are eliminating the ground sort of interference approach that could spoof the signal. So there are approaches other than encryption to the spoofing problem.
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Nonetheless, there are elements of interference and it gets worse when you get to some of the local area systems because they are ground-based. For the wide area system, for the WAAS and for the GPS itself, it can be difficult to spoof it.
Dr. SANDLIN. One point is that the user is receiving signals from various satellites so in order to spoof a user, you would need to spoof all of the satellite signals in order to deter a user so you would need more than one spoofer and for an application which involves motion, it would be very difficult, I think, to spoof or to take a user away from the satellite signals and to spoof him, to deter him and provide false signals.
Mr. MINETA. Okay. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. Thank you very much to the panel.
Mr. DUNCAN. Thank you very much, Mr. Mineta.
Mrs. Kelly, do you have any questions at this time?
Mr. Clinger, do you have any other questions?
Well, let me thank all of the witnesses. I will say that I have another article here in which Charles Tremble of Tremble Navigation predicts that roughly 25 million consumer devices having GPS inside will be sold by the year 2000. And as someone born in 1947, the year 2000 has always sounded far off, but now it is right here on us. And so, I think we are going to be hearing a lot more about GPS in the very near future. And I thank you very much.
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Did you want to say something?
Mr. TAPIA. Mr. Chairman, in terms of exposing the American public to GPS, I went to buy a 1996 car and they were trying very hard to sell me a GPS receiver in the car. They are coming. And the Japanese are very aggressive in the market with their cars. So
Mr. DUNCAN. Our staff director, Dave Shaffer, told me yesterday that he thought that they would start out selling it as a very expensive extra and in a few year's time it would become a very low-cost standard item. And so we will see.
Mr. MEAD. There is a graph in the NAPA study that I think is interesting. Especially for the implications for the full committee. It shows users of GPS ranked. And aviation by 2005 has got, has 14 percent of the total use. You go to land, surface transportation and it goes to 40 percent. I guess there is going to be a lot of interrogate vehicles on the roads.
Mr. DUNCAN. Well, I tell you it is a fascinating thing to look into, and I think it is something that we need to pay quite a bit more attention to from this committee's standpoint in the years ahead. But thank you very much for coming here and testifying and being with us today. Thank you.
Mr. DUNCAN. All right. I would like to welcome the next panel, panel 2, and on panel 2 we have Bruce Noel, who is Vice President of Differential Corrections, Incorporated, accompanied by Andy Bogle, who is the Marketing Manager for John Chance and Associates and Gordon Kaiser, who is Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of ACCQPOINT and we also have Professor Dorothy Denning, who is from the Department of computer science at Georgetown University.
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And so, I would like to welcome the four gentlemen who are here with us, and Dr. Denning and certainly it is a privilege and honor for us to have you with us. And I believe that, gentlemen, we will go ahead and start first with Dr. Denning and let her testify since she is seated there in what we generally consider the first seat. And are you ready to proceed, Dr. Denning? You may begin your testimony.
TESTIMONY OF DR. DOROTHY E. DENNING, COMPUTER SCIENCE DEPARTMENT, GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY; BRUCE A. NOEL, VICE PRESIDENT, DIFFERENTIAL CORRECTIONS INCORPORATED, ACCOMPANIED BY ANDY BOGLE, MARKETING MANAGER, JOHN E. CHANCE & ASSOCIATES, INC., GORDON E. KAISER, CHAIRMAN, AND CEO, ACCQPOINT, AND RONALD HALEY, PRESIDENT ANT CEO, DIFFERENTIAL CORRECTIONS, INC
Dr. DENNING. You surprised me. I thought I was going to be last. Just to start out, I am a relative newcomer to this and really didn't know very much about GPS prior to being asked to testify before this subcommittee. I would like to thank you, Mr. Chairman, for having this opportunity to look at the encryption issue.
I was asked to consider the question of whether the FAA's planned differential GPS corrections signals could be encrypted with a commercial algorithm that would be essentially unbreakable. Currently, there are no plans to use any type of encryption in either the Wide Area Augmentation System, WAAS, or the Local Area Augmentation System. However, the private sector differential GPS providers encrypt their signal with proprietary algorithms in order to protect their commercial interests.
Page 45 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I found no technical obstacles to encrypting the differential corrections with a strong algorithm, although this application might not require such a strong algorithm. However, I did find considerable controversy over the question of whether encryption should be included at all. I will focus my testimony on the arguments for and against encryption.
There are four arguments in favor of encryption. First, encryption would provide a method of denying access to adversaries. Although jamming also can be used for this purpose, it might not be suitable in some situations.
Second, encryption would enhance safety by providing a method of detecting spoofed signals transmitted by an adversary for the purpose of causing a crash. Third, encryption would provide a mechanism for recovering costs since access to the signals could be conditioned on paying a fee.
Costs could be recovered through other means such as the airline ticket tax, but using encryption for this purpose leads to the fourth argument for encryption: It would protect the commercial interests of private sector differential GPS providers since the FAA signals would not be available for free.
Although the private sector providers could continue to find a strong and growing market by providing greater precision or other niche services, encryption would resolve any market overlap.
There are also four arguments opposed to encryption. First, encryption would require a major redesign and development effort that would take several years. This could potentially delay operation of WAAS while adding significant development and implementation costs probably in the tens of millions of dollars if not more.
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In addition to direct costs, delayed operation of the proposed augmentation system could delay projected cost savings to the FAA, which are estimated to reach several billions of dollars.
Second, encryption introduces potential safety problems. If the encryption or key management system fails in any way or if an adversary interferes with the signals, the signals would not be available possibly in an emergency situation. Third, putting encryption into WAAS might undermine U.S. leadership in GPS and harm U.S. industry. Encryption might not be accepted internationally.
If WAAS is significantly delayed or if international acceptance is not achieved, a non-U.S. GPS augmentation system without encryption could be adopted internationally. This might reduce the potential market for U.S.-made GPS receivers.
On the other hand, it is conceivable that encryption could be gradually integrated into the FAA system without adding significant delays. For example, by adding a few simple hooks to the current design that would permit encryption to be put in later.
And it is also possible that this might be done in a way that could be accepted possibly even preferred internationally. My understanding is that Australia has just adopted a policy requiring encryption of their precise navigational signals.
Fourth, any encryption would require a complex key management infrastructure so that devices could be keyed and rekeyed. Even if key distribution is done electronically, managing the infrastructure could be a major task and administrative burden.
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The key management system could be eliminated by using a proprietary nonkeyed encryption method. This is the approach taken by the commercial GPS providers. However, it would not work with the FAA's system. Since the algorithms must be made public in order to achieve widespread acceptability and standardization, the encryption would be readily defeated. It is conceivable, however, for this limited application, that the key management could be simplified so that it is not onerous.
On balance the arguments against encryption seem stronger than those for. However, given that there are good arguments on both sides, the question of whether to encrypt might best be resolved by establishing a national policy on precise navigational signals over our airspace. I recommend that the Congress review both the national security and safety risks associated with encrypting and not encrypting these signals and consider establishing a policy for these signals.
Mr. DUNCAN. All right. Thank you very much, Dr. Denning, and we will get into questions in a few minutes. But first, we will hear Mr. Noel. I believe that you are going to speak for the remainder of the panel; is that correct?
Mr. NOEL. That is correct.
Mr. DUNCAN. At least as far as an opening statement is concerned. And go ahead and start. And we don't need the light. We will not worry about that.
Mr. NOEL. Okay. Thank you. However, with your permission, Mr. Chairman, I would like to verbally give excerpts from my testimony, but yet submit the entire written document for the record.
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Mr. DUNCAN. That will be fine.
Mr. NOEL. I would also like to start out with a very brief story, which I think will represent the situation we find ourselves in following the panel before. This is about a fourth grade teacher who assigned an assignment to her class, creative writing assignment, and it was to take nursery rhymes and parables and rewrite things from a different perspective.
The fourth grade teacher got things back, one was the story of the three pigs from the perspective of the wolf. She got one that came back and when she looked at it, it was it is dark inside here. I can't see a thing. And she went and asked the child what it was all about. And the child said, well, this is the story of the ''Princess and the Pea'' from the perspective of the pea.
My point here being there is a lot of different ways to look at this problem. And we want to talk about a different way than perhaps you heard from the previous panel.
Our position today is that there is a request for your understanding and help in a matter that threatens the survival of the three private enterprise commercial companies you see before you today, as well as a growing group of other U.S. entrepreneurial and established companies throughout the U.S. who are participants in our industry. We are in the business of providing nationwide and in some cases worldwide augmented GPS services to commercial and government users of GPS receivers.
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The DOD-approved DGPS corrections generated by our companies' respective technologies can reduce these errors for commercial operations from the 100-meter range to less than 1 meter.
The commercial DGPS service industry today has the capability and technology already developed and installed throughout North America and in many countries. Since 1986, the commercial sector has had WAAS-type systems operational.
Today's commercially available DGPS services are at least as good as the proposed Federal DGPS systems, are available and in use today by a wide variety of GPS users in a wide variety of applications and generally outperform the requirements of Federal-proposed GPS systems.
This competitive, young, and growing U.S. private DGPS service industry needs the support of its government through noninterference so it can grow and develop, rather than the competition of its government, which can cause it to wither and probably die. Astute and responsible government officials in this era of reduced Federal budgets should be looking for ways that they can use private sector investment to achieve their goals.
We collectively believe that the cheapest and best way to develop augmented GPS service for the U.S. is to utilize existing private sector companies' networks and technology in conjunction with government oversight and standards to ensure service quality and performance.
Page 50 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The free distribution of DGPS corrections by the FAA threatens the existence of private enterprise companies. The Federal Aviation Administration has proposed to provide freely available, government-designed, built, operated and funded GPS systems to provide for the requirements of their agency.
In order to justify this system, the DOT and FAA have pointed out the commercial benefit of having freely available DGPS provided for all other government and commercial GPS applications, including all land local applications. The resultant government DGPS service would be freely provided to users in all markets, not just aviation and marine radio navigation, and in competition with fee-based private sector systems already in place.
This is clearly overstepping the boundaries of the Federal radio navigation plan. At least five private sector companies employing nearly a thousand Americans would have their business put in serious jeopardy, if not outright failure, by these actions.
Contrary to the NAPA statements that were made in the previous panel, we know of no company in the DGPS service industry that is not vitally threatened by the proposed WAAS free DGPS services, as well as the Coast Guard free DGPS services.
Already, the announced intentions of the DOT and the FAA in this area are depressing what would otherwise be a robust market for DGPS services. The FAA never even provided an opportunity for the existing commercial companies currently providing DGPS services to bid their existing infrastructure and DGPS service capability to meet government requirements.
The cost of the proposed Federal DGPS system is proposed to be 1.5 to $1.7 billion dollars and that excludes the cost of the satellite segment. The cost is substantially more than it needs to be if the existing private sector systems had been taken into account. Cost reduction means savings that could be applied to other priority government programs or simply applied as a savings to taxpayers.
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Serious technical flaws exist in the FAA DGPS system that can put safety and life at substantial risk. The FAA plans to broadcast unprotected DGPS corrections to the user via the GPS frequency called the L-1 band. This allows precise positioning capability to be used by anyone, friend or foe, equipped with a DGPS receiver.
The effectiveness of the strategic military advantage of GPS will be neutralized and a major initial objective for creating GPS in the first place will be compromised. One government arm is clearly undoing the policies of another and at taxpayer expense.
Terrorists can easily produce a signal, spoofing, that looks like a GPS satellite, but with false ranging data, even easier to generate and more difficult to detect, with the current FAA architecture of false differential corrections. The inability to detect either of these events would be disastrous to any form of aviation, whether in route to a destination or during a landing approach.
The safety and life implications are frightening to contemplate. No solutions have been proposed so far for this problem.
The second problem is the threat to national security. If a freely available signal via the L-1 band were available to any GPS receiver, it could be utilized by the enemy missiles or aircraft for mid-course navigation corrections. This would enable an enemy to pinpoint and destroy key commercial and military targets.
Freely available differential GPS subsidizes foreign consumer electronics manufacturers at the expense of U.S. companies. The original decision to make GPS signals available free of charge has provided a large subsidy to foreign consumer electronics manufacturers.
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For example, the Japanese GPS industry in 1994 has already reached $240 million. Based on visits to almost all of these Japanese companies, it is clear that they are poised to exploit the U.S. GPS receiver and related GPS application markets.
The U.S. DGPS service industry, in its negotiations to provide many of these companies DGPS service on a fee basis, is ongoing. Implementation of a free nationwide service will continue to subsidize these Japanese consumer electronics manufacturers and penalize innovative U.S. companies in this business and market area.
DGPS signals broadcast by any government bodies such as the FAA should be protected or encrypted for integrity and accuracy to ensure that the segment deriving the benefit pays the burden. Protection or encryption of DGPS signals corrects some of the technical deficiencies of the WAAS as proposed and provides a method to ensure that the user segment receiving the benefit of the government system pays the burden and provides a method for protecting the DGPS private sector service companies' investment and future business prospects.
The private sector DGPS service companies all encrypt their DGPS correction analysis to protect them from unauthorized access by users who are not subscribers. The use of encryption by the FAA WAAS and local area DGPS systems will provide an answer to DOD concerns about compromising the military value of the GPS system, as the GPS corrections would no longer be broadcast in the clear.
This approach could effectively provide a DGPS signal that is in the clear as far as users of aviation GPS receivers with the necessary software encryption modules are concerned and would meet government desires to make these DGPS aviation navigation services available to all aviation navigation users who need them.
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This would mean that those users who are paying into the aviation trust fund would get the DGPS navigation service at no additional charge and would be in accordance with the Federal Radio and Navigation Plan.
Under this approach, all other DGPS applications and particularly all land-based DGPS applications would be served directly using protected signals by the private DGPS service providers on a for-fee subscription basis as is the current industry practice.
Investigations have shown that the FAA DGPS alternatives can be encrypted with public algorithms to ease international concerns and that private key management methods exist that can be implemented with minimal schedule impact and managed without unreasonable expenditures of resources and money. According to one bidder on the FAA WAAS system, who did evaluation of encryption, less than $50 would be the cost per receiver for adding encryption capability.
In fact, a second proposal that has been made to the FAA suggests that addition of key management can be achieved for as little as $250,000 per year. This seems to be a small additional price to pay for the benefits and problem solutions encryption provides.
It should be apparent that the private sector DGPS service industry representatives before you today feel strongly that the WAAS system should have GPS augmentation integrity and accuracy signals protected or encrypted as a prerequisite for further approval and funding.
Page 54 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC There is considerable evidence and information available that indicates that DGPS signal encryption and required key management can be done economically and with not unreasonable schedule impacts.
In closing, Mr. Chairman, I would like to thank you for the opportunity to bring before the subcommittee the issues and concerns of the three major companies in the U.S. commercial GPS augmentation service industry. This concludes my testimony. I and my colleagues from the industry are available for questions.
Mr. DUNCAN. Thank you, Mr. Noel. And before we begin the questioning, I just want to ask, do any of the other three, Mr. Haley, Mr. Kaiser, Mr. Bogle, would any of you like to, without reading any statement, just tell us specifically from your hearts how you feel about what is happening and what effect this is going to have on you and your companies? Anybody want to say anything along that line?
Mr. KAISER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Like our friends, we have been in this business for some period of time. I would like to make three points, some of which have been made by Mr. Noel.
Number one, the difficulty and cost of encryption is greatly overstated. You only have to look here where you have three companies, small companies in comparison to the size of the FAA, that have done it. It is not that difficult.
Now, maybe there is this great rush to get on with the WAAS and no delay could be tolerated with the WAAS. But, respectfully, that shouldn't be tolerated. This encryption issue needs to be investigated. It has not been investigated to this point in time.
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Secondly, there are serious national and international security issues. An unencrypted signal made little sense prior to Oklahoma. After Oklahoma it makes no sense.
And thirdly, you have a commercial reality. Service is being provided. This government has spent 10 billion on the basic system. It is going to spend another 1.7. Yes, that is designed for commercial aircraft. Yes, that will be recovered in part from that industry. But why allow it to flop over and provide a free service to farmers and people that it was never intended for?
If the FAA for some reason has to get in that business, at least they should charge for it and not offer a free service and put private enterprise out of business. Thank you.
Mr. DUNCAN. Mr. Bogle.
Mr. BOGLE. Yes, thank you, Mr. Chairman. I completely endorse my colleagues' comments here. And just as a matter of maybe expanding a little bit on where we are coming from, this is not three companies here who have suddenly appeared on the scene with a gripe.
The company which I represent has been in the business since 1959 and it's sole business is providing precise positions services. We had a WAAS-type system developed and operational as long ago as 1986. This is United States technology at work here. It is working very well in a capitalistic enterprise.
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We have users out there who are willing to pay for the system. There is no argument that people out there aren't willing to pay. We are proving that. It is a very nascent business as far as land applications are concerned right now. But we believe that our technology, our capability and our markets far outstrip anything that the FAA can do.
And it is a very serious concern to us. As I say, there are a lot of people within our company that depend on precise positioning for a living. Thank you.
Mr. DUNCAN. All right. Thank you. Mr. Haley, is there anything you wish to tell us?
Mr. HALEY. Yes, I guess there is just one point I would like to make. As well as putting the systems up in the United States, we have now got our system installed in Australia, the UK, France, Holland, Finland, Luxembourg, Sweden. It has been accepted as a standard in Europe and pretty much throughout Asia.
One of the things that we have found, one of the things that slowed us down was actually negotiating with the local Departments of Defense from a security point of view. And security for them is a big problem.
And we have seen now the first country, Australia, turn around and say they are not going to allow any navigation signals unless they are encrypted. And I believe you are going to see the same thing come out of all of these European countries.
Page 57 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC And one of the goals of the WAAS is to make this a worldwide system. Because, unfortunately, airplanes do not just fly to the United States. They leave this country and fly to other countries. And I think for the WAAS to be accepted internationally it is going to have to be encrypted and each country is going to have to, and in fact, does want control over the differential corrections. They look at themselves as sovereign nations and what they don't want is a satellite sitting over the top here broadcasting differential corrections that they have no control over in a config that they cannot turn off.
And just take a situation like the war in Iraq. We have got scud missiles flopping around all over the place not very accurately. You start putting a free differential service from the FAA sitting over the Middle East and you have scud missiles landing exactly where they want them to land with an inability to turn the service off because the service is there for aviation.
So we think that the encryption solves a lot of problems and one of the problems it solves is international acceptance. Thank you very much.
Mr. DUNCAN. Thank you, very much. Rather than me continuing at this point, I am going to turn to Mr. Mineta for any questions that he may have.
Mr. MINETA. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
Let me first very quickly ask, with all these systems you have installed in these other countries, their use is for what?
Page 58 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. HALEY. Their use is for marine, for vehicle navigation, vehicle tracking, surveying, golf courses. I mean, timing applications. They are using in all sorts of applications. Crop dusting. I think we have a lot more aviation miles on our service with crop dusters than the FAA has flown with their service.
The GPS is basically pervasive. We are dealing with where am I? What time is it? And you are dealing with a very basic thing and you are starting to see GPS go entirely through the infrastructure. And in fact there is not a cellular site in the United States that doesn't have a GPS service on it for timing.
AT&T is putting in high speed switching networks and the timing they are using for this is GPS. Some people turn around and say, well, we will jam GPS if we have a problem. Well, you don't turn off where am I. You are going to turn off all the cellular networks. You are going to turn off all the high-speed switching networks and turning off everything because jamming doesn't differentiate who the user is. End of story.
Mr. MINETA. Mr. Noel, in your testimony you indicate that FAA has not given companies such as yours an opportunity to make proposals for FAA to use your company's networks and technology to augment the GPS system. Could you give us more detail on why it would not have been feasible for companies such as yours to make a proposal in response to the FAA's RFP?
Mr. NOEL. I think the central issue there and our central point is that there are a number of mechanisms, systems in place as I have tried to describe here today, the FAA came forth with their own design, predesign rather than going out first, as is often done in government contracting and requesting a contract on design and architecture phase.
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They came out with a fixed architecture. Their fixed prescribed architecture in no way took into account that there were existing systems out there. Therefore we were not able to directly impact the design level or input into the design level, point one.
Having a preprescribed architecture to bid against was an alternative that perhaps we could have made a proposal on. However, it would probably not have been as compliant as the FAA's final decision process required, because we would be proposing systems that were more based on our direct technology there.
We could have, if we had been a larger government contracting corporation, perhaps bid on it, but we were a much smaller company and it is very difficult for a small company to bid on such a massive project.
So the issues are architectural first, and the fact that we were not allowed to be involved in the early phases. And we believe a lot of the savings are involved in looking at the existing architectures out there and leveraging those rather than starting all over from ground zero.
Mr. MINETA. Had the RTCA, had they looked at this up to this point, the radio technicalwhat is it? Someone help me out. RTCA? RTCA, have they looked at this at all? Does anyone on the panel know? If not
Mr. HALEY. They define a format by which data should be transmitted to airplanes. That is primarily what they have worked on. They have not worked on architectures or determined whether this is an appropriate architecture or not. They just basically defined a data format for the WAAS to the user.
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We have a system up and running now that is almost identical to the proposed WAAS. One of the comments made by the previous panel was that a WAAS style system would not impinge on our business because it would not deliver the same level of accuracy. With all due respect, that is completely inaccurate. We provide with a WAAS-style system today submeter service and it will impinge directly on our business.
Mr. MINETA. I was just going to ask that question. It is my understanding that among other things that the FAA's specifications for the WAAS required that the system be able 99.999 percent of the time and the users get notice in 6.1 seconds if the system is not working.
Do you agree with those standards? And would you have been able to meet those standards or would there have been required to be some kind of modification to your systems if those were the standards?
Mr. BOGLE. Sir, as I said earlier, we had a WAAS-type system as early as 1986. This is full-theater ranging satellites as an independent satellite-based positioning system, which is not related to GPS at all. And this, in fact, is the integrity portion and the GPS delivery portion of the FAA WAAS.
And you mentioned earlier about the RTCA committee. When we developed this system in 1986, it was essentially for marine use and we were, of course, working with 1986 technology. And I really could not have seen that system in any stretch of the imagination as being suitable for aircraft.
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But you have to understand that as commercial companies, we are not allowed to provide service for Federal radio navigation. We are forbidden by Federal regulation, in fact. So it is not a prime development cause for any commercial company to development systems, navigation or positioning systems, for aviation use.
And I think it is fair to say that most of our technologies are, in fact, pointed towards marine use specifically for off shore exploration and for land and for vehicle use.
Could any of these systems meet the FAA requirements? The answer is, yes. Given a set of specifications I am quite confident that we could have developed and come up with a solution. As my colleague has just mentioned, though the problem is that when you are given a solution that it is more difficult to come up with the technology when you already have an existing service. I don't know if that explains it.
Mr. MINETA. Well, let me ask, because since the navigational system is dependent so much on accuracy, and whether it is the 6.1 seconds notification or the 99.999 percent standard, is that something that is reasonable, unreasonable? Is it something that companies can meet or are these parameters that are set that make it just about virtually impossible for someone from let's say, a commercial off-the-shelf, some bells and whistles to be able to meet that kind of a standard?
Mr. BOGLE. Yes, it is perfectly reasonable I think for the application, safety being the primary driver here. The technology, if I can give you an example, sir, for our original system we spent $10 million in implementing the system in 1986. Given the FAA's budget, I think I can speak for my colleagues. I would give a quite positive, yes, it could be done for $500 million and change in the bank.
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Mr. HALEY. A lot of change in the bank. $500 million for this system is an inordinate amount of money. We did some estimates. The FAA requirements can be met with available ground-based systems that exist today and our estimate is that it can be done for about $200 million with off-the-shelf technology from American companies that exist today. It is not as grandiose as the satellite plan.
Mr. MINETA. Is this awhat is that theory? NIH?
Mr. HALEY. A lot like that, I think. And it is not necessarily systems from us. You have got companies like E-Systems and Wilcox, who won the WAAS, actually make ground wave systems that can meet the entire requirements with a ground-based application.
They may not say that now that they won the WAAS contract, but certainly prior to that. E-Systems, Tremble Navigation, and Wilcox all believe that the FAA requirements can be met with a different architecture for substantially less money than the $500 million being proposed on the WAAS and be done with the technology that exists today without all of the software risks that are in the current FAA schedule. These products exist today.
Mr. MINETA. Now, recently, just to change the subject a little bit, I drove a car. Whose system would, let's say, Avis be using in theirs?
Mr. HALEY. That is a system developed by Zyxel. It is like Delco, a Japanese company. Probably the single biggest market for GPS is going to be in the vehicle navigation market. I think there are around 25 Japanese companies that currently manufacture in-vehicle navigation units. I think there are zero American companies that manufacture those products.
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And the primary beneficiary actually of turning off selective availability is going to be that market. So what we are going to be there iswe are in contract negotiations and have agreements with Japanese companies where they pay us money when they ship those products. And what we now have is the government turning around and saying throw that contract away because we are going to provide it for free.
But you have the Zyxel system developed by a Japanese company.
Mr. MINETA. Well, I notice that many of the cabs in Tokyo have these systems. If you have an address in Tokyo, it doesn't mean anything, and so the only way the cabdrivers can really know where something is is by having some in-vehicle navigation system. And so their cabs and many, many other individuals now have in their own cars something to help them get from here to there.
Mr. HALEY. In Japan they are now selling in excess of 40,000 in-vehicle navigation units per month. And Sony and Pioneer have now both announced systems in the United States. And hope to do just as well here.
Unfortunately, the United States companies have not really gone into that market. Basically, they have looked at it as a consumer electronics market and they feel it is difficult to compete with the Sonys and the Pioneers and the Clarions in the consumer electronics market, unfortunately.
Mr. MINETA. Let me thank the panel very much and, Mr. Chairman, thank you.
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Mr. DUNCAN. Thank you, Mr. Mineta.
Dr. Denning, you said, if I understood your testimony correctly, that encryption would delay implementation of a full GPS system by several year's time and add tens of billions to the cost. Is that correct? Is that what you said? And how do you respond, I believe it was Mr. Kaiser who said that he felt that the costs and problems associated with encryption had been greatly exaggerated and would not be that difficult.
Dr. DENNING. First of all, let me elaborate a little bit why the FAA could not do encryption the same way these companies are doing it. Basically, when you do encryption something has to be kept secret. And normally what that is is a key and the algorithm, the method of scrambling may or may not be kept secret.
With the Department of Defense, all their algorithms are classified and nobody has a clue what they are. In this particular case, they are basically using a secret algorithm, a proprietary algorithm. It is not made public and so they don't need to use any keys. It doesn't provide a real high level of protection against somebody being able to get in, but it is good enough. It is good enough to protect their commercial interests.
You couldn't do that, I don't think, with the FAA's system because I think you would have to make the algorithms and the methods public, particularly if you are looking at trying to establish international acceptability. And you are trying to get widespread acceptance and adoption, it seems that you would probably have to make these algorithms public.
Page 65 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Once you do that, you have to have secret keys and once you do that, you have to have a key management infrastructure and that is where the problems are. That is the hard part. That is the costly part, just figuring out how you are going to design that and implement that and everything would take several years to do.
Now, would that delay the operation of the entire WAAS system, I think is a very difficult question because what you might look at doing is say, well, we will do encryption, but not on the short term. We will do it more on the longer term and phase it in and maybe not try to change the current design substantially, but put a few hooks in so that you could add encryption on a full scale in an upgrade to the system at some time in the future.
But you would have to look a lot more carefully exactly how you would put the encryption in. How you would manage the keys and do all of that in order to know exactly what the cost would be and in order to know exactly what the time schedule would be. Encryptiondoing encryption with key management is not an easy thing to do.
Mr. DUNCAN. Let me ask you this. You my have heard me earlier mention the part of the NAPA report that says that the market for GPS goods and services is going to expand. They predict from 2 billion a year to 31 billion a year. And the quote from the interview with Mr. Tremble in which he says this is going to be in 25 million electronic devices by the year 2000.
Do youis it your feeling thatdo you gentlemen agree with those estimates or those statements? Do you think this is a market that is about to explode or take off? And is it your position that if the government doesn't come in and compete that your companies can take off with this phenomenal growth? Is thatbasically are you trying to say that you can't compete with the Federal Government and you don't want them to compete with you?
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Mr. NOEL. Mr. Chairman, we agree that the GPS marketplace in the commercial environment is about to take off. This is an extremely good situation for all the GPS manufacturers of equipment and I believe from their perspective, Mr. Tremble being from that community, that they will benefit no matter what the situation is in terms of the government policy on SA or the issue of encryption or nonencryption on the Wide Area Augmentation System.
We in the differential portion of the GPS business also believe that the market for differential service will expand. That has many dimensions and it has various levels of accuracy requirements in order to go and be able to serve that marketplace.
We believe that the largest marketplace that is going to be available for differential services is going to be the vehicle navigation market. In fact, that is going to be one of the major segments that is going to be in the next five to 10 years.
That market is a market that is best served with signals in the area of 10-meter accuracy or so. In other words, that is adequate. As an example, to our businesses that is one business that probably wouldn't be there if the government were offering free services.
There are other application areas where service accuracies of government systemsI will use an example. There is currently a Coast Guard systems that have been installed for the purpose of marine radio navigation. Beacon systems that are being installed on the coast of the U.S. and up and down the Mississippi River.
The Radio Navigation Plan has said that the government systems should provide 8 to 20 meters of service. I believe in the upcoming Radio Navigation Plan that is going to be published, the Coast Guard is now saying 10 meters is their accuracy level.
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Mr. DUNCAN. Let me stop you right there. You know the FAA basically says that the WAAS system is going to go down to 6 meters accuracy and most of your services go to 1 meter and that, therefore, you shouldn't be as concerned as you are. How do you respond to that?
Mr. NOEL. Well, if I may, Mr. Chairman, just make one more statement because it is the important point.
Mr. DUNCAN. Sure.
Mr. NOEL. Is that the actual implementation of this government system, the Coast Guard system is actually now in the range of 1 meter. It is being offered out there to people in the land-based environment at the 1-meter level. That is what people are saying in the local areas, separate from the policy statement, causing us problems of disruption in that marketplace. So that is my key point.
There is the statement of what accuracy should be and there is what the real accuracy should be and then we have problems in our marketplace with that.
Mr. HALEY. In relation to the comment with the WAAS thing at 6 meters, they actually have the requirement in the horizontal of 17 meters, but in the vertical they have the requirement of 4.5 meters.
To achieve a vertical accuracy of 4.5 meters you need to be around about 2 meters in the horizontal. And we have a system installed identical to the WAAS and we get submeter, so we know that that service will be provided around submeter. So irrespective of what they say their requirements are, we know that they are going to be out there providing a submeter service.
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Mr. KAISER. Mr. Chairman, if I might add, I think the same issue exists with respect to this so-called effective SA. It is all based on one critical assumption, what is going to be the accuracy if SA comes off. And the Coast Guard accuracy is greater than the Coast Guard has proclaimed.
We know what accuracy we are getting on a wide area system and it is certainly one meter and that is what the WAAS will be. And if SA comes off, we are entirely confident it will be 3 meters, not some 20-meter figure. So if it is 3 meters, which we firmly believe will be the caseand that is a very important factual determination to makebut, if it is 3 meters, then these companies won't have a business providing service at 1 meter.
And if I could just respond to the encryption point, because I raised this issue and perhaps Dr. Denning misunderstood what I said. I am not suggesting that key management won't pose some problems. I do think it has been exaggerated.
But let me suggest this. This is not a question of making the keys open to the public. This is a question of coordinating the key policy with other foreign governments. And I respectfully suggest that that is going to be demanded by the international community in any event if the U.S. WAAS is to be adopted as an international system.
So we are going to face that issue anyway. As Dr. Denning's testimony pointed out, the Australians have already made that determination and I think you can be confident that other foreign countries will make the same requirement.
Page 69 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. DUNCAN. Let me ask you this. How many companies are there similar to yours throughout this country that provide DGPS services of some sort or another?
Mr. KAISER. Approximately 10.
Mr. DUNCAN. Employing how many people?
Mr. KAISER. Probably a thousand people all told.
Mr. HALEY. And growing. I think the estimate is this business is going to be a billion-dollar business. If you look at the reports that have come in, by the year 2000 it is roundabout a billion dollars.
Mr. DUNCAN. Your part of it.
Mr. HALEY. Yes, the differential GPS part of the business and right now it is dominated by American companies. It is an American technology.
Mr. DUNCAN. Your part of the business is going to be a billion-dollar business by the turn of the century. What happens to it, though, if the FAA follows through with its plan?
Mr. HALEY. I think it goes away.
Mr. DUNCAN. It goes away?
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Mr. HALEY. Totally.
Mr. DUNCAN. Totally. All right.
Well, gentlemen, and Dr. Denning, thank you very much for coming to testify. You have provided some very fascinating and interesting testimony. And I am hopeful that we can reach some solutions here that will be acceptable to both the FAA and to the companies such as yours. Thank you very, very much for being with us. That concludes the hearing.
[Whereupon, at 11:45 a.m., the subcommittee was adjourned.]
FEDERAL AVIATION ADMINSTRATION'S GLOBAL POSITIONING (SATELLITE NAVIGATION) SYSTEM
THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 30, 1995
U.S. House of Representatives,
Subcommittee on Aviation,
Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure,
Page 71 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCWashington, D.C.
The subcommittee met, pursuant to notice, at 10:02 a.m. in room 2167, Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. John J. Duncan, Jr. (chairman of the subcommittee) presiding.
Mr. DUNCAN. We will go ahead and call the subcommittee to order now.
I first want to thank all the witnesses for taking time out of their busy schedules to testify this morning on our second day of hearings on the Global Positioning System, or GPS. We held our first hearing on this issue earlier this year on June 8, 1995, when we heard testimony from several witnesses, including the General Accounting Office, and the concern of officials there about the FAA's ability to complete the Wide-area Augmentation System, a component of the GPS, on schedule. At that time, the FAA could not testify because it was in contract negotiations regarding the WAAS contract. So now that the contract has been awarded, we will this morning hear from the FAA, from Wilcox Electric, and others about the status, the progress, and the outlook of this very important and very costly program.
I am also pleased that we have a witness from the Department of Defense here with us today who will help us better understand the agreement reached between the FAA and the DOD concerning GPS.
Since the FAA has already signed the $475 million WAAS contract, we are anxious to hear the Department of Defense testify concerning whether or not the FAA will be able to use WAAS to its full potential for the benefit of civil aviation.
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As I said at our earlier hearing in June, this subcommittee takes the warning included in the GAO report very seriously that the FAA may not be able to meet its deadlines for the GPS Program. In fact, the General Accounting Office told usand apparently still believesthat the FAA will fail to meet its schedule of initiating WAAS by 1997. They stated in their testimony that the FAA's plan to develop, implement, and commission WAAS within 27 months is unrealistic in part because software development alone may take 24 to 27 months. We certainly hope this will not be the case and we will get into that in the testimony and the questioning, I am sure.
However, it is the subcommittee's intent to focus this morning on this program to help ensure that we do not repeat the costly problems and delays associated with the Advanced Automation System. We have held several hearings on the Advanced Automation System. As some of you know, that system is now some 10 years behind schedule and some $4 billion over the original cost projections. Certainly we don't want to see something like that repeated in regard to this.
We look forward to hearing today's testimony.
I now recognize the ranking member of the subcommittee, Mr. Lipinski.
Mr. LIPINSKI. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Chairman, I am pleased that the Subcommittee on Aviation is holding a second hearing on the FAA's plans for the use of the Global Position System. This is clearly an important issue which can have a real positive impact on commercial aviation in this Nation.
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In the course of bringing myself up to speed on various issues under the jurisdiction of our subcommittee, I have been particularly interested in the potential of the Global Positioning System for aviation. This technology, developed by the Department of Defense, is already widely used in other areas beyond the military. The cost savings that will be realized by the application of this technology to commercial aviation will be tremendous.
I understand that the FAA has placed the development of the Wide Area Augmentation System on the fast track and I certainly support this approach. I would like nothing more than for the FAA and Wilcox to deliver the product on the date promised, though history shows us it does not happen too often.
In my capacity as ranking member of this subcommittee, I intend to follow the progress of WAAS with a great deal of interest. If there is anything I can do to help ensure on-time and on-budget delivery of this system, I hope to hear from you.
I look forward to this hearing today. Unfortunately, even though I would prefer to be up in the air with aviation rather than down on the ground with railroads, I am managing the Amtrak bill on the Floor of the House of Representatives in about 3 minutes, so I am going to have to depart. But I am very happy that Congresswoman Danner is here. She is going to take my place at the rest of these hearings. I will certainly look forward to reading over all the testimony.
As I mentioned in my prepared remarks, this is a subject that interests me enormously and I intend to follow it very, very closely.
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Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. DUNCAN. Thank you, Mr. Lipinski.
Ms. Danner, do you have a statement you wish to make at this time?
Ms. DANNER. I do, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. DUNCAN. Thank you very much.
Ms. DANNER. Thank you, Congressman Lipinski. Before you leave, I want you to know that no one could replace you.
Mr. Chairman, I appreciate your calling this second day of hearings on the status of the Federal Aviation Administration's Satellite Navigation Programs. I hope we will hold hearings periodically on these important programs so that Congress may be kept abreast of developments in a very timely fashion.
I would also like to take a moment of my time to particularly welcome Don Welde of Wilcox Electric. This is the first time Don has testified before Congress. If I am any guesser of motivations, I would hope that he would probably think it is his last.
Page 75 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Ms. DANNER. Seriously, Don has done a superb job as president of Wilcox and his company has a long history of providing our Nation's Air Traffic Control System with advanced air traffic control equipment. Wilcox is a perfect example of the high skilled companies so many communities wish to attract. In case you're beginning to wonder, I can only tell you, Mr. Chairman, that it happens to be located in the 6th congressional district of Missouri.
The Global Positioning System was originally developed by the Department of Defense. This system is one of the most important technological advances in the history of navigation for aviation. In the future, if managed properly, the GPS will allow the FAA to discard antiquated equipment and shutter costly ground stations while at the same time saving the aviation industry millions of dollars in fuel and flight delay costs.
In order to provide aviation interests with a reliable and accurate GPS system, it is necessary to augment the present GPS system. To accomplish this, the FAA initiated a $475 million program earlier this year. Due to the expense of the program and past difficulties in managing contracts of similar size, it is understandable there may be skeptics among us. That is the reason for this hearing.
I look forward to learning more about how the managers of this contract will avoid repeating past errors and will prevent future potential mistakes. I am also hopeful that the FAA and Department of Defense will address recent concerns that because of these concerns relative to national security GPS will not be able to used, perhaps, to its fullest potential.
Mr. Chairman, I look forward to hearing from the witnesses.
Page 76 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I will say, in closing, on a personal note, my husband sold our airplane. Our daughter, not knowing it, bought him a GPS for Christmas last year. So we had the plane and no GPS. Now we have a GPS and no plane. Now we are looking for a plane again.
Ms. DANNER. I am very interested always in GPS systems.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. DUNCAN. Thank you very much, Ms. Danner. It is certainly a privilege to have you with us today. You have been a great member of this subcommittee and this Congress. Thank you for being here with us.
Mr. DUNCAN. We will now call on the first panel. We are very pleased and honored to have a very distinguished panel. We have with us Dr. George Donohue, the Associate Administrator for Research and Acquisitions with the FAA. He is accompanied by Dick Arnold, the Integrated Product Team Leader for GPS and Navigation.
We have Mr. Noel Longuemare, the Principal Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Technologythat is a pretty long titlewith the Department of Defense. Secretary Longuemare, we are certainly pleased to have you.
We are also honored to have Donald J. Welde, the President and Chief Executive Officer with Wilcox Electric, Incorporated, with whom I had the pleasure of meeting several weeks ago. It is a privilege to have you with us, Mr. Welde. He is accompanied by Mr. Ronald Moberly, Vice President and WAAS Program Manager for Wilcox.
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We will begin the testimony now. I understand that the Department of Defense has requested to go first because Secretary Longuemare has some background information about the GPS.
Mr. Secretary, you may proceed.
TESTIMONY OF R. NOEL LONGUEMARE, PRINCIPAL DEPUTY UNDER SECRETARY OF DEFENSE FOR ACQUISITION AND TECHNOLOGY, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE; DR. GEORGE DONOHUE, ASSOCIATE ADMINISTRATOR FOR RESEARCH AND ACQUISITIONS, FEDERAL AVIATION ADMINISTRATION, ACCOMPANIED BY DICK ARNOLD, INTEGRATED PRODUCT TEAM LEADER FOR GPS AND NAVIGATION; AND DONALD J. WELDE, PRESIDENT AND CEO, WILCOX ELECTRIC, INCORPORATED, ACCOMPANIED BY R. RONALD MOBERLY, VICE PRESIDENT AND WAAS PROGRAM MANAGER, WILCOX ELECTRIC, INCORPORATED
Mr. LONGUEMARE. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman and members of the committee.
It is a pleasure to be here. I have submitted a formal testimony which I would like to have included in the record, please.
Mr. DUNCAN. Without objection, your prepared statement will appear in the record.
Mr. LONGUEMARE. As Ms. Danner so appropriately mentioned, the Navstar GPS is a space-based positioning system that provides unprecedented capability in terms of navigation on worldwide basis. The GPS accuracy for the military is better than 16 meters. It also provides a variable civilian accuracy of 100 meters, which is about 300 feet, for use in peace time.
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It has proved enormous military utility in Desert Storm as well as subsequent military, humanitarian, and support actions in Somalia, Bosnia, and Haiti. In Desert Storm, for example, GPS was largely responsible for the swiftness and precision of our force movements and for the relative safety with which they were conducted.
Since Desert Storm, we have accelerated the procurement of GPS and have broadened its applicability into virtually every aspect of our military operations. You are finding that it is just proliferating everything because it has such great utility.
We have a constellation of 24 satellites operational. This was completed in March of 1994 and continues to operate under the cognizance of the United States Air Force at an extremely high level of availability, which is very critical to the fact that this system is relied upon more and more by everybody.
The operational testing was completed. Full operational capability for the system was formally declared last summer.
The launch of the operational Block II satellites began in February of 1989, and there are four more satellites available to replace any of these early satellites that may fail prior to the time that the next Block IIR replenishment group is available in late 1996.
We also have 21 Block IIR satellites that are being procured to sustain the GPS coverage through 2001. We also have done planning for continued sustainment and have issued a Request for Proposals for the Block IIF follow-on satellites to take care of things beyond 2001.
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As everyone quite well knows, in addition to its military utility, GPS is proving to be of tremendous benefit to civilian users in virtually every aspect of public life. Hardly a day goes by that there isn't some new use for this incredible system. We are actively participating with the Federal civil agencies under the Department of Transportation and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, among many others, to try to facilitate to the greatest possible extent the widest use of GPS for peaceful civilian purposes.
We believe this dual utility is advantageous to the United States taxpayers, but as with most things it is also a source of tension because of its potential non-peaceful uses around the globe. The widespread availability of highly precise positioning signals can result in GPS misuse as well as in its beneficial use, which is always a problem with things like this.
At its most precise level of accuracy, GPS is useful for both targeting and delivery of weapons. It produces readily usable three-dimensional targeting and guidance data unlike any system that has existed heretofore. We have attempted to deter these non-peaceful uses of the GPS by employing a security feature known as Selective Availability. This results in the nominal 100 meter direct civil accuracy, which is what people are using right now. The Selective Availability feature as been a controversial issue with many civilian users of the system, but we in the DOD continue to support its use as a mitigation against the indiscriminate proliferation of a very much more precise signalwhich would be better than 10 metersshould the Selective Availability feature be removed.
To improve the accuracy of the GPS to well below 10 meters for surveying and precise navigation and many other applications, civilian users have used differential GPS techniques. This involves the use of fixed reference stations to determine correction factors for GPS satellite signals and also the transmission of these factors to GPS users. Three-dimensional accuracy available from these techniques ranges from about 5 meters to below 1 meter, depending on the particular technique employed. The reference stations may be individual or networked, and the correction factors, in general, apply to any GPS satellites in view of the reference station. Transmission of correction factors can be localized or broadcast over wide areas.
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To date, transmission of openly available DGPS correction factors has been limited to local services, such as survey networks or coastal and harbor services provided by the Coast Guard. Commercial services, whether local or wide area, are scrambled for security and also for cost recovery reasons.
We have recently concluded a successful set of discussions with the Department of Transportation and the Federal Aviation Administration regarding the international civil aviation initiatives to augment these GPS services, including the transmission of these global correction factors. These can result in accuracy performance equal to or better than our military equipment.
We have agreed that specific standards and procedures will first be established for these augmentation services to prevent any unintended interference with the basic system. We have also agreed with continuation of an FAA program, the GPS Wide Area Augmentation System, which is the model for future international systems. This is intended to transmit the GPS integrity messages and additional satellite ranging signals to improve the safety and availability of GPS navigation for civil uses.
We have accepted continued participation for the accuracy component of the WAAS, with the stipulation, however, that the high precision services should not be activated until two actions have been completed. These two actions are: number one, the demonstration by the DOD of effective techniques to protect the United States military forces against hostile use of the FAA accuracy component, and number two, the completion of an interagency review of the implications of these very precise services for national and international security reasons.
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To address the second item, an interagency working group was convened in May of 1995 by Presidential Review Directive NSTC-3. The IWG is jointly Chaired by the National Security Council and the President's Office of Science and Technology Policy. In briefings and discussions, the DOD has advised all the participants of the working group of the ready potential for use of openly available, highly precise civil signals for unintended, non-peaceful uses such as precise targetingfor example, using GPS-aided commercial overhead imaging systemsand precise delivery of conventional weapons by non-allies or other parties around the world.
We also apprised participants of the relative vulnerability of these low-power, openly available signals to duplication or disruption by terrorists or misguided mischief makers. We put forth a variety of options to provide local or national sovereign control of such services including signal scrambling for security and cost recovery, as well as localized transmission of high precision signals in lieu of satellite broadcasts.
The working group is now nearing the conclusion of its effort. Our Department position throughout has been that the other agencies should be fully aware of the significance and potential problems that uncontrolled accuracy broadcasts present. If with this knowledge they raise no objection, then the DOD has no issue. If they do, we are ready to cooperate in evolving workable solutions.
As everyone already knows, the GPS is already taking its place as a national resource and utility for general use. We believe our challenge is ever more important to strike an acceptable balance between the benefits of its peaceful use and the adverse consequences of its hostile misuse.
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I appreciate the opportunity to be here and I would be happy to take any questions you may have.
Mr. DUNCAN. Thank you very much, Mr. Longuemare.
We will go next to Dr. Donohue.
Mr. DONOHUE. Thank you, Mr. Chairman and members of the subcommittee and council.
I welcome the opportunity to appear before you today to report on FAA's progress on the Wide Area Augmentation System for the Global Positioning System. Joining me is Dick Arnold, Integrated Product Team Leader for GPS and Navigation.
The Global Positioning System offers the greatest opportunities for improvement in air traffic management since the introduction of radar over 40 years ago. In the very near future, use of GPS will revolutionize the way aviation and the FAA doe business. Pilots will be able to fly more direct routes to their destinations, without being confined to fly limited and controlled flight paths.
The aviation industry has estimated that by 2005 U.S. carriers will save $500 million annually in fuel costs alone through more flexible and efficient routing. GPS will be a major factor in achieving these savings.
Page 83 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Delays will also be reduced, which benefits everyone's bottom line, passengers as well as airlines. In addition, the taxpayers will save more than $200 million annually when we decommission today's ground-based navigational aids. All of this will be achieved while simultaneously enhancing safety for all users of the air traffic control system, from the private pilot to the major air carriers.
GPS, which the Department of Defense developed and operates, is already in limited use for civil aviation. The system is a network of 24 satellites that constantly orbit the earth transmitting radio signals that can be used for navigational purposes. Private pilots, using a small receiver in the aircraft, can use these signals that are put out by the GPS satellites as a supplemental means of navigation today to determine their location within 100 meters. Commercial airlines now use GPS as a sole means of navigation for oceanic routes where separation standards are the greatest and are much greater than over land.
In addition to its use in aviation, GPS has wide and rapidly growing use for other civilian applications. These include surveying, oil exploration, agriculture, trucking, commercial and recreational boating, railroads, and automobile location and navigation. In the maritime industry, GPS currently provides safety and efficiency benefits similar to those that will soon be realized in aviation. It has been estimated that within a decade aviation's use of GPS will represent less than 10 percent of all civil use.
As Noel described, DOD provides an accurate encrypted signal for military use only. There is also, however, another signal which is unencrypted. As one way to prevent undesirable use of the unencrypted civil system for precision weapon guidance, the Department of Defense uses a feature known as Selective Availability. Selective Availability is an intentional degradation of GPS navigation and timing accuracy the DOD creates by varying the precise time of the clocks on-board the satellites that broadcast signals to GPS receivers. With Selective Availability, the civilian signal is accurate only to within 100 meters.
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Although GPS is already providing useful aviation services the system as it exists to day is not able to provide the integrity, availability, and accuracy necessary if it is to serve as the primary means of aircraft navigation and landing guidance, so that it can replace current ground-based systems. After extensive studies comparing the technical performance and cost-benefit of a number of different alternatives, the FAA chose the Wide Area Augmentation System, or WAAS, as the means of meeting aviation's needs.
WAAS is a network of approximately 35 ground stations spread throughout the United States, Hawaii, and Alaska that will receive, analyze, and refine signals from the GPS satellites and transmit the information via commercial communication satellites to all aircraft flying within U.S. airspace. We have developed a national test bed on which we have tested the entire WAAS system.
I might add that this was done prior to contract award and also represents a significant departure in what we did in the Advanced Automation System. So we had a considerable of certainty in what we were buying before we let the contract. I will say more about that.
The FAA awarded the WAAS contract to a team led by Wilcox Electric in August of this year, with the Department of Defense's support to proceed with the contract. Before entering into that contract, we discussed at length with the Department of Defense any potential national security issues concerning development of WAAS. Certain issues were identified and processes for resolving the issues were agreed to. Those processes are now underway. That agreement was done prior to any contract award to Wilcox.
Page 85 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC You may have read recently that there was some question about this agreement. Without getting into the details, I would like to say that some information reported by the press was misleading. The Department of Transportation and the FAA are participating with a number of other Federal departments and agencies in a process led by the Office of Science and Technology Policy in the National Security Council to develop national policy on the future management and use of GPS.
An integral component of this process has been a review and assessment of national security, economic, and foreign policy issues. This interagency process is nearing completion and we expect the Administration will announce the results in the near future.
This committee has made clear to us its concern that the WAAS contract be brought in on time and within budget. We share your concern. We are doing everything we can to make sure that this happens. As Associate Administrator for Research and Acquisitions, I have made fundamental changes throughout our organization to ensure that we manage all contracts better and that my top management is informed of even minor schedule slippages or cost overruns so that they do not grow into major problems. My philosophy is to find the problem quickly, identify it, and work on it, and do not let these things grow over time, which then become big problems to solve later on. That was one of the problems in the AAS program.
There are a number of significant differences between this contract with Wilcox and previous procurements. First, the WAAS contract is for a clearly defined product. The prototype system was operating before the contract was let and is currently operating for continuous evaluation. We are not relying on the contract for basic system design. We knew from the start the system parameters we needed and have had the expertise in-house to ensure the contractor's compliance.
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We are maintaining stable requirements, which is another problem we had with AAS. We did not have good requirements control.
Second, we are managing the contract better. Since we know what we need, we are in a better position to hold Wilcox to the schedule stated in the contract. One way we are doing this is by supervising Wilcox' performance very closely. FAA employees have been detailed to work with Wilcox on a day-to-day basis. This ensures that we get complete and up-to-date reports from our own people, who will give us an early warning of any possible problems.
Finally, we drafted the contract to provide financial incentives for Wilcox to meet its milestones. If they miss these milestones, they will not receive significant incentive payments, which would reduceand possibly eliminatetheir profit on the contract. Although we have set an ambitious schedule for completion of the WAAS contract, I am confident that it can be achieved.
We expect work on the first phase of the WAAS contract to be completed by early 1998. At that point, WAAS will be available as a primary means of navigation for en route through non-precision approaches, providing position information that is accurate within less than 10 meters. In addition to overseeing the WAAS contract, we are developing the instrument approach procedures that will be necessary for aircraft to use WAAS in order to land at U.S. airports. Approach procedures, which were developed for the current ground-based navigational system, have to be revised for the GPS-based system. That process is now well underway, and we expect it to be completed by the time WAAS is fully commissioned for Category I precision landing, which plan to be 2001.
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By the way, Category I precision approaches allow the aircraft to land if the cloud height is at least 200 feet above the airport surface and the visibility is at least one-half mile.
This capability will give the public considerably better and safer access to more airports. Today fewer than 1,000 airports have the instrument landing systems which permit approaches in very low visibility conditions. GPS, augmented with the WAAS system, will permit such instrument approaches to every airport within the United States as necessary. This is roughly over 5,000 airports.
The accuracy of WAAS is adequate to support Category I landings. The greater accuracy is required for Category II and III approaches. The latter allowing complete automatic landing, meaning that the pilot does not need to touch the controls until the plane is on the runway, with no ceiling requirement, only enough visibility to taxi after the airplane is on the runway. To achieve these higher levels of accuracy, they FAA is developing a Local Area Augmentation System, or LAAS.
We are currently studying prototypes for this system, which would be located at the airports. This would not be a space-based system. Our current plans call for making the required technical decisions on the Local Augmentation System by 1998. When the local system is defined and the necessary approach procedures have been developed, GPS will then be available for Category II and Category III precision approaches.
We project that for a limited time, while the GPS system is being phased in, it would be prudent to maintain the conventional ground-based navigational system. It will also be necessary to give the aircraft operators, airlines, general aviation, and the military adequate time to reequip their fleets of aircraft. The issue of whether back-up navigation systems will be required is under study and will not be finally resolved until there has been substantial operational experience with the GPS and augmented system.
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We will work closely with the International Civil Aviation Organization, ICAO, in reaching a conclusion on this issue. This is something that the entire international aviation community must come to agreement on.
Like the current ground-based navigational system, the satellite-based system will be constantly monitored, and will have multiple redundancies in case elements of the system are unavailable for any reason. WAAS will monitor GPS signals for possible anomalies, and provide timely warning should such a malfunction occur. Some members of the committee have raised questions about the security of the GPS WAAS system. Unfortunately, it would be impossible to develop a navigational system absolutely impervious to tampering or sabotage, no mater whether the system is ground-based or satellite-based. Even an encrypted system can be interfered with. We are confident, however, that with its monitoring capability and backup systems, the GPS/WAAS system will be at least as secure as the current system.
With GPS and WAAS, the FAA is moving navigation technology into the 21st century. We are posed to take full advantage of the great advances in safety, efficiency, and economy offered by satellite-based technology.
That concludes my prepared statement, and I would be pleased to respond to any questions the committee may have.
Mr. DUNCAN. Thank you very much, Dr. Donohue.
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We are now pleased to have the testimony from Mr. Welde from the Wilcox Electric Corporation.
Mr. WELDE. Thank you, Mr. Chairman and Representative Danner, for your kind words, as well as other members of the subcommittee.
I am Donald Welde, President and Chief Executive Officer of Wilcox Electric. I am accompanied by Ronald Moberly, Vice President and Program Manager for our WAAS Project. The Wilcox team also includes Hughes and TRW. We think the strengths brought by each company strikes the right balance to deliver the initial WAAS in 29 months.
As prime contractor, Wilcox has overall responsibility for system design, integration, installation, testing, and initial system operation. Wilcox has deployed about 70 percent of the landing and en route navigation systems in use around the world. Our company has been actively involved with the FAA, NASA, and others in conducting satellite-based landing system research and development. This experience was used as the foundation for our WAAS Program.
Hughes is responsible for software design and qualification on the program. They hold one of the highest ratings ever awarded by the Software Engineering Institute for software development. They have produced millions of lines of software code for airspace management systems used worldwide.
TRW is the principal supplier of U.S. Government satellite systems and technologies including reconnaissance and intelligence systems. They will integrate the WAAS terrestrial and satellite communications.
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Our team has already accomplished significant work on the program. In August, we completed a post-award conference with the FAA to address various start-up aspects of the program. In October, the FAA conducted the first system requirements review at Wilcox, during which our team outlined specific technical requirements for the WAAS network. We are currently submitting documentation in preparation for the next major milestone, which is system design review. That process will be completed in early 1996 and will clear the way for detailed hardware and software design, leading to system implementation in 29 months.
I would like to now turn to our program management approach and the associated risk mitigation we have put in place.
We have numerous management processes and controls in place to facilitate early identification and resolution of problems, which could impact program performance. These processes are outlined in detail in my full statement, but I would like to briefly mention two of those.
One of the most important has been the establishment of an executive review board, comprised of senior executives from Wilcox, Hughes, TRW, and with participation of the FAA. These executives will meet quarterly to assess program status and performance and to discuss issues as they arise.
Another is the use of performance incentives. Our team is being held strictly accountable for our performance on this program to the extent that our fee is based entirely on cost, schedule, and technical performance. Payment of any fee we earn is deferred until after the FAA accepts the system 29 months into the program. The amount of fee we receive is decreased each month so that if the FAA accepts the system after 35 months, our fee goes to zero. This is quite an incentive.
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I want to address two other important issues. The first deals with software development. We are convinced that Hughes is the ideal partner for this part of the project because of their proven track record in software design and qualification and because the WAAS schedule compares favorably to similar efforts they have handled successfully. About 250,000 lines of code will be integrated, tested, and delivered in the first 22 months of the program.
About one-third of this is available from off-the-shelf products. The software job has been split into four pieces, which can be worked in parallel to minimize the development time and risk. The largest piece is comprised of approximately 50,000 lines of code which can safely be accomplished in the 22 months we have allotted to software development and verification.
We are leasing navigation transponder service from Inmarsat for the initial phase of WAAS because this arrangement best minimizes cost and schedule risk. We and the FAA are carefully monitoring the progress of the Inmarsat-3 Satellite Program, and Inmarsat reports that all satellites we are depending on are under construction and are on schedule. For later phases of the program, the FAA has included options in our contract which would allow WAAS to be implemented either with or without dependence on Inmarsat satellites.
Mr. Chairman, I would conclude by reiterating that our team recognizes the criticality and importance of this project and that we intend, with the FAA, to deliver a quality system on time.
Again, thank you for giving me the opportunity to review this important project.
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Mr. DUNCAN. Thank you very much.
I see great potential for the use of GPS in many, many things, as was testified. I can tell you that I have great interest in this, but there are a lot of people in this city who pretend like they really understand something when they don't. I can tell you that I was a lawyer and a judge before I came to Congress, and I don't know a fraction of what you gentlemen know about this, so I want to try to learn more about it.
Mr. Welde has mentioned 22 months and 29 months and that his fee goes to zero if he doesn't deliver within 35 months. The contract was awarded in August. Is that correct?
Mr. WELDE. That is correct.
Mr. DUNCAN. So you are talking about roughly July of 1998 being 35 months?
Mr. WELDE. Yes. January 3, 1998 would be 29 months.
Mr. DUNCAN. And the 35 months when your fee would go to zero would be July of 1998?
Mr. WELDE. That is correct.
Mr. DUNCAN. But you fully expect that are going to complete everything by around January of 1998?
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Mr. WELDE. That is correct.
Mr. DUNCAN. Would somebody explain to me in a simple down-to-earth way that even I can understand why we are talking about full implementation not being until 2001? Would you explain that to me?
Mr. DONOHUE. The system will be operational at that point from our prime contractor standpoint, but we then
Mr. DUNCAN. Operational in January of 1998?
Mr. DONOHUE. That is correct. But we then must go through a very extensive period of testing of the system and what we call operational testing. We also need to be bringing up a number of other systems and getting our procedures checked out, maintain the system so that we don't start commissioning the system, typically, until after it has been delivered. It is easy to have at least a year's worth of full operational testing by the FAA at that point, convince ourselves thatthings that are not necessarily the contractor's fault but things that we may find out in that testing phase that we need to make some modifications to. We need to make those modifications before we formally commission the system.
Also, for Category I precision landing, we expect not to commission that system until 2001 because an extensive amount of testing and slowly bringing the accuracy up to the level that is required for the Category I landing system.
Page 94 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC It is a much easier thing to do en route navigation, for example, with integrity and availability and also non-precision approaches that don't require the extreme degree of accuracy we are trying to get with this system.
It will be a phased-in, fine-tuning, and operational experience.
Mr. DUNCAN. But you have a prototype up and operating now. Is that correct?
Mr. DONOHUE. That is correct, but that is a limited number of stations and it is over a limited geographic area because we obviously did not have the money to do a full nationwide deployment. We are actually able to do transcontinental flights, but over a limited area.
Mr. DUNCAN. The FAA will be involved in the testing that takes place all along the way?
Mr. DONOHUE. We are involved in the testing all along the way, but we have different phases. There is a development testing phase which you do with the contractor while they are still in the development phase. Then we move into an operational test and evaluation. Then finally we go to an independent operational test and evaluation. These are in any acquisition program different test phases that you would naturally progress through.
Mr. DUNCAN. When do you think pilots and airlines will be able to fully use all of this without other backup equipment?
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Mr. DONOHUE. This is actually a complicated question. Pilots and airlines are using the system to a certain extent today. As I mentioned earlier, over the ocean where our separations are fairly large, we are using the unaugmented GPS system today. I as a private pilot use a GPS receiver as a supplemental means of navigation in the cockpit today.
In 1998, as of January 1998which is our planned date for this system to go operational, what we call initial operational capabilitythe full system will be working. So aircraft that are suitably equipped will be able to operate using that, but not as a primary means of navigation. It is a very serious decision for the FAA to switch over and allow aircraft to use any navigation system as a primary or sole means of navigation. There will be a number of tests that we will do before we will give them that permission. But they can use the equipment. User-preferred routes are being done today, but a number of the commercial aircraft don't have adequate equipment on board to take advantage of high altitude user-preferred routes.
In this transition periodand since we have specified what the WAAS signal characteristics arethe avionics are being designed and built today. So by 1998, aircraft will be equipping themselves with those avionics.
But recognize that we have a fleet of over 200,000 aircraft in the United States that need to get equipped before we can ever actually start shutting down our ground-based navigation system. So there will be a number of years when we will be operating both systems and we will have aircraft fleets with mixed equipage. We will be providing both systems for an overlap period of time.
Page 96 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. DUNCAN. What do you say about the concerns that the General Accounting Office expressed at our last hearing about potential delays in all this?
Mr. DONOHUE. I will preface my remarks with the fact that I have spent my entire adult life working in the research, development, and acquisition business. There are no certainties in this business.
We feel that this is a low to moderate risk program because of the extensive amount of testing we did prior to contract award. There is an extensive amount of softwarenot as much software as we have in some of our other systems, but there is still an extensive amount of software. This software is considered safety of flight critical software, so great care must be taken in writing, debugging, and checking this software.
We believe we have one of the best teams in the country doing this. So we have looked very carefully at the software management and design capabilities of this particular team. We believe that there is no better. There are some others that are probably equal to this capability, but there is no better. We believe that we are doing all the risk mitigation that we know how to do, or that we believe any good commercial or business practice knows how to do in this area.
We have built a number of months of pad into the contract time period. There is roughly 4 months of pad built into the 29-month date. We are using up some of that pad right now, I will tell you, in the front end. But that is also, in my view, good engineering practice. Not making sure that you get the A and B level specifications exactly right and getting your software documentation exactly right at the beginning tends to lead to even worse problems and longer delays in the end. So I would rather take a month or so delay in making sure we get this right now, because then I am much more confident that I don't have to use much more of that pad later on down the road.
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The reason we are talking about early 1998 as our first operational time is that when we first started talking about our time schedule it was pre-contract award. The date really gets fixed based upon contract award. We lost several months in our earlier schedulewhich I will add is an extremely ambitious scheduleand we have already taken several years out of a normal FAA acquisition schedule. In many ways, we are well ahead of anybody's perceived schedule for what we were able to do.
But we did lose some timeabout 6 weeks or soin negotiating an agreement with the Department of Defense to make sure that we had a sound agreement before we let the contract. We didn't want to let a contract where we did not think we had a good written agreement on what was required and what our joint responsibilities were. We lost a couple of weeks because the contractors asked for some time delays for clarification of issues, which we allowed all the contractors to have prior to contract award. Then we lost several weeksI think 4 weeks or soin some specific contract negotiation issues which we felt had to be done prior to contract signature.
Those are the normal vicissitudes of life, but once we signed the contract in August, those dates are now fixed, they are contractually fixed, and we have fee incentive awards timed to those dates. So I believe the 1998 time frame is what we are holding to.
Mr. DUNCAN. Thank you very much.
Let me ask just one other question at this point and then I will turn to others.
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Mr. Longuemare, the publication ''Aviation Daily'' said a few days ago that there were some differences between the Department of Defense and the Department of Transportation concerning the use of WAAS.
Do you think that the FAA will be able to fully implement WAAS and use it to its full capacity? Or will national security concerns keep it from being fully implemented to any extent?
I would also like to know how often you think the Department of Defense would exercise its capability of turning the system off. Do you have any idea? In other words, are you going to turn it off any time any other agency in the Federal Government expresses some type of security concern to you?
Mr. LONGUEMARE. Let me try to address the second part first.
So far, the Department of Defense has never turned off the system. I believe that we recognize, as time goes on, it is of increasing importance to not only the militarywhich is quite significantbut also to a large number of allies and friendly users. It would be a most serious problem if we were to do such a thing as to turn it off. We have taken the track in the Department to protect our own interests by evolving techniques where we could selectively deny this in particular areas of concern while making sure that we did not do this on a global basis.
This is the type of problem that I am sure will probably come up from time to time in certain areas of hostilities. It is very difficult to predict.
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Mr. DUNCAN. It is accurate to say, though, that WAASwhile it offers potentially great benefitsit also imposes a greater security risk than any navigational system that is in place today. Is that correct?
Mr. LONGUEMARE. I believe from the Department's viewpoint, we see the potential problem of the unlimited broadcasting of this as creating an additional opportunity for unfriendly and hostile groups to take advantage of this. That is why we have insistedto answer the first part of your questionthat prior to proceeding with implementation of the third component of this system, the accuracy component, that not only we have an opportunity to make sure that our techniques for denial are proven out, but also that the interagency working group has the opportunity to review all these possibilities both nationally and internationally to determine whether they believe there is any problem.
So my judgment would be that within a fairly short time after the working group reports out, we should all know the answer to that question. We should also in a fairly short period of time come to the end of our testing phase and be in a position to have a favorable result relative to our denial capability. It is going to depend on primarily the results of the interagency working group. I believe it will answer the question as to the next step.
Mr. DUNCAN. I am going to have some more questions in a minute, but I want to turn now to Ms. Danner.
Ms. DANNER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Page 100 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Dr. Donohue, you were talking just moments ago about some of the delays and the time padding that has taken place. I couldn't help but think that perhaps when the Government shut down for a week very recentlydid you consider the FAA employees that were working with the Wilcox people essential? Did they continue to work with them? Those are the kinds of things that industry really can't regulate.
You are nodding your head. So your people did continue to work with Wilcox during that time?
Mr. DONOHUE. Yes, they did. Those people actually are funded under our facilities and equipment account with prior year appropriated funds. They were also deemed to be essential for our key contracts. We kept all our key contracts working during that time frame.
Ms. DANNER. All too often, when weeven Members of Congresswill call for a particular agency and have a question, they will say, ''Well, I am sorry, but John Doe is on vacation for 2 weeks and no one can handle that problem until John Doe returns.''
I see some heads nodding in the room. That happens all too frequently. I would hope that we don't have that situation, either, but that your people are always available to Wilcox.
Mr. DONOHUE. We have an entire organization and we are not dependent on any one single individual. We do allow our employees to take vacation on occasion.
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Ms. DANNER. I don't mind them taking vacation. I mind someone saying that nothing can be done until John Doe returns. That does happen.
But you are telling me that that won't happen here?
Mr. DONOHUE. We have a significant staff supporting this contract and we have full continuity of chain of command at all times.
Ms. DANNER. Thank you.
Mr. Welde, in listening to your testimony and in reading the material last night, there is an incentive program for your employees that are going to make your employees work as hard as Dr. Donohue's people are working, I believe. Would you like to tell us a little bit more about that?
Mr. WELDE. Yes.
We have decided to implement a program which involves a sharing of the award fee as an incentive to the employees working on the WAAS Program. This is all employees, including the non-exempt and exempt personnel. They will share in the proceeds on delivery at 29 months. So we have restricted it to a 29-month delivery schedule. Of course, we have some other performance parameters that we have included in the incentive process.
It is a fairly substantial incentive in the sense that it runs out at 15 percent per year against base salary. That gives an employee a significant incentive if they start with the program and run out through the 29-month period. We think it is a sufficient amount of money to get attention for people to work together as teams and to be motivated to support this important development.
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We have extended that to our two partners, which are TRW and Hughes. They are implementing a similar program within their organizations as well.
We think it is a positive step. We actually modelled this after a program called Peace Shield, where Hughes Aircraft had put a similar kind of incentive in place. Quite successfully, they ended up delivering about 4 months early on their particular contract. We think it is a very unique and important way to run a business. In fact, in general, we are trying to look at more valuable pay in the future for people working in industry. We think that is a much better way to incentivize people to perform and produce results.
Ms. DANNER. You answered another question before I even posed it. Was this a new concept? You are saying that it has already been tested by one of your partners?
Mr. WELDE. Yes. In fact, this is a relatively new concept in the last several years by a number of companies who have been looking at it. In fact, it is even being utilized within the Government in some areas to provide incentives to people to perform.
We generally think with the consultants we have used in compensation analysis that in the future we have to look more toward variable pay and less on the entitlement mentality that exists in so many places. Yes, it is a relatively new concept, but has been tried.
Ms. DANNER. And then your executive review board, made up of your higher-level personnel, meet regularly to look over the programnot only your incentive program but everything else?
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Mr. WELDE. Yes.
The reason we implemented this group was first and foremost to look at things that might be unique to this project that fall perhaps outside the parameters or outside the purview of the program office. It is not intended to micromanage the program. It is intended to help the program office with their ability to get the job done.
For example, if long-term in the implementation of this program, if there are some other organizations within the FAA that need to be brought togetherlike air traffic or certificationit would be obviously a perfect example of something that this board could influence and work with if there were some delays pending or some issues that popped up that might be outside the program office.
In addition to that, we are also working to solve immediate problems. For example, our first meeting was in the mid-September time frame. This is an open discussion, no holds barred. We had this meeting and in the meeting it was discussed very openly some issues in the serial processing of some of the documentation that we were submitting. As a result of that meeting, we with the FAA decided to set up peer group reviews and to better integrate and better communicate before documentation was submitted so that we could eliminate the delay of this serial processing of information.
It is working and something we doing on a quarterly basis to keep abreast on the issues on the program.
Page 104 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Ms. DANNER. Thank you.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. DUNCAN. Thank you very much, Ms. Danner.
We have Chairman Clinger. Until he became chairman of the full Committee on Government Oversight and Reform, he was the ranking member of this subcommittee.
Chairman Clinger, we are always pleased to have you with us. Do you have any questions at this time?
Mr. CLINGER. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
I thank the panel for bringing us this update on where we are and where we hopefully are going to be in a reasonable period of time.
I have a few questions for Dr. Donohue.
The next panel has a couple of gentlemenone of whom is the president of Professional Airways Systems Specialists. He is going to testify about his concern that FAA is not flight-checking GPS landing overlays. He says that it is kind of like making the first pilot to fly that landing approach with GPS an unknowing test pilot because this will not have been flight-tested before.
Page 105 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Does it raise a safety problem? Would you want to respond to what he is going to testify in a little bit?
Mr. DONOHUE. Let me ask Mr. Dick Arnold, my Integrated Product Team Leader, who is more familiar with where we stand on the testing of the overlays.
Mr. ARNOLD. Fundamentally, on the first 3,700those are all regularly flight-checked because they are overlays of existing VOR and ADF approaches, which are standard, old, non-precision approaches we have used for years. Those are all flight-checked. The flight inspection fleet today is equipped with flight inspection equipment.
On all new GPS approaches that stand alone by themselves that do not overlay another approach, there will be an initial commissioning flight check, which question or reservation. This is our procedure, sir.
Mr. CLINGER. So you are saying that that is in error? They will be flight-checked. Is that correct?
Mr. ARNOLD. That is correct.
Mr. DONOHUE. I would like to add something to that.
Currently with the ground-based instrument landing systemsthese are antennae on the ground that have antenna beam patterns and radiate microwaves up along a diverging path. Those need to be periodically checked to make sure that the antenna elements are correct and the beam patterns aren't changing and you aren't getting distortion.
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As we transition over time to a satellite-based system, none of those properties are the same anymore. So over time, we will be rethinking how in fact we check a GPS landing approach. We will initially fly an aircraft down that approach. Because many of these will be curved approaches, we want to make sure there are no obstacles in the way. But having determined that the approach is in fact a good aircraft approach, testing of the satellite signal integrity, et cetera, and the way it intrinsically works may very well be different in the future. But we are looking here past 2000.
Mr. CLINGER. One of the other panelists that is coming up next will be from the Air Transport Association. They are concerned about the fact that FAA has not published the LAAS technical standards and indicate that they can't equip their aircraft until those standards are published.
When do you expect those technical standards for LAAS to be published?
Mr. DONOHUE. The LAAS system is an interesting one. Of course, it demands much greater precision than in Wide Area. It also will not be a space-based system. It will be ground-based. There are issues of what communication system we use, since we are not going to use a satellite-based system for that.
These tie to issues of our entire modernization program and air-to-ground communication and digital communication, so it is taking us a little bit longer to come to some architectural decisions. Also looking at the incredible importance of the integrity of that system, given that you are landing potentially under zero-zero conditions with a fully auto-coupled approach, you are very close to the groundwe have to make very sure that we have very strong integrity of that system.
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Those are the issues we are doing under our research and development program right now. We have had some cutback in our research and development budget, which is slowing down our ability to address some of these issues. But it is our intent to have the standards and the architectural issues worked out by 1998.
Mr. CLINGER. Is that in keeping with the schedule you had set previously?
Mr. DONOHUE. That is roughly in keeping with our LAAS schedule. Of course, we are doing WAAS independent of LAAS.
We have this interesting situation that the United States is probably less depending on Category II and Category III systems than other parts of the world. There is probably a bigger market for those systems in sheer numbers in the rest of the world because we have relatively benign weather in the United States. We have maybe 85 airports that have the requirement for Category III systems.
All of those airports currently haveor shortly will havebrand new Mark 20 Category III landing systems that have a 20-year economic life in them. As we are in the process of looking at some of our capital investment decisions for the U.S. system and we are looking at our budget, we have to really make sure that we have an adequate benefit-to-cost ratio for the United States to actually switch over from perfectly good, workable Mark 20 ILS systems at these 85 airports to go to a GPS-based system.
Page 108 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC We believe that is clearly where we are going in the future. We believe it is important to get the standards down so that we make sure we have compatibility of equipage and so that the air carriers know how to invest their money and when to invest their money. But the FAA has not made a deployment decision yet. That will be coming up in the next year on our KDP-II, where we are going to look very closely at the economic impacts and also look at our budget over the next 5 to 6 yearswhich is an extremely tight budgetto decide whether or not the economics dictate us going to an early implementation.
Mr. CLINGER. But bottom line, can you give us any projection of when the LAAS would be installed?
Mr. DONOHUE. Because of what I just told you, I don't think I could honestly give you an answer of when we are going to try to install a LAAS system.
Mr. CLINGER. Thank you.
Mr. DUNCAN. Thank you very much, Mr. Clinger.
Mrs. KELLY. Thank you.
There are some of us who use a system called SATNAV, which is kind of like this only on boats. I look at thisespecially as Chairman Clinger was looking at it with Category II and IIImy curiosity is only peaked because I know that now and then with bad weather things can happen. There are also glitches that happen in the system.
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I heard you speak only briefly because I came in late. I would like to know if you are willing to speakor if you have spokenabout how you are programming something into these LAAS systems. Is there any kind of automatic transfer? What kind of safety backups do you have going into this?
Mr. DONOHUE. First of all, the GPS system is intrinsically quite robust. I think Noel pointed out that it is susceptible to jamming. That is absolutely a true statement. All of our radio navigation systems are susceptible to jamming. But the GPS signal is a very small signal and we use very sophisticated signal processing techniques to pull that signal out of the noise.
But because of the constellation and the way the Department of Defense designed the constellation of satellites, and the intrinsic way in which this system workswhich is somewhat different than the SATNAV systemit is a very robust system globally. In local areas, you can get degradation or you could get loss of signal, so we from the FAA's standpoint must be concerned about that. That is one of the reasons we are augmenting the GPS system with WAAS, which provides extra satellites in geostationary orbit to help provide a more robust system. It also provides independent integrity and availability checks, which are very important to an aircraft operator to know what the status and integrity of his navigation signals are, especially in a landing configuration. That is one of the things we have been looking very carefully at.
Category I landing, which has higher minimums, is of less concern for this because you can get a wave-off if you lose signal and you can do a missed approach. As you get down to the Category II and Category III landings where the minimums go down to zero-zero and you need a high integrity system all the way to the wheels touching the concrete, that is part of the issue on LAAS that we are looking at. One of the reasons we have not published the standards on that, and looking at the backups and redundancies in the break-off missed approach timeswe need a couple more years in the research and development phase before we are prepared to go with a standard for LAAS.
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Mrs. KELLY. Thank you.
Mr. DUNCAN. Thank you very much, Mrs. Kelly.
Ms. DANNER. I have no further questions, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. DUNCAN. Mr. Lipinski has requested that he be allowed to submit some questions for the record. That, of course, will be allowed and will be submitted to the witnesses as necessary.
Gentlemen, we are going to move on to the next panel. Thank you very much for your testimony and for being here with us today.
Mr. DUNCAN. The next panel will consist of J. Roger Fleming, Senior Vice President, Operations and Safety, Air Transport Association of America; and Jack Johnson, President, Professional Airways Systems Specialists, PASS, Accompanied by: Andrew Swiston, Illinois PASS Member.
We are pleased to have you gentlemen with us. We will allow you to proceed with your testimony. Mr. Johnson, since you have the microphone in front of you, I will just ask that you go first.
Page 111 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCTESTIMONY OF JACK JOHNSON, PRESIDENT, PROFESSIONAL AIRWAYS SYSTEMS SPECIALISTS, (PASS), ACCOMPANIED BY ANDREW SWISTON, NAVIGATIONAL SYSTEMS SPECIALIST, O'HARE INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT, CHICAGO, IL; AND J. ROGER FLEMING, SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT, OPERATIONS AND SAFETY, AIR TRANSPORT ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA
Mr. JOHNSON. Thank you, Chairman Duncan. It is good to see you again.
Good morning. My name is Jack Johnson and I am President of the Professional Airways Systems Specialists. Joining me today is Andrew Swiston, a navigational systems specialist who works at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport and the PASS national representative for GPS. Thank you for holding these hearings and for allowing us to testify today on the FAA's Global Positioning System.
Since 1977, PASS has provided exclusive representation for the FA's technical and aviation systems specialists. Presently the PASS bargaining unit consists of over 10,000 FAA employees.
For decades, the FAA has successfully managed the most complex aviation system in the world. Today, however, the national airspace system is being challenged by increasing demands being placed upon it. The FAA's ongoing problems with aging equipment and declining staffing levels only serve to make matters worse.
In an attempt to meet the future needs of aviation users and to maintain system integrity, the FAA has embarked upon an ambitious modernization program. To a large extent, this program will rely upon advanced satellite technology known as GPS. While PASS believes that there are many positive aspects of GPS, we do have reservations about the system. In short, PASS believes that due to the inherent technical limitations, GPS should always be used as a supplemental system, not a stand-alone system of navigation.
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Currently, GPS is used primarily for military purposes. Unfortunately, because GPS was designed initially for exclusive military use, it encounters two inherent problems when it attempts to meet civil aviation needs. These problems are induced error and reduced accuracy. Because of the induced error and accuracy obstacles, PASS believes that the GPS will fail as a stand-alone civil navigation system. Additionally, we are concerned with potentially hazardous GPS voids. Today, in flights across the continental United States, man-made electronic distortions can occur which inadvertently cause electronic interferences. If GPS is utilized as a stand-alone navigational system, GPS signal disruption will affect a wide area and will have significant consequences.
The basic GPS needs augmentation and monitored performance to meet the full range of anticipated aviation applications. To compensate for induced error and accuracy problems, the FAA has developed the Wide Area Augmentation System, WAAS, and the Local Area Augmentation System, LAAS. With WAAS and LAAS GPS has increased accuracy. While this may seem good on the surface, increased accuracy raises security concerns. For example, signal jamming would be detrimental to the overall health of GPS and WAAS signals.
By contrast, our present NAS architecture is segmented, therefore it will bend and not break. However, in the GPS/WAAS environment, a jam or a loss of the augmented signal will leave pilots and air traffic with nothing.
Mr. Chairman, our biggest concern with GPS is the FAA's procedures implementation program. Simply stated, the FAA is not performing flight checks to ensure GPS reliability or safety. Basically, the first civilian pilot to fly the GPS procedures approach unknowingly becomes the test pilot. This is outrageous. Why would the FAA knowingly jeopardize air safety? These procedures assume that the waypoints used by the GPS receiver coincide with the ILS localizer system. This is an assumption our flight inspection people feel uncomfortable with and have expressed concerns to us.
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Obviously, the FAA must begin to flight-check its GPS procedures. PASS firmly believes that our AVN pilotswho have experience and familiarity with the flight pathsshould be completing the GPS flight checks. Today, there are only 85 FAA flight inspection pilots. Obviously, in order to accomplish the task of flight checking all GPS procedures, the agency must immediately hire additional pilots.
Just as the FAA is reducing flight checks, the agency is also cutting back on the number of flight inspections. In the mid-1970s, systems were evaluated every 6 months. The FAA has modified this inspection schedule from 6 months to 15 months and not 18 month intervals between inspections. PASS members who maintain the NAS oppose the FAA's expansion of inspection intervals. Not only is a greater burden placed on the individuals who certify the system, the overall safety of the NAS is greatly diminished.
In addition to increase flight checks, the FAA needs to write thousands of procedures to fully implement GPS approaches. If the FAA plans to meet its ambitious GPS schedule, it must immediately hire more procedures specialists. These are the folks who write all those procedures and have to produce all the overlays.
Again, PASS agrees that GPS has the potential to provide many benefits to the aviation community. However, the point that we have tried to make today is that GPS should never replace the ground-based systems that currently provide pilots and controllers with the overall flexibility and coverage. Because the FAA cannot satisfy integrity and accuracy requirements, GPS should never be used as a stand-alone navigation system.
Page 114 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC We firmly believe that the FAA must address and rectify its current problems, such as understaffing, aging equipment, and training disparities before it can truly identify its future needs. We have recommended that the FAA hire more AVN pilots and procedures specialists. The agency must also recognize the impact that GPS implementation will have on the already understaffed technical work force. Currently, our technicians are working at only a 60 percent staffing level, and in many instances, because of understaffing, preventive maintenance is not being completed. Thus, the FAA must hire more technicians if it is to meet its future maintenance requirements.
Mr. Chairman, at this time, we would be happy to answer any questions you may have.
Mr. DUNCAN. Thank you very much, Mr. Johnson.
Next we are honored to have with us Mr. Roger Fleming, the Senior Vice President for the Air Transport Association of America.
Mr. FLEMING. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I last appeared before this committee on July 28, 1993 to testify on the future uses of satellite technology in aviation. When I reviewed that testimony I was surprised to find that virtually all the comments I made then are still applicable now. I hope that doesn't mean that we haven't made too much progress.
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I noted then that the transition to GPS will be based upon potential safety and operational benefits, but from the user's point of viewand I hope from the Government's point of viewthe transition will be driven by economic and institutional considerations, not by technology. Also I noted that there are a number of FAA and industry actions that must be closely integrated for us to succeed in the transition to GPS as well as other satellite-based capabilities, including data link communicationsboth by means of satellite and ground-based systemsand surveillance. While GPS clearly is a core technology for the future system, it is only one core technology and the capability has to be carefully integrated with the other ones I have just mentioned.
Today, I would like to focus on several issues that have arisen in recent months, all of them potentially troubling to airlines and other operators. You have already touched on a number of them in the previous panel discussions, so I will not dwell on them at length.
The airlines have been strong supporters of the FAA's Wide Area Augmentation System and are anxious to see implementation of this needed capability as soon as possible. However, there isas I noted in my complete statementthe one WAAS issue of accuracy enhancement, which remains of concern to the airlines. We heard at some length this morning about ongoing discussions between the National Security Council and the Office of Science and Technology Policy about whether accuracy enhancement would be recommended for the future operation of the WAAS, or whether that would not be the case.
Based on what I heard this morning, as far as I am concerned, the ambiguity that was with us in March of this year when the earlier policy agreement was signed between the Department of Transportation and the Department of Defense still exists. I sincerely hope that you will be among those who will be the first to hear the results of the current deliberations so that we may have assurance that we either have accuracy enhancement or we do not have accuracy enhancement. If we, the airlines, do not have accuracy enhancements, then we think the cost justification for this whole program is in question and should be reexamined.
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The WAAS and the LAAS are closely linked. And there are some other technical options that are available should a presidential decision be made that would somehow restrict FAA's ability to provide that accuracy enhancement signal.
I would point out that any significant delay that results in the WAAS program would be a serious blow to both the users and in my opinion to the U.S. manufacturing community, which currently enjoys a slim technological lead over their competitors outside the United States. I do sincerely hope that we will not vaporize that lead and deny them the opportunity to sell their products.
Two other national security-related issues periodically arise within the aviation community. We heard about both of those this morning: Selective Availability to degrade the accuracy of the standard positioning service signal and the possibility of encryption.
The arguments against continued operation of Selective Availability and encryption in any future WAAS are best stated in the May 1995 joint report of the National Academy of Public Administration and the National Research Council titled ''Charting the Future''. This joint report was mandated by public law and it explores a wide range of issues related to the future management and funding of GPS. Quite frankly, I was rather startled that you heard no discussion on the results of that study this morning.
That reports recommends the termination of Selective Availability and the rejection of encryption. One of the co-chairmen of that study on the National Academy side was Dr. James Schlesinger. In a key note speech to a recent Institute of Navigation gathering known as GPS 1995, Dr. Schlesinger was quoted in the Institute of Navigation newsletter as saying, ''Selective Availability has on balance become useless. At best, it lies somewhere between a talisman and a smoke screen.''
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That sent me to the dictionary to see what talisman meant and I find this: ''something providing apparently magical or miraculous effects.'' I think we would all agree that Dr. Schlesinger is a gentleman who has impeccable defense and intelligence credentials. He also has a marvelous command of the language. The airlines agree with the conclusions on Selective Availability and encryption reached by the National Academy and the National Research Council study participants and urge that the committee join in opposition.
Turning now to LAAS service, this is the key to providing instrument approach capability down to Category II and Category III minimums. Airlines and other users, of course, currently employ ILS for that purpose. While on the surface it might seem as though there is no immediate pressure to move forward swiftly with the development of LAAS specifications, that is not the case. As I have pointed out in my statement, there are three factors motivating a rather rapid explosion of airline interest in retrofitting older airplanes with GPS capability.
First is the need to gain area navigation capability in the older aircraftthe so-called classic airplanes that have analog systems rather than the new digital displaysin order to take advantage of the FAA's national route program which allows appropriately equipped aircraft to fly direct routes between terminal areasand that is the source of much of the savings quoted by Dr. Donohue.
Second is the imminent shutdown of the Omega navigation system, which is currently scheduled for September 30, 1997, as listed in the Federal Radio Navigation Plan. This will force the retrofit of about 450 ATA member airline airplanes which currently employ Omega navigation to provide the area navigation capability both in the domestic airspace and for over water operations in the Gulf of Mexico and down through the Caribbean.
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The third factor is the need for improved approach capability at some of the Nation's smaller airports. This capability is primarily of interest to the regional commuter airline family as well as the business aviation and other general aviation aircraft.
This new interest in retrofitting GPS in the older airplanes as well as new production aircraft such as the Boeing 777 has highlighted the dilemma posed by the lack of mature system standards and characteristics for particularly LAAS. Mr. Clinger asked the FAA witnesses this morning about their program schedule for developing those system characteristics and specifications. I personally was not satisfied with their answer. That time scale is not an acceptable time scale as far as the airlines are concerned. We don't need to have the final product available in the immediate future, but we need more assurance as to what the essential characteristics of those systems are going to be so that when a United or American or Delta goes to buy a replacement receiver for their older airplanes they and their prospective vendors can be assured that they are developing an avionics capability that is indeed expandable to include whatever characteristics are finally decided for LAAS.
Dr. Donohue mentioned the pending decision with respect to the use of a data link frequency. The two principal candidates are VHFwhich is a package that is currently available on the commercial marketbut there is an attraction within the FAA for the use of one of the GPS satellite navigation frequencies known as L-1 for the same purpose except that in this case it would be broadcast from the ground.
They both have advantages and disadvantages. Frankly, Mr. Duncan, if we don't get a decision out of the FAA soon, I would suggest that you take a quarter out of your pocket, flip it, and choose one. Then we will march down the road together. I don't mean to be flip about that, but frankly it is not at all clear-cut that either one of those choices has overwhelming advantages over the other. We need to press on.
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As Dr. Donohue noted, this dilemma has been exacerbated somewhat by the reductions in the FAA's fiscal year 1996 appropriations for the research, engineering, and development account. The competition for priority among the programs funded under the navigation line item in this account are intense. I realize this committee is not responsible for appropriations, but nonetheless, the authorization is certainly of interest to this committee as well as another.
We are concerned in the airline industryand I believe I could safely say that this is true, particularly for business aviationof the apparent slow-down in the LAAS development activity. It may be necessary for the FAA in fiscal year 1996 to reprogram some funds to move this program along. If you could give us any assistance in having that action or some similar action come to pass, we would all be greatly appreciative.
I would like to now note one promising LAAS applications project known as Project Newark, which also may be delayed or otherwise damaged by the cutback in the program funding we have just discussed. The project contemplates installation of a local differential GPS stationwhich would be an early LAASat Newark Airport to enable GPS equipped aircraft to fly complex curved missed approach, approach, and departure paths. This capability would enable increased airport capacity at Newark, which is among the most delay-impacted airports in the Nation.
Project Newark would serve as an excellent applications testing ground for these new capabilities. Any assistance you could render in advancing this project would also be greatly appreciated.
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Mr. Chairman, that completes the summary of my written statement. I would be pleased to answer any questions you may have.
Mr. DUNCAN. Thank you very much, Mr. Fleming.
I think I will go first to Ms. Danner. I was interested, though, to hear your testimony about Dr. Schlesinger's statement because the next question I was going to ask the Department of Defense witness was why the Department of Defense would bother to keep the Selective Availability on in light of the WAAS developments and so forth, but I decided to move on to this panel.
Do you agree or disagree with one of the first statements by Mr. Johnson that we should never replace the ground-based system with any satellite-based system, that we should always have some type of ground-based navigational system in place?
Mr. FLEMING. I disagree 100 percent with his statement. I firmly believe that GPS has the capabilities required for eventual sole means. It will take some years before we get there. FAA is very conservative in their certification actionsand right so.
As far as airline operators go, they are held to a higher standard than general aviation operators. I do not foresee that in the near-to mid-futureby which I would mean perhaps through 2002 or thereaboutsthat you would see a wholesale removal of existing avionics systems from airline airplanes or a wholesale shutdown of FAA ground systems. However, that is exactly what is contemplated in the future. I feel very comfortable, as do my airline colleagues who are more expect in engineering than I, that the system is fully capable of maturing to the level where it will satisfy FAA's certification requirements for sole or primary means navigation in the U.S. domestic airspace as well as over the ocean.
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Furthermore, we have already had flight demonstrations by at least United Airlines in a 737, United Parcel Service in a 757, and most interesting of all Federal Express in a rather aged 727-200 of auto-coupled landings which have shown the accuracy capabilities that are required to satisfy ILS Category III operations. They don't satisfy the integrity requirementsand those are the ones Dr. Donohue addressed. And those are going to be very challenging indeed from an engineering standpoint. But we are absolutely convinced we will get there.
Mr. DUNCAN. Mr. Johnson, do you wish to make any additional comment in that regard?
Mr. JOHNSON. Yes, Mr. Chairman.
I think there are things out there that we don't know at this present time. One of the things we don't know is how reliable GPS can be. I think there have been test flights made under certain circumstances, but for GPS to ever prove itself to be as safe as the system we now have, I think it is going to take a lot of time. It may well be able to do that, but I don't think that we can now sit before you or anybody else and say that it will do that. I think we have to make it prove itself as the current system has.
I don't know if Mr. Swiston has anything to add to that or not, but I think that is basically what I was trying to say. What we have now is safe.
Mr. DUNCAN. Mr. Swiston?
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Mr. SWISTON. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for allowing me to speak.
There is not enough empirical data from what I have seen from the FAA to support that this will happen. Sure, we have done 100, 200, or 300 tests of the WAAS in certain locations, but we haven't taken that show on the road to test at various other locations. We have probably tested the more benign sites where there is less hostility to the signal through weather and things like that. I would like to see more testing. There has to be more proof in the pudding, as far as we are concerned. That is why we raised that objection.
Mr. DUNCAN. Mr. Fleming?
Mr. FLEMING. I hate to be critical of my colleagues, but I am going to be critical. I think they are taking a one-dimensional view without benefit of knowing much about the systems in the aircraft. I would like to recount what happened on one of those United 737 auto-land approaches at Crow's Landing, California. By the way, all these tests were undertaken in cooperation with FAA and vendors who provided equipment.
In the particular approach case I want to call to your attention, the aircraft lost GPS signals from sufficient satellites to complete the automatic landing, whereupon the system alerted the pilot that he no longer had a Category III capable aircraft and he executed a missed approach, which can be done from wheels on the runway.
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Mr. SWISTON. If we have one missed approach out of 100 or 120, that is not acceptable. We land 120 planes at O'Hare every day. We don't have a missed approach.
Mr. DUNCAN. When we had the other hearing on GPS a few weeks ago, I had read some articles the day before that hearing which gave me the impression that the potential uses for GPS signals were just phenomenal. We heard some mention earlier this morning using the trucking industry and other things.
We have a situation here where the Federal Government has begun the process of spending about $500 million to start a system. Do any of you have any concerns that we are going to spend all this money and that the military might then come in and put so many restrictions on the use that we won't get the full bang for our buck, so to speak? There have been reports in the aviation press about disagreements between the agencies of the Government over the use and potential dangers of this new technology.
Do any of you have any concerns about that?
Mr. FLEMING. Yes, Mr. Chairman, the airlines certainly do. That was exactly the point I made in my written statement.
Absent the accuracy enhancement, the WAAS would still provide very valuable functions, improved GPS integrity, system integrity, and availabilitythat is, more satellite ranging signals. Those are valuable, but there are other technical options to achieve those ends. We would then raise the point that the cost justification for the WAAS program should be reexamined. The Government is not going to spend all that money in a year's time. My understanding is that Government contracts are normally written with a provision that they can be cancelled at the convenience of the Government. If in fact it proves true that the Department of Defense and the President conclude that we cannot provide accuracy enhancement, then I would recommend that you should ask FAA the question, Should this system go ahead, or should that project be terminated?
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Mr. DUNCAN. Mr. Johnson or Mr. Swiston?
Mr. SWISTON. Mr. Chairman, the Global Positioning Systemthe basic Global Positioning System without the augmentationwill get us through en route and non-precision approach. There are a lot of questions about whether or not we can meet Category I precision approaches. There is a question of flight technical error, a question of integritythat is the amount of time we can warn a plane that the signal has been lost.
On the other hand, a differential could meet all three of those. So it may come that the WAAS is unneeded. That is a distinct possibility. The WAAS may not be needed. You can do with a local what you do with the present ILS. So you can have Category I, II, and III with local and not need the WAAS at all because you can do the en route and non-precision approach with a basic GPS.
Mr. JOHNSON. I will switch a little bit here.
You know from previous testimonies I have been privileged to make before you on H.R. 2276 and so onwhen you start talking about $500 million, I start thinking back to just yesterday when I was speaking to Deputy Administrator Daschle about the $2.4 billion we are going to have to save over the next 6 years within the FAA. Most of the time when we have that discussion it is about the bargaining unit I represent and how we are going to be able to find those savings in there.
I am very concerned about where we are going to go with H.R. 2002 and where we are going to go with H.R. 2276 or the Senate bill. I think that we have a lot of stuff on our plate right now. When we are spending these kinds of dollars, we need to examine ourselves at very frequent intervals.
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Mr. DUNCAN. Mr. Fleming, you heard some mention from the first panel and there was some testimony at our earlier hearing about the potential savings to the airline industry if all of this could be fully implemented without restrictions.
What are your latest figures in that regard? Do you agree that the potential savings are there? How much would they be?
Mr. FLEMING. Yes, Mr. Chairman, I do agree that the potential savings are there, with one important caveat. To realize those savings, we will have to have the necessary automation in the FAA's ground-based systemand that gets us back to the earlier points you made about the demise of parts of the AAS Program. That is probably the subject of another hearing or sets of hearings.
The estimate you were given is, in the judgment of the airline industry, realistic if we get the necessary automation system improvements on the ground and the digital communications improvements that will be required so that we have computer-to-computer exchanges between airplanes and the ground environment and the controllers. It is a systems engineering problem and one cannot just say that GPS will produce all these wondrous results. GPS together with the other capabilities can do that.
Mr. DUNCAN. Ms. Danner?
Ms. DANNER. I have no questions.
Page 126 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. DUNCAN. Thank you very much.
Gentlemen, thank you very much for being with us this morning and for placing some very helpful testimony into the record and for public consumption. Thank you once again for being with us.
That concludes this hearing.
[Whereupon, at 11:37 a.m., the subcommittee was adjourned, to reconvene subject to the call of the Chair.]