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United States Technology

U.S. Makes Plans for GPS Shutdown 945

sailforsingapore writes "Apparently, President Bush is drawing up plans to disable sections of the GPS network in the event of a terrorist attack. The rationale seems to be that it would prevent said terrorists from using the GPS system to direct some sort of attack. The plan would shut down access not only to the GPS satellite network, but projects like the EU's Galileo. Ironically, this comes alongside the President's plan to strengthen the GPS network against deliberate jamming."
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U.S. Makes Plans for GPS Shutdown

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  • by PhysicsGenius ( 565228 ) <physics_seeker@nOsPAM.yahoo.com> on Thursday December 16, 2004 @09:54AM (#11103114)
    Both actions make GPS harder to use as a weapon by our enemies.
    • by spune ( 715782 )
      One action aims to stop jamming, the other aims to jam.
      • by stupidfoo ( 836212 ) on Thursday December 16, 2004 @10:11AM (#11103314)
        It's quite different when a service provider stops people from using its service than it is when some third group stops people from using said service.
    • by Sebastian Jansson ( 823395 ) on Thursday December 16, 2004 @09:57AM (#11103143) Homepage
      Hmm so if you can't jam the system what do you do?
      Yes! You make a fake terrorist attack, send a mailbomb or something to the white house, with some luck they will take that as a terrorist attack and shut down the system.
      • by Gulik ( 179693 )
        Hmm so if you can't jam the system what do you do?
        Yes! You make a fake terrorist attack, send a mailbomb or something to the white house, with some luck they will take that as a terrorist attack and shut down the system.

        With apologies to Hans Gruber: "Systems which cannot be shut down are shut down automatically in response to a terrorist incident. You ask for miracles, Theo ... I give you the Office of Homeland Security."
      • by rpdillon ( 715137 ) on Thursday December 16, 2004 @03:15PM (#11107799) Homepage
        You (like many others in this thread, apparently) don't know how GPS works. There are a few points (not necessarily yours) that I'd like to touch on.

        Our military will still be able to access the network, but civilian units will not. Others can't jam us, but we can remove their access. Even differential GPS won't help in that case.

        The system was originally designed with this ability in place, as well as an accuracy restriction on civilian units, which was removed in the mid '90s. That restriction can be put back into effect at any time, however, just as the removal of service can be activated.

        A few posts back, someone mentioned "black market" units that would offer military access during such a blackout. Those that exist do not work (to my knowledge): each military GPS is coded to the network, and each unit has a unique code to access the network. While I do not have sources at hand, I recall that attempts to spoof such codes were anticipated and protected (unlike, for example, MAC addresses).

        As for private industry making GPS "10 times better at a 10th of the cost", it would never happen. The cost of designing, building and putting up 24-30 satellites orbitting at 22,000 miles and then maintaining them, as well as integrating all the security features would prohibit profit anywhere in the near term, even if users were charged a subscription fee. That is why its a great government project: people love it, but a decent profitable business model really isn't available for it.

        And as for the "government taking away our rights" argument, well, GPS isn't your right, especially if the government wants to take it away to protect you from attack. Oh, and as far as tax money, it's not yours, it's the government's. That's why it's TAX money; they don't owe you access to every system they build with it, though you are entitled to know what they spend it on. Hopefully, in more cases than not, it will be projects that help the citizens of the country, directly or indirectly. Even if GPS were available to the military only, it would still be helping us indrectly as taxpayers. This in no way means that we are entitled to access to GPS, or that it is a"right" - it most certainly is not. Neither is driving a car or flying an airplane, incidently, as some would suggest.
    • Nothing, but.... (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 16, 2004 @10:21AM (#11103432)
      Imagine some terrorist group is launching a dozen of home-made of cruise missile [theage.com.au] towards Washington. Bush has every reason to shut down the GPS. It makes sense to ask EU for a favour to shut down Galileo temporarily.

      The problem is the Bush Administration is just so arrogant. The Pentagon has plan to do whatever, regardless of what they say they would or wouldn't do. I don't have a problem with this. But, that does not mean it is rational to threat the supposely allied EU countries for an attack of Galileo [space.com]... Let's turn the table around. Imagine what would be Bush's reaction if the French Government say that kind of crap first....

      I don't even need to mention other sovereignty countries... It is clear why Bush is hated by so many people around the world.
  • by Jerry ( 6400 ) on Thursday December 16, 2004 @09:56AM (#11103130)
    It can always be turned back on when the threat has passed, or selectively turned on at specific times to allow for a strategic response.
  • by njfuzzy ( 734116 ) <ian&ian-x,com> on Thursday December 16, 2004 @09:56AM (#11103134) Homepage
    What is ironic about controlling when your technology can and cannot be used. It seems like a system for shutting it down when necessary would go hand in hand with a system for making sure other's can't shut it down arbitrarily.
  • Existing capability? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by thatguywhoiam ( 524290 ) on Thursday December 16, 2004 @09:56AM (#11103136)
    I thought they could shut down the GPS in sections at will already? Didn't they do this when they invaded Iraq (er, 2nd time)?

    When Clinton allowed for more accurate GPS signals to be used by civilians, it sure seemed like they just flipped a switch one day and it was suddenly more accurate for everyone...

    • AFAIK they repositioned the satelites before the war started in order to archive higher accuracy/reliability in this region.

      My favorite computer magazine ran some tests and came to the conclusion that (at least in Europe) the side-effects on the civil signal were rather positive.
    • Its called WAAS (Score:5, Informative)

      by flyingace ( 162593 ) on Thursday December 16, 2004 @10:03AM (#11103223) Journal
      WAAS was demilitarized some time ago. This allows for much greater accuracy.

      Read more about it
      • Re:Its called WAAS (Score:3, Insightful)

        by kzinti ( 9651 )
        The poster was probably referring to Selective Availability (SA), an intentional degradation of GPS accuracy. Military-issue GPS devices could correct for the inaccuracy, but civilian units could not - although the military would publish "correction" factors two weeks later, so people using GPS for things such as offshore seismic surveys could get more accurate positions after the fact.

        I've heard the story told - don't know if it's true or not - that during the first Persion Gulf war, the US military didn'
      • by Lesson No. 25 ( 825485 ) on Thursday December 16, 2004 @10:57AM (#11103951)
        I thought they could shut down the GPS in sections at will already? Didn't they do this when they invaded Iraq (er, 2nd time)?

        When Clinton allowed for more accurate GPS signals to be used by civilians, it sure seemed like they just flipped a switch one day and it was suddenly more accurate for everyone...

        WAAS was demilitarized some time ago. This allows for much greater accuracy.

        I work in the Testing & Evaluation of WAAS. WAAS and Selective Availability are not the same (or opposites). WAAS was never "militarized".

        When Clinton ordered for the switch to be flipped (so to speak), what was done was the disabling of Selective Availability, which was a purposeful degradation of the civilian GPS signal (L1). The military had (and still has) a second (encrypted) signal that a military receiver must have a key to properly use (L2). Using that signal enhances their accuracy, whether or not Selective Availability is active.

        WAAS (Wide Area Augmentation System) is something else. WAAS uses Geostationary Satellites to enhance (augment) GPS accuracy & precision in the USA. Not all GPS receivers use WAAS. Accuracy of a WAAS receiver is increased in either case (that is, with or without Selective Availability) relative to a non-WAAS receiver, but there is a noticeable difference from SA.

        Not all GPS receivers use WAAS, but Selective Availability has been disabled, which affects all GPS receivers.

        • WAAS uses Geostationary Satellites to enhance (augment) GPS accuracy & precision in the USA.

          WAAS uses geostationary satellites to relay data, but the important part is the network of 25 ground reference sites. This sites are precisely surveyed, and used to calculate correction data for the GPS signals. This correction data is periodically uplinked to the geostationary satellites, which relay the corrections to WAAS-equipped GPS receivers. The receivers use the correction data for their location to ref
      • Re:Its called WAAS (Score:3, Informative)

        by harrkev ( 623093 )
        AFAIK, WAAS was never militarized.

        Selective Availabilty was turned off some time ago -- that was the "military" thing.

        WAAS is a GPS augmentation that is relatively new. WAAS satellites were launched AFTER SA was turned off. According to the link that you provided, this is something desired by the FAA. I don't think that it was ever designed for the military.

        Here's the scoop. Selective availibility put a large error in the position. WAAS attempts to compensatee for the small error due to ionospheric
  • by handmedowns ( 628517 ) <andrew.replogle @ g m ail.com> on Thursday December 16, 2004 @09:56AM (#11103141) Homepage
    Demand for compases and maps have gone up 80%.

  • Why? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by StevenHenderson ( 806391 ) <stevehenderson@g ... com minus distro> on Thursday December 16, 2004 @09:57AM (#11103148)
    They seemed to locate everything just fine on 9/11 w/o any GPS...
  • Great Idea (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Spad ( 470073 ) <slashdotNO@SPAMspad.co.uk> on Thursday December 16, 2004 @09:57AM (#11103152) Homepage
    In the event of a terroist attack, cause large scale panic by shutting down a primary means of navigation.

    What's next? Cutting off electricity so that the terrorists can't use it against people?
    • Re:Great Idea (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Burb ( 620144 )
      Is GPS really a "primary" means of navigation for the average Joe? As opposed to, say, having a map or reading the signs on the freeway?
    • Re:Great Idea (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Dan East ( 318230 )
      You're using the term panic rather loosely (let alone a large scale panic). I think most US citizens would be more likely to panic if a certain other satellite system were disabled (aka DirecTV).

      On a serious note, I would say more than 99% of the population would never even notice if all the GPS satellites suddenly fell from the sky in unison.

      Dan East
    • Re:Great Idea (Score:3, Insightful)

      by kent_eh ( 543303 )
      In the event of a terroist attack, cause large scale panic by shutting down a primary means of navigation.

      And mess with the communications too. All CDMA cellular base stations are syncronized to GPS for timing. Without it, the base stations cannot hand off calls between sites. Also, many telephone switches are moving to (if they haven't already) GPS basedmaster clock/sync sources.
      Of course, being forward thinking they have removed the old system, because it's "obsolete".
  • by stuffduff ( 681819 ) on Thursday December 16, 2004 @09:57AM (#11103157) Journal
    Instead of disabling portions of it, why not just give it a rolling encryption that the terrorists cannot decipher for a period of time greater than the duration of the attack? With our troops and weaponry increasingly dependent on the technology, the outcome could be much worse for us in that we could be left completely unable to respond to the attack. If we're going to think ahead, then let's really think about it!
    • The military GPS system already runs on a rolling encryption system. This is not shutdown.

      The clear system that is for non-military use would be shutdown.
    • "With our troops and weaponry increasingly dependent on the technology, the outcome could be much worse for us in that we could be left completely unable to respond to the attack."

      One would imagine the military would have some sort of "access code" or equipment - I honestly can't see the military allowing the government to shut down the entire GPS system, giving them no access at all...either that, or the rational is "if nobody uses it the playing field is level"...
  • So if you happen to be carrying redundant GPS receivers, and they happen to all fail simultaneously, take cover.
  • How many drivers will get lost during these shutdowns I wonder? I doubt it will happen anytime soon, but I think all car nav systems use GPS.

  • What about (Score:2, Insightful)

    by CastrTroy ( 595695 )
    Isn't GPS used to navigate ships and planes all over the world? Are they going to take the blame if they disable the GPS network, and an oil tanker runs aground, or a plane crashes? I think there's probably a lot of pilots out there would couldn't navigate if it weren't for their GPS.
    • I could be wrong on this, but I think most planes are required to have Jeppeson maps or an equivalent. And I also think pilots are required to be able to navigate without GPS using VFR or IFR.

  • This is stupid (Score:3, Insightful)

    by DarthAle ( 83736 ) on Thursday December 16, 2004 @09:58AM (#11103169)
    Mostly terrorist attacks occur quickly and without warning, and by the time the authorities gets a clue about what is going on, the attack most likely is over - as per 9/11. Shutting down the GPS network in such an event would only make it infinitely harder for rescue workers and police to coordinate relief efforts.
    • to paraphrase Pizza the Hut (spaceballs) ... "Stupid for YOU, great for ME*"

      *for cases of "ME" == "politician trying to look good" - because it makes it look like they're actually doing something, even though it's useless.

  • While it's probably a useful weapon to be able to shut down GPS, won't that hamper emergency response efforts? A little, anyway.

    Maybe it's to disable autohoming bombs and small-plane attacks.
  • by Qzukk ( 229616 ) on Thursday December 16, 2004 @10:00AM (#11103183) Journal
    So after the attack, Bush is going to shut down the GPS system? How does that help anyone? Making it stronger against jamming is certainly a worthwhile pursuit, but shutting it down in response to a terrorist attack is just liable to have people wandering around lost, if not actively hindering rescue operations in fly-by-instrument situations.
  • by Seehund ( 86897 )
    What's the news here?
    Last I heard, GPS was designed and controlled by the US DoD, and the rest of the world only gets to use the system at their mercy. This is one reason to why e.g. my country's (Sweden's) defence forces don't "officially" use GPS, because it's a system that can be shut down on a whim of another military force.
    • Re:So? (Score:3, Informative)

      by Seehund ( 86897 )
      Hmm. I looked up GPS in Wikipedia [wikipedia.org], and found this:

      "The system is used by countless civilians as well, who can use the GPS's Standard Positioning Service worldwide free of charge. [...]

      On May 1, 2000, US President Bill Clinton announced that this "Selective Availability" would be turned off. However, for military purposes, "Selective Deniability" may still be used to, in effect, jam civilian GPS units in a war zone or global alert while still allowing military units to have full functionality. European c
  • by mdpowell ( 256664 ) on Thursday December 16, 2004 @10:01AM (#11103207)
    The ability to selectively disable the network has long been a feature though usually it's spoken of in terms of disabling it over a (non-USA) battlefield. The govt. would be stupid to do this in all but the most serious emergency and then only for the shortest possible time.

    I wonder what the per-hour or per-day economic impact of disabling GPS over a heavily poplulated USA region?

    A decent number of aircraft/airports that use GPS approaches would have to go back to more primitive instrument landings (more delays); many trucking/shipping companies rely on GPS for tracking goods. Then there are surveyers and agriculture and such that may use GPS augmented with some local beacon for high accuracy.

    What other key economic uses of GPS are there?
  • No geocaching [geocaching.com] for you!
  • by cra ( 172225 )
    Off topic, perhaps, but am I the only one that starts seeing parallels betwen USA/Bush vs Star Wars/The Emperor? It might be just my imaginations and/or one of my mood-swings, but things are getting scary "over there". . . .
  • by Ann Elk ( 668880 ) on Thursday December 16, 2004 @10:04AM (#11103236)

    What about the growing number of airports that use GPS-only instrument approaches? Geezsh, why doesn't he just shut down the VOR and NDB systems while he's at it.

    Besides, a Determined Terrorist could build their own ground-based DGPS-like system for specific targets without too much difficulty.

  • Real impact? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by thogard ( 43403 ) on Thursday December 16, 2004 @10:06AM (#11103259) Homepage
    Does the Whitehouse know that GPS is essential to timing many things such as the power grid?

    I'm guessing this is some off the wall PR stunt to make people feel better that they can turn of GPS in an instant but the real facts are you can't shut down most of the sats unless they are in range of one of the few control stations and even then it might be a one way trip for some of the older ones.

    Turning off GPS might just wipe out a great deal of mobile phones and other communications. It would be bad for aviation as well because one its turned off, there is no reason to ever turn it back on as far as pilots are concerned. And there is that small problem that the Europeans are building Galileo and the Russians still have GLONASS.

    After seeing what Airbus is doing to Boeing and all the other military messes, I'm wondering who the politicians are working for because I know its not for the tax payers.
  • Attempting to disable Galileo/GLONASS when the EU or Russia is not attacking might be considered a hostile act.
  • Evil Bastard (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Doc Ruby ( 173196 ) on Thursday December 16, 2004 @10:13AM (#11103336) Homepage Journal
    So a "terrorist" attacks the US, and we respond by stranding millions of drivers, hikers, travellers and emergency workers without their GPS to help them get to safety. SUDDENLY AND WITHOUT WARNING. Isn't this GPS shutdown Osama's dream come true? What else can this criminal asshole do to fan the flames of fear and destroy our country?
    • Who's fanning the flames of fear here? Just how many people are completely incapable of finding their way around without GPS? Seriously? If the guy driving the ambulance I'm in can't find his way around town without GPS then we've got bigger problems to worry about.
  • by opencity ( 582224 ) on Thursday December 16, 2004 @10:21AM (#11103429) Homepage
    The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed -- and hence clamorous to be led to safety -- by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.-- H.L. Mencken
  • by CTachyon ( 412849 ) <(ten.noyhcat-sonorhc) (ta) (sonorhc)> on Thursday December 16, 2004 @10:21AM (#11103435) Homepage

    <rant delivery="sarcastic" offtopic="slightly">

    Yeah, this is perfectly logical. Everyone knows that only terrorists would be using GPS during a terrorist attack, and not, say, emergency workers, the FBI, etc. God forbid that a single terrorist be allowed to use the GPS network, regardless of the fact that he's probably already (a) planned for that contingency (esp. since the Bush administration has helpfully announced the fact that the GPS system might be killed at will) or (b) already done all the legwork with GPS while picking his targets and coordinating the attack (so that he can execute the attack without it).

    In fact, I also applaud the Bush administration for restricting our freedoms to eliminate the risk that any of the pesky terrorists might receive some. Freedom is a limited resource and must be hoarded and parceled out accordingly, and we can't afford to waste our freedoms (e.g. 1st amendment freedom of assembly, 5th and 6th amendment right to a fair trial) on even a single terrorist. I commend Bush for indefinitely detaining even suspected terrorists at our luxurious Guantanamo Bay facility (which is far nicer than they deserve, let me tell you), because we can't risk a terrorist experiencing our freedoms. God forbid, we might actually have to let one go due to lack of evidence. Terrorists eat babies! We can't let baby-eaters go free! WON'T SOMEONE PLEASE THINK OF THE CHILDREN?!?


  • "Terrorists" (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Afty0r ( 263037 ) on Thursday December 16, 2004 @10:22AM (#11103443) Homepage
    Terrorists tend to be very clever, sly and intelligent people. They work with limited resources, frequently in enemy territory against a much larger force.

    Terrorists will not rely on GPS.
    The military is increasing its' reliance on GPS.
    Shutting down the GPS will have no negative effect on the terrorists, but will hamper the military (and probably civil emergency efforts too).

    Finally, if the terrorists do mount an attack on us that somehow utilises GPS, it is unlikely we will know about it until after it has happened.
  • Key Word "PLANS" (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Zapdos ( 70654 ) on Thursday December 16, 2004 @10:24AM (#11103466)
    Just in case you need to know. Plans usually include things such as:

    When - When would it be shut down
    Why - Why would it be shut down
    Where - Which areas would be shut down
    How - How do we shut it down, and how do we operate without it.

  • by 4of12 ( 97621 ) on Thursday December 16, 2004 @10:35AM (#11103594) Homepage Journal

    It seems to me that the efforts of emergency responders could well be hampered by lack of information, particularly if the information network were shutdown. This includes GPS information. You can never know for certain who will be in a critical position to relay important information. If they don't have it, the system won't be able to respond effetively. (eg, "I just saw a gasoline tanker truck going by at 85 mph down this lonely highway - where am I? I dunno, my GPS isn't working."

    A similar characterization could be made of the cell phone network: shutting it down could prevent the kind of remote activated explosives such as the ones used in 3/11 in Madrid, but, at the same time, people needing help or calling the authorities to tell them about a suspicious character fleeing the scene would also be hampered.

    There needs to be more thoughtful critical analysis going into security measures and less heavy-handed measures based on fear and knee-jerk reactions.

    • That was my immediate reaction. Terrorists would be MUCH more likely to be able to deal with the absence of GPS information than folks who hadn't prepared for and weren't expecting the attack. My first thought was ... what about emergency workers, ambulance, fire trucks, or would Dubya arrange for them to have military receivers that worked through the jamming?
  • Disabling Galileo (Score:3, Interesting)

    by david.given ( 6740 ) <dg AT cowlark DOT com> on Thursday December 16, 2004 @10:35AM (#11103602) Homepage Journal
    IANAN, but it occurs to me that disabling Galileo for a particularly area is going to be a quite different matter to disabling GPS. Because the US owns GPS, disabling it merely involves instructing the satellites not to transmit useful information to a particular area.

    Galileo, OTOH, is not owned by the US, and it strikes me that it's extremely unlikely that the US government will ever get root on the Galileo satellite network. Therefore, disabling Galileo for a particular area would require brute force approaches: physical destruction of the satellites, which would have knock-on political effects that I would hope even Bush would balk at, or else on-the-spot jammers.

    Either way, preventing a rogue state like, say, Canada from access to Galileo would require significantly more committment than with GPS: you would actually need to manipulate the real world. It would also take a considerable amount of time.

  • by Ingolfke ( 515826 ) on Thursday December 16, 2004 @10:35AM (#11103606) Journal
    This is a just a plan folks. It's like posting an article stating that the government has a plan to shoot down commercial airliners that have been hijacked and are heading for large population centers, and the responses here would be "What is the government going to randomly shoot down airplanes now? I hate the government. Don't they know that foreigners fly on those planes, that could be an act of war? Air travel is a major commercial enterprise, is anyone thinking about how this could criple the economy? Sometimes they transport organs for transplant on those planes, just think about the people who would die? I love those little jet trails in the sky, why does the government want to take them away from me? Has anyone thought about the children? The children!" Stop overreacting, RTFA, and realize IT IS JUST A PLAN. This is what government bureaucracies do... they create massive amounts of paper.

    For those of you who didn't RTFA, here are some key points from it.
    - President Bush has ordered plans
    - Any shutdown of the network inside the United States. Use GLONASS if you like.
    - Any government-ordered shutdown or jamming of the GPS satellites would be done in ways to limit disruptions to navigation and related systems outside the affected area, the White House said.
    - ...shutdown of the network inside the United States would come under only the most remarkable circumstances

    There have been some good question and points raised (like HOW will this work), but those are barely audible over the Bush-bashing trolls and the general knee-jerk hysteria.

    Long live the paranoid.
  • This makes no sense (Score:3, Informative)

    by celerityfm ( 181760 ) on Thursday December 16, 2004 @10:56AM (#11103934) Journal
    I can understand shutting it down or turning back on the "built in inaccuracy" or whatever if they SUSPECT a terrorist attack is about to happen and they know they are using GPS. But the way this is worded, that in the event OF a terrorist attack GPS would be shut down, seems to me that we would be WITHOUT GPS in the immediate aftermath of a terrorist attack!

    This is incredibly shortsighted, let me give you a good example: In the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Charley, cellphones, telephones and existing radio systems were down in the areas hardest hit, but amateur radio operators swarmed the area and deployed new antennas and crank up towers and tons of radios for the first responders. In addition to that they deployed this amazing technology called APRS for the salvation army and others that allowed the participating groups to track in realtime the location of all of their vehicles.

    Now, if your not familiar with APRS, it starts with a low powered radio, a GPS unit, and a device that hooks up to the GPS and the radio that transmits the GPS coordinates in digital format on the radio. Then, ideally, a central radio tower can hear these signals and develop a picture of where all the signals are based off of their GPS coordinates. Whats even more insane is that APRS has grown so much that satellites and even the international space station repeat and broadcast APRS signals!

    So if GPS were shut down first responders would lose a valuable emergency coordination resource. Not to mention the fact that some police/fire already have similar systems in place, though generally such systems are wiped out in disasters, hence the amateur radio operators who are at the ready to redeploy communications gear.

    Read more:
    More on APRS [navy.mil]
    APRS on the ISS [navy.mil]
    Amateur Radio Emergency Communication [arrl.org]

  • by Mechanik ( 104328 ) on Thursday December 16, 2004 @10:58AM (#11103959) Homepage
    This seems stupid to me even when just looking at the military's own needs, let alone the needs of the police, aviation, etc.

    I remember watching a special on the Discovery Channel (or maybe it was History? doesn't matter) that did an interview with an Air Force guy whose job it was to scout around on the ground, call in airstrikes on a location, and paint the target with a laser so that the planes could take it out with laser guided munitions.

    He would take a GPS reading of his current location, then use a laser range finder, an electronic compass, and a bit of math to come up with a lat/long reading for the target, which was usually several kilometres away. This would get the planes in the right spot and once they were there the laser guidance would do the rest.

    Problem was, the US issue GPS they gave him was HUGE. We are talking the size of a ham radio here, weighing around five pounds or perhaps more. Nobody in that job uses the issued GPS. Instead they order a civilian GPS and use that instead because they are tiny and weigh as much as a ham sandwich and not as much a ham radio.

    I'm sure there are plenty of other military people out there doing the same thing. If they turn off civilian GPS altogether they might just be screwing their own troops.

  • by T-Ranger ( 10520 ) <`jeffw' `at' `chebucto.ns.ca'> on Thursday December 16, 2004 @11:11AM (#11104139) Homepage

    For a "terrorist" attack, you dont realy need to have percision guidance.

    IIRC, the Nazi V1 and V2 rockets had piss poor navigational abilities. On a 500 mile flight path, they had accuaracy of about 5miles. Which is compleatly unacceptable if you are trying to take out a tank, or even a very large building. But, since London is more then 5mi accross, they hit something. They were very scary. Londoners were scared, possibly even to the point of being terrified.

    While I doubt that you could go down to your local university library and get plans for a V1, I think it is within the reach of just about anyone to build a rocket of V1 capabilities in 2004.

  • by HarveyBirdman ( 627248 ) on Thursday December 16, 2004 @11:22AM (#11104301) Journal
    • "Let me see if I understand this" followed by complete and total misunderstanding. 2,581
    • "I hate the government!" 1,867
    • People who would hate Bush even if he singlehandedly created workable fusion power, nanotech sexbots and everlasting gobstoppers in a single afternoon of intense activity. 1,120
    • Unfocused hysteria. 987
    • Focused idiocy. 619
    • Posts explaining what the article actually said modded down as Trolls. 599
    • Uninformed kneejerk reactions. 583
    • Actually insightful, and not just dumbasses modding up their fellow dumbasses. 42
    • Yet another snotty, holier than thou Birdman analysis. 1
  • in a related story (Score:3, Insightful)

    by TheGratefulNet ( 143330 ) on Thursday December 16, 2004 @11:38AM (#11104575)
    Chimpy McFlightsuit has a lot to learn about how real life really works. guess he never did well at the 'play well with the rest of the playground' part of preschool.

    just beause there's a Big Red Switch at your disposal does NOT mean you have the RIGHT to pull it.

    "oooh, what's THIS pretty big red button do?"

    (a bush cabinet member was asked about our future on this planet. his response was of the form "well, we don't know how many more generations we will have on this planet; I mean, before OUR LORD returns, and ends all life on this planet."

    kind of makes shutting down GPS seem like a warm-up event of some kind...


  • GPS Approach (Score:3, Interesting)

    by batura ( 651273 ) on Thursday December 16, 2004 @11:42AM (#11104626)
    Fuck, I would hate to be on a plane in bad weather the next time a terrorist attack happens. GPS approach, in low-vis situtations (less than 1000 ft), is considered to be the safest approach available.

  • by bokmann ( 323771 ) on Thursday December 16, 2004 @10:08PM (#11112008) Homepage
    In the movie Die hard, the thieves wanted the power to the building to be shut off... so they pretended to be terrorists, knowing what the FBI's protocols would be.

    So now, when the terrorists of the world want to create chaos, and want to make sure that emergency vehicles which rely on GPS for positioning and commuunications cannot respond, they do something to have Homeland Security shut down GPS.

    Great work guys!

IN MY OPINION anyone interested in improving himself should not rule out becoming pure energy. -- Jack Handley, The New Mexican, 1988.