On February 12, 2020, President Trump signed Executive Order 13905 entitled “Strengthening National Resilience through Responsible Use of Positioning, Navigation, and Timing Service.” The E.O. initially appeared on the White House website and was later published in the Federal Register. On February 14, 2020, Dr. Mike O’Connor, CEO of Satelles, issued a Position Statement in response to E.O. 13905. In this statement, Dr. O’Connor endorsed the executive order’s emphasis on PNT resilience, diversity, and urgency in order to ensure the survivability and resilience of our national critical infrastructure.
Frequently Asked Questions
The purpose of E.O. 13905 is to establish policy and implementation steps to strengthen the resilience of PNT services, upon which U.S. critical infrastructure depends. The policy set out by the E.O. is to ensure that disruption or manipulation of PNT services do not undermine reliable and efficient functioning of critical infrastructure. To this end, the Federal Government shall engage the public and private sectors to identify and promote the responsible use of PNT services.
The E.O. specifies nine separate but related policy implementation steps and assigns action responsibility primarily to the Departments of Commerce and Homeland Security as well as to the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP).
The foundation for policy implementation is for the Secretary of Commerce (through NIST), in coordination with the heads of agencies responsible for various critical infrastructure sectors, to develop “PNT profiles” within one year. These profiles will identify systems, networks, and assets that are dependent on PNT; identify appropriate PNT services; and describe how to manage associated risks. DHS will plan to test vulnerabilities identified, and the results will be used to update the PNT profiles.
Within 90 days of these PNT profiles being established, federal heads of infrastructure sectors will develop contractual language (through DHS) for products, systems, and services that use PNT services. The goal will be to encourage the private sector to use and develop new and secure PNT services.
The Federal Acquisition Regulatory Council will incorporate these requirements into federal contracts for PNT services within 180 days of the development of contractual language. Within one year of the release of PNT profiles, Departments and agencies will report their progress to OSTP, and each year annually thereafter. Also, within a year of the order, OSTP will develop a national plan for secure services that are not dependent on global navigation satellite systems (GNSS).
Finally, within 180 days of the order, the Department of Commerce shall make available a GNSS-independent source of Coordinated Universal Time to support critical infrastructure owners and operators in the private and public sectors.
In sum, the E.O. sets out a federated approach for determining resilient PNT requirements and establishes contractual mechanisms for meeting these needs through the marketplace.
We view the E.O. as a positive and welcome development. As indicated above, our viewpoints are explained in detail in the Position Statement released on February 14, 2020.
After more than three years after the release of the E.O., we continue to support the U.S. Government’s efforts to drive policies and take actions that establish essential contingency capabilities to protect the operations of PNT-dependent systems, ensure the survivability and resilience of our national critical infrastructure, and preserve the continuity of government.
The Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) has defined 16 critical infrastructure sectors whose assets, systems, and networks, whether physical or virtual, are considered so vital to the United States that their incapacitation or destruction would have a debilitating effect on national security, national economic security, national public health or safety, or any combination thereof.
Many of the E.O.’s directives reference actions or deliverables expected from the SSAs. As described in the E.O., a “Sector-Specific Agency” (SSA) is the executive department or agency that is responsible for providing institutional knowledge and specialized expertise as well as leading, facilitating, or supporting the security and resilience programs and associated activities of its designated critical infrastructure sector in the all-hazards environment.
In most cases a single agency is designated as the SSA for a sector, but there are a few sectors that have two SSAs.
|Defense Industrial Base||DoD|
|Food and Agriculture||USDA and HHS (joint)|
|Government Facilities||DHS and GSA (joint)|
|Healthcare and Public Health||HHS|
|Nuclear Reactors, Materials, and Waste||DHS|
|Transportation Systems||DHS and DOT (joint)|
|Water and Wastewater Systems||EPA|
NOTE: Although the E.O. uses the term ‘Sector-Specific Agency’ (SSA), the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) prefers ‘Sector Risk Management Agency’ (SRMA). Additional details are provided here.
The E.O. directs the Secretary of Commerce (through NIST) to work with the heads of the SSAs for all 16 critical infrastructure sectors to create PNT profiles. While each of the sectors will have its own PNT requirements, some have a high dependency on PNT services, including Communications, Energy, Financial Services, Information Technology, and Transportation Systems.
NIST released its Foundational PNT Profile in February 2021 (NISTIR 8323), with sector-specific cybersecurity profiles for the responsible use of PNT to follow in the months ahead based on efforts by the SSAs.
The following table provides a chronological view of the actions and deliverables from Section 4 of E.O. 13905:
|Implementation Directive||Responsible Party / Parties||Triggering Milestone||Due No Later Than||Current Status|
|Develop plans to engage critical infrastructure owners/operators||Secretaries of DOT, DOE, and DHS||180 days after E.O. is issued||8/10/2020||—|
|Make available a GNSS-independent source of Coordinated Universal Time||Secretary of Commerce||180 days after E.O. is issued||8/10/2020||In October 2020, NIST announced a special calibration service for organizations that wish to receive UTC(NIST) through commercial fiber-optic cable. On 11/3/2021, NIST further fulfilled its obligations under this EO directive by publishing Technical Note 2187: “A Resilient Architecture for the Realization and Distribution of Coordinated Universal Time to Critical Infrastructure Systems in the United States.”|
|Develop PNT profiles||Secretary of Commerce will lead but coordinate with the heads of SSAs and consult with the private sector||1 year after E.O. is issued||2/12/2021||On 2/11/2021, NIST released the Foundational PNT Profile: Applying the Cybersecurity Framework for the Responsible Use of Positioning, Navigation, and Timing (PNT) Services (NISTIR 8323). SSAs are responsible for developing sector-specific profiles based on the foundational profile.
In March 2021, the DOE released a sector-specific PNT profile for the Energy sector (PNNL-30780).
|Develop critical infrastructure PNT vulnerability test plans||Secretary of Homeland Security will lead but coordinate with the heads of SSAs||1 year after E.O. is issued||2/12/2021||On 3/25/2021, NIST stated that DHS will have initial PNT vulnerability test plans published later in the year. The goal is for DHS to work with critical infrastructure operators to assess vulnerability to PNT disruption or corruption. The results will inform updates to NIST’s foundational profile and/or the development of sector-specific profiles.|
|Develop national plan for R&D and pilot testing of alternative PNT services||Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP)||1 year after E.O. is issued||2/12/2021||On 1/20/2021, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) issued the National R&D Plan for PNT. A revised version was published in August 2021.|
|Develop contractual language from PNT profiles||Heads of SSAs and the heads of other executive departments and agencies will lead and, where necessary, coordinate with/through the Secretary of DHS||90 days after PNT profiles are published||5/13/2021||—|
|Complete pilot programs with critical infrastructure owners/operators||Secretaries of DOT, DOE, and DHS||1 year after engagement plans are developed||8/10/2021||—|
|Incorporate PNT requirements into federal contracts||Federal Acquisition Regulatory Council in consultation with heads of SSAs and heads of other agencies||180 days after contract language is finalized||11/9/2021||—|
|Submit PNT profile adoption reports||Heads of SSAs and the heads of other executive departments and agencies will lead and, where necessary, coordinate with/through the Secretary of DHS||1 year after PNT profiles are published||2/12/2022||—|
E.O. 13905 in the Federal Register (source: Federal Register)
E.O. 13905 on WhiteHouse.gov (source: WhiteHouse.gov)
Statement from Press Secretary (source: WhiteHouse.gov)
Satelles Position Statement on E.O. 13905 (source: Satelles)
List of Critical Infrastructure Sectors (source: DHS / CISA)
DHS Statement on the President’s Executive Order to Strengthen National Resilience through Responsible Use of Positioning, Navigation & Timing (source: U.S. Department of Homeland Security)
President Donald J. Trump Signs Executive Order on Strengthening National Resilience through Responsible Use of Positioning, Navigation, and Timing Services to Keeping the Promise to Make America Safe and Resilient (source: U.S. Department of Commerce)
Executive Order on Strengthening National Resilience through Responsible Use of Positioning, Navigation, and Timing Services (source: U.S. Department of Transportation)
Statement from USDOT on Presidential Executive Order on Positioning, Navigation, and Timing (source: U.S. Department of Transportation)
President Issues Executive Order on Responsible Use of PNT Services (source: U.S. Office of Space Commerce)
White House Order to Make GPS Resilience Part of Federal Contract Requirements (source: Inside GNSS)
Executive Order requires resilience of critical PNT infrastructure (source: GPS World)
Trump wants US to be less reliant on GPS with new executive order (source: C4ISRNET)
Trump administration aims to protect GPS with new exec order (source: TechCrunch)
Executive order looks to safeguard GPS infrastructure (source: Federal Computer Week)
New Executive Orders for GPS, Space Council (source: SpacePolicyOnline.com)
EO seeks to secure services such as GPS (source: Politico)
White House Seeks to Strengthen Critical Infrastructure Resilience with Executive Order on PNT Services (source: ExecutiveGov.com)