Electronic Weapons: May 17, 2000


President Clinton ordered the cancellation of the Selective Availability mode on GPS satellites as of midnight on 1 May. This system, which amounted to intentionally degrading the GPS signal so that non-military users lack the precision of the US military users. Accuracy for civilian users will improve from "within 100 meters" to "within 12 meters" more than 95% of the time and within 6 meters about half of the time. While critics of the President decried this move as "giving away US security" the move actually means little harm to the US. In the event of a war, the Selective Availability mode would be turned back on (at least for the affected theaters) to deny the enemy the chance to use such US GPS signals for their own precision-guided weapons. The change does not benefit aircraft or cruise missiles, as these (due to their propensity for vertical movement) need integrated signals for accurate navigation.--Stephen V Cole


Article Archive

Electronic Weapons: Current 2022 2021 2020 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 2001 2000 1999 



Help Keep Us Soaring

We need your help! Our subscription base has slowly been dwindling. We need your help in reversing that trend. We would like to add 20 new subscribers this month.

Each month we count on your subscriptions or contributions. You can support us in the following ways:

  1. Make sure you spread the word about us. Two ways to do that are to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
  2. Subscribe to our daily newsletter. We’ll send the news to your email box, and you don’t have to come to the site unless you want to read columns or see photos.
  3. You can contribute to the health of StrategyPage. A contribution is not a donation that you can deduct at tax time, but a form of crowdfunding. We store none of your information when you contribute..
Subscribe   Contribute   Close