Monday, August 1, 2011

Congressional Hearings Week of 8-1-11

In a week dominated by economic news there aren’t a lot of Congressional hearings scheduled. There is one, however, that could potentially be of interest to the cyber security community; a detailed Congressional look at GPS interference by the proposed new LightSquared cell phone network.

The House Science, Space and Technology Committee will hold their look at the problem on Wednesday. Their focus will be on how the potential GPS interference will impact ‘federal science activities’. Five of the six witnesses represent a variety of federal agencies. The sixth witness is from the Space Policy Institute at George Washington University.

It’s odd that there is no one from the FCC scheduled to appear before the Committee; they are the agency that will make the final decision about what is going to be done about the problem. I can’t understand why they aren’t being grilled.

This is an R&D oriented hearing so I suppose that it isn’t surprising that there is no one from ICS-CERT included on the panel. Still, I’m disappointed that this technically oriented panel doesn’t have anyone on board that is qualified to talk about the potential effects of GPS interference control system operations.

There is one possible exception; Mr. Anthony Russo, Director, The National Coordination Office for Space-Based Positioning, Navigation, and Timing. Since the potential ICS effects are based upon their use of the GPS timing signals, his office may have some knowledge about the problem. It will be interesting to see if this is mentioned in his prepared testimony. I’ll be surprised if there are any questions asked about ICS interference.

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