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Bush plans GPS shutdown in national crisis

Marc Perton
GPS Satellite

Given its widespread commercial use in everything from cellphones to cars, it's easy to forget that the global positioning system was created as a military application, and the satellites that it depends on are still owned and operated by the U.S. government. In case you need a reminder, President Bush has furnished one, in the form of a plan to shut the whole GPS system down in the event of a national crisis in order to prevent its use by terrorists. The White House has also ordered the Pentagon to put together a plan to block overseas GPS access selectively during military operations, and apply similar jamming to non-U.S. systems, such as the EU's forthcoming Galileo program.  Though administration officials insist that a shutdown would happen under only the most extreme circumstances, you may want to brush up on your map and compass-reading skills and memorize some escape routes if you've become wholly dependent on your Navman for getting around.

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