LORAN-C Infrastructure & E-LORAN

LORAN-C was a ground-based navigation system operated by the U.S. Coast Guard. In May 2009, President Obama declared the system obsolete and announced plans to terminate it.
View announcement

That year, Congress debated whether to retain and upgrade the LORAN-C infrastructure to become E-LORAN, a national backup to GPS. In October 2009, Congress enacted a DHS appropriations measure allowing LORAN-C termination. The Coast Guard began shutting it down in February 2010 (learn more at USCG.gov).

In February 2014, the House transportation committee reopened the topic during a hearing on navigation aids (learn more) and the markup of the 2014 Coast Guard act.

National Positioning, Navigation, and Timing Resilience and Security Act of 2015

Rep. John Garamendi introduced this bill (H.R. 1678) on March 26, 2015. The bill proposes that, "The Secretary of Defense, in consultation with the Commandant of the Coast Guard and the Secretary of Transportation, shall provide for the establishment, sustainment, and operation of a reliable land-based positioning, navigation, and timing system to provide a complement to and backup for GPS to ensure the availability of uncorrupted or non-degraded positioning, navigation, and timing signals for military and civilian users if GPS signals are corrupted, degraded, unreliable, or otherwise unavailable."

Howard Coble Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Act of 2014

President Obama signed this act into law on December 18, 2014.

View law

Section 229 ("E-LORAN") provides that, "The Secretary of the department in which the Coast Guard is operating may not carry out activities related to the dismantling or disposal of infrastructure that supported the former LORAN system until the later of...."

The provision originated with the House transportation committee (View source).

Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act, 2010

President Obama signed this act into law on October 28, 2009.

View law

Section 559 allows termination of LORAN-C and decommissioning of the infrastructure after:

  1. The Coast Guard Commandant certifies the termination will not adversely impact maritime safety; and
  2. The Secretary of Homeland Security certifies the LORAN-C infrastructure is not needed as a backup to GPS or to meet any other federal navigation requirement.

Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2010

President Obama signed this act into law on October 15, 2010.

View law

Section 219 directs the Secretary of Homeland Security to conclude a study of whether a single, domestic system is needed as a backup navigation system to GPS.

Earlier versions of the legislation in the House (view source) and Senate (view source) included specific provisions on E-LORAN, but these were dropped after passage of the law allowing LORAN-C termination.

Some links on this page lead to content in the Portable Document Format (PDF) and may require you to install PDF software. Get software