United States Code
The U.S. Code is a compilation of permanent federal statutes, organized into various titles. GPS is addressed in two of those titles: Title 10 (Armed Forces) and Title 51 (National and Commercial Space Programs). The Nationwide Differential GPS augmentation system is addressed in Title 49 (Transportation).
This page summarizes the GPS provisions in the U.S. Code and provides reference links to the acts of Congress on which they are based. The reference links open official documents published by the Government Printing Office (GPO). Some links on this page lead to content in the Portable Document Format (PDF) and may require you to install PDF software. Get software
10 U.S.C. § 2281: Global Positioning System
Title 10 of the U.S. Code, Section 2281, assigns the Secretary of Defense statutory authority to sustain and operate GPS for military and civil purposes.
The statute directs the Secretary of Defense to provide civil GPS service on a continuous, worldwide basis, free of direct user fees.
It directs the Secretary of Defense to coordinate with the Secretary of Transportation on GPS requirements and GPS augmentation systems, and to coordinate with the Secretary of Commerce and others to facilitate civil and commercial GPS uses.
The statute directs the Secretary of Defense to develop measures for preventing hostile use of GPS in a particular area without hindering peaceful civil use of the system elsewhere.
It requires the Federal Radionavigation Plan to be published every two years (view plan).
10 U.S.C. § 2281 was created by Section 1074 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1998 (View law). The statute also incorporates the following legislation:
- Section 913 of the Ike Skelton National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2011 (View law), which requires all military GPS user equipment purchased after FY 2017 to be M Code capable, except in the case of cars or where waived by the Secretary of Defense
- Section 911 of the John Warner National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2007, which authorizes multi-agency funding of the National Space-Based Positioning, Navigation, and Timing Executive Committee and related organizations (View law)
- Section 218 of the Strom Thurmond National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1999, which requires the development of an enhanced GPS (i.e., GPS modernization) (View law)
- Section 279 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1996, which requires a development plan for navigation warfare (View law)
- Section 152 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1994 (Public Law 103-160) and Section 260 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2006, which require all military aircraft, ships, armored vehicles, and indirect-fire weapon systems bought after September 2007 to be GPS-equipped (View law)
The statute previously required biennial GPS reports to Congress (View reports). Congress repealed this reporting requirement in 2013 (View law), three years after reassigning it to the National Executive Committee for Space-Based Positioning, Navigation, and Timing (View law).
51 U.S.C. § 50112: Promotion of U.S. GPS Standards
Title 51 of the U.S. Code, Section 50112, encourages the continuous, worldwide operation of GPS free of direct user fees, international promotion of GPS as an international standard, and protection of the radio spectrum used by GPS.
51 U.S.C. § 50112 incorporates Section 104 of the Commercial Space Act of 1998 (View law). The statute was originally designated 42 U.S.C. § 14712. The designation changed in December 2010 upon codification of Title 51, "National and Commercial Space Programs." Otherwise, the text has not changed. Learn more at house.gov
49 U.S.C. § 301: Establishment of Nationwide Differential Global Positioning System
Title 49 of the U.S. Code, Section 301, authorizes the establishment of the Nationwide Differential Global Positioning System (NDGPS). Learn about NDGPS
49 U.S.C. § 301 allows the Department of Transportation to receive decommissioned Ground Wave Emergency Network (GWEN) sites from the Department of Defense and integrate them with the Coast Guard's maritime differential GPS stations. The legislation also encourages the integration of NDGPS with the Commerce Department's Continuously Operating Reference Stations (CORS) and the use of NDGPS stations for GPS-based meteorology. Learn about CORS
49 U.S.C. § 301 incorporates Section 346 of the Department of Transportation and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 1998 (View law).