2012 Hays Award

Presented to: Mr. Anthony J. Russo

Citation: For dedicated service, collaboration and leadership in the protection of GNSS systems from harmful interference.


Mr. Russo is credited as the first U.S. Government (USG) official to formally object to the deployment of the LightSquared terrestrial broadband system. In a December 2010 letter to the NTIA he recommended the waiver to build the system be denied due to interference to GNSS and proposed the network be tested to determine the extent of interference and feasibility of mitigation. Mr. Russo rallied senior leaders from nine federal departments to oppose the deployment. His recommendations were unanimously adopted by these departments, resulting in the FCC revising its waiver to be "conditional," with one of the conditions being to ensure no harmful interference.

In 2011, Mr. Russo orchestrated the USG's participation in FCCmandated interference testing, choosing technical experts from multiple agencies and securing approval for their participation. His staff served as the primary coordinating nexus for the collection, interpretation, and presentation of the technical data across the USG.

Mr. Russo directed a comprehensive USG test effort involving 31 organizations testing hundreds of receivers. The resulting technical data supported his original assessment. In the summer of 2011, Mr. Russo briefed numerous White House officials on the results and recommendations. In addition to serving as the focal point to more than a dozen federal agencies and four White House offices, Mr. Russo was the primary interface to the U.S. Congress where he provided information to Congressional staffers.

Mr. Russo educated numerous GNSS user groups, domestic and international, on the USG processes used to evaluate LightSquared and listened to industry concerns regarding specific applications. He ensured USG decision-makers were aware of LightSquared's perspectives and proposed mitigations.

In 2012, the FCC accepted the agencies' recommendations and rescinded permission to build a network that would have impacted hundreds of thousands of GNSS receivers. Mr. Russo continues to work on future solutions to allow innovative new services in the band next to the L1 radionavigation band. He is working to help build national spectrum testing capabilities to more efficiently evaluate spectrum interference issues.

Mr. Russo graduated from Lehigh University with a B.S. in Engineering Space Physics. He has three masters degrees, including a M.S. in Systems Engineering Management from the Air Force Institute of Technology where he was a Distinguished Graduate. Mr. Russo is a Master space operator and has won numerous awards for his GPS work, including the Defense Meritorious Service Medal and the Air Force Legion of Merit.