A Resilient National Timing Architecture Securing Today’s Systems, Enabling Tomorrow’s

Marc Weiss, Patrick Diamond, Dana A. Goward

Abstract: Timing is essential to our economic and national security. It is needed to synchronize networks, for digital broadcast, to efficiently use spectrum, for properly ordering a wide variety of transactions, and to optimize power grids. It is also the underpinning of wireless positioning and navigation systems. America’s over-reliance for timing on vulnerable Global Positioning System (GPS) signals is a disaster waiting to happen. Solar flares, cyberattacks, military or terrorist action – all could permanently disable space systems such as GPS, or disrupt them for significant periods of time. Fortunately, America already has the technology and components for a reliable and resilient national timing architecture that will include space-based assets. This system-of-systems architecture is essential to underpin today’s technology and support development of tomorrow’s systems. This paper discusses the need and rationale for a federally sponsored National Timing Architecture. It proposes a phased implementation using Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) such as GPS, eLoran, and fiber-based technologies. These were selected because they: • Provide maximum diversity of sources and least common failure modes, • Are mature, have repeatedly been demonstrated to perform at the required levels, and are ready to deploy, • Have the potential for further development to increase accuracy, resilience, and cyber security, • Are already supported, to varying degrees, by existing infrastructure, and • Require relatively modest investments.
Published in: Proceedings of the 52nd Annual Precise Time and Time Interval Systems and Applications Meeting
January 25 - 28, 2021
Pages: 411 - 436
Cite this article: Weiss, Marc, Diamond, Patrick, Goward, Dana A., "A Resilient National Timing Architecture Securing Today’s Systems, Enabling Tomorrow’s," Proceedings of the 52nd Annual Precise Time and Time Interval Systems and Applications Meeting, , January 2021, pp. 411-436.
https://doi.org/10.33012/2021.17795
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