The four major sections of this chapter build on previous chapters to reach final recommendations. Special factors that affect decisions about GPS technology make GPS policy a unique case in many ways; however, other dual-use technologies share some of these factors. The first section discusses these special factors and how GPS may serve as a broader instructive model.
The second section summarizes the study findings on national security, commercial, and institutional and legal issues. This leads to conclusions in the third section that identify key GPS policy decisions that should be made. Additional conclusions are drawn with respect to how GPS can affect national and regional security, the role of selective availability, the importance of international acceptance, and preferred modes of governance for GPS and GPS augmentation.
Finally, the last section contains recommendations that respond to the fundamental questions being faced by national decisionmakers.
GPS is a difficult policy problem for at least three distinct reasons that are independent of particular applications and interest groups. In the first place, GPS originated as a military system, which has encouraged a risk-averse view of the technology within the U.S. government. Second, GPS is a technology that lends itself to an extremely wide range of possible applications. Third, GPS is an information technology whose impact depends not only on specific hardware and software but the exploitation of time and ephermeris information. Each of these reasons is discussed in the following section.