There’s a reason professional soldiers harp on mastering the basics- because when all else fails you’ll default to your highest level of training. If you can master what’s simple the rest is an enabler. But then again, skills are usually cheap and in a society that would rather throw money at technology to augment training issues, they take a backseat to big budget money pits. Such is the case with our over-reliance on GPS. Many have been warning of the dangers of GPS spoofing for over a decade. Now those concerns are not only validated but likely will still be unheeded in the years to come.
The Russians have demonstrated their growing electronics warfare (EW) capabilities in the most recent NATO exercises in Norway. The Norweigian government acknowledged the electronic attack to CNN, noting that:
“Norway has determined that Russia was responsible for jamming GPS signals in the Kola Peninsula during Exercise Trident Juncture. Finland has expressed concern over possible jamming in Lapland,” NATO spokesperson Oana Lungescu told CNN Wednesday.
NATO and US officials would offer no additional details of the attack, with the Pentagon denying it having any effect. Russia is also denying any knowledge of such an attack in their statement to ABC News and cited in The Hill, stating
“We know nothing about Russia’s possible involvement in those GPS failures,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said, according to ABC.
Norwegian civilians were well aware of the attack however, as pilots in Norway and Finland reported losing GPS navigation signals. NATO leaders and regional government officials noted the similarities between this incident and the Russian Zapad exercise of 2017.
There’s little doubt from my point of view there was an electronic attack with the goal to see what sort of disruption could be achieved. The Russians, by the way, have their own satellite navigation system called GLONASS which works entirely independent of the Western GPS. These examples however painfully illustrate the issues we have with technology. Be it communications or navigation, essential skills are being forgotten in lieu of high tech. It will be to our peril.
But it doesn’t have to be for you. We’ve got classes on the basics. Check the schedule and come on out.