Your behavior appears to be a little unusual. Please verify that you are not a bot.


Military exercise to test detection of GNSS disruption

August 22, 2022  - By

DIU accelerates commercial GEOINT and NAVWAR tools and capabilities to the warfighter

The U.S. Defense Innovation Unit (DIU) will be testing ways to mitigate disruptions to GNSS signals this fall.

Disruptions include those from intentional sources, such as spoofing, as well as intentional or unintentional  jamming. Intentional  tactics can be applied by adversarial nation states, criminal networks or privateers.

The shared interests between the government and private citizens alike for awareness of GPS disruptions make commercial solutions ideal; information and insight can be broadly shared not just within the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD), but across agencies, allied partners and the public as needed.

In the Fall of 2021, the DIU launched the Harmonious Rook prototype project to address the need for scalable, persistent awareness of positioning, navigation and timing (PNT) disruptions across the globe.

This September, the Harmonious Rook team will support the U.S. Army 1st Armored Division’s Command Post Exercise (CPX) at the National Training Center (NTC), Fort Irwin, California. The exercise is focused on large-scale combat operations (LSCO) and intended to stress the division headquarters’ ability to deploy to an austere location and command and control its units utilizing a synthetic training environment.

U.S. and multinational maritime forces participate in SEACAT 2021. (Photo: DIU)

U.S. and multinational maritime forces participate in SEACAT 2021. (Photo: NTC)

Parallel to this training event is the 2nd Brigade, 1st Armored Division’s external validation exercise, also at NTC, in which the 2nd Brigade will be stressed and evaluated on its ability to deploy while contested and conduct LSCO exercises against a live opposing force.

Several DOD and civilian agencies are participating, including the National Air and Space Intelligence Center (NASIC) and the National Space Intelligence Center (NSIC). Multiple non-traditional vendors and non-governmental organizations are also supporting Harmonious Rook, from data delivery, to machine learning analytics, to visualization and contextualization.

Vendor Participation

Several Harmonious Rook vendors will participate in notable DOD and international exercises. In August 2022, prototyping companies will support the Southeast Asia Cooperation and Training (SEACAT) exercise, where more than 20 Indo-Pacific countries will train and collaborate on the common goal of maritime crises and illegal activities response.

During this multinational exercise, commercial firms will provide space-based geolocation reports and maritime analytical services, and integrate the insights into the U.S. Navy’s and Department of Transportation’s shared visualization platform, Seavision.


DIU is also working to explore the use of publicly available PNT data to draw insight from domestic GPS interference events.


“Mapping GPS disruptions and contextualizing patterns of behavior are key to mitigating the effects of degraded PNT as well as enabling safety of navigation under such conditions,” said Lt. Col. Nicholas Estep, Harmonious Rook program manager, USAF. “Instead of developing, building, and deploying hardware tailored for collection of navigation warfare operations, we are accessing currently available commercial data and analytics to address the need for PNT situational awareness. There are billions of GPS users and devices distributed across the world that may be adversely affected and turning the vulnerability into an advantage for discovery, classification and attribution of such malicious activity is a key aspect of this effort.”

“The Harmonious Rook project is a very promising new approach that complements traditional collection methodologies, as it will help our customers by sharing analysis due to the unclassified and commercial nature of the data,” said Scott Feairheller, senior analyst at NSIC.

“While the Army works diligently to acquire relevant equipment to assist in the real-time recognition and characterization of potential adversary interference, we must leverage non-organic, commercially available software and equipment, like Harmonious Rook, as a stopgap to increase awareness, seize digital key terrain and maximize lethality,” said Lt. Col. Patrick Jones of 1st Armored Division’s Space Support Element (SSE). During the exercise, capabilities will be tested to support intelligence, information operations, and command and control elements with commercial geospatial and navigation warfare awareness at the tactical level.

DIU’s Harmonious Rook program is not limited to the DOD and the malicious activity more commonly observed overseas and in combat environments. DIU is also working to explore the use of publicly available PNT data to draw insight from domestic GPS interference events, a mission with interest from the U.S. civil agencies.

With widespread users and subscribers that rely on PNT services, any intentional or unintentional disruption can lead to severe transportation, communication and financial implications. This highlights the importance of bringing both government and private-sector industries together to identify, attribute and mitigate GPS interference as quickly as possible.

About the Author:


Senior Editor Tracy Cozzens joined GPS World magazine in 2006. She also is editor of GPS World’s newsletters and the sister website Geospatial Solutions. She has worked in government, for non-profits, and in corporate communications, editing a variety of publications for audiences ranging from federal government contractors to teachers.

Comments are currently closed.