US Secretary of Transportation Norman Y. Mineta and US Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld announced the release of the 2001 Federal Radionavigation Plan (FRP), which continues to strengthen the US commitment to the Global Positioning System (GPS) and its modernization as a primary means of navigation in support of the US transportation infrastructure.

"GPS offers us the capability to improve our quality of life through application across almost every mode of transportation," said Secretary Mineta. "However, the transition to GPS from current systems and the determination of what part of the current radionavigation infrastructure to retain is a complex matter involving government, industry and users. We are seeking a sensible transition to satellite-based navigation services as our primary means of navigation, while recognizing the need to maintain back-up navigation aids where required."

The 2001 FRP includes revised schedules for phasing down most land-based radionavigation systems to allow more time to transition to GPS. The US Department of Transportation (DOT) will continue the policy stated in the 1999 FRP to operate the Loran-C in the short term while the administration continues to evaluate the long term need for the system. DOT soon will be completing studies on Loran-C that will help make a decision on the system in 2002.

Beginning with this edition, federal radionavigation information previously contained in a single document will be published in two separate documents, the Federal Radionavigation Plan and a companion document entitled Federal Radionavigation Systems (FRS). The FRP includes the introduction, policies, operating plans, system selection considerations and research and development sections, and will allow more efficient and responsive updates of policy and planning information. Sections relating to government roles and responsibilities, user requirements and systems description have been moved to the companion FRS and will be updated as necessary.

The FRP, a joint product of the Departments of Transportation and Defense, is mandated by the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 1998, which also requires that the plan be revised and updated at least every two years. Secretary Mineta commended DoD's continued cooperation in producing this policy and planning documents.

Free copies of the 2001 FRP/FRS are available on CD-ROM from the Volpe National Transportation System Center, Kendall Square, Cambridge, MA 02142. The 2001 FRP is also on the Internet at pubs/frp2001.