CelestialÂ Navigation ReturnsÂ to US Naval Academy
Picture this: A naval vessel is navigating theÂ high seas thousands of nautical miles from
land. Suddenly all navigation systemsÂ become inoperable. What happens next?
What does this mean?
With today’s technology rapidly advancing,Â the US Navy realized that many basic
techniques are still relevant to safeÂ operations at sea.Â Celestial Navigation is one skill that has notÂ been formally taught to Navy officers,Â depending on one’s commissioning source,
for more than 15 years.
Based on direction from the Chief of NavalÂ Operations, Celestial Navigation has been
reinstated into the navigation curriculumÂ and is a requirement in the Officer
Professional Core Competencies Manual.Â This administrative change ensures the
instruction will be an enduring requirement.
The US Naval Academy resumed classroomÂ instruction during the summer session of
2015. The class of 2017 will be the first inÂ many years to graduate with a basic
knowledge of Celestial Navigation.Â Director of Professional Development Cmdr.
Adan Cruz says:Â “It is a core competency of a mariner. IfÂ we can navigate using celestial
navigation, then we can always safelyÂ get from point A to point B.”
Midshipmen also take two cyber classesÂ during which they learn about theÂ vulnerability of electronic navigation systemsÂ and how they can be affected by cyberÂ threats. The classes include how informationÂ moves, jamming, the RF spectrum, and manyÂ other topics in cyber security.
Director of Center of Cyber Security StudiesÂ Capt. Paul J. Tortora says:Â “Teaching Celestial Navigation is just oneÂ thing necessary to learn in order to getÂ ready for the battlefield that’s alreadyÂ out there. Cyber affects all battlefields toÂ include sea, land, air and space.”
Cyber threats aren’t the most likely reasonÂ electronic navigation systems might fail.
There are any number of reasons GPSÂ might be rendered unusable on board aÂ ship, such as system degradation, electricalÂ failures and satellite malfunctions.