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Capital Gazette: Cyber Threats Prompt US Naval Academy to Restore Celestial Navigation Course

sextantThe U.S. Naval Academy has decided to bring back celestial navigation instruction to its curriculum amid threats posed by cyber warfare, the Capital Gazette reported Monday.

Tim Prudente writes academy officials decided to remove the course from its curriculum in the late 1990s after they deemed the lesson outdated.

Celestial navigation involves the use of a sextant to measure the stars’ angles in order to maneuver a vessel.

“We went away from celestial navigation because computers are great,” said Lt. Cmdr. Ryan Rogers, deputy chairman of the academy’s department of seamanship and navigation.

“The problem is there’s no backup.”

The U.S. Navy has begun efforts to rebuild training in celestial navigation with a plan to offer the program to enlisted ranks in the fall of 2016, Prudente reports.

“Knowledge of celestial navigation in the GPS era provides a solid backup form of navigation in the event GPS becomes unreliable for whatever reason,” said Capt. Timothy Tisch, an instructor who offered his materials to help the Naval Academy reinstate the course.

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