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News | Nov. 28, 2023

Space Force Major leads the way in GPS innovation

By Airman 1st Class Justin Todd Space Base Delta 1

U.S. Space Force Maj. Jessica Mahoney, the Positioning, Navigation, and Timing Delta (Provisional) GPS transition lead, ensures uninterrupted GPS service is provided to warfighters. 

Mahoney is responsible for the planning involved with the seamless transition from the current GPS command and control system to the next-generation Operational Control System (OCX). 

“OCX will command all modernized and legacy GPS satellites, manage all civil and military navigation signals, and provide improved cybersecurity and resilience for the next generation of GPS operations,” Mahoney said. “This is important because our warfighters need more robust GPS signals to effectively execute their mission.”  

In addition to providing precise time and location data to U.S. and allied troops and vessels, GPS also aids in multiple other areas. 

“GPS provides key signals required for U.S. and international air traffic and banking systems,” Mahoney said. “It helps citizens navigate their local communities, and it’s used for many other globally relied upon capabilities.” 

Before she joined the Space Force in June 2022, Mahoney served in the Navy as an aviation maintenance officer and was a member of squadrons that supported Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom, among others. 

“I wanted to find a sense of purpose by learning a trade, serving my country, and seeing the world,” Mahoney said. “The Navy checked the boxes in all of those opportunities.” 

Before she commissioned in 2010, she enlisted in the Navy as an aviation electronics technician on April 21, 1998. 

As an enlisted Sailor, she worked on Identification Friend-or-Foe systems and supported Operations Northern and Southern Watch from Prince Sultan Air Base in Saudi Arabia.  

“My best day in the military was the day I was promoted to chief petty officer,” Mahoney said. “At that rank, the Navy has recognized that you’re an expert in your craft.” 

As a Guardian now, Mahoney said she is grateful for the opportunity to be a part of standing up a new service, helping to energize and inform their culture from a different perspective. 

“I enjoy meeting people, guiding and mentoring junior Guardians (and Sailors still!), and the opportunity to learn about so many things that I never had access to before,” Mahoney said. “While I don’t have a space or GPS background, I recognize the warfighting capability the Space Domain brings and asserts. Jets don’t put GPS-guided munition on-target without GPS.” 

Mahoney is originally from Hampton, VA, and has a husband, a son and two dogs. She’s an avid reader and runner, and she doesn’t shy away from karaoke contests, spelling bees or chili cook-offs. She is thrilled for the chance to accelerate her career and hopes to never stop learning and never stop teaching. 

“I believe in Space as a warfighting domain, and I believe the U.S. is and will remain a partner in space exploration,” Mahoney said. “I enjoy being a part of that global influence.”