SA - Selective Availability

Back in the days GPS included a feature called Selective Availability (or SA) that introduced intentional errors of up to a hundred meters into the publicly available navigation signals, making it difficult to use for guiding long range missiles to precise targets. Additional accuracy was available in the signal, but in an encrypted form that was only available to the United States military, its allies and a few others, mostly government users.

During the Gulf War, the shortage of military GPS units and the wide availability of civilian ones among personnel resulted in disabling the Selective Availability. In the 1990s the FAA started pressuring the military to turn off SA permanently. This would save the FAA millions of dollars every year in maintenance of their own, less accurate, radio navigation systems. The military resisted for most of the 1990s, but SA was eventually turned off in 2000 following an announcement by then US President Bill Clinton, allowing all users to enjoy nearly the same level of access.