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GPS and Galileo: Friendly Foes? (Walker Paper, Number 12)

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In GPS and Galileo Friendly Foes, Lt. Col. Roftiel Constantine, USAF, analyzes the heated competition to provide service from high in the skies of medium earth orbit. The European Union EU is developing Galileo, its own global positioning and navigation satellite system, scheduled to be operational by 2010. The EU states that Galileo will provide greater precision to all users than is currently available from the United States global positioning system GPS through improved coverage of satellite signals at higher latitudes, and, unlike GPS, Galileo is guaranteed to be always available -- even during war or political disagreement. Regarding the enormous importance of GPS to the United States and millions of users worldwide, the prospect of a second, competing, and potentially interfering global satellite navigation system could have serious military, foreign policy, and industrial implications. The U.S. Government would benefit from the heightened awareness of the risks and opportunities the author presents for the United States surrounding the Galileo program. This monograph highlights the effects the emergence of the Galileo system will have on the transatlantic alliance, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization NATO, U.S. dominance in the defense and security of Europe, and several serious commercial and industrial concerns. In addition, it discusses Chinas heavy involvement in the Galileo project and the national security dilemma this presents for the United States. Five distinct actions by the U.S. Government are necessary to protect its industrial, military, and national security interests acknowledge the existing situation ensure fair competition for satellite navigation hardware manufacturers compel allied militaries to adopt GPS now drive home the fact that, counter to European claims, the availability and precision of GPS will be on par with or better than Galileo and secure Chinas cooperation in satellite navigation.

Subject Categories:

  • Economics and Cost Analysis
  • Government and Political Science
  • Navigation and Guidance
  • Unmanned Spacecraft

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