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Inventing GPS

Inventing GPS: Technology and International Security in the Cold War and Beyond
Funder: European CommissionProject code: 101018413 Call for proposal: H2020-MSCA-IF-2020
Funded under: H2020 | MSCA-IF-GF Overall Budget: 237,768 EURFunder Contribution: 237,768 EUR
Open Access mandate
Research data: No

Inventing GPS

Description

One of the most significant technological innovations of the post-war era, the development of GPS revolutionised the way we navigate, fight wars, design maps, and keep time. However, a GPS historiography does not exist yet. The objective of this project is to provide the first in-depth historiographical study of Global Positioning System (GPS) development through new empirical archival evidence and extensive oral history interviews. Relatedly, by exploring the history of satellite-navigation, the project will also contribute to designing policies relevant to the EU’s Common Defence and Security Policy (CDSP). The project will highlight the interconnection of technological innovation in the field of satellite-based navigation with Cold War politics and military-strategic culture. The overarching argument is that the development of GPS was born out of the paradigm transformation that took place within the U.S. Air Force in the early-to-mid 1970s in favour of a ‘counterforce’ military doctrine. The ancillary argument is that GPS was part of a broader attempt by the United States to direct R&D efforts towards regaining qualitative and technological superiority over the Soviet Union in the aftermath of the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks. Additionally, through innovative ‘applied history’ methods, the project will analyse the implications of GALILEO for the future of European security. These issues are particularly timely in the context of increased international tension, the erosion of U.S. leadership in European defence matters, and the related initiatives to further integrate EU defence policies parallel to NATO, particularly after Brexit. Against this background, the project will assess the relevance of independent access to satellite-navigation as an essential tool in any far-sighted policy of EU defence integration. The action will allow the ER to establish himself as a leading scholar in his field and be competitive in the European academic job market.

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