Information Warfare: April 23, 2005


China is now working with the European multi-national organization that is building Galileo, a GPS competitor that is putting 30 satellites into orbit. Galileo will offer services that GPS does not and, most importantly, will not be under the control of the U.S. Department of Defense. While Galileo can be jammed, and the United States has said it will just that in wartime, the United States can do more than just jam GPS, they can fiddle with it in subtle ways. Or so the Chinese think. While using Galileo instead of GPS will cost the Chinese more (for additional equipment and software) in the long run, there are many benefits. Chinese participation in the project just about guarantees that Galileo will get into service, and provide the Chinese with valuable military technology. This, despite the European embargo on selling weapons to China (because of the bloody 1989 crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrators.) Galileo is something of a vanity project for European nations. Its $5 billion cost provides negligible benefit to Europe, but does enable European nations to avoid using the American GPS navigation system. In wartime, China could jam GPS aggressively, and depend on Europe to help them defend the Galileo satellites.


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