Monday, May 21, 2007

Galileo figaro-magnifico

The Open Europe Blog follows the financial meltdown of the European GPS system, Galileo. Not only has it been plagued by delays but there are real questions about whether a civilian market for it exists when a free service is already been provided by the US GPS system. One analyst said, "why pay for Pepsi Cola when you get Coca-cola for nothing?" EU Transport Commission Jacques Barrot says, “I don’t think Galileo has actually failed! That’s a misuse of language… we’ve had a change of scenarios.” The EU Referendum calls it the scandal the media has missed. Thoughts of a Technocat notes that Galileo will have a European military role after all and may need it, for want of customers. Barrot provides this masterpiece of circumlocution to say I think, what he should say openly. That Europe is buying insurance against the loss of access to GPS simply because it is too important to lose.

“Obviously there are civilian and military uses for this, but Galileo will remain a civilian system under civilian control, as the Council has reiterated time and time again. But that doesn’t mean that military users cannot use it, as long as they comply with certain principles. For example, we cannot stop the Italian Carabinieri or the Guarda Civil using Galileo to carry out their work, e.g. on search and rescue – these are military users.” He said Galileo “obviously cannot be off-limits to someone because they’re members of the military.” However he said he had no ‘mandate’ for discussing its military uses, saying he had tried to have conversations in London with ministers on this but lacked the necessary "mandate" for providing answers.

He summed up saying industry was “chomping at the bit” for Galileo, and that Europe must not wait, or it will fall further behind. Instead of wasting time asking “metaphysical” questions about its military uses etc, we should be seizing "Europe's chance to stay at the top of the league."


Blogger Marcus Aurelius said...

Back in the days when I was using OS/2 I bought a piece of software called Zap-O-Com (aka ZOC) a terminal emulator.

In its licensing it had very explicitly stated its use by the military was prohibited. I can not recall the exact terms or wording.

5/21/2007 07:39:00 PM  
Blogger Fat Man said...

It is an even more pathetic failure than the A-380. Fortunately it is of no importance to anyone but the taxpayers of the investing countries. European claims of global importance are pretty lame right now.

5/21/2007 09:53:00 PM  
Blogger hdgreene said...

In Europe the Law of Supply and Demand is more of a guideline, really. Or a ruse perpetrated by the Chamber of Commerce. Ii leads to interesting results. Like building your house by saying, "This is so important to me that I will ignore the Law of Gravity." Then put the swimming pool on the third floor. Afterwards you'll have to prop it up, fill it only a third full and oh, by the way, don't swim in it.

That is the way Hillary will do Health Care. It is too important to obey "The Law of Supply and Demand" and Price Theory which, after all, is just a Theory--like Newton's Gravity. Can we afford affordable health care?

5/22/2007 05:11:00 AM  
Blogger RWE said...

The history of GPS is a lesson in human error in its own right. It was opposed by some in the US Congress and the antiwar left for exactly opposite reasons, was scorned by most of the U.S. electronics industry, and discounted by the USAF itself. Now, today, it is viewed in much the same way as a public utility, and one that you don’t get a bill for, to boot.

Right now, while Selective Availability has been turned off and all users receive the high grade signal, it can be turned back on at any time if the military situation demands it. The U.S. controls the supply of chips that enable the high grade signal to be used in the event that Selective Availability is turned back on. The fact that such a degradation of the signal would have no impact of any kind on the vast majority of civilian users of the system is neither here nor there; the psychological impact is what creates the worries.

The Russians have their own system, which they have been trying to get up and running for 20 years plus, and Chinese have started to deploy theirs, while agreeing to participate in Galileo. Whether all of this duplication meets actual needs or is more on the order of the need for even tiny countries to have their own national airline is not clear. Maybe it is simply because it was ignored and discounted by so many for so long who were proven to be so very wrong.

5/22/2007 05:37:00 AM  
Blogger Kent's Imperative said...

This is debate of the 90’s for which the time of hard decisions has finally come. It is no longer a matter of abstract defense “strategery”, but concrete operational decisions that will have to be made in the first hours of future conflicts. A European system (or even its PRC counterpart) would be the first choice of belligerents expecting to lose access to US provided signal. Such as system would constitute a key center of gravity for sophisticated adversaries...

5/22/2007 10:15:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

5/23/2007 10:58:00 PM  

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