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    Re: Greenwich Conference: GPS military or civilian
    From: Richard Easton
    Date: 2014 Apr 6, 07:37 -0700

    Geoffrey, thanks for the helpful summary of the conference. I wish I could have been there. You wrote:

    “It has been argued by other speakers in past Greenwich conferences that though the US Army Airforce oversaw the development and deployment of the GPS system, its inception and intent never was driven by military requirements and it was always intended for civilian use.”

    Then in response to other comments, you posted

    “It was Richard Easton who gave a paper about the origins of the GPS system at the Greenwich conference two years ago. That there seems to be a difference in scholarly opinion on the reasons for the inception of the GPS system would appear to a valid fact....”

    I agree with the second comment in your first post but disagree with the first statement. The inception of GPS was clearly driven by military requirements. The Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) Navigation Study Panel in 1968 established requirements for a new space based navigation system. I haven’t seen the original document, but based on other ones I think it required that the new system provide three dimensional position fixes on a continuous basis in all-weather instantaneously to an unlimited number of users on a worldwide basis with a specified accuracy (perhaps 50 feet). The Navigation Satellite Executive Steering Group (NAVSEG) was established in 1968 and was run by the military as was the GPS Joint Program Office (JPO) which was established in 1973. What became GPS was also envisioned from the first to be used by civilians. The first navsat, Transit, which became operational in the 1960s, was rapidly used by civilians.

    Thanks Professor Langley for the kind words about “GPS Declassified: From Smart Bombs to Smartphones”. We have some primary source documents posted at http://www.gpsdeclassified.com/resources/

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