NATO, Air Defence and Science: Staying up-to-date
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Quite early on in its existence NATO has been involved in the pursuit of science and R&D. Two prime examples of this which will be examined in this study are the SHAPE Air Defence Technical Centre (SADTC) and the NATO Science Committee. SADTC was established in 1954 to assist NATO's European Command in the R&D aspects of realizing an effective Air Defence and Early Warning system for the Western part of continent; most of its activities focused on the very practical aspects of defence system implementation and determining the technical merits of competing systems and proposals as an impartial actor. The Science Committee was founded in the aftermath of the launch of Sputnik and sought to strengthen the quality, quantity and sense of community of scientists within the Atlantic Community. As its terms of reference were too far from the Alliance's core business its main contribution appears to have been in the realm of public diplomacy rather than science. In this thesis it is argued, that operational needs of the alliance shaped their creation and programmes of work which focused on engineering and implementation rather than actual system development which was beholden to national industries. Their aim was to facilitate keeping up-to-date with Soviet air activity and on the frontline of scientific progress.