Date of Award
Master of Arts
The Distant Early Warning Line was a chain of radar stations built by the United States along the north shore of North America. The DEW Line was the result of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's 1952 Lincoln Laboratory Summer Study Group, which first conceived of the DEW Line as a radar detection and tracking system designed to help protect the United States and Canada from attack by Soviet bomber aircraft. Considered a technological feat at the time it was completed in 1957, the DEW Line implemented many new radar, signal processing and communications technologies. However, the DEW Line as constructed differed substantially for the original proposal, limiting the effectiveness of its air defense function. After 1957, tests of the system raised doubts about its effectiveness. As the missile age dawned and bombers faded as the primary Soviet threat, the DEW Line became only one of several systems designed to detect a Soviet nuclear attack against North America.
Samuel Edward Twitchell
Twitchell, Samuel Edward, "The Incomplete Shield: The Distant Early Warning Line and the Struggle for Effective Continental Air Defense, 1950-1960" (2011). Graduate Theses and Dissertations. 12195.