- May 2017
Distant Early Warning Line (DEW Line)
The Distant Early Warning (DEW) Line was a chain of 63 radio and communication centers that spread from Alaska to the Canadian Arctic to Greenland. The DEW line was an American defense project to protect them from Russian threat. The DEW line was the first joint American and Canadian defense project (Lajeunesse). Because the majority of the project was paid for and spearheaded by the United States, Canada feared losing sovereignty in the Arctic. The United States did not wish to control Canadian land, but would control military forces in that region. Canada feared American presence and demanded that any American military air force bases be located away from densely populated areas. The DEW Line was functional by 1957. The DEW line was primarily controlled by the American Air Force, as the Canadian Air Force personnel did not have proper training or manpower to serve the DEW line. The Canadian presence on the DEW line was largely ceremonial to display Canadian approval and control of their land. The Canadian government pushed for the DEW Line to become NATO territory to minimize American dominance of the region, but this hope was never realized. In order to regain control over their Arctic territory, Canada constructed its own radar line called the Mid-Canada Line. Constructing their own line allowed Canada to regain recognition as a powerful ally and partner to the United States.
References: Lajeunesse, Adam. "The Distant Early Warning Line and the Canadian Battle for Public Perception." Canadian Military Journal. Accessed May 04, 2017. http://www.journal.forces.gc.ca/vo8/no2/lajeunes-eng.asp.