Founded in 1958 in response to the launch of Sputnik, the agency's original mission was to create "the unimagined weapons of the future." Over the decades, DARPA has been responsible for countless inventions and technologies that extend well beyond military technology. Sharon Weinberger gives us a riveting account of DARPA's successes and failures, its remarkable innovations, and its wild-eyed schemes. We see how the threat of nuclear Armageddon sparked investment in computer networking, leading to the Internet, as well as to a proposal to power a missile-destroying particle beam by draining the Great Lakes. We learn how DARPA was responsible during the Vietnam War for both Agent Orange and the development of the world's first armed drones, and how after 9/11 the agency sparked a national controversy over surveillance with its data-mining research. And we see how DARPA's success with self-driving cars was followed by disappointing contributions to the Afghanistan and Iraq wars.
The definitive history of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, the Pentagon agency that has quietly shaped war and technology for nearly sixty years. Founded in 1958 in response to the launch of Sputnik, the agency’s original mission was to create “the unimagined weapons of the future.” Over the decades, DARPA has been responsible for countless inventions and technologies that extend well beyond military technology. Sharon Weinberger gives us a riveting account of DARPA’s successes and failures, its remarkable innovations, and its wild-eyed schemes. We see how the threat of nuclear Armageddon sparked investment in computer networking, leading to the Internet, as well as to a proposal to power a missile-destroying particle beam by draining the Great Lakes. We learn how DARPA was responsible during the Vietnam War for both Agent Orange and the development of the world’s first armed drones, and how after 9/11 the agency sparked a national controversy over surveillance with its data-mining research. And we see how DARPA’s success with self-driving cars was followed by disappointing contributions to the Afghanistan and Iraq wars. Weinberger has interviewed more than one hundred former Pentagon officials and scientists involved in DARPA’s projects—many of whom have never spoken publicly about their work with the agency—and pored over countless declassified records from archives around the country, documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, and exclusive materials provided by sources. The Imagineers of War is a compelling and groundbreaking history in which science, technology, and politics collide.
Author: Annie Jacobsen
Publisher: Little, Brown
Release Date: 2015-09-15
NATIONAL BESTSELLER A Pulitzer Prize Finalist and the definitive history of DARPA, the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency, from the author of the New York Times bestseller Area 51 No one has ever written the history of the Defense Department's most secret, most powerful, and most controversial military science R&D agency. In the first-ever history about the organization, New York Times bestselling author Annie Jacobsen draws on inside sources, exclusive interviews, private documents, and declassified memos to paint a picture of DARPA, or "the Pentagon's brain," from its Cold War inception in 1958 to the present. This is the book on DARPA--a compelling narrative about this clandestine intersection of science and the American military and the often frightening results.
Author: Nathan Hodge
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing USA
Release Date: 2011-02-15
In A Nuclear Family Vacation, husband-and-wife journalists Nathan Hodge and Sharon Weinberger hit the road to explore the secretive world of nuclear weaponry. Weaving together first-class travel writing and crack investigative journalism, the pair pursues both adventures and answers: Why are nuclear weapons still on hair-trigger alert? Is there really such a thing as a suitcase nuke? And which nuclear power plants are most likely to be covers for weapons programs? Their itinerary takes them from the Semipalatinsk Test Site in Kazakhstan to the U.S.'s own top-secret "Site R," opening a unique perspective on the world's vast nuclear infrastructure and the international politics at play behind it.
America's greatest idea factory isn't Bell Labs, Silicon Valley, or MIT's Media Lab. It's the secretive, Pentagon-led agency known as DARPA. Founded by Eisenhower in response to Sputnik and the Soviet space program, DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) mixes military officers with sneaker-wearing scientists, seeking paradigm-shifting ideas in varied fields—from energy, robotics, and rockets to doctorless operating rooms, driverless cars, and planes that can fly halfway around the world in just a few hours. Michael Belfiore was given unpre-cedented access to write this first-ever popular account of DARPA. The Department of Mad Scientists contains material that has barely been reported in the general media—in fact, only 2 percent of Americans know much of anything about the agency. But as this fascinating read demonstrates, DARPA isn't so much frightening as it is inspiring—it is our future.
Author: Garrett M. Graff
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Release Date: 2017-05-02
The shocking truth about the government’s secret plans to survive a catastrophic attack on US soil—even if the rest of us die—is “a frightening eye-opener” (Kirkus Reviews) that spans the dawn of the nuclear age to today, and "contains everything one could possibly want to know" (The Wall Street Journal). Every day in Washington, DC, the blue-and-gold first Helicopter Squadron, codenamed “MUSSEL,” flies over the Potomac River. As obvious as the Presidential motorcade, most people assume the squadron is a travel perk for VIPs. They’re only half right: while the helicopters do provide transport, the unit exists to evacuate high-ranking officials in the event of a terrorist or nuclear attack on the capital. In the event of an attack, select officials would be whisked by helicopters to a ring of secret bunkers around Washington, even as ordinary citizens were left to fend for themselves. “In exploring the incredible lengths (and depths) that successive administrations have gone to in planning for the aftermath of a nuclear assault, Graff deftly weaves a tale of secrecy and paranoia” (The New York Times Book Review) with details "that read like they've been ripped from the pages of a pulp spy novel" (Vice). For more than sixty years, the US government has been developing secret Doomsday strategies to protect itself, and the multibillion-dollar Continuity of Government (COG) program takes numerous forms—from its potential to evacuate the Liberty Bell from Philadelphia to the plans to launch nuclear missiles from a Boeing-747 jet flying high over Nebraska. Garrett M. Graff sheds light on the inner workings of the 650-acre compound, called Raven Rock, just miles from Camp David, as well as dozens of other bunkers the government built for its top leaders during the Cold War, from the White House lawn to Cheyenne Mountain in Colorado to Palm Beach, Florida, and the secret plans that would have kicked in after a Cold War nuclear attack to round up foreigners and dissidents and nationalize industries. Equal parts a presidential, military, and cultural history, Raven Rock tracks the evolution of the government plan and the threats of global war from the dawn of the nuclear era through the War on Terror.
Author: William Yengst
Publisher: Tate Publishing
Release Date: 2010-04
History shows that demands of wartime military and political leaders have often motivated development of new and advanced technologies. The German desire to attack American cities with long-range variants of V-2 missiles during the latter years of World War II stimulated development of maneuvering reentry vehicle concepts. In the mid-1960s, these concepts were secretly refined and tested by the United States to provide accurate delivery of strategic nuclear warheads at intercontinental ranges and to assure their penetration of newly developed Soviet anti-ballistic missile defenses. First Maneuvering Reentry Vehicles, by William C. Yengst, describes the initial feasibility programs to test three alternative designs for implementing hypersonic maneuvers and accurate guidance of long-range reentry vehicles. It identifies the political and military motivations, environmental challenges, design difficulties, innovative technology solutions, test failures, and spectacular successes. It also summarizes development of operational maneuvering reentry vehicles prepared for U.S. Air Force, Navy, and Army long-range missile systems during the 1980s. The technology has been adopted and further refined by foreign nations (India, China and Russia) in building their latest missile systems. Therefore, it is important to understand the capabilities and performance characteristics of future potential threats. Written as a first-hand account of the technology's evolution, the book honors the dedicated engineers and scientists who worked to make these programs a success.
Author: Daniel Golden
Publisher: Henry Holt and Company
Release Date: 2017-10-10
Genre: Political Science
Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Daniel Golden exposes how academia has become the center of foreign and domestic espionage—and why that is troubling news for our nation's security. Grounded in extensive research and reporting, Spy Schools reveals how academia has emerged as a frontline in the global spy game. In a knowledge-based economy, universities are repositories of valuable information and research, where brilliant minds of all nationalities mingle freely with few questions asked. Intelligence agencies have always recruited bright undergraduates, but now, in an era when espionage increasingly requires specialized scientific or technological expertise, they’re wooing higher-level academics—not just as analysts, but also for clandestine operations. Golden uncovers unbelievable campus activity—from the CIA placing agents undercover in Harvard Kennedy School classes and staging academic conferences to persuade Iranian nuclear scientists to defect, to a Chinese graduate student at Duke University stealing research for an invisibility cloak, and a tiny liberal arts college in Marietta, Ohio, exchanging faculty with China’s most notorious spy school. He shows how relentlessly and ruthlessly this practice has permeated our culture, not just inside the US, but internationally as well. Golden, acclaimed author of The Price of Admission, blows the lid off this secret culture of espionage and its consequences at home and abroad.
Author: Adam B. Lowther
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
Release Date: 2016-09-19
Genre: Political Science
One important area of interest within military and policy circles focuses on an effort to revitalize the nuclear triad amidst a number of competing strategic interests. The difficulties arising from US engagement in Iraq and Afghanistan are leading many scholars and policy makers to question whether a reinvigorated nuclear triad has any role in deterring modern adversaries. This volume takes an unashamed pro-nuclear modernization position and argues for designing and fielding new nuclear warheads and delivery systems (submarine, ICBM, and bomber) while also arguing against signing the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty or agreeing to further reductions in the nuclear arsenal. It also argues that nuclear deterrence remains as relevant today, perhaps more, than it was during the Cold War. With so many authors advocating for "Global Zero" and highlighting perceived dangers from a nuclear arsenal, this work stands in stark contrast to the chorus of anti-arsenal works. Because of the work’s structure and effort to answer questions of current relevance, it should appeal to a broad audience including: service staffs, PME students, COCOM staffs, Pentagon personnel, Capitol Hill staffers, policy makers, academics, graduate students, and interested readers.
New challenges, including terrorism and cyberwarfare, require new technologies. With this in mind, military leaders are overseeing the development of a new generation of cutting edge robots, unmanned vehicles, weapons, tactical gear, and other defense-related technologies.
Author: Thomas E. Ricks
Release Date: 2017-05-23
Genre: Biography & Autobiography
A New York Times Book Review Notable Book of 2017 A dual biography of Winston Churchill and George Orwell, who preserved democracy from the threats of authoritarianism, from the left and right alike. Both George Orwell and Winston Churchill came close to death in the mid-1930's—Orwell shot in the neck in a trench line in the Spanish Civil War, and Churchill struck by a car in New York City. If they'd died then, history would scarcely remember them. At the time, Churchill was a politician on the outs, his loyalty to his class and party suspect. Orwell was a mildly successful novelist, to put it generously. No one would have predicted that by the end of the 20th century they would be considered two of the most important people in British history for having the vision and courage to campaign tirelessly, in words and in deeds, against the totalitarian threat from both the left and the right. In a crucial moment, they responded first by seeking the facts of the matter, seeing through the lies and obfuscations, and then they acted on their beliefs. Together, to an extent not sufficiently appreciated, they kept the West's compass set toward freedom as its due north. It's not easy to recall now how lonely a position both men once occupied. By the late 1930's, democracy was discredited in many circles, and authoritarian rulers were everywhere in the ascent. There were some who decried the scourge of communism, but saw in Hitler and Mussolini "men we could do business with," if not in fact saviors. And there were others who saw the Nazi and fascist threat as malign, but tended to view communism as the path to salvation. Churchill and Orwell, on the other hand, had the foresight to see clearly that the issue was human freedom—that whatever its coloration, a government that denied its people basic freedoms was a totalitarian menace and had to be resisted. In the end, Churchill and Orwell proved their age's necessary men. The glorious climax of Churchill and Orwell is the work they both did in the decade of the 1940's to triumph over freedom's enemies. And though Churchill played the larger role in the defeat of Hitler and the Axis, Orwell's reckoning with the menace of authoritarian rule in Animal Farm and 1984 would define the stakes of the Cold War for its 50-year course, and continues to give inspiration to fighters for freedom to this day. Taken together, in Thomas E. Ricks's masterful hands, their lives are a beautiful testament to the power of moral conviction, and to the courage it can take to stay true to it, through thick and thin. Churchill and Orwell is a perfect gift for the holidays!
Author: W. Thomas McQueeney
Publisher: Arcadia Publishing
Release Date: 2012-11-20
Charleston is among the world's most cherished destinations, and its history is told and retold to the mass of travelers in search of the storied, classical southern ambiance touted in a bygone age. The people of Charleston have witnessed this awakening from within, and author W. Thomas McQueeney presents a glimpse of that shared experience through conversational interviews with some of the city's more notable inhabitants. Explore the area's recent past and present by reading about just some of this city's more interesting personalities who were born in or drawn to a place America has come to love. Each is testament to why the Holy City has become one of the most livable and enjoyable places to be.
Author: Roger D. Launius
Publisher: JHU Press
Release Date: 2008-01-07
Two leading scholars of space exploration -- both as historians and critics -- inquire into the human fascination with manned adventures, raise new questions that support the near-term use of robotics, and offer a case for "human cyborgs" in a "post-biological universe."