The Imagineers of War

Author: Sharon Weinberger
Publisher: Knopf
ISBN: 9780385351799
Release Date: 2017
Genre: HISTORY

Founded in 1958 in response to the launch of Sputnik, DARPA has been responsible for countless inventions and technologies that have evolved from the agency's mission- forward-thinking solutions to the Pentagon's challenges. Sharon Weinberger gives us a riveting account of DARPA's successes and failures, useful innovations and wild-eyed schemes- we see how the nuclear threat sparked investment in computer networking, which led to the Internet, as well as plans to power a missile-seeking particle beam by draining the Great Lakes...how, in Vietnam, DARPA developed technology for the world's first armed drones and was also responsible for Agent Orange... how DARPA's recent success with self-driving cars is counterbalanced with its disappointing contributions to the Afghanistan and Iraq wars. Weinberger has spoken to dozens of former DARPA and Pentagon officials--many of whom had never been interviewed before about their work with the agency--and synthesized countless documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act. The result is a riveting history of a meeting point of science, technology, and politics.

The Imagineers of War

Author: Sharon Weinberger
Publisher: Vintage
ISBN: 9780385351805
Release Date: 2017-03-14
Genre: History

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.

The Pentagon s Brain

Author: Annie Jacobsen
Publisher: Little, Brown
ISBN: 9780316371650
Release Date: 2015-09-15
Genre: History

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.

A Nuclear Family Vacation

Author: Nathan Hodge
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing USA
ISBN: 9781608196692
Release Date: 2011-02-15
Genre: History

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.

Imaginary Weapons

Author: Sharon Weinberger
Publisher:
ISBN: 156858329X
Release Date: 2007
Genre: Science

The story of how a lunatic fringe science project became favored by Rumsfeld’s Pentagon.

Defending the Arsenal

Author: Adam B. Lowther
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
ISBN: 9781315460680
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.

Lightning Bolts

Author: William Yengst
Publisher: Tate Publishing
ISBN: 9781615665471
Release Date: 2010-04
Genre: History

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.

Raven Rock

Author: Garrett M. Graff
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
ISBN: 9781476735450
Release Date: 2017-05-02
Genre: History

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.

An Enemy We Created

Author: Alex Strick van Linschoten
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
ISBN: 9780199927319
Release Date: 2012
Genre: History

To this day the belief is widespread that the Taliban and al-Qaeda are in many respects synonymous, that their ideology and objectives are closely intertwined and that they have made common cause against the West for decades. Yet this view has hardly ever been scrutinized or testedempirically. This is all the more surprising given that the West's present entanglement in Afghanistan is commonly predicated on the need to defeat the Taliban in order to forestall further terrorist attacks worldwide. There is thus an urgent need to re-examine the known facts of the Taliban-alQaeda relationship and to tell the story of the Taliban's encounter with internationalist militant Islamism. In An Enemy We Created, Alex Strick van Linschoten and Felix Kuehn focus on the complexity of the relationship between the two groups and the individuals who established them. The book, which has already been cited prominently in The New Yorker, is the first to examine in detail the relationship from the Taliban's perspective based on Arabic, Dari and Pashtu sources, drawing on the authors many years of experience in southern Afghanistan, the Taliban s heartland. Theyalso interviewed Taliban decision-makers, field commanders and ordinary fighters while immersing themselves in Kandahar's society. The story of those individuals who were to become the key decision-makers, and the relationships among all those involved from the mid-1990s onward, reveal howfrequently the Taliban and al-Qaeda diverged rather than converged. An Enemy We Created concludes that there is room to engage the Taliban on two fundamental issues: renouncing al-Qaeda and guaranteeing that Afghanistan will not be a sanctuary for international terrorists. Yet the insurgency is changing, and it could soon be too late to find a political solution.The authors contend that certain aspects of the campaign in Afghanistan, especially night raids and attempts to fragment and decapitate the Taliban, are transforming the resistance, creating more opportunities for al-Qaeda and helping it to attain its objectives.

Spy Schools

Author: Daniel Golden
Publisher: Henry Holt and Company
ISBN: 9781627796361
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.

The Department of Mad Scientists

Author: Michael Belfiore
Publisher: Harper Collins
ISBN: 9780062000651
Release Date: 2010-11-02
Genre: Science

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.

Unclear Physics

Author: Malfrid Braut-Hegghammer
Publisher: Cornell University Press
ISBN: 9781501706455
Release Date: 2016-09-01
Genre: History

Many authoritarian leaders want nuclear weapons, but few manage to acquire them. Autocrats seeking nuclear weapons fail in different ways and to varying degrees—Iraq almost managed it; Libya did not come close. In Unclear Physics, Malfrid Braut-Hegghammer compares the two failed nuclear weapons programs, showing that state capacity played a crucial role in the trajectory and outcomes of both projects. Braut-Hegghammer draws on a rich set of new primary sources, collected during years of research in archives, fieldwork across the Middle East, and interviews with scientists and decision makers from both states. She gained access to documents and individuals that no other researcher has been able to consult. Her book tells the story of the Iraqi and Libyan programs from their origins in the late 1950s and 1960s until their dismantling. This book reveals contemporary perspectives from scientists and regime officials on the opportunities and challenges facing each project. Many of the findings challenge the conventional wisdom about clandestine weapons programs in closed authoritarian states and their prospects of success or failure. Braut-Hegghammer suggests that scholars and analysts ought to pay closer attention to how state capacity affects nuclear weapons programs in other authoritarian regimes, both in terms of questioning the actual control these leaders have over their nuclear weapons programs and the capability of their scientists to solve complex technical challenges.

Sunsets Over Charleston

Author: W. Thomas McQueeney
Publisher: Arcadia Publishing
ISBN: 9781614237808
Release Date: 2012-11-20
Genre: History

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.

Propaganda Prints

Author: Colin Moore
Publisher: A&C Black
ISBN: 9781408105917
Release Date: 2010-08-06
Genre: Art

A fascinating exploration of artworks created in order to persuade, control, inspire and change.

This Is Improbable

Author: Marc Abrahams
Publisher: Oneworld Publications
ISBN: 9781780741147
Release Date: 2012-09-01
Genre: Science

Often, thinking seriously about outlandish problems is the only way to make progress in science. The rest of the time, it’s hilarious. Marc Abrahams, the founder of the famous Ig Nobel prizes, offers an addictive, wryly funny exposé of the oddest, most imaginative, and just plain improbable research from around the world. He looks into why books on ethics are more likely to get stolen and how randomly promoting people (rather than doing it based on merit) improves their work. He also shares the findings of weird experiments, from whether Vegas lap dancers earn higher tips at a certain time of the month to how mice were once outfitted with parachutes to find a better way to murder tree snakes. Abrahams’ tour through this strangest of strange science will first make you laugh, and then make you think about your world in a completely new way. Marc Abrahams, the founder of the Ig Nobel prize, offers an addictive, wryly funny exposé of the most improbable research from around the world, from why one psychologist insisted it was better to promote people randomly to whether Vegas lap dancers get higher tips at certain times of the month. As you travel from the bizarre to the profound, Abrahams will make you laugh, and then think about the world in a completely new way.