Sharon Weinberger's The Imagineers of War: The Untold Story of DARPA, the PDF

By Sharon Weinberger

Based on specific interviews with senior Pentagon officers and formerly unseen declassified records, this is often the definitive heritage of the safety complex examine tasks Agency--the Pentagon organization that has quietly formed struggle and expertise for almost sixty years.

Founded in 1958 in accordance with the release of Sputnik, the agency’s unique project was once to create “the unimagined guns of the future.” Over the many years, DARPA has been chargeable for numerous innovations and applied sciences that stretch way past army expertise. Sharon Weinberger offers us a riveting account of DARPA’s successes and screw ups, its awesome concepts, and its wild-eyed schemes. We see how the specter of nuclear Armageddon sparked funding in laptop networking, resulting in the web, in addition to to a suggestion to strength a missile-destroying particle beam via draining the nice Lakes. We learn the way DARPA used to be accountable throughout the Vietnam battle for either Agent Orange and the improvement of the world’s first armed drones, and the way after Sep 11 the organization sparked a countrywide controversy over surveillance with its data-mining study. And we see how DARPA’s luck with self-driving autos was once through disappointing contributions to the Afghanistan and Iraq wars.

Weinberger has interviewed multiple hundred former Pentagon officers and scientists enthusiastic about DARPA’s projects—many of whom have by no means spoken publicly approximately their paintings with the agency—and pored over numerous declassified documents from information round the kingdom, files got less than the liberty of knowledge Act, and particular fabrics supplied by way of resources. The Imagineers of War is a compelling and groundbreaking heritage within which technological know-how, expertise, and politics collide.

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Standing at the top of a hill, York pointed down proudly to the facility hidden in the valley below, where he had labored in secret for two years of the war. “We have made war obsolete,” he triumphantly told his father. It did not take York long to realize he was completely wrong. In Japan, the power of the atomic bomb left people feeling helpless. In America, for that brief moment, it made people feel invincible. The idea that this same powerful weapon could soon threaten the United States had not yet sunk in.

DARPA is now more than fifty-five years old, and much of its history has never been recorded in any systematic way. One effort was made, in 1973, when DARPA approached its fifteenth anniversary. Stephen Lukasik, then the director, commissioned an independent history of the agency to better understand its origins and purpose. The final document was regarded as so sensitive that the authors were only authorized to make six copies, all of which had to be handed over to the government. Although it was supposed to be an unclassified history, the new director was aghast at what he felt was an overly personal account; he stamped the final product as classified and locked it away.

But the infighting was bad enough that Frank Wisner, the head of the CIA’s Office of Policy Coordination, banned Godel from his buildings. It might have been run-ins like those that prompted a security investigation into Godel, something that was not unusual in an era when information dug up from background investigations was used as a blunt weapon to oust political enemies. In 1953, Pentagon security officials interviewed Godel after reports surfaced that his adoptive father had been a Nazi sympathizer.

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