By Sharon Weinberger
Based on unique interviews with senior Pentagon officers and formerly unseen declassified records, this can be the definitive historical past of the safeguard complicated study initiatives Agency--the Pentagon enterprise that has quietly formed struggle and expertise for almost sixty years.
Founded in 1958 in line with the release of Sputnik, the agency’s unique project was once to create “the unimagined guns of the future.” Over the a long time, DARPA has been answerable for numerous innovations and applied sciences that stretch way past army know-how. Sharon Weinberger provides us a riveting account of DARPA’s successes and screw ups, its amazing recommendations, and its wild-eyed schemes. We see how the specter of nuclear Armageddon sparked funding in machine networking, resulting in the net, in addition to to a suggestion to strength a missile-destroying particle beam by way of draining the nice Lakes. We learn the way DARPA was once liable throughout the Vietnam struggle for either Agent Orange and the improvement of the world’s first armed drones, and the way after September 11 the service provider sparked a countrywide controversy over surveillance with its data-mining study. And we see how DARPA’s luck with self-driving vehicles was once via disappointing contributions to the Afghanistan and Iraq wars.
Weinberger has interviewed a couple of hundred former Pentagon officers and scientists fascinated by DARPA’s projects—many of whom have by no means spoken publicly approximately their paintings with the agency—and pored over numerous declassified files from files round the nation, records acquired lower than the liberty of knowledge Act, and unique fabrics supplied via assets. The Imagineers of War is a compelling and groundbreaking background within which technology, expertise, and politics collide.
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Additional info for The Imagineers of War: The Untold Story of DARPA, the Pentagon Agency That Changed the World
The air force’s plan was to launch an ICBM into space, and the army proposal would have involved relying on former Nazi scientists working at a military arsenal. The navy’s rocket, while the least mature, had the advantage of not being associated with a weapon. In the end, the panel passed over the army’s German rocket team and the air force’s ICBM, selecting instead the navy proposal, a rocket that was still in development. “This is not a design contest,” an outraged von Braun protested. ” Von Braun’s concerns were ignored, even as over the next two years the navy fell behind schedule.
Now, with the soon-to-be defense secretary in front of him, and Sputnik circling overhead, the words began to tumble out of von Braun. “Vanguard will never make it,” the German scientist said. “We have the hardware on the shelf. For God’s sake turn us loose and let us do something. We can put up a satellite in sixty days, Mr. McElroy! ” “No, Wernher, ninety days,” Medaris interjected. McElroy had been the guest of honor, but now everyone circled von Braun, peppering the German rocket scientist with questions.
The steel elevator shaft likely saved his life. When he came to, it was pitch-dark, and the first sensation he recalled was the sound of something burning. Then the smell of smoke reached his nostrils, bringing him to his feet. As he stumbled out into what had been the hospital’s corridor, his eyes adjusted to the darkness, and he realized he was standing on dirt. The wood floors had been blown away. In the corner, he saw a nurse on the ground surrounded by shattered glass, and her face covered in blood.
The Imagineers of War: The Untold Story of DARPA, the Pentagon Agency That Changed the World by Sharon Weinberger