Most people think Star Wars began with the ideas of Ronald Reagan, but its roots reach decades further back. In this first scholarly account of the origins of the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI), historian Don Baucom traces these roots back to the dawn of the missile age in 1944. He finds SDI emerging after a period of nearly 40 years from forces generated by technological developments, changing strategic conditions, and the collapse of the SALT arms control negotiations of the 1970s.
William Newmann examines the ways in which presidents make national security decisions, and explores how those processes evolve over time. He creates a complex portrait of policy making, which may help future presidents design national security decision structures that fit the realities of the office in today's world.
Cover -- Half Title -- Dedication -- Title Page -- Copyright Page -- Table of Contents -- Acknowledgements -- Introduction -- 1 The Strategic Defence Initiative -- 2 The Soviet Reaction to the SDI -- 3 The Reykjavik Summit: October 11-12 1986 -- 4 US-Soviet Relations after the Reykjavik Summit -- 5 Strategic Defence: The Post-Cold War and Post-September 11 World -- Conclusion -- Selective Bibliography -- Index
How differing assessments of risk by physicists and computer scientists have influenced public debate over nuclear defense. In a rapidly changing world, we rely upon experts to assess the promise and risks of new technology. But how do these experts make sense of a highly uncertain future? In Arguments that Count, Rebecca Slayton offers an important new perspective. Drawing on new historical documents and interviews as well as perspectives in science and technology studies, she provides an original account of how scientists came to terms with the unprecedented threat of nuclear-armed intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs). She compares how two different professional communities—physicists and computer scientists—constructed arguments about the risks of missile defense, and how these arguments changed over time. Slayton shows that our understanding of technological risks is shaped by disciplinary repertoires—the codified knowledge and mathematical rules that experts use to frame new challenges. And, significantly, a new repertoire can bring long-neglected risks into clear view. In the 1950s, scientists recognized that high-speed computers would be needed to cope with the unprecedented speed of ICBMs. But the nation's elite science advisors had no way to analyze the risks of computers so used physics to assess what they could: radar and missile performance. Only decades later, after establishing computing as a science, were advisors able to analyze authoritatively the risks associated with complex software—most notably, the risk of a catastrophic failure. As we continue to confront new threats, including that of cyber attack, Slayton offers valuable insight into how different kinds of expertise can limit or expand our capacity to address novel technological risks.
Explaining America's rise as a global military power challenges the methodologies of military history. This volume looks beyond the major conflicts covered elsewhere in the Library to explore the operational, conceptual, technological and cultural forces that shaped the United States military after the American Civil War. Individual articles reflect the wide range of topics and approaches that contribute to the growing understanding of the American military and its relationship with its parent society.
Study of the Cold War all too often shows us the war that wasn’t fought. The reality, of course, is that many “hot” conflicts did occur, some with the great powers' weapons and approval, others without. It is this reality, and this period of quasi-war and semiconflict, that Jonathan M. House plumbs in A Military History of the Cold War, 1962–1991, a complex case study in the Clausewitzian relationship between policy and military force during a time of global upheaval and political realignment. This volume opens a new perspective on three fraught decades of Cold War history, revealing how the realities of time, distance, resources, and military culture often constrained and diverted the inclinations or policies of world leaders. In addition to the Vietnam War and nuclear confrontations between the USSR and the United States, this period saw dozens of regional wars and insurgencies fought throughout Asia, Africa, and Latin America. Cuba, Pakistan, Indonesia, Israel, Egypt, and South Africa pursued their own goals in ways that drew the superpowers into regional disputes. Even clashes ostensibly unrelated to the politics of East-West confrontation, such as the Nigerian-Biafran conflict, the Falklands/Malvinas War, and the Indonesian occupation of East Timor, involved armed forces, weapons, and tactics developed for the larger conflict and thus come under House’s scrutiny. His study also takes up nontraditional or specialized aspects of the period, including weapons of mass destruction, civil-military relations, civil defense, and control of domestic disorders. The result is a single, integrated survey and analysis of a complex period in geopolitical history, which fills a significant gap in our knowledge of the organization, logistics, operations, and tactics involved in conflict throughout the Cold War.
Militarizing Outer Space explores the dystopian and destructive dimensions of the Space Age and challenges conventional narratives of a bipolar Cold War rivalry. Concentrating on weapons, warfare and violence, this provocative volume examines real and imagined endeavors of arming the skies and conquering the heavens. The third and final volume in the groundbreaking European Astroculture trilogy, Militarizing Outer Space zooms in on the interplay between security, technopolitics and knowledge from the 1920s through the 1980s. Often hailed as the site of heavenly utopias and otherworldly salvation, outer space transformed from a promised sanctuary to a present threat, where the battles of the future were to be waged. Astroculture proved instrumental in fathoming forms and functions of warfare’s futures past, both on earth and in space. The allure of dominating outer space, the book shows, was neither limited to the early twenty-first century nor to current American space force rhetorics.
No nation in recent history has placed greater emphasis on the role of technology in planning and waging war than the United States. In World War II the wholesale mobilization of American science and technology culminated in the detonation of the atomic bomb. Competition with the Soviet Union during the Cold War, combined with the U.S. Navy's culture of distributed command and the rapid growth of information technology, spawned the concept of network-centric warfare. And America's post-Cold War conflicts in Iraq, the former Yugoslavia, and Afghanistan have highlighted America's edge. From the atom bomb to the spy satellites of the Cold War, the strategic limitations of the Vietnam War, and the technological triumphs of the Gulf war, Thomas G. Mahnken follows the development and integration of new technologies into the military and emphasizes their influence on the organization, mission, and culture of the armed services. In some cases, advancements in technology have forced different branches of the military to develop competing or superior weaponry, but more often than not the armed services have molded technology to suit their own purposes, remaining resilient in the face of technological challenges. Mahnken concludes with an examination of the reemergence of the traditional American way of war, which uses massive force to engage the enemy. Tying together six decades of debate concerning U.S. military affairs, he discusses how the armed forces might exploit the unique opportunities of the information revolution in the future.
In March 2005, the NASA History Division and the Division of Space History at the National Air and Space Museum brought together a distinguished group of scholars to consider the state of the discipline of space history. This volume is a collection of essays based on those deliberations. The meeting took place at a time of extraordinary transformation for NASA, stemming from the new Vision of Space Exploration announced by President George W. Bush in January 204: to go to the Moon, Mars, and beyond. This Vision, in turn, stemmed from a deep reevaluation of NASA?s goals in the wake of the Space Shuttle Columbia accident and the recommendations of the Columbia Accident Investigation Board. The new goals were seen as initiating a "New Age of Exploration" and were placed in the context of the importance of exploration and discovery to the American experiences. (Amazon).
This volume reviews the debates surrounding the anti-ballistic missile (ABM) defense systems and their deployment by George W. Bush, allowing readers to assess for themselves the significance of Bush's decisions. * Photographs of major figures involved with the Bush missile systems and of the missile systems themselves * A glossary of major technical terms mentioned in the book * A bibliography covering the history of missile defense issues
Written by two preeminent authors in the field, this book provides an accessible global narrative of the nuclear arms race since 1945 that focuses on the roles of key scientists, military chiefs, and political leaders. • Makes the case that nuclear weaponry gradually assumed political stature and came to dominate high-level diplomatic activity • Describes inherent problems posed by various delivery systems of nuclear weaponry • Draws connections between military strategy and nuclear arms control efforts as well as anti-missile systems • Identifies and assesses post-Cold War issues in dealing with nuclear terrorism
This important text offers a clear, concise and affordable narrative and analytical history of American foreign policy since the Spanish-American War. The book narrates events and policies but goes further to emphasize the international setting and constraints within which American policy-makers had to operate, the domestic pressures on those policy-makers, and the ideologies, preferences, and personal idiosyncrasies of the leaders themselves.