Technology and the American Way of War Since 1945

27 Nov

Technology and the American Way of War Since 1945

Technology and the American Way of War Since 1945

Thomas G. Mahnken

Language: English

Pages: 258


Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

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 atomi


















of the high explosive charge used to create a critical nuclear mass as well as mechanics, structure, and composition of the fissile material itself. In 1951, the United States tested its first boosted atomic weapon, which used a small amount of fusion fuel within a hollow implosion core to produce a weapon with a yield approaching one megaton.46 By 1952, the United States was mass-producing atomic weapons. A coalition of civilian and military advocates, including Edward Teller and E. O. Lawrence

drastically the payload that an ICBM would need to carry. The massive yield of the hydrogen bomb also reduced the requirement for an ICBM to deliver its payload with extreme accuracy. The latter development led the Air Research and Development Command to recommend the full-scale development of an ICBM. Finally, intervention by Secretary of the Air Force Trevor Gardner and pressure by the Eisenhower administration helped convert the Air Force to support unmanned missiles. As Edmund Beard concluded

its culture. It is therefore not surprising that more than two decades after the passage of the Goldwater-Nichols Act, which sought to promote jointness, an officer’s service affiliation remains the most important determinant of his or her views, more than rank, age, or combat experience.20 In many cases, service identity is more important to officers than branch identity. All aviators, for example, are not alike: Air Force pilots have cultural attitudes that differ significantly from those of

the tried-and-true over the novel. The twentieth century witnessed the U.S. Navy’s evolution from a monarchical to a feudal organization. At the dawn of the century, navies were synonymous with surface fleets. During the century, however, the development of naval aviation and submarine forces changed the structure of the Navy fundamentally. Whereas the Army has tended to assimilate new ways of war into existing branches, the Navy responded to the advent of aircraft and submarines by adding new

mooring facilities for Army troops and Navy boats. The base included the USS Benewah (APB-35) and USS Colleton (APB-36), two World War II–era landing ship transports (LSTs) that had undergone extensive conversion, including the addition of jungle green paint, a helicopter platform, air conditioning, and a command center with advanced communications. The USS Askari (ARL-30) was activated to provide repair and maintenance capability. A barracks ship, APL-26, provided berthing for 650 sailors and

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