The Pentagon's Brain

An Uncensored History of DARPA, America's Top-Secret Military Research Agency


By Annie Jacobsen

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Discover the definitive history of DARPA, the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency, in this Pulitzer Prize finalist 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.


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The best way to predict the future is to create it.

—Erich Fromm




The Evil Thing

One day in the winter of 1954, a group of American scientists found themselves entering into a time when a machine they had created could trigger the end of the world. It was March 1, 1954, 4:29 a.m. local time on Bikini Atoll in the Marshall Islands, a small island chain in the vast Pacific Ocean, 2,650 miles west of Hawaii. Some of the scientists in the group had warned of this moment. Enrico Fermi and Isidor Rabi, both Manhattan Project scientists, called this machine an "evil thing," and they told President Truman it should never be created. But it was built anyway, and now it was about to explode.

The machine was a thermonuclear, or hydrogen, bomb, small enough to be loaded onto a U.S. Air Force bomber and dropped on an enemy city like Moscow. Because the bomb's existence had been kept secret from the American public, the test that the scientists were about to witness had been given a code name. It was called Castle Bravo.

On one end of Bikini Atoll, ten men, each with a top secret Q clearance for access to nuclear secrets, waited inside a concrete bunker, facing an unknown fate. In a little more than two hours, the most powerful bomb in the history of the world to date was going to be detonated just nineteen miles away. No human being had ever before been this close to the kind of power this bomb was expected to deliver. With a predicted yield of 6 megatons, Castle Bravo would deliver twice as much power as all the bombs dropped on Germany and Japan during World War II together, including both atomic bombs.

Thanks to recent advancements in defense science, by 1954 machines were being miniaturized at an astonishing rate. Nuclear weapons in particular were getting smaller and more efficient in ways that scientists could not have imagined a decade before. The Castle Bravo bomb would likely explode with one thousand times the force of the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima in August 1945, and yet it weighed just a little more than twice as much.

The light had not yet come up on Bikini. An intense tropical rainfall the night before had left the fronds on the coconut palms and pandanus trees soaking wet. Salt-loving sea lavender plants covered the lowlands, and little penny-sized geckos scampered across wet white sands. The bunker, code-named Station 70, was an odd sight to behold, squat, rectangular, with blast-proof doors and three-foot concrete walls. Everything but the bunker's entrance had now been buried under ten feet of sand. A freestanding concrete-block seawall stood between the bunker and the lagoon, engineered to help protect the men against a potentially massive tidal wave. A three-hundred-foot-tall radio tower built nearby made it possible for the men in the bunker to communicate directly with U.S. defense officials and scientists running this secret operation from aboard the Task Force Command ship USS Estes, sixty miles out at sea.

The men inside the bunker were members of the bomb's firing party, a team of six engineers, three Army technicians, and one nuclear scientist. Miles of waterproof submarine cable connected the racks of electronic equipment inside the bunker to the Castle Bravo bomb, which was located on a separate island, nineteen miles across Bikini's lagoon.

"In the bunker we felt secure," recalled Bernard O'Keefe, one of the nuclear weapons engineers who had advocated for this test. Like Fermi and Rabi, Barney O'Keefe had worked on the Manhattan Project. But unlike those two nuclear physicists, O'Keefe believed this hydrogen bomb was a good thing. That it would keep Americans safe. Defense science is, and likely always will be, a debate.

"At 4:30 a.m. we heard from the scientific director," O'Keefe later remembered. Dr. William Ogle, Los Alamos scientific director, used a ship-to-shore radio link to relay messages from the USS Estes. Zero Hour grew near.

"Start the countdown," Ogle said.

"The Time is H minus two hours," O'Keefe announced. Beside him, another member of the firing party pushed the red button marked "TWO HOURS." The machinery took hold.

Inside the bunker, time marched on, and as it did, the general tenor shifted from bearable to "agonizing," O'Keefe recalled. The interior of Station 70 was rough and ugly, with the damp baldness of new concrete. Pool hall–style reflector lights gave off a harsh fluorescent glare. There was a laboratory table covered with tools of the engineering trade: radio tubes, bits and pieces of wire, a soldering iron. On one wall hung a blackboard. On it someone had written a mathematical equation then erased part of it so it no longer made sense. A clock ticked toward Zero Hour. For a long stretch no one said a word, and a heavy and foreboding silence filled the room. Just sixteen minutes before detonation, someone finally spoke. One of the Army's radio technicians wondered aloud how tonight's steak dinner, stored in a meat locker at the back of the bunker, was going to taste after the bomb finally went off.

"H minus fifteen minutes," said O'Keefe, his voice sounding out across dozens of loudspeakers now broadcasting the information to more than ten thousand scientists, soldiers, sailors, airmen, and government officials spread out across fourteen seagoing vessels, forty-six aircraft, and two weather stations. There was no turning back now. Zero Hour was just fifteen minutes away.

Out at sea, aboard another vessel, the men on the USNS Ainsworth heard Barney O'Keefe's voice "loud and clear," recalls Ralph "Jim" Freedman, a twenty-four-year-old nuclear weapons engineer. Standing beside Freedman on deck was a group of scientists from Los Alamos. These were the physicists who had designed and built this bomb. They were here now to witness the results of their engineered creation—the machine that Enrico Fermi and Isidor Rabi had warned President Truman was an "evil thing." The sun had not yet risen. Outside, all around, it was dark.

"All observers having high-density goggles put them on," O'Keefe's voice boomed. Freedman was feeling anxious and uneasy. He had not slept well the night before. "I was in the same bunkroom as the Los Alamos scientists, some who were up all night, drinking Chivas Regal and discussing the bomb test," Freedman recalls. "They were discussing things they were not supposed to be discussing but did anyway, because who could sleep the night before the test?" Castle Bravo had been built according to the "Teller-Ulam" scheme—named for its co-designers, Edward Teller and Stanislaw Ulam—which meant, unlike with the far less powerful atomic bomb, this hydrogen bomb had been designed to hold itself together for an extra hundred-millionth of a second, thereby allowing its hydrogen isotopes to fuse and create a chain reaction of nuclear energy, called fusion, producing a potentially infinite amount of power, or yield. "What this meant," Freedman explains, was that there was "a one-in-one-million chance that, given how much hydrogen [is] in the earth's atmosphere, when Castle Bravo exploded, it could catch the earth's atmosphere on fire. Some scientists were extremely nervous. Some made bets about the end of the world."

This was not Freedman's first atmospheric nuclear bomb test. By 1954 he had worked on more than a dozen nuclear tests at the continental atomic test site located in Nevada, seventy miles north of Las Vegas. Freedman had witnessed atomic explosions before, through dark welder's glasses. He had seen mushroom clouds form. But Castle Bravo was different. It was going to be colossal. Titanic. A history-making bomb test. With his goggles in place over his eyes, Freedman turned to face the bomb. There was less than two minutes to go when a Los Alamos scientist standing beside him let out a frustrated cry.

"He'd left his goggles down below deck," Freedman explains. "And there wasn't enough time for him to go get them and make it back up."

Freedman took off his goggles and handed them to the man. "I was young," he says, "not so important to the test." Without eye protection, Jim Freedman had to turn his back to the bomb. So instead of watching Castle Bravo explode, Freedman watched the scientists watch the bomb.

The prerecorded voice of Barney O'Keefe came over the loudspeaker, counting down the last seconds. Everyone fell silent. "Five. Four. Three. Two. One." Zero Hour. A flash of thermonuclear light, called the Teller light, sprang to life as a flood of gamma radiation filled the air. The presence of x-rays made the unseen visible. In the flash of Teller light, Freedman—who was watching the scientists for their reactions—could see their facial bones.

"In front of me… they were skeletons," Freedman recalls. Their faces no longer appeared to be human faces. Just "jawbones and eye sockets. Rows of teeth. Skulls."

Out at sea and in the distance, the world's largest-ever nuclear fireball—nearly four-and-a-half miles in diameter and nine miles tall—lit up the sky. So intense was that fireball that Navy personnel manning a weather station 155 miles to the east watched, awestruck, as the dark sky remained alight for sixty agonizing seconds. Next, the mushroom cloud started to form. Freedman's eyes remained on the Los Alamos scientists, his own perspective now returned to normal in the absence of the Teller light. "I was watching their faces," he recalls, "to see their reaction. Most had their mouths open, with the eyeballs darting back and forth. I remember the eyes. The eyeballs kept moving. There was fear and terror, I think. The mushroom cloud just kept getting bigger." The scientists knew something was wrong.

One scientist held two fingers up in front of his eye, trade craft among nuclear weapons engineers to roughly measure the rate of expansion of a mushroom cloud. What was predicted to be a 6-megaton explosion had gone out of control. Castle Bravo was a 15-megaton explosion. No one had any idea the explosion could be this big.

"The mushroom cloud should have been fifteen [or] twenty miles wide at this point. Instead it was forty," Freedman explains. "As the cloud kept growing behind me, I could see in the faces that [some] of the scientists thought the atmosphere was catching on fire. The look said, 'This is the end of the world.'"

Time passed. Freedman stared at the horrified scientists. Then, finally, the rapid expansion of the mushroom cloud began to slow. To Freedman's eye, the scientists' expression of intense terror and despair suddenly lifted and was gone. "The look on their faces went from fear to satisfaction," Freedman recalls. "The world didn't end and they were triumphant. Self-satisfied with what they had accomplished. With what they had done."

Within sixty seconds, the top of the mushroom cloud reached fifty thousand feet, roughly twice as high as commercial airplanes flew back then. Its cap would eventually grow to an astounding seventy miles across. The cloud's colossal stem was sucking millions of tons of pulverized coral up from the ocean and into the atmosphere, where it would be dispersed into the jet stream as radioactive dust. The remains would leave a footprint of fallout on every corner of the earth.

An unexpected ninety-degree shift in wind direction meant that weather forecasters had been wrong about which way the wind would blow. Intense fallout was now heading in an easterly direction, where it would pass over several of the Task Force vessels and the inhabited atolls of Rongelap and Rongerik. And it was headed directly for Station 70, on Enyu Island.

Back inside the bunker, the firing party was silent. They could not feel or see the fireball. They'd missed the Teller light. All the ten men had to go by, to gauge what might be going on outside, was the violent electronic chatter on the equipment racks.

"The explosion had to have been a big one to cause that much electrical commotion," O'Keefe later recalled. O'Keefe had also calculated that it would take another forty-five seconds for the shock wave to travel the nineteen miles from ground zero across the lagoon and hit the bunker head-on. And so when, after only ten seconds, the bunker began to shudder and sway, O'Keefe knew instantly something unexpected had happened.

"The whole building was moving," O'Keefe recalled, "not shaking or shuddering as it would from the shock wave that had not arrived yet, but with a slow, perceptible, rolling motion, like a ship's roll."

O'Keefe felt nauseated. He wanted to throw up. "I was completely unable to get it through my head that the building was moving," he said, trying to push away the sickening feeling that the bunker might be sinking into the sea. "The walls are three feet thick," he told himself. "It's anchored like a rock on this island." But things were most definitely moving outside. Objects on the surfaces and walls began to rattle, slide, and crash to the floor. O'Keefe looked at the clock. He knew how long it was supposed to take for the shock wave to travel from ground zero to the bunker. "It was impossible for the shock wave to have reached Enyu Island yet," he recalled thinking. "But the bunker was moving. The motion was unmistakable as it built up."

Lights flickered. The walls appeared to bulge. Then there was a loud and frightening crash, like a thunderclap, as the giant steel door beat like a drumhead. A "slow, sickening whoosh" sounded through the bunker "as the air found its way out after the shock wave had passed." One of the men was thrown to the ground, and O'Keefe watched him stagger as he struggled to his knees. Sparks were flying. There was the sputter of electronic batteries. A vapor cloud began to fill the room. Then the worst possible element in this catastrophic mix appeared.

"Water!" someone yelled. "There's water coming in!"

O'Keefe's legs went rubbery. It was too early for a tidal wave, he told himself, and began to think that perhaps the whole ocean had erupted around them. That soon he and his colleagues would be jettisoned to the bottom of the lagoon, their concrete bunker a watery tomb. The scientist in charge, Dr. John Clark, dispatched one of the Army technicians to investigate. The technician walked to the single round porthole built into the blast-proof steel doors and looked outside. Station 70 was not underwater. It was still anchored to the land. The water in the bunker was coming from burst water pipes. O'Keefe volunteered to take a Geiger counter and venture outside. Several others followed along, Geiger counters in hand.

The situation outside looked far worse than anyone had anticipated. Palm trees were on fire. Dead birds littered the land. There was no visible life, and they sensed that there might not be life anywhere. The sun was blotted out behind the nuclear mushroom cloud. "The air was filled with a whitish chaff," O'Keefe recalled. "I stuck out my hand, which was soon covered with a substance like talcum powder." When O'Keefe turned on his Geiger counter to check for radiation, the needle spiked. Someone else shouted out a dangerous radiation level. If a human were exposed to this level of radiation for twenty-five minutes, he would be dead.

The men ran back into the bunker. But inside, behind three-foot concrete walls, there were also life-threatening radiation levels. The group retreated to a region far back in the bunker, behind a second concrete-block wall where the urinals were. Jack Clark called for an emergency evacuation but was told it was too dangerous to send a helicopter pilot to Enyu Island just yet. Station 70 had been designed with a ten thousand factor of radiation shielding. Whatever was going on inside the bunker, outside it was ten thousand times worse. The firing party would have to wait it out. Eventually the deadly radiation levels would subside, they were told.

Eighty miles to the east another calamity was unfolding. A Japanese fishing trawler, called the Lucky Dragon Number Five, had been caught unawares roughly fifteen miles outside the designated U.S. military restricted zone. After the Castle Bravo bomb exploded, many of the Japanese fishermen on the trawler ran out on deck to behold what appeared to be some kind of mystical apparition, the sun rising in the west. Awestruck, they stood staring at the nuclear fireball as it grew, until a chalky material started falling from the sky. This was pulverized coral, made highly radioactive by the thermonuclear blast. By the time the fishermen returned to Japan, all of them were suffering from radiation poisoning. Six months later, the Lucky Dragon's chief radio operator, Aikichi Kuboyama, died.

Castle Bravo was a weapon of unprecedented destruction. It was 250 percent more powerful than the force calculated by the scientists who had engineered it. In time Castle Bravo would become known as the worst radiological disaster in history. Radioactive contamination became so consequential and widespread that two days after the explosion, the Navy evacuated Rongelap, Rongerik, Ailinginae, and Utirik atolls, which lay between seventy-five and three hundred miles to the east of ground zero. Many of the islanders living there were powdered in radioactive dust.

In the days that followed, the world's 2.7 billion inhabitants remained ignorant of what had happened in the Marshall Islands. The Atomic Energy Commission ordered a news blackout on the aftereffects of the bomb, including that no mention be made of the extensive fallout or the evacuation of the four atolls. Castle Bravo was only the first explosion in a series of U.S. hydrogen bomb tests, a series that had been obliquely announced to the public as "weapons tests." All other information was classified. This was 1954, before the invention of communications satellites. It was still possible to move ten thousand men and a fleet of warships and airplanes unobserved to an obscure corner of the earth to conduct a secret hydrogen bomb test.

Americans back home remained in the dark. On March 10, a full nine days after the United States had exploded what would turn out to be a 15-megaton hydrogen bomb, causing deadly fallout to circle the earth, President Dwight Eisenhower took to a podium in the White House press room. In his weekly presidential news conference to the nation, he had this to say: "I have only one announcement. It is very inconsequential. Sometime during the coming week I shall probably go on the air to discuss the general contents of the tax program."

But in Japan the Lucky Dragon fishing trawler had returned to port, and news of the radiation-poisoned fishermen was making international headlines. The Atomic Energy Commission issued a terse statement saying that some individuals had been "unexpectedly" subjected to "some radiation [during a] routine atomic test in the Marshall Islands." On March 17, at the weekly news conference from the White House, reporter Merriman Smith asked the president to shed light on this mysterious, all-powerful weapon.

"Mr. President," said Smith. "The Joint Congressional Atomic Energy Commissioner said last night that we now have a hydrogen bomb and can deliver it anywhere in the world. I wonder if you could discuss that?"

"No, I wouldn't want to discuss that," the president said. And he did not.

It was the Cold War, and secrecy reigned.

Behind the scenes, what President Eisenhower was just now learning about the Castle Bravo bomb was horrifying beyond most people's comprehension. The president's scientific advisors showed him a top secret map of the fallout pattern made by the Castle Bravo bomb across the Marshall Islands. The scientists then superimposed that same fallout pattern onto a map of the east coast of the United States. If ground zero had been Washington, D.C., instead of Bikini Atoll, every resident of the greater Washington-Baltimore area would now be dead. Without a Station 70–style bunker for protection, the entire population living there would have been killed by 5,000 roentgens of radiation exposure in mere minutes. Even in Philadelphia, 150 miles away, the majority of inhabitants would have been exposed to radiation levels that would have killed them within the hour. In New York City, 225 miles north, half of the population would have died by nightfall. All the way to the Canadian border, inhabitants would have been exposed to 100 roentgens or more, their suffering similar to what the fisherman on the Lucky Dragon had endured.

But President Eisenhower had no intention of relaying this information to the public. Instead, he said there was nothing to discuss. The physical fallout map would remain classified for decades, but even the president could not control the escalating international outrage over the Castle Bravo bomb. Soon he would be forced to address the issue.

The secret decision to engineer the thermonuclear, or hydrogen, bomb began five years earlier when, on August 29, 1949, the Soviets exploded their first atomic bomb. Suddenly, the United States lost the nuclear monopoly it had maintained since World War II. The question of how to respond took on great urgency. Should America reply with powerful counterforce? Or was restraint the more suitable reply?

One month after the Soviet atomic bomb test, the General Advisory Committee (GAC) of the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission—an elite group of nuclear scientists—convened, in secret, to identify whether or not the United States should pursue a crash program to build the hydrogen bomb. The chairman of this committee was J. Robert Oppenheimer, the former scientific director of the Manhattan Project and a man known as the father of the atomic bomb. In "unanimous opposition," the scientists agreed that the United States should not move forward with the hydrogen bomb, and they stated so in no uncertain terms. The reasons were uncomplicated, they said. "It is clear that the use of this weapon would bring about the destruction of innumerable human lives," they wrote. "Its use would involve a decision to slaughter a vast number of civilians." Tens of thousands of people had been killed in the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki; a hydrogen bomb would kill millions in a single strike. The hydrogen bomb was a weapon with a built-in "policy of exterminating civilian populations," the GAC members warned.

Two committee members, the physicists Enrico Fermi and Isidor Rabi, felt compelled to add a letter, or "annex," for then President Truman to read. "It is clear that such a weapon cannot be justified on any ethical ground," they wrote. "The fact that no limits exist to the destructiveness of this weapon makes its very existence and the knowledge of its construction a danger to humanity as a whole. It is necessarily an evil thing considered in any light." While there was unanimity among the scientists on the General Advisory Committee—the official advisory committee on all matters related to nuclear weapons—the GAC members were not the only nuclear scientists with power and persuasion in Washington, D.C.

As in any serious scientific race, there was fierce competition going on behind the scenes. There existed another group of nuclear scientists who were deeply committed to engineering a hydrogen bomb. Leading this team were the Hungarian-born Edward Teller and his mentor, the American-born Ernest O. Lawrence, both former members of the Manhattan Project. Neither Teller nor Lawrence had been elected to the General Advisory Committee, nor did they take part in the unanimous decision to advise President Truman against building the hydrogen bomb.

Teller and Lawrence had extraordinary power and influence in Washington, at the Pentagon and the Atomic Energy Commission. Mindful that the GAC had plans to stymie their efforts for a hydrogen bomb, Edward Teller met personally with the chairman of the congressional committee on nuclear energy. "We must know more about principles of thermonuclear devices to make a decision about [the] military implications," said Teller, who felt that Oppenheimer was foolishly being guided by moral arguments in a fight against an atheistic communist enemy. Senator Brien McMahon, the powerful chairman of the Joint Committee on Atomic Energy, agreed. The view of the Oppenheimer group "just makes me sick," McMahon told Teller.

Ernest Lawrence met with David E. Lilienthal, the chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission. "If we don't get this super [i.e., the hydrogen bomb] first," Lawrence warned, "we are sunk, the U.S. would surrender without a struggle." Lawrence considered the atomic bomb "one of mankind's greatest blessings," and felt that the hydrogen bomb was "a technical means of taking profit out of war." He met with Lewis Strauss, chairman of the Atomic Energy Committee. Lawrence took umbrage at the idea of anyone's bringing moral principles into the mix. Their conversation inspired Strauss to appeal directly to the president. "A government of atheists is not likely to be dissuaded from producing the weapon on 'moral' grounds," Strauss wrote. The "super" must be built. "If we let the Russians get the super first, catastrophe becomes all but certain," Brien McMahon told the president and his national security advisors. "It's either we make it or we wait until the Russians drop one on us without warning," said National Security Committee member Admiral Sidney Souers.

In January 1950 President Truman authorized a crash program to build the hydrogen bomb. The Joint Committee on Atomic Energy decided that a second national nuclear weapons laboratory was needed now, in order to foster competition with Los Alamos. This idea—that rivalry fosters excellence and is imperative for supremacy—would become a hallmark of U.S. defense science in the decades ahead. Lawrence was put in charge of the new lab, with Teller acting as his special scientific advisor. The lab, a branch of the University of California Radiation Laboratory, was located in Livermore, California, about forty miles southeast of the university's Berkeley campus.

Livermore, which opened in the spring of 1952, began with 123 employees. Three of them, all graduate students at the Berkeley Radiation Laboratory, were Edward Teller protégés. Their names were Herb York, Harold Brown, and John Foster. Herb York, age thirty, was Livermore's first scientific director. Harold Brown, age twenty-four, was put in charge of its A Division, for hydrogen bomb work. John Foster, age twenty-nine, headed up the B Division, which worked on smaller and more efficient atomic weapons. In retrospect, it seems that York, Brown, and Foster were all remarkably inexperienced young men to be put in charge of developing the most powerful nuclear weapons in the world. Each scientist would play a major role in the history of DARPA and leave footprints on U.S. national security that are ineradicable and absolute.


  • Pulitzer Prize Finalist in History

    One of The Washington Post's Notable Nonfiction Books of 2015

    One of The Boston Globe's Best Books of 2015

    One of Amazon's Top 100 Books of 2015

    "A brilliantly researched account of a small but powerful secret government agency whose military research profoundly affects world affairs."—The Pulitzer Prize Committee
  • "Filled with the intrigue and high stakes of a spy novel, Jacobsen's history of DARPA is as much a fascinating testament to human ingenuity as it is a paean to endless industrial warfare and the bureaucracy of the military-industrial complex."—Kirkus Reviews
  • "A fascinating and unsettling portrait of the secretive U.S. government agency....Jacobsen walks a fine line in telling the story of the agency and its innovations without coming across as a cheerleader or a critic, or letting the narrative devolve into a salacious tell-all. Jacobsen's ability to objectively tell the story of DARPA, not to mention its murky past, is truly remarkable, making for a terrifically well-crafted treatise on the agency most Americans know next to nothing about."
    Publishers Weekly (starred review)
  • "Jacobsen offers a definitive history of the clandestine agency.... She explores the implications of DARPA work on technology that will not be widely known to the public for generations but will certainly impact national security and concepts of war."—Vanessa Bush, Booklist (starred review)
  • "Jacobsen's account will serve as the model for histories of military research and development and is likely to lead to more works and articles about DARPA.... Engrossing, conversation-starting read..."—Library Journal
  • "Annie Jacobsen's considerable talents as an investigative journalist prove indispensable in uncovering the remarkable history of one of America's most powerful and clandestine military research agencies. And she is a great storyteller, making the tantalizing tale of The Pentagon's Brain -- from the depths of the Cold War to present day -- come alive on every page."—Gerald Posner, author of God's Bankers
  • "A fascinating and sometimes uneasy exploration of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency...."—Dina Temple-Raston, The Washington Post
  • "In this fascinating and terrifying account, Annie Jacobsen regales us with the stories behind the agency's 'consequential and sometimes Orwellian' innovations, including autonomous weapons systems--killer robots that could decide, without human intervention, who lives and who dies."—Bryan Schatz, Mother Jones
  • "Annie Jacobsen has a gift for unearthing secret, long-buried information."—Mary Ann Gwinn, Seattle Times
  • "An exciting read that asks an important question: what is the risk of allowing lethal technologies to be developed in secret?"—Ann Finkbeiner, Nature
  • "The Pentagon's Brain puts Jacobsen in the company of important writers ... such as Shane Harris and Rajiv Chandrasekran."—Chris Bray, Bookforum

On Sale
Sep 15, 2015
Page Count
560 pages

Annie Jacobsen

About the Author

Annie Jacobsen was a contributing editor at the Los Angeles Times Magazine and is the author of the New York Times bestseller Area 51. A graduate of Princeton University, she lives in Los Angeles with her husband and two sons.

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