The U.S. Navy Is Turning Its Stealth Destroyers Into Ship-Killers
The U.S. Navy is transforming its Zumwalt-class land-attack destroyers into surface-warfare ships whose main mission will be sinking other vessels at sea. In swapping the job of the three-ship class, the Navy is admitting that its original concept for the 600-foot, stealthy warships is no longer viable. “We see... Read more
Say Goodbye to Russia’s Nuclear-Armed Doomsday Train
In 2013, the Russian military announced it would bring back rail-mobile intercontinental ballistic missiles. In other words, trains with big nukes crammed inside, capable of darting around Russia, raising their launchers and firing at a moment’s notice. It was called Barguzin and would begin testing in 2019. That was... Read more
A Spanish Chicken Farmer, a Peruvian Gambler and Serbian Playboy Fooled Adolf Hitler
No one really expects spies to live glamorous James Bond-lifestyles full of tailored suits, tight dresses, sex and gambling. So, one of the pleasures of reading Ben Macintyre’s Double Cross: The True Story of the D-Day Spies is learning about a half-dozen outrageous secret agents who really did lead... Read more
Seventy-Eight Years of Jet Fighters
On Aug. 27, 1939, a stubby-winged airplane made of unpainted steel alloy took off over Germany and soared into history. Instead of a pointy propeller hub in the nose, the Heinkel 178 had an open-mouthed turbojet intake, making it the first operational jet-powered aircraft. The He 178 could only... Read more
How South Africa Voluntarily Gave Up Its Nuclear Weapons
The Republic of South Africa is the only country in the world to build a nuclear weapons program, then unbuild that program after domestic and international conditions changed. Why did South Africa decide to build nukes, how did it build them and why did it decide to give them... Read more
The Art of Keeping Guantánamo Open
We spent the day at a beach in Brooklyn. Skyscrapers floated in the distance and my toddler kept handing me cigarette filters she had dug out of the sand. When we got home, I checked my email. I had been sent a picture of a very different beach. Deserted,... Read more
‘Smoke ‘Em’
Two the largest naval battles of the post-World War II era occurred in the 1980s. The United Kingdom fought Argentina over the Falkland Islands from April 2 to June 14, 1982, resulting in the British regaining control of its territory. In the second battle, Operation Praying Mantis, the United... Read more
The U.S. Army Still Loves Its Long-Range Rockets
The U.S. Army plans to shoot off prototypes of a new long-range land rocket designed to destroy targets as far away as 500 kilometers, nearly three times the range of existing weapons. The anticipated “shoot-off,” to include weapon prototypes from both Raytheon and Lockheed, is slated to take place... Read more
Pentagon to Congress — Please Don’t Make Us Deploy Missiles on the East Coast
On Nov. 28, North Korea tested a Hwasong-15 missile with sufficient range to hit targets on the East Coast of the United States, including Washington, D.C. This follows an earlier test in July which demonstrated Pyongyang’s ability to strike targets on the West Coast of North America. The U.S.... Read more
In 1967, the Israelis Eavesdropped on Arab Armies’ Phone Calls
On June 5, 1967 during the war between Israel and its Arab neighbors, Egyptian air force bomber pilot Hosni Mubarak — the future president of Egypt — called Cairo to report that his formation of Tu-16 bombers had landed at Aswan airfield. Forty-five minutes later, an Israeli air strike... Read more