Technologies of Intelligence and Their Relation to National Security Policy: A Case Study of the U.S. and the V-2 Rocket
Tucker, John McKinney, Jr.
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While government intelligence"knowledge to support policy decision making"is often characterized as an art or science, this dissertation suggests it is more akin to what Science and Technology Studies call a "technological system" or a" sociotechnical ensemble". Such a policy support tool is a mechanism socially constructed for the production of policy-relevant knowledge through integration of social and material components. It involves organizational and procedural innovations as much as it does specialized hardware for obtaining, manipulating, and distributing information. The development and function of American intelligence is illustrated here through a case study of how the United States and its European allies learned about Germany's World War II secret weapons, especially the long-range liquid fueled rocket known to their military as the A4, but better known to the public as the V-2. The colonial British heritage and the unique American experiences of participating in wars taking place in domestic and foreign territories set the cultural stage for both the strengths and weaknesses with which American intelligence approached the rapidly evolving German secret weapon capabilities of World War II. The unfolding events that American and British intelligence dealt with in building their knowledge evolved through three stages: early speculation about the existence and nature of the secret weapon threat derived from frequently misleading or misunderstood espionage reports, followed by improvements in knowledge from direct access to information sources provided by enabling technologies, and, finally, systematic reflection on the aggregate of earlier knowledge and new data. This allowed government decision makers to build plans and resources with which to counter the new threats and to prepare for post-war management of similar political and technical issues. However, it also illustrated the difficulties that large and complex systems create for stabilization of institutional innovations.
- Doctoral Dissertations