Summary: The story behind America's missile defense system.
My Thoughts: It's kind of scary, actually.
We live in a time when missiles can fly across oceans, up into space, and crash into major cities carrying nuclear warheads. It wasn't that long ago when to take out an enemy you had to be facing him; now it can all be done electronically, digitally, facelessly, anonymously.
It also wasn't that long ago when we thought Russia was the main threat. Then we added China. Now we have to consider Iran and even North Korea.
That's where it gets scary.
The stories in this book are twofold. First, there is the long road to where the United States is today with strategic missile defense (or, if not today, up until recently, as I'm sure there is classified info the author could not get his hands on). While the concept of intercontinental ballistic missiles has been around for half a century, it's really been the last two decades where we have seen a real ramp up in the country's focus on defense. People laughed at Ronald Reagan's "Star Wars" system, though it played a major role in ending the Cold War. But here we are today with a defense system that does what was once considered to be science fantasy.
Meanwhile, in North Korea, weapons systems have gone from duds to true threats. The author parallels the U.S.'s series of failed intercept tests with the ever-growing capabilities of North Korean assets, from simply getting a rocket off the ground to the launching of multi-stage rockets capable of carrying nuclear warheads long distances.
There is a real human element to all of this work. Thanks to Wasserbly, we know the stories and personalities on the American side. We also know how both sides of the American political landscape have viewed the threat over time, how missile defense has been prioritized, de-prioritized, funded and de-funded. And, by reading this book, we know how close we may someday come to the true threat of mutual assured destruction.
How will it all end? Hopefully it won't. The watch continues, and may it go on forever.