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Intelligence Innovation: Sputnik, the Soviet Threat, and Innovation in the US Intelligence Community

  • Jon Schmid
Chapter
Part of the Advanced Sciences and Technologies for Security Applications book series (ASTSA)

Abstract

It is well-documented that the 1957 launch of Sputnik I initiated a flurry of US government activity aimed at reducing a perceived shortfall in US scientific, technological, and military capacity vis-à-vis the Soviet Union. Less well known, however, is that Sputnik’s launch immediately preceded a period of rapid organizational and technological innovation within the US intelligence community. This article investigates the contribution of the Sputnik scare to this innovation. In particular, this article applies Barry Posen’s model of innovation to the historical case of post-Sputnik innovation in the US intelligence community. I find the historiographic and documentary record to indicate that Posen’s theory of innovation has substantial explanatory power in the empirical context examined here. In particular, the US intelligence services’ improved capacity to collect and analyze information regarding Soviet rocket and missile programs appears to have been initiated by a process of external auditing motivated by an increase in the perceived level of threat posed by the USSR.

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jon Schmid
    • 1
  1. 1.Georgia Institute of TechnologyAtlantaUSA

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