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From the very earliest days of this country, the model for our officers, which was built on the model of the citizenry and reflective of democratic ideals, was to be different. They were to be possessed of a democratic spirit marked by independent judgment, the freedom to measure action and to express disagreement, and the crucial responsibility never to tolerate tyranny.

Impeccable grades and test scores alone are no longer enough to set students apart from the crowd.

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Finally, in addition to missiles that could operate in a nuclear environment, the Soviet Union wanted to develop a command and control system and an early-warning system that would allow it to execute a retaliatory strike while under attack or after withstanding an attack. Soviet development of an automated command and control system dates to the late 1960s, but most of the work was done in the 1970s. This system included a number of important components—the Signal-M system, which provided a high degree of automation in commanding the ICBM force; systems that provided proper authorization from the leadership; and communication systems designed to provide the required redundancy in the event of a nuclear attack.


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Russian Strategic Nuclear Forces

Evaluation of the motives behind the Soviet modernization program of the 1970s has always been a difficult task. Testimonies of senior Soviet military officers involved in military planning in the 1970s and 1980s, collected after the end of the Cold War, strongly supported the view that the Soviet Union did not seek a first-strike or war-fighting capability for its strategic forces. To be convincing, however, such testimonies require corroboration, including documentary evidence on the direction of the Soviet Union’s missile development efforts, as well as on technical details of its missile programs, in particular details about the accuracy of its missiles, warhead yields, and the hardness of its silos. Although there have been publications that describe some of these aspects, most of their relevant data were taken largely from U.S. sources.

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This situation has recently changed, as archival documents of the Soviet period have become available for the first time. These documents, combined with information from other sources, such as official historical accounts published by various design bureaus within the Soviet defense complex and by the military, allow a reconstruction of key developments in the Soviet strategic modernization programs of the 1970s and 1980s. This essay introduces this new evidence and discusses some of its implications for the analysis of Soviet capabilities and intentions at the time.

Best-of lists from bad romances to Shakespearean verse

My title must seem like a contradiction. What can solitude have to do with leadership? Solitude means being alone, and leadership necessitates the presence of others—the people you’re leading. When we think about leadership in American history we are likely to think of Washington, at the head of an army, or Lincoln, at the head of a nation, or King, at the head of a movement—people with multitudes behind them, looking to them for direction. And when we think of solitude, we are apt to think of Thoreau, a man alone in the woods, keeping a journal and communing with nature in silence.