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Reflections of a Technocrat: Managing Defense, Air, and Space Programs during the Cold War

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In the final decade of the 20th century, this nation focused attention on the noble and courageous men and women who, 50 years earlier, had participated in World War II. Thanks to a best-selling book by newscaster Tom Brokaw, the Americans who came of age in the 1930s and early 1940s became known as the greatest generation. Many of those who fought or supported the war effort humbly disavowed such a superlative. No one, however, can deny the achievements of those citizens who grew up in the hard times of the Great Depression. These young people helped win the largest conflict in world history and went on to make further contributions to this country during the long Cold War that followed. Despite all of its death and destruction, World War II accelerated the growth of scientific knowledge and the march of technology. As one consequence of this, the military services -- in partnership with the nations universities -- trained many young Americans, especially those with a background in science and engineering, to operate and maintain the new technologies so important to the war effort. Others contributed as civilian scientists and engineers. After the war, many veterans who had been exposed to these new technologies took advantage of the G.I. Bill to seek advanced degrees in science, engineering, mathematics, and related disciplines. When the Cold War set off a prolonged arms race and space competition with the Soviet Union, this well-educated cadre of the greatest generation was ready to provide the technical and managerial expertise needed to meet the Soviet challenge. Combining patriotism with a desire to be on the cutting edge of technology, these technocrats played key roles in the defense industry, university and federal research centers, the military services, and other government agencies. Dr. John L. McLucas was one of the finest examples in this group of influential public servants. This monograph is an autobiography of Dr. John L. McLucas,

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  • Government and Political Science
  • Humanities and History
  • Military Forces and Organizations

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