The Army's Nuclear Power Program: The Evolution of a Support Agency

By Lawrence H. Suid | Go to book overview

PREFACE

I came to the writing of the history of the Army's nuclear power program with virtually a clean slate in terms of knowledge about the subject. Like most people, I thought of the military and nuclear power only in terms of "the Bomb." Moreover, my recently published book Guts & Glory focused on the relationship between the film industry and the U.S. armed services, rather than on the evolution of a new military technology. However, if Guts & Glory remains primarily cultural and social history, the book also became military, albeit rather esoteric, history.

As an historian, of course, I viewed the contract to write the history of the Army's nuclear power program as simply a new subject to study. In this sense, the researching and writing of the book posed no unusual obstacles to overcome. In fact, to the extent that the individual armed services' public affairs offices functioned as support agencies in providing assistance to filmmakers, I had gained an understanding of the military's support operations from researching and writing Guts & Glory.

The Facilities Engineering Support Agency (FESA), into which the Army's nuclear power program had evolved, had accumulated virtually all the relevant documents about the origins of the nuclear power program, its operation, and its decline. FESA, of course, also had a complete documentary record of its creation and current operation. As a result, I had all the materials needed to write the history of the evolution of a military support agency. I had one additional research tool, oral history. For Guts & Glory, I had conducted more than 400 interviews during the period when oral history interviewing was becoming a recognized research tool. Using oral interviewing on my new project, I was able to acquire much information and understanding of the evolution of the nuclear power program. On its part, FESA was able to provide the names of people still working in the

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The Army's Nuclear Power Program: The Evolution of a Support Agency
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Recent Titles In Contributions in Military Studies ii
  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface ix
  • Acknowledgments xiii
  • Chapter 1 The Beginnings 1
  • Notes 16
  • Chapter 2 Organization of the Nuclear Program 19
  • Notes 27
  • Chapter 3 Building the Prototype 29
  • Notes 38
  • Chapter 4 Fort Greely 41
  • Notes 55
  • Chapter 5 The Nuclear Power Program in Full Bloom 57
  • Notes 79
  • Chapter 6 The Nuclear Program in Decline 81
  • Notes 93
  • Chapter 7 Transition 95
  • Notes 113
  • Chapter 8 Facilities Engineering Support Agency (FESA) 117
  • Notes 126
  • Bibliographical Essay 127
  • Index 128
  • Index 129
  • About the Author 131
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