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Rise of the Mavericks traces the beginnings and subsequent development of the U.S. Air Force Security Service. Established in 1948 as part of the emerging U.S. national security apparatus, this communications intelligence organization was meant to place the fledgling U.S. Air Force on a competitive footing with its Army and Navy counterparts. As World War II ended and the Cold War began, Air Force leaders understood that an effective cryptologic capability would be crucial for maintaining and enhancing the Air Force as a strategic and decisive component of America's national defense. Successfully deploying air-atomic strategy in the event of a future war would require reliable information on the capabilities, intentions--and potential targets--of an opposing force, in particular the Soviet Union. Communications intelligence would be a critical source of this information, and Air Force leaders were adamant that their service not remain dependent on other service structures for this capability. The Air Force Security Service rose to the occasion, quickly establishing itself as one of the preeminent communications intelligence agencies in the United States. Rise of the Mavericks fills the gap in the military and intelligence history literature and further complicates the literature surrounding the history of the NSA, which too often ignores or hastily addresses the contributions and role of the service COMINT agencies during the early Cold War period. The book explains how Air Force Security Service personnel were viewed as mavericks by other U.S. military and government organizations. The airmen lived up to this characterization by creating and developing an independent communications intelligence capability while persistently resisting the controlling efforts of the Armed Forces Security Agency and the National Security Agency.
About the Author
Philip C. Shackelford is library director at South Arkansas Community College in El Dorado, Arkansas. He has served as President of the Arkansas Library Association and was named an Emerging Leader by the American Library Association in 2019. Shackelford's academic focus is on communications intelligence in the U.S. Air Force. He is also interested in national security, strategy, intelligence, and organizational culture.