ITEM: Project Rand, Next Generation Weapon After the IBM. RAND Copr, 1957. 11x8 inches, 12pp. Mimeo or offset. RARE. $150
The RAND Corporation (Research And Development) is a think tank originally formed in 1946 by the US Army Air Force as part of a contract to the Douglas Aircraft Company. After 1948 RAND Corp was funded by a number of different sources, private and governmental, and left the sphere of being a direct arm of the U.S. military. (Maybe.) It still did enormous amounts of work on behalf of the military, and seems to have been their chief theoreticians during this period. It was also the time that the policy of Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD) was formulated at , partially under the direction of we’ll-see-him-again-down-the-road Robert McNamara. And of course much else.
This publication is an internal RAND document, not meant for the eyes of the outside world, at least in 1957. I own a number of these reports, and I must say that this one is odd—it is rather flippant, sometimes oddly and darkly (dare I say it?) funny. It is also short (four pages) and gets to the very meaty part of the issue immediately. The author(s) assume that the US and the USSR will have achieved a point of stasis such that it would make absolutely no sense for either actor to actually employ their arsenal (and excluding “the possibility of the button pusher ‘flipping his lid’ “. The paper attempts then (“let’s jump right in and assume we find ourselves in this stalemated period”) to envision the next kind of war in which the ICBM would not be an active factor. “We therefore postulate here that the kind of war we will be engaged in…in the period of nuclear stalemate of the non-violent war, the opening phase of which has been called the cold war.”
The tools of war in this non-violent war, the report speculates, included: (1) the State Department as a Weapon, issuing “an aggressive, imaginative foreign policy”. (2) Economic Weapons, which interestingly included “inflate USSR economy by surreptitiously flooding the country with undetectable counterfeit currency”. (I remember that the late Sen. John Moynihan suggested in the first Iraq war, televise don the floor of the U.S. Senate in the final debate on engagement, that we do this exact thing in Iraq…especially since the Iraqi dinar was being printed in London.) The third section was “Psychological Weapons”, and was very tongue-in-cheek short (?), suggesting “ideas a la Hitchcock, e.g., turn Stalin [dead in 1953] over in his grave some dark night, etc.” I’m not sure what to make of that, especially as the paper finishes on this line: “This list is open for additions and suggestion.” Indeed. Out of all of the internal reports that I've read from RAND this is the only one that approached its topic with such dark familiarity and removed humor.