Defense: A Mountain of Preparedness

In the darkened room, the high command of the battle staff sits wordlessly behind orange consoles. Faces reflect an eerie glow from flickering television screens and panels of lighted buttons.

A general calls out a command. At his side, a "display specialist" punches one button, then another; his fingers race across his varicolored panel filled with the flashing lights of disaster (see oppo site page). An outline map of the North American continent is traced in light across a large screen. Near the top, along the rim of the Arctic Ocean, clusters...