DEFENSE: ARMING FOR THE 21ST CENTURY

In the heart of the Pentagon, a heavy oaken door leads to the supersecret National Military Command Center. No one gets through the door without presenting a color-coded Joint Chiefs of Staff identification badge, which armed guards scrutinize under ultraviolet light. In one section of the two-story center, shifts of officers and men from all four of the armed services maintain a round-the-clock vigil. A red telephone links them directly to the White House; a beige phone can instantly reach any U.S. military commander anywhere...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!