When I was a Commander, I was too busy trying not to get fired to develop a reading list. Besides, I was more interested in what junior officers and senior enlisted were viewing than promoting my own favorites. Some would say my reading list consisted of Twitter feeds (mostly about sports), Officer Performance Reports (cause’ I had to), and Fast Food Menus (self-explanatory). However when I switched over to the academic realm, it was essential to give students thought provoking and interesting material, whether it be optional or required. Thus, I started reading and listening to audio books (yes, I cheated).

3 Must-Read Books on National Security

This summer I have found three books, relating to national security but yet different in their own respects, that I would highly recommend, some of which you may have read or are familiar with. Here they are:

Disinformation: Soviet Political Warfare 1917 – 1991 by Natalie Grant

The fact this book only has 11 ratings (all good) on Amazon is a joke. If you want an understanding of Russia’s manipulation of minds strategy that they have often successfully implemented in the age of Social Media, look no further than this book. All of the operations and tactics involving meddling, inciting panic and swaying opinion, have their genesis in many years of work long before the internet was a thing. From images to fake memos to planted agents, all is told in this very undervalued book. What is remarkable is that the author died in 2002, yet it was like she wrote it yesterday.

This is How They Tell Me The World Ends by Nicole Perloth

I have heard about this book for two years, in fact so much so I felt like I had read it. However, once you dive into it you cannot stop. I have said that cybersecurity fades in and out of the news because 90% of the attacks are financially motivated and there is rarely any catastrophic loss of live or permanent infrastructure damage. This book should change everyone’s opinion about the subject. From detailed information about hacks on nuclear power plants, hydroelectric dams and armies of hackers working for governments searching for zero day exploits, the threat of mutual destruction is not only real it has been one step from becoming a cyber “Cuban Missile Criis”. Anyone with a security clearance should read this book.

The Company Business: The CIA Area 51 Chronicles by TD Barnes

If you are looking for a book about little green aliens and secret lobotomies this isn’t it. What it is simply unmasks much of the mystique of the Nevada base by discussing how Area 51 was a Cold War era reverse engineering lab for the Soviet air fleet. It has many cool pictures of MIGs that I had never seen,stories about the aircraft’s performance as told by pilots and even mentions the early trials and tribulations of developing the A-12, a US project that has faded with history. The author Barnes worked for the CIA at Area 51 for a number of years and his credibility seems, in my opinion, completely solid.

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Joe Jabara, JD, is the Director, of the Hub, For Cyber Education and Awareness, Wichita State University. He also serves as an adjunct faculty at two other universities teaching Intelligence and Cyber Law. Prior to his current job, he served 30 years in the Air Force, Air Force Reserve, and Kansas Air National Guard. His last ten years were spent in command/leadership positions, the bulk of which were at the 184th Intelligence Wing as Vice Commander.