The United States Air Force Security Service (USAFSS) was created in October 1948, just 13 months after the recognition of the Air Force as a separate branch with the enactment of the National Security Act of 1947. Cloaked in secrecy, it arose out of a need for air-minded intelligence that just wasn’t being provided by the Army or the Navy. Our good friend and fellow podcaster Philip Shackelford is in the studio to discuss his new book Rise of the Mavericks: The U.S. Air Force Security Service and the Cold War, which takes a foundational look at the creation and development of the Security Service that is the forerunner of modern-day intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance, as well as communications and cyber intelligence and security. Phil joins podcast host Ron Granieri to examine his personal connection to the USAFSS, the roadblocks he encountered researching the topic, and his transition into the podcasting world as the creator and host of The Modern Scholar Podcast.
I mentioned it to a professor I was working with…and he and I started poking around doing a little bit of research, and I never will forget, we were in his lab one day, and he looks up and just very bluntly he says “Your grandfather was a spy!”
Philip Shackelford is a military historian and the author of Rise of the Mavericks: The U.S. Air Force Security Service and the Cold War (Naval Institute, 2023). He is also the creator and host of The Modern Scholar Podcast, and is currently serving as Executive Director of the Lee-Itawamba Library System, following roles as library director at South Arkansas College and as president of the Arkansas Library Association.
Ron Granieri is Professor of History at the U.S. Army War College and the Editor of A BETTER PEACE.
The views expressed in this presentation are those of the speakers and do not necessarily reflect those of the U.S. Army War College, U.S. Army, or Department of Defense.
Photo Description: A U-2 Dragon Lady pilot poses for a portrait inside a pressure suit at Beale Air Force Base, California, October 31, 2019. Pilots who are flying into the rim of the atmosphere require a specialized and custom suit to their measurements keeping them at a normal altitude while going to extreme elevations.
Photo Credit: U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Alexandre Montes