Imaginary Weapons: A Journey Through the Pentagon's Scientific Underworld by Sharon Weinberger Nation Books, 2006

from review:

The Pentagon's Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency:

A history of the quest for a hafnium isomer weapon

Imaginary Weapons is an intriguing look at the Byzantine world of military-driven science, pseudo-science, and pathological science. Since World War Two, the union of science and war has yielded countless discoveries and innovations, but has also squandered billions of our dollars along the way – a theft according to one old general. Weinberger has neatly apprised us of what almost assuredly was one such blunder. Her object is not to give an overall assessment of DARPA, identify frauds and villains, or echo Ike’s earnest warning. She does, however, point out to us that nonscientific demands and epistemological miasmas in the high councils of DARPA unduly influence the awarding of research grants and ably contribute to the momentum that sustains them. There’s little reason to think things will change.

Full review: