We are situated in an scenario like the Terran cold war in the 1980 era. I am the omnipotent dictator ahem.. president of the "good" side.

Recently my research team completed some breakthrough in a revolutionary new sensor technology that relies on an, until now, totally unknown physical force. That technology would allow my military to have a serious advantage in a potential military conflict by being able to detect everything(!) in a very large radius around them. I am sure that nobody else knows about the physical basis at this time.

Since my enemies also have able mad scientists they could reproduce it should they know on what principles these things worked.

Now I am faced with a problem: In order to use that technology I will need to introduce it to my forces (ships/submarines/jets). That means a significant part of my forces needs to know how to produce, operate and maintain this sensor technology. However I do not want the other side to know that this physical force exists, not to mention on how my system works. Since hostile agents and leaks occur I am concerned about letting anybody know about this.

How can I give my forces the advantages of this new technology without leaking information about it?

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    $\begingroup$ Since your sensors are "able to detect everything(!) in a very large radius around them", you don't need to "introduce it to my forces (ships/submarines/jets)". Depending on how large exactly the "very large radius" is, you only need a couple of strategically placed sensors (e.g. on satellites) to cover the entire earth. $\endgroup$ – Jörg W Mittag May 8 '17 at 11:47
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    $\begingroup$ This scenario played out during the early stages of the Second World War with radar. The British were initially ahead of the Germans, but as the War progressed there was an arms race with successively more advanced radar technologies. $\endgroup$ – a4android May 8 '17 at 12:31
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    $\begingroup$ Some of the best Worldbuilding questions are those where the answer is "not only can you accomplish your goals, but it is indeed standard wartime to do exactly what you are trying to do and it is done by every nation that prosecutes war." $\endgroup$ – Cort Ammon May 8 '17 at 13:52
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    $\begingroup$ If you discover a whole new physical force (and be able to build field equipment with it, not only seeing some statistical anomalies in large scientific experiments), it would probably alter warfare (and everything) forever. New engines, power plants and weapons of mass destruction, and all sort of strange devices are ahead. $\endgroup$ – b.Lorenz May 8 '17 at 16:59
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    $\begingroup$ How you use a military technology while keeping it secret is to use it to kill anything that comes near it. $\endgroup$ – Kaz May 8 '17 at 18:27

19 Answers 19


Tell everyone that eating more carrots allows them to see in the dark

No really. That's how radar was kept secret during WWII.

The idea that it might is due to a myth begun by the Air Ministry in World War II. To prevent the Germans finding out that Britain was using radar to intercept bombers on night raids, they issued press releases stating that British pilots were eating lots of carrots to give them exceptional night vision. This fooled the British public, as well as German High Command and an old [wives'] tale was born.

Secrecy by misinformation. You need to generate some sort of plausible explanation for how you're doing what it is that you're doing. As long as it sounds reasonable you can get your enemies buying up all the carrots they can get their hands on.

In terms of general maintenance and release to users. If you consider the people who put your phone together in the factory, they don't really know how it works, they have a set of parts they put together in a certain order. The people who test them don't really know how they work either, they know the inputs and what outputs they're supposed to get in the test environment. Only a very small number of people need to know the real details of what's going on, the rest are looking for loose contacts, broken circuits and burned out components.

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    $\begingroup$ On a similar vein, once Enigma was cracked a fictional spy called "Ultra" was invented to explain where the information was coming from. $\endgroup$ – Matt Bowyer May 8 '17 at 11:42
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    $\begingroup$ @MattBowyer Ultra was the name given to the decrypted Enigma messages. The trick with decoding Enigma was in not making too obvious it was being done. Also, Enigma had to be continuously decoded. The Germans kept changing the Enigma codes, because that's how it works. John Cairncross spied for the Soviet Union and passed on Enigma decrypts to them. He might your bogus spy "Ultra". $\endgroup$ – a4android May 8 '17 at 12:38
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    $\begingroup$ What Matt said, plus intentionally letting some ships run into U-Boat traps in order to not let the Germans know that you know all their secrets. Not using a new technology to its full extent, but only in the important missions, is a tried trick to extend its secrecy. $\endgroup$ – Tom May 8 '17 at 15:45
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    $\begingroup$ The other side effect of British radar was because of the radar systems, Britain was able to scramble planes from disparate areas to a single place so much more quickly that this lead to the illusion that Britain had way more planes than it actually did. At the point when the Nazi's gave up on winning the battle for the skies of Britain, the Britain Airforce was only a few weeks or months from complete collapse from a shortage of pilots and planes. But the Nazi's gave up on winning the air battle because it seemed like the British had an inexhaustible Airforce. $\endgroup$ – Shufflepants May 8 '17 at 16:04
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    $\begingroup$ When I was a kindergartener, my parents convinced me that I'd get X-Ray vision if I ate enough carrots. Now you're telling me not only that my parents tricked me, but the entire carrot vision benefits are completely made up? My whole life is a lie. $\endgroup$ – Mage Xy May 8 '17 at 18:57

Well, first of all, the people using the new sensors don't actually need to know how they work. All you need to tell them is, "We've fitted some fancy new sensors to your ship/sub/whatever, you'll be able to see everything on an X-mile radius on this screen here, if something goes wrong then come to us and we'll fix it."

For the people producing and maintaining the sensors, I'd recommend splitting them up so that each team only works on a specific part and they have no idea how they all connect together. That way, even if the enemy captures someone in the manufacturing division, they won't be able to learn from him how to build your sensors.

Finally, I'd recommend building a self-destruct system into each sensor unit. It doesn't need to be a spectacular explosion, it just needs to cause enough damage to the sensors that the enemy won't be able to figure out how they work (or even what they are) should they get their hands on one of your ships/subs/whatever.

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    $\begingroup$ This was my thought. You can just tell your forces, "It's improved radar" without them knowing what it really is and how it's detecting with greater range/accuracy. $\endgroup$ – sirjonsnow May 8 '17 at 12:20
  • $\begingroup$ That's poor tradecraft though. You tell the operators its X-mile, they tell their buddy, buddy gets captured or drunk, and soon enough the enemy knows its a sensor with x-mile range. $\endgroup$ – J Kimball May 9 '17 at 11:19
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    $\begingroup$ I think the operators would work out quite quickly what the radius of the radar was regardless of whether they are told. I'm not convinced that it would give the enemy that big of an advantage knowing the radius anyway - especially if it does have "a very large radius", apart from knowing that sneak attacks are not viable... $\endgroup$ – Shadow May 10 '17 at 2:19
  • $\begingroup$ Doing this to a limited extent is viable, but there have to be people who understand how everything works. If a tech is sent to troubleshoot or install a system, he has to know how it works. This is particularly true for experimental or cutting edge technology, which oftentimes barely works. $\endgroup$ – BobTheAverage May 10 '17 at 22:48
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    $\begingroup$ The compartmentalized development process is even practiced by Apple for their consumer devices! Software people get a screen encased in a large box on which to test - they don't get to see the hardware until very close to release. $\endgroup$ – Phil Miller May 14 '17 at 22:12

Disguise it as existing technology

During WWII — this infinite resource of answers to questions such as this — Germany developed navigation systems that allowed for "blind bombing" (bombing without seeing the ground or the target) that in theory allowed a bomber to drop its ordnance within 10 meters of an intended release-point. This was WWII... long before GPS was even conceived.

This is called The Battle of the Beams.

The Allies got wind of these devices — the Knickebein and the X-Apparatus — through means such as the Oslo Report and plain old spying, and they desperately wanted to get their hands the devices to find out how to develop countermeasures against them. Finally the Allies got the opportunity: a downed German bomber was made available for examination. They had a fairly good idea that such a device was on-board.

...and they could not find it. No matter where they looked, it just could not be found. Maybe it was not there after all?

But they had the crew. And they made the smart move to put the crew in the same quarters and placed hidden listening devices the room. Eventually one of the crew slipped and said...

"They will never find it..."

The investigators went back to the plane and looked at all things again. And eventually they found that the on-board Lorentz landing-aid — which was well known to the Allies — had an actual range of about 450 kilometers instead of the usual 40.

When people find something they do not expect, they get curious. But when they find things that they expected to find there, it takes something special for them to look closer.

Hence: disguise your super-technology as mundane, already existing technology.


You might be interested in the history of the Proximity Fuze, which is a fascinating read.

It was invented during WW2. It is a tiny Doppler radar mounted on top of an anti-aircraft shell, which detonates said shell when it comes in close enough proximity of an enemy aircraft. This multiplies the effectiveness of AA shells compared to previous tech, which was either a timer/altimeter based on estimation of target altitude, or simply aim at the enemy plane and hope to score a direct hit.

This had to be kept secret from the enemy, while shooting them with it!

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    $\begingroup$ "This had to be kept secret from the enemy, while shooting them with it!" In fairness, you're blowing up the evidence most of the time, and you're not often using AA guns over enemy territory (until you can miniaturize the shells for use in aircraft cannons). $\endgroup$ – ceejayoz May 8 '17 at 13:13
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    $\begingroup$ A more relevant bit of history might be the Enigma machines -- they were meant to be destroyed before they could be captured and had to be kept safe with their operators. The allies had a hard time capturing one. $\endgroup$ – Chris H May 8 '17 at 13:22
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    $\begingroup$ @ceejayoz: Blowing up 99% means that 1% doesn't explode. And while it's a risk to study an unexploded shell, it's war-time. That risk will be taken. Just imagine the benefits: you might be able to explode the shell while it is still in the gun, by hitting it with the right kind of radar signal! (What are the chances the first version is already jam-resistant?) $\endgroup$ – MSalters May 8 '17 at 14:12
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    $\begingroup$ @MSalters Yeah, but that's where my second point comes in - dud AA rounds fired over London aren't going to land in France (barring effective spies). $\endgroup$ – ceejayoz May 8 '17 at 14:23
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    $\begingroup$ The wikipedia page mentions the AA shell was a bit too sensitive and also blew up seagulls ;) $\endgroup$ – bobflux May 8 '17 at 15:44

You need a cover story within a cover story. On top of all the deception you direct at the enemy, as well as not handing the device out to too many people, start some new sensor project as a cover story for use within your own military.

Launch some new spy satellites, open secretive computer facilities, install radar dishes, the whole shebang. Make up a Top Secret need-to-know project which integrates data from a wide variety of sensors and a computer system which interprets it all and outputs a real-time tactical display.

Just plug in the real sensor.

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    $\begingroup$ Don't forget the psychics. $\endgroup$ – user25818 May 9 '17 at 15:56

Secretly equip your troops with the new device. Strike fast. Quickly conquer the world. Make your empire a better place. Create world peace and a just empire.

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    $\begingroup$ I like it: "use it while you have an advantage" $\endgroup$ – Martin May 9 '17 at 10:50
  • $\begingroup$ That isn't what the OP asked. Oh, by the way, Python is better. $\endgroup$ – The Daleks Dec 18 '19 at 22:28

You can't, not fully. What you could do is make sure it isn't a critical sensor. Let it greatly augment your forces but when it breaks it doesn't prevent your forces from fighting the old way.

Then you can create a dedicated group to work with this technology. This will need to be highly trained operatives willing to take their own lives if needed. You obviously destroy the equipment any time there is a chance of it falling in the wrong hands.

You could also limit the actual technology to fortified command posts that then relay the information to your units on the ground, or air. This obviously allows the enemy to intercepts your transmissions so you need to use some misdirection here on how you acquired the target.

But this still allow for leaks. But honestly anything that's used in the field can fall into enemy hands. enter image description here Case in point, crashed helicopter during the Osama Bin Laden raid in 2011. Despite efforts of the local team remnants remained.


Several options:

  1. Mask its effect. Have the weapon fire in conjunction with other weapons to make it look like the other weapons have become more effective.

  2. Mask its cause. I read a comic book where a super-villain held a bubble gun and fired it at the heroes. The gun actually did nothing, but it got the heroes to look at him so that he could make eye-contact, which was key to his powers. IF you take a similar approach, making the firing sequence seem complicated and requiring obvious steps to fire it, the enemy will assume that the obvious steps are actually relevant and focus on that first.

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    $\begingroup$ which comic were you reading? now I want to read it $\endgroup$ – Classified May 9 '17 at 17:30
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    $\begingroup$ @Classified it was a Captain America comic where Nomad faces Madcap. Madcap would use his "fun gun" to get you to make eye contact. Nomad grabs his gun, and Madcap basically tells him that his power is in his eyes, not his gun. $\endgroup$ – user20762 May 9 '17 at 17:38

Don't use it in places where the enemy may gain access to the device. This is pretty much standard procedure where feasible.

For example the first Meteor jets the Brits built during WW2 (yes, the first units were active before the war ended) were barred from flying over German held territory to prevent the aircraft from falling into enemy hands if it were to crash. Similarly, early radar equipped aircraft owned by both sides were not allowed to overfly enemy held areas.

In both cases of course the security was moot as the other side already had similar or identical technology, but that was in both cases not known (though suspected no doubt).

Also, you keep the people involved strictly incommunicado (or try to at least). That's how the secrets of Bletchly park and the Manhattan project were kept until well after the war. Not just was the machinery involved (early computers, nuclear weapons technology...) top secret to the point nobody except a few key people knew what they were working on or with, but those people were housed in remote areas with no contact with the outside world that wasn't strictly censored (and despite that, the Soviets were still able to steal the nuclear technology from the Americans by infiltrating...).

Having a good story to explain the effects without exposing your secrets is core to the disinformation campaign that's going to be needed. So if you've broken the enemy's ciphers, be prepared to spread rumours about secret agents inside their security agencies. If you've a new weapon, invent stories about something else that'd people could believe can do the same thing.

In the ultimate scam, invent and build entire labs and fake experiments and make sure the enemy gets wind of their "successes". The biggest hoax of all that was perpetrated like that was the US Space Defence Initiative (SDI/Star Wars) which never existed as such (or rather, never was more than a paper study, but fake experiments were staged to make the Soviets think that working prototypes existed of weapons entirely different from what was being studied and were ready for deployment).

Smoke and mirrors...


Have alternate plausible explanations for how they got the information.

The British interception of the Zimmerman Telegram is a good example of how this can be done.

In WWI, the British intercepted a telegram sent to the German embassy in the United States, and upon decrypting it, determined it to contain information that if revealed to the U.S. might get them to join the war. Specifically, it was an offer for Mexico to ally with Germany and invade the U.S. in the event that the U.S. joined the war in Europe, along with plans to engage in unrestricted submarine warfare.

However, the telegram was sent over a U.S. cable that the U.S. didn't know the British were tapping, and encrypted using a cipher the Germans didn't know had been broken. The British needed a way to share the telegram with the U.S. and convince them it was genuine, without revealing either of those facts.

Since the British knew the contents of the telegram, they knew that it would have been forwarded to Mexico using a lower-security cipher. The British had broken that one too, and they didn't care as much if the Germans discovered that. So they bribed a Mexican telegraph agent to get a copy of that version, then decrypted it and sent the plaintext version to the U.S. along with an explanation of how it was decrypted. Since the U.S. telegraph offices would have copies of the ciphertext version, they could decrypt their copy and compare with the one supplied by the British to verify its authenticity.

So at this point, the only thing that might suggest that the British were tapping those lines or had broken the original cipher is the question of why they decided to steal the telegram from the Mexican office, but that's something they might plausibly have done without knowing the contents, so they were able to safely share the information with the U.S. embassy.


Make the information too unbelievable.

This only works if the enemy has no knowledge of the project at all, but there was a historical precedent (at least anecdotally). The Bell P-59 was the United States' first jet project. During test flights the pilot wore a gorilla mask, a derby hat and smoked a cigar. The reason being that if any other pilots saw a strange plane with no propeller, being flown by a smoking gorilla in a derby hat, they would be unlikely to file a report about what they saw when they got back to base. It's a good story although the authenticity has been debated for years, hence why I said it was anecdotal.

They did however fit a wooden propeller to the aircraft at one stage when the desert test facility flooded in the rain and they needed to move the aircraft by road. There are photos of it with a wooden propeller prominently sticking out from a tarp covering the rest of the nose. Anyone that saw it would be unlikely to guess it was a jet.

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    $\begingroup$ Another part of that story is that the P-59 test pilots later went to the bar frequented by the other pilots and asked if anyone had seen an escaped gorilla. $\endgroup$ – Ray May 11 '17 at 23:25
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    $\begingroup$ Reminds me of the Somebody Else's Problem Field from the Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy. $\endgroup$ – The Daleks Dec 18 '19 at 22:31

If they don't know the force exists, they will have a hard time duplicating the technology because they won't have instruments to measure what is going on. If your technology used electromagnetic waves in a frequency band that others found hard to make images in, they would at least have detectors for the waves and could understand how your devices work. If it is a completely new physical effect, they won't have the ability to measure it, which will slow them down a lot. You might also be able to justify that it wasn't "in the air" and the enemy has already discovered it as well.

Still, you have a perishable advantage. The enemy will figure it out given time. The first downgrade will be when the enemy figures out the general capabilities. They may not know how it works, but if they know what you can see they can blunt the effect. Ask your military strategists to wargame the situation where the enemy knows what your capabilities are. How will they adapt their tactics? Is it still an overwhelming advantage? One example: military bases have sentries to keep intruders out. It is easier to have rings of defense where you catch 90% of the intruders in each ring than catch them all in one ring. They might have guards wandering around randomly looking for intruders. With your sensors, you may be able to evade the guards. The enemy might put more guards on so every spot in one ring is watched all the time. That is still an advantage to you-this costs money and equipment and may withdraw frontline troops-but maybe it is not really big.

Do they have a few very high value assets that you can neutralize if you get up close and personal? Think the Death Star. You need to take them out before the enemy upgrades security. Are you fighting a war of attrition with large volumes of equipment on each side? Do you have the command, control, and computing to make use of it in a mass battle? Trigger a massive battle before they understand what you can do. You can inflict a lethal amount of damage, then mop up what is left.

Since it is a magic device, you can make it small and able to fry itself to stay out of enemy hands. Give each one to a particular person and implant some sensors in them. If they are incapacitated, the device fries itself. This offers a plot line where one of your operatives is captured and the device might not fry itself. If it doesn't, you can play with their efforts to understand and duplicate it.


The way that has worked for ages. encase it in epoxy. You could leave various pressure capsules scattered though the epoxy with surprises for people cutting in. they should be randomized placement. Include a light sensitive chip that will send a pulse to a detonator that slags the contents. Have a button on the outside that does the same thing. A small thermite charge will make it a hot time in the old town tonight.

  • $\begingroup$ How to avoid x-ray/neutron/etc. analysis? $\endgroup$ – Martin May 11 '17 at 7:42
  • $\begingroup$ Anyone who has ever had an xray done at a hospital might notice the sensor pins xray techs wear? XRay sensors are small enough to be embedded in the epoxy as well, and wired to the detonators. $\endgroup$ – Ronk May 12 '17 at 4:34
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    $\begingroup$ I hadn't thought of that however simply putting it in a non transparent case would fix that problem something like lead for instance. Just because they can x-ray it doesn't mean they can understand what's in it either. If any attempt to open its slags the contents, then even the one destructive method I can think to get rid of the epoxy wouldn't help them. The one way presuming unlimited budget and unlimited time, would be to use a scanning electron microscope to nibble away the epoxy one atom at a time. $\endgroup$ – Rowan Hawkins May 12 '17 at 5:04
  • $\begingroup$ 1 additional detector for determining if it's been opened would be an atmospheric pressure sensor inside the container. And then put either a positive or A negative pressure inside the container. $\endgroup$ – Rowan Hawkins May 12 '17 at 5:06

Some great suggestions about misleading that I think could be practical thusly...

  1. Quickly assemble a Censor Fusion Drone" (CFD). This plane will secretly have your Radical New Radar (RNR) onboard, but it will also have lots of receivers/transmitters for a new kind of signal that is its ostensible purpose: communicating with all the planes in an area and fusing/controlling their individual radars to give an unprecedented view of the battlefield.

  2. Upgrade the radar in all of your normal planes to have new transmitters/receivers, which transmit a signal based on their own radar and which receive signals which help to tune and steer their own radar. These signals are between the planes and the nearest CFD. Brief all the technicians and pilots about this and have them keep it secret.

  3. In reality, the links from a plane's radar to the CFD are somewhat based on the radar, but is mainly a diagnostic tool, and the link from the CFD to the plane is similar. It's mainly to detect a loss of communication between the two -- for example as the result of damage to the plane -- so that you don't have a suspicious issue where a plane's been flying for three weeks with a melted circuit board. (At the same time, the communications are real.)

    The "fusion" aspect of the CFD overlays and hides the secret RNR. If a CFD is shot down, it will actually knock out your enhanced view, and you will obviously put a high priority on defending the CFD to protect its "fusion" role.

    Throw a self-destruct mechanism on the CFD, and also instruct pilots that they may be asked to strafe/bomb/destroy the CFD if it ever crashes in enemy territory.

  4. Set up a command center to pilot one or more CFDs. Say the command center is something like NORAD in the US: highly secure, isolated, etc. Say 50% of the personnel there are support, security, etc, 40% man the consoles showing information from the fused CFD feeds, 5% actually control (fly) the CFD, and 5% are in a back room and are supposedly liaisons receiving intelligence feeds from spies, satellites, and other black ops assets.

    Of course, the "intelligence feed" is the actual RNR. The other people at consoles in the main room are either seeing something from the plane radars, or a degraded version of the RNR. (The guys in the back room could also selectively degrade/un-degrade those feeds so someone could spot something if need be.)

    So the commanding officer might hear from the back room that "intelligence indicates that the enemy has launched three super-stealth planes that might defeat our fused radar" which actually means that the full RNR feed sees those planes, but people sitting at consoles in the main room can't see it.

I think this would disguise the program pretty well. The cover story makes total sense and pretty much totally overlays what's really going on.


1) Leak news stories in the tabloids about talking parrot spies who have been given a secret new "IQ Serum". Have actual "secret labs" set up where people answer the phone and say "no comment" before hanging up. Supply pictures and interviews with animal trainers and biochemists. Say that the birds have been trained to make phone calls and place reports. Have pictures of the birds with coins operating pay-phones!

2) Have telephone-psychics announce impending attacks on live TV so that troops are moving to intercept at the same time the public is taking cover.

3) Scatter the sensors on phone and electric towers throughout the country. Put them right by the light on top. Call it a bird deterrent. Telephone modems existed in the 80's, so the technology could be used to transmit sensor data. Have some poor family go one the local news and talk about how accumulated bird droppings on powerlines caused a fire that severely injured or killed family members. Make a story that has everyone crying. Protest groups in the local town make the devices mandatory for power lines near houses (data processing centers). Start a nation-wide movement where the government RELUCTANTLY pays for them in the interest of public safety. AS LONG AS it looks like they DID NOT want to do it, but the people insisted.

4) Return to the tabloids and say that the government has been receiving signals from a friendly alien race.

5) Invent an 80s version of Snowden, and have everyone believe he lives in the enemy country, as a high-ranking member of their government. Have weekly press releases from pirate radio stations replaying the frantic warning calls (that never actually happened) to your countries police stations. It will be an underground hit bigger than "Rescue 911".

6) Have the tabloids release pictures of the new "Electro-Glass Microphones" that the government has been putting on kites and clear weather balloons, that are "ALMOST invisible". Say they are transmitting on certain frequencies, and release balloons occasionally that interfere with TV and radio broadcasts. Have reports of them crash-landing on people's houses every few weeks. Have the whole town shut down while the military "recovers" the small almost invisible technology with their "invisi-glass detector gear". Let the enemy hear rumors about how this glass has a slight metallic content, and highly radioactive beams from a concentrated source make the parts visible on XRay film. Have a two or three hour buildup of military forces before the town is locked down for the search. Publicly scrutinize the military for taking so long to lock it down. Hint that the technology could easily fall into the wrong hands. Use the time window to trick spies into searching for non-existent parts to recover, and capture spies. Interrogate spies on what they know about unreal technology for several weeks before allowing a single STUPID spy to escape during a prisoner transfer, or a mass-escape from the facility by other "prisoners" who are actually special ops troops who help the spy return to their own country. Monitor theft of xray film and report on the news that xyz film company has been robbed 6 times this week.. to attract more spies looking for equipment. Any stolen radioactive material would be easy to spot from the air. Leaked faulty plans for scanning equipment means that spies trying to use the equipment will be dosing themselves during the search, shortening their effective lifespan as enemy agents. The enemy will have lots of good agents give their lives to acquire something that does not exist.

7) Report that enemy planes are known to vibrate at certain frequencies that effect moisture in the atmosphere. Say that you can use beams of light at night to scan the sky and see the vibrations. or that looking at stars allows you to see the vibrations as the light wavers. The enemy will have to rebuild their entire airforce two or three times to get the planes to "vibrate differently". Say that the sheer volume of the vibration causes these waves over 3/4 of a mile. Also point out that civilian telescopes and those at universities are NOT properly focused to see the effects. This will keep them from becoming terrorist targets. It will also make the enemy frustrated trying to figure out the optics behind it, as no known telescope available to them is capable of seeing it, so they have no way of knowing if their new designs will work or not.

8) Ask at UN conferences for ALL allied countries to send us their BEST entomologists! Ask specifically for ones that have a background in long-range radio communications. Ask for any research information on radio frequencies that may or may not effect mosquitos and their reproductive cycle. Ask about mosquito breeds that are resistant to insecticides, and anyone who has an immunology background pertaining to flying insects. Ask for experts who may have placed radio transmitters on mosquitos, or have used radar to track swarms of them. Ask for bug-intellect studies when exposed to high levels of focused microwave radio beams. Ask for REALLY weird bugs and radio related intel and personnel. THEN START A MASSIVE COVER-UP! Burn the labs and all the research. Report scientists kidnapped or killed. All of the FAKE scientist who the govt has been sending abroad should cease to exist. Deny ever knowing them. Deny they ever lived. Burn the record offices in their supposed hometowns.. or just that one file cabinet... Deny the conversations took place at the UN meetings. SOMEONE, SOMEWHERE will start leaking information about your country's attempt to use large swarms of radio transmitting mosquitos... and the enemy nation will create an insecticide or bug virus to rid your country of mosquitos for you.

9) Report that an enemy pilot called his mother before the mission, and the call was intercepted.

10) Report in the tabloids that UNNAMED members of the royal family, or ruling party of the other country secretly want to come to your country because they like one particular type of food that their country does not have. Report that their craving for this food is so strong that they trade battle plans with your govt for just a taste of it. The secret police of the other country will constantly follow their own leaders trying to discover the mole. (DO NOT name the type of food!)

11) Report that emissions from enemy fuel leave trail in the sky that are visible on spectrograph over long distances. Emissions from jets, bombers, and even submarines are equally visible. (This can even be a follow-up for scenario number seven!) Have one of your best scientist who was working on low-emission fuel leave the country for tax evasion. Have them hide in a country that has ties with your enemy, have them seek employment and wait to be recruited. Have your scientist work WITH the enemy to create low emission fuels, which will benefit the entire world once the info is leaked. Let them use a HUGE CHUNK of their military budget to do the research and testing.

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    $\begingroup$ Use all the above ideas at the same time, and let the enemy argue about which parts are the biggest problem. $\endgroup$ – Ronk May 12 '17 at 5:48

This is a real-life problem, and has many real life solutions. Unfortunately, there isn't really any one answer. Instead, each system is its own special flower and has its own engineered solution.

The US DoD approaches are mostly described as "Anti-Tamper" for solutions built into the system (e.g. http://www.acqnotes.com/acqnote/careerfields/anti-tamper). The overall approach is documented in "Program Protection Plans (PPP)" (e.g. http://www.acqnotes.com/acqnote/careerfields/program-protection-plan).

This website has some useful background info: https://at.dod.mil/content/atscbackground


Look at the space program! The spread of the Saturn launcher production and design was so big that engineers never really knew on what they were working on until late, and til this day, we couldn't completely reproduce a Saturn V launcher without disassembling one and reverse engineering it.

Otherwise, as you're a benevolant dictator, you could always mass produce the thing from a very far and remote part of your country, and purge every now and then workforce. Soviets were pretty good at this with their scientists..


There's a pretty good trope for this:

The black box:

enter image description here

Problem is, that they don't need to know, how to build one, however, aside from the obligatory self-destruction I use a technique to make my question incomprehensible to most mortals in Stack Exchange:

The Noise

Here's what you have to do:

  1. Make it as overcomplicated as possible, with lots of cheap, easy to mass-produce parts.

  2. Create false manuals that mark these unnecessary features as crucial and important, but also detail a way of repairing them, albeit with false becauses as an explanation.

  3. Indoctrinate high-ranking individuals to the real workings of the device, but ensure, that everyone knows only a little part of the whole. We need higher ranking individuals because if they kill themselves, the enemy will think that it was because of the military plans they know, and not your little trolling.

  4. Invent a new language in which the manuals will be written.

  5. Indoctrinate some individuals about this language, so they will be necessary for decoding the manual.

  6. It's an everything sensor, so how you're going to fool its users? Faulty algorithms, that can be automatically corrected by another, seemingly unimportant computer that was destroyed, along with the submarine.

  7. ???

  8. Profit

  • $\begingroup$ Using the comments on Meta saying that what you use is noise to build an answer around noise for obfuscation while at the same time introducing noise to the answer in which you explain the usage of noise... I am not completely convinced that people could produce and maintain the technology this way but it is an interesting approach. Have an upvote from me, though I hope your noise-level in answers is lower when you are not trying to tell people about using noise... $\endgroup$ – Secespitus May 8 '17 at 11:54

Make it look like an UFO (it worked for the US Army!)

The US Army did this with the first stealth plane: keep strict control over all team members, make up cover stories, pretend it's a test model for something different, make up plausible explanations that it's something else, dismiss sightings as UFO paranoia, confiscate any physical proof, pay any witness to keep quiet (works better that simply making threats?).

Keeping the SR-71 Blackbird (the World's First Stealth Plane) Secret Was Near Impossible

  • $\begingroup$ the SR-71 wasn't stealth... It just flew at heights and speeds where it couldn't be intercepted by aircraft or AA missiles. $\endgroup$ – Baldrickk Oct 18 '17 at 12:41

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