Top national security investigations from 2013

We asked our editors to select their favorites from this year's work

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Editors note: As the year winds down, we wanted to revisit some of the best accountability journalism from each of our coverage sections.

This year's investigative work from our national security team focused on wasteful, inefficient programs and lack of oversight within the Department of Defense — with emphasis on the nation's nuclear security.

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Obama officials OK-ed nuclear weapons cut


Early in 2013, we reported that Senior Obama administration officials agreed that the number of nuclear warheads the U.S. military deploys could be cut by at least a third without harming national security — opening the door to billions of dollars in military savings. Keep reading


Missile test targets fail at alarming rate


Nuclear intercepting is a feat often likened to hitting a speeding bullet with a bullet. More than $90 billion has been spent since 2002 to develop the means to target incoming missile threats and intercept them, but without much demonstrated success. Keep reading


Billions for a concrete shed?


A multi-billion dollar nuclear fuel plant being built by the Energy Department in South Carolina has become an embarrassing symbol of government mismanagement, plagued by long delays, wasteful spending, and construction snafus. Keep reading


A $7 billion jobs program


Lawmakers known for being “deficit hawks” shed their fiscal conservatism to appease local politics and keep the troubled South Carolina nuclear plant alive at Washington’s expense. Keep reading


How to defeat the Air Force


A major defense contractor used campaign donations and insider access on Capitol Hill to defy the Air Force and keep a troubled drone "Global Hawk" aloft at a cost of $2.5 billion in taxpayer funds. Keep reading


Speed ahead of quality?


Profits and politics, plus a sudden growth in secrecy-obsessed institutions, played key roles in misguided security clearance decisions. Keep reading


Hunting rogue asteroids … with nukes?


A persistent campaign by weapons designers to develop a nuclear defense against extraterrestrial rocks slowly (and surprisingly) wins government support. Keep reading


Firing a nuclear whistleblower


A scientific dispute over cleanup of one of the most polluted sites in the country threatens to ensnare the Energy Department’s leaders. Keep reading

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