Both windmills and wind turbines have appeal because of their low cost ($2,500 to $12,000 each), low maintenance, readily accessible technology, environmental safety and sustainability, even in rural areas. The next step is designing a windmill using local materials.
The project illustrates the evolution of ideas about national security policy.
Throughout history, military might has been the key to defending a nation. But after World War II, with the development of apocalyptic weapons, President Truman proposed nuclear disarmament. President Eisenhower created the first nuclear power monitoring agency. And President Kennedy, who warned that 25 nations could have nuclear arms by the end of the 1960s, launched the first major treaty banning tests of nuclear weapons in the water and in the atmosphere.
Half a century of treaties on weapons of mass destruction--nuclear, chemical and biological weapons and ballistic missiles--has led to destruction of existing arms, and agreements to halt new weapons, and has limited the spread of nuclear arms to only eight countries.
By 1996, former Defense Secretary Perry dared to say that the first line of defense was no longer weaponry but pieces of paper--an interlocking network of treaties.
"Paper has been more effective in intercepting and destroying more missiles than other weapons," said Joseph Cirincione, director of the Non-Proliferation Project at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. "And the military has increasingly become the second line of defense, as a deterrent threat against those who use these weapons against you."
Others disagree. "Treaties codify the status quo. But pure military power is still the key to influence, the coin of the realm," said Mitchell Reiss, former chief U.S. negotiator with North Korea and member of the National Security Council during the Reagan and Bush administrations.
Lines of Defense
As the 21st century dawns, two other visions are shaping ideas about defending a nation.
One is a national missile defense shield, a popular idea of uncertain capability projected to cost tens of billions of dollars. Some arms experts call it the third line of defense; others say it should become the first.
Building a national missile defense will mean renegotiating the 1972 Antiballistic Missile Treaty or scrapping it altogether. Because of widespread opposition from Paris to Moscow to Beijing, changing the treaty could begin to unravel the entire network of arms treaties, since each builds on the previous one, most experts agree.
It could also trigger a new arms race by escalating the level of armament to a new plane.
A fourth line of defense is the emerging effort by disparate organizations, from the International Monetary Fund to the Nautilus Institute, to unravel the causes of tension before they become conflicts.
"The IMF does it with economic factors on a global scale with billions of dollars," Cirincione said. "Peter Hayes does on a local scale what big institutions can't or won't."
Even skeptics agree that Hayes has been an effective ambassador in helping to convince North Korea that the outside world is not necessarily hostile. But they doubt that his approach will replace traditional means of defense.
"Peter Hayes does amazing work, and the more interaction that you can have with countries like North Korea is probably good. But giving all the windmills in the world is not going to convince the North Koreans to dismantle their nuclear weapons program," Reiss said.
"At best, cooperative efforts are helpful on the margins," he said. "No one should be under the illusion that they're a main motive for a country to change course."
Criticism like that doesn't faze Hayes' team.
"We have lofty goals for a group of 15 people," said Tim Savage, a Nautilus specialist.
"The fact we chose windmills, which have a connotation of dreaming the impossible dream, is appropriate for the kind of work we're trying to do. We're trying to help end the single longest conflict on Earth. The Cold War ended in 1990, but the Korean conflict began a half-century ago and still has no formal end."