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    Missile Defense

Russian military leaders have expressed concern about US plans for a national missile defense system. Will defense technology be limited by possibilities for a strategic imbalance? Is this just SDI all over again?

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rshowalter - 04:30pm Aug 19, 2001 EST (#7914 of 7932) Delete Message
Robert Showalter

The Osprey records falsification case illustrates some of the reasons why things can go wrong, and stay wrong, in the technical decision making of the military and military contractors. I made some observations on the point, somewhat critical of a senior Marine, at a time when others were no doubt saying similar things.

MD978 rshowalter 3/14/01 5:22am ... MD979 rshowalter 3/14/01 5:25am
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The submarine surfacing collision story of the same time involved some similar problems. MD987 rshowalter 3/14/01 8:54am

In the Osprey records falsification case, The United States Marine Corps has responded in what appears to be an exemplary fashion to such challenges. People are being held responsible, and a broad, careful investigation is being done.

Similar concerns ought to apply in missile defense, where there are many severe technical flaws to the program, if the program is considered to be something that is to have military use.

If the Marine Corps can stand up to unpleasant circumstances in the Osprey case, as it seems to be doing, key technical problems in the missile defense program may be adressable, too.

The key issue involved, in terms of public policy, is not punishment, though punishment can be important.

The key issue is establishing the truth, on technical matters that are matters of life, death, and that involve enormous resources.

rshowalter - 04:33pm Aug 19, 2001 EST (#7915 of 7932) Delete Message
Robert Showalter

Eight Marine Officers Are Charged in Osprey False-Records Case by CHRISTOPHER MARQUIS

"WASHINGTON, Aug. 17 A two- star general is among eight Marine Corps officers who have been charged with misconduct in the falsification of maintenance records of the V-22 Osprey aircraft, Marine officials said today.

"Maj. Gen. Dennis T. Krupp, the commanding general of the Second Marine Aircraft Wing, was charged with dereliction of duty on the grounds that he "knew or should have known" of false maintenance reports on the troubled aircraft, the officials said.

"Also charged with violating military law were five colonels and two lower-ranking officers, said Maj. Bryan Salas, a spokesman for the Marine Corps' Atlantic forces in Norfolk, Va.

"All of the accused have opted to have their cases adjudicated in an administrative hearing by Lt. Gen. Raymond P. Ayres Jr., their commanding general, Major Salas said. That decision makes the possibility of a public court-martial less likely, officials said.

"The charges stem from anonymous accusations received by top Marine officials in January that officers in the Marine Medium Tiltrotor Training Squadron in North Carolina had ordered that the maintenance records of the Osprey be doctored to show enhanced performance.

"The Osprey, an experimental aircraft that can hover like a helicopter and fly like a jet, has long been regarded by Marine leaders as an essential component of their modern air fleet. But the $40 billion program has been plagued by crashes and cost overruns as the Pentagon makes crucial decisions about it.

"Two crashes last year, on April 11 and Dec. 1, resulted in the deaths of 23 marines. Investigators concluded that the false records did not directly contribute to the accidents.

"The charges announced today, though, indicated that senior officers would be held accountable for the false performance data. A Pentagon investigation released in June found that a high-pressure atmosphere at the V-22 program had caused the squadron commander, Lt. Col. Odin F. Leberman, to falsify records. Some military officials then questioned whether a squadron leader would take such actions on his own.

"Colonel Leberman was reassigned in January after he was secretly taped ordering the falsified records. The other officers remain in their positions, Major Salas said.

Each of the accused will be granted a private administrative hearing, during which they will be given the chance to present evidence and rebut charges against them, Major Salas said. General Ayres will function as both judge and jury. If they are found guilty, he may impose a nonjudicial punishment, which could range from a punitive reprimand, restriction to quarters for not more than 60 days or the forfeiting of a month's pay.


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