Magazine article National Defense

Washington Pulse

Magazine article National Defense

Washington Pulse

Article excerpt

CROSSING FINGERS-The Ballistic Missile Defense Organization is bracing for the first flight test of the multibillion-dollar national missile defense program in the upcoming days. Officials said the technology to ram a missile with another missile does not present major problems. But the "biggest risk" in the program is the tight schedule, said a program official who briefed reporters. By Pentagon standards, this is a fast-track project. Three flight tests are scheduled for the next nine months and, the source predicted, "I bet at least one will miss. "We've never done this before," he said. "I'm trying to manage the expectations" about this test.

SECRETS AND LIES? Energy Secretary Bill Richardson said that he personally will make the decision on what information will be declassified if the case involving Wen Ho Lee-a Chinese American accused, but not charged for allegedly sharing U.S. nuclear secrets with China-goes before a grand jury. Richardson told a group of defense writers at breakfast in Washington, D.C., that he is in the process of determining what information can go public.

LET'S ALL PLAY-On tap for 2000 could be the first large-scale war-fighting tryout including all U.S. military services, according to the Air Force experimentation office, which sponsors the so-called Expeditionary Force Experiment. The EFX aims to bring about technological innovation and new war-fighting practices. Next year, the U.S. Atlantic Command, based in Norfolk, Va., is expected to host an experiment that will merge the Air Force EFX with other trials already under way by the Army, the Navy and the Marine Corps. It potentially could be as large as 8,000 participants, sources said.

AMMO FOR THE 21ST CENTURY-Late last month, the key leaders of the ammunition industrial base gathered to map out a strategy for how the United States will produce ammunition through the year 2020. Naturally, the subject of "globalization" was heavily debated, said one industry insider who participated in the meeting. The consensus among Army officials and private sector executives was that globalization "can't work for every item" in the ammunition inventory, said the source. "Every item has to be considered separately" before a decision is made on whether to produce it domestically or buy from overseas suppliers.

SHAKEUP AHEAD FOR AMC-Gen. John G. Coburn, the new commanding general (CG) of the Army Material Command, is talking about reorganizing the AMC. Coburn plans to name two three-star deputy commanding generals (DCGs), replacing the one DCG that the AMC now has.

Under Coburn's plan, there would be one DCG for material readiness and another for research, development and acquisition (RDA). …

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