Interaction in Weapons R&D

weapons R&D, problems in supporting,
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Weapons R&D

analysts and consultants to accept the idea that someone else was able to solve the problem differently from our solution. A shortcircuit sometimes removes this obstacle when actual hardware is collected, but unfortunately this happens only very rarely, and when it does it seldom involves a major weapons system.
After the analytic efforts seem to have generated satisfactory hypothetical conclusions, we still need to validate these by having independent researchers check them out. The intelligence community needs to reach a consensus on their validity. Different analysts working separately on the same data are quite likely to come up with differing answers, particularly when the data base is thin to begin with. While we would all probably agree on the desirability of having more than a single individual or a single group take a crack at the problem, we would also hope that they communicate with each other at frequent intervals. I am encouraged by what seems to be a better rapport nowadays among the various analytical groups in the community and a greater speed in coming to an agreed conclusion than heretofore. Even so, the validation process still takes a significant length of time, in some instances as long or longer than the analysis process itself.
Now let us engage the problem of feedback. There are many channels through which this takes place. The CIA and DIA put out reports and estimates to consumers on a regular basis, many of which contain details of weapon system developments.   These agencies also routinely brief officials in Defense, NASA, the Bureau of the Budget, and the White House, along with many other decision-making elements of the government. There are a number of key members of the scientific establishment, both industrial and academic, who participate in a variety of government-sponsored panels and committees and receive intelligence briefings in their fields of cognizance.   These people, however, are at the policy and top management level; it is likely that little direct intelligence-derived guidance filters through them to the laboratories.
Security restrictions inhibit wide dissemination of intelligence down to the scientists and engineers at the design level, but perhaps little is lost, as the briefings at the policy level are seldom detailed. They are usually condensed to a point that a consumer would have difficulty detecting, say, a significant breakthrough in the development of a subsystem. For instance, we are prone to tell policy-level audiences that a missile has a particular accuracy but are less likely to tell them


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Posted: May 08, 2007 09:01 AM
Last Updated: May 08, 2007 09:01 AM