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U.S. Radar Laden Weapons

May 28, 1987

Amlie's criticism of our dependence upon "radar laden weapons" is right on. His question, "Why aren't we talking about it--and doing something?" is easily answered.

So long as such systems are substantially more expensive and, thus, profitable than less "gold-plated" counterparts, the defense contractors and their suppliers will have no incentive to change. So long as our civilian technical advisers within the Defense Department are rewarded for the size and lofty objectives of their programs, rather than their simplicity and success, they will have no incentive to change.

So long as their military colleagues and managers depend upon the grandeur of their objectives for their status and promotions, they are unlikely to seek alternative and less costly approaches.

And, so long as our congressman can get reelected on the basis of the number of defense dollars they capture for their constituents, the motivation for change is lacking from that source.

Finally, so long as it is much more fun to fly a $40 million dollar supersnort than a less expensive one with fewer toys, our fleet aviators are not apt to seek change. As a friend of mine once said, in a different context, as we were discussing the obvious merits of submarine-launched ballistic missiles versus giant aircraft carriers and their elaborate and complex weapon systems: "It is not easy for an admiral to take a salute from the deck of a submarine."

Hang in Amlie! We need you.

ADOLPH B. AMSTER

Ridgecrest

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