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Are the builders of the national antimissile system rushing to meet deadlines, putting them above technological quality? That’s certainly the message of an article in today’s Washington Post. Hell-bent on meeting Bush’s year-end 2004 deadline for the first elements of the system, engineers and managers took “risky shortcuts,” among them “insufficient ground tests of key components, a lack of specifications and standards, and a tendency to postpone resolution of nettlesome issues.” That according to a three-panel member of experts. Certainly sounds like the way to build a system that won’t work…And guess what: it doesn’t: both the December 2004 and February 2005 tests were failures, as was a test in late 2003. For this kind of management and expertise we’re paying $10 billion a year….

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