There is an anecdote. Two cruisers meet, Russian and American. The Russian cruiser is panic-struck; the captain cries: “Who threw valenki down on the control panel? Who threw valenki down on the control panel?” Americans only shook their heads wondering at the disorder at the Russian cruiser. “You would never see such things in America,” they say. And Russians respond: “There is no America any more! Who threw valenki down on the control panel?”
The Russian people seem to have got used to disorder and larceny in the Army. The Army is a kind of litmus test that reveals the condition of Russian society in a transition period (and it’s not clear from where to where the transition is). However, it is difficult to get used to disorder in the US Army, the army of the super power that declared a mortal war against international terrorism. However, to tell the truth, America isn’t better than Russia; people here steal because of poverty, and Americans do it because of satiety.
Reports about super-secret computers disappearing in the US Army have become frequent recently. Here is the latest incident: two portable computers, one of them with classified information, were stolen from the HQ of the US Army central command in Tampa (Florida). Reluctantly, US top commanders had to admit that the scandalous theft actually took place. According to the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, Richard Myers, the computers were stolen from an office that was tightly controlled. The general stressed that the incident would be investigated. He thinks that it is not ruled out that the computers were merely taken out of the office for technical repairs without any special notification. Isn’t this disorder? Yes, it is.
Here is another instance of scandalous negligence that could bring very grave consequences. As it turned out, computers at hundreds of strategic missile sites in the USA were downloaded with incorrect data; the data could fatally influence the precision of the missiles or even prevent the launching of the missiles.
This fact was unveiled by a report made by auditors who inspected the US Air Force a year ago; strategic missiles are also part of the US Air Force. Salt Lake City’s newspaper Desert News obtained a report in accordance with the law on freedom of information.
The report of October 2001 says that the inspection of the strategic missiles revealed about one thousand errors. The most typical errors were serial numbers of missile components repeated or sometimes completely removed from computer program, the quality rating of the missile components was wrong, the layout of missile components was wrong, and other faults of programs used in airborne computers.
Specialists auditing the US Air Force also estimated that “the level of training of specialists of the US Space Command and the center for the Air Force supply at the Ogden base in Utah” was low. The auditors’ report says: “The Space Command personnel failed to provide adequate supervision over the missiles and to guarantee proper maintenance of the missiles, downloading of correct data in the airborne computers mainly.”
Auditing of ten missile emplacements at the Minot base in North Dakota revealed that the batteries installed in the missiles were not enough for launching. Errors were found in the data of 200 first stages in strategic missiles at the military bases of Malstrom (Tennessee) and Warren (Wyoming).
Desert News supplied the auditing report with a statement of the US Air Force command saying that all errors revealed in the auditing were already corrected by the moment of publication.
Rather interesting things are happening in the US military indeed.
Dmitry Litvinovich PRAVDA.Ru
Translated by Maria Gousseva
Read the original in Russian: http://world.pravda.ru/world/2002/5/16/43/2249_USA.html
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