The New York Times has an extensive article with the somewhat inflammatory title “Arms Fiascoes Lead to Alarm Inside Pentagon.” While the Times’ reputation isn’t what it used to be, this article is recommended for several reasons, including its quotes from a number of senior Pentagon and Department of Defense sources right up to Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld.
Boeing subcontractor L-3 Communications is under federal criminal investigation after Interstate Electronics Corp., one of its subsidiaries, supplied defective parts used in CSEL emergency radios to locate downed military pilots.
Interstate Electronics Corp. purchased many of the parts from lower-level suppliers, but it is responsible for supervising the manufacturing process, testing the parts and verifying they meet quality standards.
Pentagon criminal investigators and contract-management officials now suspect that Interstate Electronics may have supplied thousands of other, potentially substandard parts over the years to a wide range of Army and Air Force weapons systems. The Los Angeles U.S. attorney’s office is leading this investigation, and its expansion means that L-3 could be subject to greater penalties if found guilty of wrongdoing. The US government (primarily the military) accounts for more than 75% of the company’s business.
Boeing officials must send a letter within 30 days to Army officials managing the program at Fort Monmouth, NJ to explain how they can execute the contract. After reviewing the letter, U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) and service officials can decide to terminate, restructure or continue the contract.
The USA isn’t the only country with a Future Soldier/Land Warrior type program that aims to equip its infantry for the 21st century. “Europe’s Future Infantry” at eDefense Online looks at current trends and programs in a number of European countries with similar programs.
Efforts covered include Germany’s Infanterist der Zukunft, France’s FELIN (Fantassin a Equipements et Liaisons Integrees; or Integrated Soldier Equipment and Communications), the UK’s Future Integrated Soldier Technology (FIST) program, the more gradual approach of the Dutch Soldier Modernization Program, Sweden’s MARKUS (Markstridsutrustad Soldat; Ground Warfare Equipped Soldier), and some thoughts on Russia’s programs as it transitions to a professional force.
This article looks at the framework underneath the trend.