When the rain comes, run and hide your heads

Wired‘s defense blogger Noah Shachtman reports some astonishing news: Torrential rains wiped out a quarter of the U.S.’ intercontinental ballistic missile interceptors in Ft. Greely, Alaska last summer —  right when North Korea was preparing to carry out an advanced missile launch, according to documents obtained by the Project On Government Oversight. What happened? Massive ...

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603005_070327_mda_15.gif

Wired's defense blogger Noah Shachtman reports some astonishing news:

Torrential rains wiped out a quarter of the U.S.' intercontinental ballistic missile interceptors in Ft. Greely, Alaska last summer --  right when North Korea was preparing to carry out an advanced missile launch, according to documents obtained by the Project On Government Oversight.

What happened? Massive flooding damaged the missile silos that house the missile interceptors. Nobody expected torrential downpours to be an issue in Ft. Greely, Alaska, and so the silos weren't adequately protected.

Wired‘s defense blogger Noah Shachtman reports some astonishing news:

Torrential rains wiped out a quarter of the U.S.’ intercontinental ballistic missile interceptors in Ft. Greely, Alaska last summer —  right when North Korea was preparing to carry out an advanced missile launch, according to documents obtained by the Project On Government Oversight.

What happened? Massive flooding damaged the missile silos that house the missile interceptors. Nobody expected torrential downpours to be an issue in Ft. Greely, Alaska, and so the silos weren’t adequately protected.

As for Boeing, the chief contractor for the site, Shachtman notes that the goof may actually work in its favor: 

POGO blames Boeing for being “at least partly responsible for failing to protect the silos” from the elements.  Nevertheless, the watchdog group observes, the company “will most likely still receive an estimated $38 million to repair the silos and a $100 million no-bid contract to build more silos. Boeing would also receive a $7 million award fee added to the contract.”

That’s probably par for the course in the U.S. defense contracting business, which bears an increasing resemblance, at least superficially, to the old Soviet procurement system. The real question is: How many other critical U.S. defense systems are vulnerable to freak weather incidents? Because if the scientists are right about global warming, we may see a lot more of these types of problems.

UPDATE: Be sure to check out Missile Defense Agency spokesman Rick Lehner’s response and POGO’s rebuttal.

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