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Analyst: Why Is Successful Joint Common Missile Endangered?

By | February 26, 2007

      The Joint Common Missile (JCM) is roundly successful, and has no huge glitches, performing well.

      But the weapon, which should be receiving accolades, instead is teetering on the brink of oblivion, with plans to recompete it, according to Loren B. Thompson, chief operating officer of the Lexington Institute, a think tank near the Pentagon dealing in defense and other issues.

      Thompson expressed dismay at this situation:

      JCM can destroy a wide array of targets on land and sea, in any weather, at low cost, even when enemies attempt to jam the JCM. It’s easy to maintain, replacing multiple legacy weapons. It’s great.

      But “senior officials have been trying to kill it for two years. Why? Well, nobody really knows why.”

      Rather, the missile has won kudos in reviews.

      In 2004, “a secret meeting of Donald Rumsfeld’s handpicked geniuses decided to terminate the whole effort without even asking military users whether that was a good idea,” Thompson said. “Political appointees have continued to oppose the missile ever since, even though the services keep coming back with new evidence that the military requirement is valid, the technology works, and the program is on track.”

      The missile contractor is Lockheed Martin Corp. [LMT], a firm for which Thompson has performed consulting work.

      He muses as to why some people want to kill a weapon that works.

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