The Pentagon Wars: Reformers Challenge the Old Guard

The Pentagon Wars: Reformers Challenge the Old Guard

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by James G. Burton
     
 

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From the late 1960s through the mid-1980s, a small band of military activists waged war against corruption in the Pentagon, challenging a system they believed squandered the public’s money and trust. The book examines the movement and its proponents and describes how the system responded to the criticisms and efforts to change accepted practices and…  See more details below

Overview


From the late 1960s through the mid-1980s, a small band of military activists waged war against corruption in the Pentagon, challenging a system they believed squandered the public’s money and trust. The book examines the movement and its proponents and describes how the system responded to the criticisms and efforts to change accepted practices and entrenched ways of thinking.

The author, an air force colonel and part of the movement, worked in the pentagon for fourteen years. He presents a view of the Department of Defense that only an insider could offer. He exposes serious flaws in the military policy-making process, particularly in weapons development and procurement. The details he gives on the unrelenting push for high-tech weapons, despite their ineffectiveness and extraordinary cost-overruns, provide a strong case for the charge of ethical bankruptcy.

The second half of the book deals with the author’s attempts to get frontline equipment tested under combat conditions. For the first time, readers learn the nasty details of his battle with the army over line-fire testing of the Bradley Fighting Vehicle—a battle that he eventually won, leading to the personnel carrier’s redesign and the saving of many lives.

Never reluctant to name names and reveal details, James G. Burton presents a forceful case. And his revelations offer insights not found elsewhere into the motivations and actions of the people who wield power from within. Nor does he stop at the walls of the Pentagon. In his epilogue he tells what happened in the field during the final hours of the Gulf War that allowed Hussein’s elite Republican Guard to escape.

Now back in print after having inspired a feature HBO film, this explosive account of insider corruption is sure to serve policy-makers for generations to come.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Former Air Force colonel Burton spent 14 years as a Pentagon specialist in weapons acquisition and testing before his retirement in 1986. In this angry, controversial, convincing brief, he testifies that the process of selecting and purchasing weapons for our armed forces is ``ethically and morally corrupt from top to bottom,'' with few checks and balances. The most scathing and damning portions of the expose illustrate how Pentagon procurement officers routinely give more consideration to satisfying defense contractors than to the safety of the troops who will use a given weapon on the field. Burton recalls the fuss he raised over the Bradley Fighting Vehicle's vulnerability to anti-armor weapons, and though (reluctantly made) design changes improved the safety of the vehicle, Burton suffered both personally and professionally for his boat-rocking, as he shows here. Ultimately, he is not optimistic: the flaws in weapons procurement are probably permanent, Burton concludes, since the reforms he and others forced were only temporary. Photos. (Sept.)
Roland Green
Written by a former high-ranking Defense Department civilian, this history of the last decade of Pentagon procurement scandals focuses on the acquisition of Navy fighter planes but also covers various abortive reform efforts, including the Goldwater Act, and the reasons for their comparative failure, so far, to make the Pentagon a worthwhile locus of efficient strategic decision making. Burton argues strongly, too, for a number of reforms of his own, particularly independent outsider review of major programs. A concerned insider's view, the book requires of the reader some background in military matters. For the serious student of defense decision making, it's invaluable.
Booknews
Burton, a retired US Air Force colonel who specialized in the acquisition and testing of weapons systems and worked in the Pentagon for 14 years, was part of a small band of military activists waging war against corruption in the Pentagon. He examines the movement and its proponents and describes how the system responded to their criticisms, and he presents an insider's view of the Defense Department, exposing serious flaws in the military policy-making process. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781612513690
Publisher:
Naval Institute Press
Publication date:
02/15/2014
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
336
File size:
2 MB

Meet the Author


James G. Burton is a former Air Force colonel who spent 14 years as a Pentagon specialist in weapons acquisition and testing before his retirement in 1986.

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The Pentagon Wars 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago