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Submission + - A flawed missile defense system generates $2 billion in bonuses for Boeing (

schwit1 writes: From 2002 through early last year, the Pentagon conducted 11 flight tests of the nation's homeland missile defense system. The interceptors failed to destroy their targets in six of the 11 tests — a record that has prompted independent experts to conclude the system cannot be relied on to foil a nuclear strike by North Korea or Iran. Yet, as The LA Times reports, over that same time span, Boeing, the Pentagon's prime contractor, collected nearly $2 billion in performance bonuses for a job well done...

Furthermore, The Pentagon paid Boeing more than $21 billion total for managing the system during that period.

An LA Times investigation by David Willman also found that the criteria for the yearly bonuses were changed at some point to de-emphasize the importance of test results that demonstrate the system’s ability to intercept and destroy incoming warheads.

Early on, Boeing’s contract specified that bonuses would be based primarily on “hit to kill success” in flight tests. In later years, the words “hit to kill” were removed in favor of more generally phrased benchmarks, contract documents show.

L. David Montague, co-chair of a National Academy of Sciences panel that documented shortcomings with GMD, called the $2 billion in bonuses “mind-boggling,” given the system’s performance.

Montague, a former president of missile systems for Lockheed Corp., said the bonuses suggest that the Missile Defense Agency, the arm of the Pentagon that oversees GMD, is a “rogue organization” in need of strict supervision.

The cumulative total of bonuses paid to Boeing has not been made public before. The Times obtained details about the payments through a lawsuit it filed against the Defense Department under the Freedom of Information Act.

The Times asked the Missile Defense Agency in March 2014 for information on bonuses paid to GMD contractors.

Boeing objected to release of the data, and the agency denied the newspaper’s request, saying disclosure might reveal “trade secrets and commercial or financial data.”

The Times then sued in federal court last year, asserting that the public had a right to know about the payments. The government’s lawyers later agreed to release the information if Boeing would not intervene in the litigation “or otherwise take steps to prevent disclosure.”

Boeing eventually acquiesced, and the Defense Department settled the suit with a single-page letter listing the sum total of bonuses paid to Boeing from Dec. 31, 2001, to March 1, 2015.

The figure: $1,959,072,946.

The precise criteria for bonuses could not be obtained for each of the relevant years. However, documents on file with the Defense and Treasury departments show that the missile agency at some point altered a central criterion.

“In recent contract terms, the words ‘hit-to-kill’ have been changed to support the more detailed documented objectives of each respective flight test. For intercept flight tests conducted under the current design and sustainment contract, a successful intercept remains a key performance objective.”

Whatever their rationale, by characterizing the test as a success, the agency and the contractors may have bolstered the prospects for performance bonuses, according to missile defense specialists.

Boeing, in its most recent annual report, underscored the significance of GMD to its finances. The company could face “reduced fees, lower profit rates or program cancellation if cost, schedule or technical performance issues arise,” the report said.

Timothy Sullivan, a former federal contracting officer who examined GMD financial documents at the request of The Times, said the bonus provisions were extraordinarily complex.

“How you administrate something like this is mind-boggling to me. It is an administrative nightmare,’’ said Sullivan, an attorney who represents defense companies and other government contractors in Washington for the law firm Thompson Coburn LLP.

Montague, the former Lockheed Corp. executive, said the intricate bonus system reflected the missile agency’s lack of rigor in engineering and contracting. If the goals for managing GMD had been adequately defined at the beginning and spelled out in contracts, there would be little need for lucrative incentives, he said.

By relying on bonuses, Montague said, the missile agency has effectively told Boeing: “We don’t know what we’re doing, but we’ll decide it together and then you’ve got to work toward maximizing your fee by concentrating on those areas.”

Is it any wonder that The Pentagon has 'lost' a few trillion dollars?

Submission + - Which countries have open-source laws on the books (

alphadogg writes: It’s become increasingly common over the past decade or so to see laws being passed to either mandate the use of open-source software or, at the very least, encourage people in government who make procurement decisions to do so. Here’s a map of the status of open-source laws around the world.

Submission + - US would be 25th in 'Hacking Olympics' if held today. China would take the Gold. ( 1

DirkDaring writes: While the United States and India may have lots of programmers, China and Russia have the most talented developers according to a study by HackerRank, which administers coding tests to developers worldwide. "If we held a hacking Olympics today, our data suggests that China would win the gold, Russia would take home a silver, and Poland would nab the bronze," Trikha said. "Though they certainly deserve credit for making a showing, the United States and India have some work ahead of them before they make it into the top 25."

Laser Fusion's Brightest Hope 115

First time accepted submitter szotz writes "The National Ignition Facility has one foot in national defense and another in the future of commercial energy generation. That makes understanding the basic justification for the facility, which boasts the world's most powerful laser system, more than a little tricky. This article in IEEE Spectrum looks at NIF's recent missed deadline, what scientists think it will take for the facility to live up to its middle name, and all of the controversy and uncertainty that comes from a project that aspires to jumpstart commercial fusion energy but that also does a lot of classified work. NIF's national defense work is often glossed over in the press. This article pulls in some more detail and, in some cases, some very serious criticism. Physicist Richard Garwin, one of the designers of the hydrogen bomb, doesn't mince words. When it comes to nuclear weapons, he says in the article, '[NIF] has no relevance at all to primaries. It doesn't do a good job of mimicking validates the codes in regions that are not relevant to nuclear weapons.'"

Google Releases Street View Images From Fukushima Ghost Town 63

mdsolar writes in with news that Goolge has released Street View pictures from inside the zone that was evacuated after the Fukushima disaster. "Google Inc. (GOOG) today released images taken by its Street View service from the town of Namie, Japan, inside the zone that was evacuated after the Fukushima nuclear disaster in March 2011. Google, operator of the world's biggest Web search engine, entered Namie this month at the invitation of the town's mayor, Tamotsu Baba, and produced the 360-degree imagery for the Google Maps and Google Earth services, it said in an e-mailed statement. All of Namie's 21,000 residents were forced to flee after the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami crippled the Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear plant, about 8 kilometers (5 miles) from the town, causing the world's worst nuclear accident after Chernobyl. Baba asked Mountain View, California-based Google to map the town to create a permanent record of its state two years after the evacuation, he said in a Google blog post."

Submission + - It's not fracking theory, it's fracking practice (

chadenright writes: "MSNBC reports on a study that, in theory, fracking should have no harmful environmental contamination; however, in practice, above-ground spills pose greater groundwater contamination threat than the actual fracking operations. It also notes that press has been generally negative. Why can't we give the people who are putting toxic chemicals in our drinking water a break?"

Submission + - Linux Should Lead Accessibility Technologies (

inkscapee writes: Assistive technologies for computer users with hearing, vision, and other impairments are still stuck in the dark ages. Proprietary software and hardware cost a mint and haven't advanced in years, while Linux and free / open source software barely seem to be trying, with excessive energy being devoted to keeping Gnome and KDE in perpetual states of disarray. And accessibility support always comes last; Gnome 2 is the best Linux desktop for accessibility, and has done wonderful work with minimal funding and support, but Gnome 3 threw it all away. Still, there is tremendous potential for Linux and FOSS to change people's lives, if they could stop running in circles like gerbils on crack.

Submission + - Hell Freezes Over: SCO vs IBM trial back on again ( 1

DickBreath writes: It looks like the lawsuit SCO started back in March 2003 against IBM (but really against Linux) is back on again.

SCO first filed this clue-challenged lawsuit in March 2003. SCO claimed Linux was contaminated with code IBM stole from UNIX and that it was impossible to remove the infringement. Therefore, said SCO, all Linux users owe SCO a license fee of $1399 per cpu — but since SCO are such great guys, for a limited time, you can pay only $699 per CPU for your dirty infringing copy of Linux.

Of course, Novell claimed and later proved in court that SCO doesn't even own the copyrights on UNIX that it is suing over.

IBM claims there is no infringing code in Linux. SCO never provided evidence of the massive infringement it claimed existed. The source ordered SCO three times to produce its evidence, twice extending the deadline, until it set a FINAL deadline of Dec 22, 2005 — which came and went — with SCO producing nothing but a lot of hand waving. Meantime, SCO filed for bankruptcy protection in September 2007 because it was being beaten up in court so badly with the court going against SCO.


Submission + - SPAM: Bangladeshi Black-hat hacker groups hacked Indian 2000 website

lingkon1 writes: "Bangladeshi Black-hat hacker groups hacked almost 2000 website in Indian.
and one website was Indian BSF Armies.For this causes the Indian Border Force (BSF) website ([spam URL stripped]) has been completely corrupted.This news published in South India's most widely read English language daily The News in Deccan Chronicle.Chronicle of the interrogation.The Black-hat group has claimed,
This work for only against Border killing of Bangladeshi man.This group have a facebook fan page.Here writes,We do not have any personal issue with India.But Indian BSF barbarism and the Government of India has forced it to us.One hacker said,India has supported us in 1971,Now they are trying to kill us.An enemy is good from a simulant friend.I do not fear death.I continued to fight until our win.The hacker group has been hacked a popular news site of share markets in India ([spam URL stripped]).Meanwhile, India indisela 'hacker group attack to led bangladeshi hacker Sites. On the other hand, claim that the Indian Hacker's 300 sites have been attacked in Bangladesh."

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