Trying to Shoot Straight

The Pentagon works to burnish its election-year image

As the defense budget has grown, so has the flurry of press reports critical of military procurement policies. New horror stories of $180 flashlights and $7,600 coffeemakers appear almost daily. Partly in self-defense, the Pentagon has launched an election-season blitz to publicize its efforts to keep costs under control.

The media campaign surfaced last week when the citizens' lobby Common Cause released a memo it had obtained, written by a Pentagon public relations officer, Kathleen Troia. The memo calls for high-profile speeches by Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger, a vigorous "letter-to-the-editor" campaign, and the enlistment of...

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