INDUSTRY: Woes of the Atlas

The biggest bottleneck in the U.S. missile program is not the development or testing of the giant birds—which have been firing successfully—but construction of the bases that would be needed to send them winging against an enemy. The U.S. now has six operational Atlas intercontinental ballistic missiles—and by schedule should now have 18. Later this year twelve Atlases will be operational, whereas there should be more than 30. Last week 56 top executives of companies that make the Atlas and its launching sites returned home from Washington after a rousing pep talk from Defense Secretary Thomas S. Gates Jr. urging...

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