Star Wars Under Fire

A tough-minded Pentagon puts a damper on Congress's enthusiasm

Weapons change purposes these days as easily as people change hats. But rumblings from the Pentagon indicate that even the latest version of Star Wars is in trouble. The first tremor came in a May 15 memo by Assistant Secretary of Defense David Chu leaked to the press last week. Haste could make billions of dollars in waste, warned Chu. The department's top weapons analyst says plans to deploy 100 ground-based interceptors by 1997 -- rather than 2002, as he recommends -- to fend off small-scale nuclear attacks cannot proceed without major cost overruns and performance problems. In the rush to...

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