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Industrial Espionage

The article, "U.S. Companies Exposed to Industrial Espionage," (September 2002, page 6) offered some excellent advice to businesses regarding the need to think of the value to competing companies if they should have access to corporate plans or technical details of projects or designs in the works. In my opinion, bringing such ideas out into the public's consideration is extremely important.

I say that because of my experience in technical surveillance countermeasure (TSCM), in which we use specialized equipment and procedures to check client companies for any possible electronic eavesdropping or other actions to collect valuable information. However, the vulnerability that we find regularly does not require our very specialized skills.

Frequently, we have to tell our client in our report that it makes no sense to spend their money to hire us to check for high tech espionage, when they have not taken the simple step to have a company employee present while the clean-up contractor employees are working to be certain that they do not sort through the trash for items of possible value to a competitor.

For example, one night, a member of our crew handed me a letter draft from a wastebasket that specified the full details of an offer that involved another company that was joining in with our client to buy a third company. It specified the amount of money being offered, timetable, etc. Gad!

James A. Ross


Smart Munitions

In the first paragraph of "U.S. Army Presses Ahead On Precision-Guided Artillery" (October 2002, pg. 34) the subject article under "Range and Accuracy," makes the statement that "Current U.S. howitzers are outgunned by those used by potential adversaries, such as Iraq and North Korea, according to Army officials." As a retired guy who worked armament R&D and ammunition, the above statement by "Army officials" is totally incorrect. We may be out-ranged, but we are far from out-gunned. Our field artillery soldiers are the best trained, and our target acquisition, communications and ammunition are the best in the world. We are a long way from out-gunned! The XM982 family is much needed and will add to our superiority.

James W. Boddie Jr.


Civil Servants' Protection

My comment is in reference to Security Beat, "Eisenhower Would Have Been Appalled." (November 2002, page 8)

Perhaps Ike would have been appalled, but it is no surprise that civil servants being proposed for transfer to the new Department of Homeland Security are not enthusiastic about forfeiting the protections they were hired and remain employed under.

If military personnel were told that, upon assignment to the Department of Homeland Security, they could be forced out of their service by a more expeditious means and with less oversight and protections than afforded to all other military personnel, do you think they would be happy about it?

The obvious compromise is to phase in the proposed special civil service rules for new hires for Homeland Security but for civil servant transfers, they would retain the civil service protections they currently have. Civil servants projected for transfer to the Department of Homeland Security should "suck it up" for the cause of national security and not stand in the way.

Mike Pettitt


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Publication:National Defense
Date:Dec 1, 2002
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