The Mil & Aero Blog
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
  DARPA makes Lockheed Martin sit for three months on one of 2010's most important military technology stories

Posted by John Keller

Here's the good news: military electro-optical systems designers at the Lockheed Martin Mission Systems & Sensors (MS2) segment in Akron, Ohio, announced today that they are building several One Shot laser-based military sniper fire-control systems that improve accuracy and reduce the possibility of detection under terms of a $6.9 million contract from One Shot program sponsor, the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) in Arlington, Va.

Here's the bad news: Lockheed Martin won that contract at the end of September, and had to sit on an official announcement for nearly three months because the public affairs folks at DARPA wouldn't give permission to announce the follow-on contract for the One Shot fiber optic laser-based system that is designed to help military snipers compensate for cross winds to hit their targets with their first shots.

The One Shot program, and Lockheed Martin's latest contract, haven't been a secret over the past quarter, however, while DARPA dithered on authorizing an announcement. We here at Military & Aerospace Electronics had been covering the story from the beginning.

Our original story, Lockheed Martin to continue One Shot program electro-optics work to help snipers hit targets in crosswinds, which ran on 1 Oct., also received considerable attention in other media -- most notably Fox News and Popular Science.

Fox News picked up the story a couple of days after we broke it, and posted a well-read story online entitled Self-Aiming Sniper Rifles Coming Next Year. Popular Science, meanwhile, posted a story entitled Darpa's Self-Aiming "One Shot" Sniper Rifle Scheduled for Next Year.

Fox News and Popular Science very graciously posted links back to the original story in Military & Aerospace Electronics, which as of today has received 10,591 page views and has been our most-read online story of 2010 -- by far.

It's too bad the public affairs folks at DARPA didn't place the same level of importance on this military technology story that the reading public of Military & Aerospace Electronics and other major online media did ... and kudos to the public relations shop at Lockheed Martin MS2 for showing such patience.
Thanks for drawing attention to this example of unnecessary secretiveness.

The correct term here is secretiveness rather than secrecy, because in this case as in so many others, the Pentagon wasn't concealing the important information from foreign foes, only from the voters and taxpayers.

Military and intelligence community public affairs offices consistently claim that such secretiveness shields valuable information from opposition forces such as the Taliban, or foreign military services.

But the Pentagon isn't worried about their opponents, such as the Russian and Chinese armies; they're worried about their enemies in Congress and in executive branch agencies.
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