Die Munitionen sind daran schuld.

Blame the bullets.

Problems with the Bundeswehr’s standard assault rifle, the Heckler & Koch G36, occurred during fighting in Afghanistan. Its accuracy could deviate by up to half a meter during sustained firing because the plastic-seated barrel heated up; this was confirmed by testing at the military’s Wehrtechnische Dienststelle [“military technology service center”] not long after troops reported the first problems in 2011. Germany’s defense minister at the time, Thomas de Maizière (C.D.U.), was criticized for not putting a moratorium on new orders for the G36 despite these unresolved problems. Instead of replacing the G36, they decided to tell German soldiers in Afghanistan to avoid sustained fire and to allow hot barrels to cool to “hand warmth” for more accurate shooting.

Now Metallwerk Elisenhütte in Nassau, a Rhineland-Palatinate firm that has “traditionally” supplied bullets to German military and police forces, meaning for a long time, has accepted blame for Heckler & Koch’s overheating gun barrels. Two palettes of bullets from a different manufacturer were shipped to Afghanistan, the defense department announced. More G36 rifles have been ordered from Heckler & Koch.

Many people would assume the Wehrtechnische Dienststelle’s tests in 2012 would have used bullets from multiple manufacturers. Yet the bullets were not identified as the source of the G36’s overheating until December 2013, a time between German governments when e.g. state secretaries seem to have been running the show at the defense department.

Update on 22 Jun 2014: Germany’s defense ministry will not be buying more of its G36 standard assault rifles from Heckler & Koch, for the time being, in response to a report by the German Federal Court of Auditors [Bundesrechnungshof] doubting the gun’s accuracy. The defense ministry said they will be retesting the gun, and that they disagree with the doubts of the auditors.

Update on 28 Jun 2014: The 23 Jun 2014 report from Federal Court of Auditors is highly classified and very critical. Since 2012, the Bundeswehr has “only unassertively accepted” the findings from G36 testing, has “not responded to the ongoing criticism to the appropriate degree” to the present day and “reacted too late in any case.” Even under the new defense minister von der Leyen, the problems with the G36 “have been neither consequently processed nor clarified doubt-free.” The defense ministry “has not ordered an investigation suitable for clearing up the existing doubts about the weapon.” The experts do not believe the bullets are to blame for the gun’s problems according to the report—it’s unclear from the Spiegel article whether these are experts consulted by the auditors, auditors evaluating all the data available to them, experts outside the government, etc.

A Green party politician said now the defense ministry must not only illuminate, fix and explain the G36 problems but also how it could make such an error in judgment for so many years, “deviating so dramatically from the opinions of its own experts.”

(Dee   moon eats YO! nen   zinned   dah ron   SHOOLED.)

Kosten-Preis-Analysengruppe

“Cost/price analysis group,” what retired inspector-general pricing & logistics director Harry Kleinknecht said the U.S. Army doesn’t have, “much less an experienced one.”

A recent inspector general report’s criticized that the Boeing company, the Pentagon’s number two supplier after Lockheed, tried to overcharge the military billions of dollars, discovered in four audits over the past five years. Boeing apparently misinterpreted an inflation formula ~$2 billion in its own favor, for example. The audits caught them e.g. invoicing for new helicopter parts but installing used ones, a situation so old it sounds like how Harry Truman said he rose to F.D.R.’s attention as a congressman during World War II: by driving a congressional committee investigating lethal waste, fraud and abuse committed by military contractors (and not by being a machine politician).

Retired I.G. Boeing auditor Harry Kleinknecht also criticized that the military’s tactics and force preparedness were insufficient “in complex negotiations” with its contractors and that it did not properly inspect, evaluate and respond to the quality of results delivered, or not delivered. When the military failed to know how many items they needed of a part while ordering it, they would let Boeing oversell them, millions of dollars. When they failed to know a part’s market price or what Boeing’s manufacturing costs were for it, they would let Boeing overcharge them, millions of dollars (~$2000 each for a ~$12 part, ~$600 each for a ~$10 part). Contracting officials lacked the engineering? accounting? criminal justice? experience to discern what some of the problems that needed fixing were, Harry Kleinknecht indicated. Bloomberg.com said the inspector general’s report deemed the military’s contract management “lax.” A spokesperson for the inspector general’s office mentioned that the wording of the military procurement contracts could have but did not prevent some of the more expensive and possibly dangerous suppliers’ misunderstandings in the suppliers’ favor, a situation that can hopefully be improved by leveraging the experience accumulated in this area for >100 years.

Thanks to Harry Shearer for mentioning this Bloomberg report on his weekly news podcast, le Show.

(COST en   PRIZE   on ah LEEZ en grue peh.)

Büro für Berufliche Verantwortung

“Office for Professional Responsibility,” an in-house ethics watchdog. In the U.S.A.’s federal government, e.g. the I.R.S., F.B.I., Immigration and Customs Enforcement at the Department of Homeland Security each has one, and the Justice Department has one. Serious criticisms written by U.S. judges are apparently supposed to be reported in the Justice Department to your supervisor and then on to Justice’s Office for Professional Responsibility.

A Freedom-of-Information-Act request by USA Today found that the Justice Department’s Office for Professional Responsibility not only did not investigate the scathing criticism of the N.S.A. written by at least two judges on the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act court supposed to monitor the agency, but Justice’s Professional Responsibility office had no record of having heard about it.

The F.I.S.A. judges objected to the N.S.A.’s lying to the F.I.S.A. court.

(Byoo ROE   foor   beh ROOF lichh eh   fer AUNT vort oong.)

Gemeinsames Terrorabwehrzentrum, G.T.A.Z.

“Joint Terrorism Defense Center.” Apparently the German police and secret services have been working together at this institution since its founding in 2004 under poor Otto Schily. Many Germans are terrified by the idea of police and spies working together.

If the reasonable, brave, intelligent, energetic and left-leaning defense attorney Otto Schily, cofounder of the German Green party in 1980, could as interior minister in an S.P.D. + Green party coalition federal government help set up the “antiterrorism” cooperations that Otto Schily apparently did, then institutions in governments around the world could use a good hard review by politicians who don’t want to see themselves forced into similar stances in the very near future.

A recent review of Germany’s antiterror laws by the interior ministry and the justice ministry, examining in particular who has what authorities and who checks their work, has concluded and published its nonbinding report. Interior minister Hans-Peter Friedrich (C.S.U.) was satisfied with the current laws but justice minister Sabine Leutheusser-Scharrenberger (F.D.P.) is not: she is calling for a new law providing uniform and limiting rules for antiterror centers where police and intelligence services exchange information.

“When we’re talking about intervention authorizations that go deep, precisely the ones that penetrate into the privacy and personality spheres of individual people, then there have to be definitive rule-of-law procedures, mandatory notifications, inspection and controls, transparency.”

(Geh MINE zom ess   TARE or OB vare tsent room.)

Kontaktketten klarstellen

“Contact chaining analysis,” what the NSA did with the networks of relationships disclosed by the bulk Internet metadata it collected from ~2001 to ~2011, according to a draft of a 2009 report by the NSA’s inspector general.

In case you were wondering, the IG report defined contact chaining as

“the process of building a network graph that models the communication (e-mail, telephony, etc.) patterns of targeted entities (people, organizations, etc.) and their associates from the communications sent or received by the targets.”

“Additional chaining can be performed on the associates’ contacts to determine patterns in the way a network of targets may communicate. Additional degrees of separation from the initial target are referred to as ‘hops.’ For example a direct contact is one hop away from the target. A contact of the direct contact would be described as being 2 hops away from the target. The resulting contact-graph is subsequently analyzed for intelligence and to develop potential investigative leads.”

The inspector general’s report said internet metadata was one of four types of domestic and international data vacuumed up by the NSA between ~2001 and ~2011. With occasional stops and/or restarts of one or the other category due to technical problems or legal concerns on the part of e.g. the FISA court, the NSA acquired: internet metadata, telephone metadata, internet content and telephone content.

(Con TALKED kett en   KLAH shtell en.)

Akteneinsicht

“View into the files,” access to files, to audit records and check documentation systems. What inspectors and transparency advocates request.

(OCT en EYE n zichh t.)

Datenschutzsiegel

“Data protection seal of approval.” A 2008 book on data protection in Germany proposed creating independent auditing agencies who would inspect public and private organizations. If the organizations met standards for data protection, transparency, data security, etc., they would be issued the auditors’ “quality seal” which they could use in their marketing materials as a reputation booster. The auditors would be motivated to keep their own reputation high by not being pushovers, presumably. Multiple reliable auditors could watch each other. Set up well and done honestly, these inspections could ultimately enhance efforts at leak control by keeping whistleblowing from being the only way visible to try to fix the most broken organizations. When these inspectors published what criteria they used to calculate their ratings, smaller organizations down to families and individuals could learn tips about improving their own data protection.

Judging by online search results, squabbling about which data protection inspection seals are worthy may have already begun. There appears to be understandable concern that a company that produces consumer credit scores, which many Germans view with suspicion, also dipped its toe in the data protection certification business. Possible other models suggested for such an independent inspection system included the feared TÜV inspections and Biosiegel (“certified organic.” Bio means organic in German. Öko means treehugger.). An early boost was provided when a German state created demand for the certificate by requiring independent data-protection certification for products, programs and services used by state offices.

(DOT en shoots ZEEG ell.)

Kollisionsschutz

“Collision protection.” In a surprise move ~14 May 2013 the German Defense Ministry [Bundesverteidigungsministerium] cancelled its Euro Hawk drone development cooperation with the USA because the drone was not going to receive permission from civilian authorities to fly in European airspace. When the cancellation was announced, GDefense said they’d spent 550 million euros on the project, but now they’re saying 660 million. The F.A.Z. Sonntag reported GDefense knew about the “Euro Hawk” civil-airspace permission problems in 2004, three years before they signed the procurement contracts to purchase the drones. Airspace permission was denied to the unmanned surveillance drone because it lacked an adequate “collision protection” system [“fehlende Kollisionsschutz“]. Air safety authorities, business people in the aerospace industry and the German Defense Department’s own licensing office warned the Defense Ministry about the paperwork problems in 2004. Furthermore, the opposition SPD and Green Party accuse, GDefense subsequently “massively interfered” in the German Federal Court of Auditors [Bundesrechnungshof]’s attempt to do their job by investigating what the hell was going on there. On 18 May 2013 the Bundesrechnungshof auditors said they’d still not received all the documents they’d requested and some of the status reports they did receive were blacked out by censors.

Half the project’s money was spent on developing the drone vehicle in the USA and half on developing the drone’s special electronic surveillance system in Germany. The surveillance system is supposedly too large to go in other drones but could be carried by a normal plane. One Euro Hawk prototype was delivered and four more drones were going to be ordered.

The F.A.Z. Sonntag reported that serious problems occurred during the drone prototype’s delivery flight from California to Bavaria in 2011, when contact with the controlling satellite was lost twice for about ten minutes at a time and the drone deviated from its course. But the Defense Ministry did not report these problems to the Bundestag. US air safety authorities also had refused to issue airspace permission to the drone, before its 2011 transfer flight. Anti-drone activist Medea Benjamin, author of “Drone warfare: Killing by remote control,” said in a 24 Sep 2012 interview that the US air force admits about one-third of these drones have been crashing. She said apparently it’s OK for them to crash on some countries but not other countries.

The German Defense Ministry’s reason for refusing to share the information requested by the controlling authorities, the Bundesrechnungshof auditors, was agreements made with “industry partners” not to share information with third parties. A spokesman for the federal auditing authority said not receiving all the information they needed to do their jobs was “unusual. We don’t experience something like that very often.” And: “The Bundesrechnungshof has an unlimited right of inspection which the Defense Ministry cannot nullify via agreements with third parties. We can and will not accept the Defense Ministry’s limitations of our access to the files.”

On 22 May 2013, Defense Minister Thomas de Maizière (CDU) said he will let the federal auditors see all documents now, even despite putative contractual conditions agreed with the USA.

Germany has also contributed ~483 million euros to NATO’s Hawk drone (“Global Hawk”?) which is based on the same US drone and thus might also have civil airspace licensing issues.

(Coe LEE zee OWNS shootz.)

Blog at WordPress.com.