In the cutthroat world of defense spending and lobbying, even the most academic of mistakes can cause a major headache. Take the recent case of a wording error buried in a lengthy National Research Council report on boost-phase missile defense systems. In September, the report mistakenly estimated that the operation and sustainment costs for the Patriot system would be as high as $809 million annually per battalion, when in fact it was for the entire 15-battalion force. Moreover, an Army ...

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