Tags: Army | Official | Resigns | Over | Crusader

Army Official Resigns Over Crusader

Friday, 10 May 2002 12:00 AM

Kenneth A. Steadman, a retired Army officer and former director of Veteran of Foreign Wars of the United States, was a political appointee to the principal deputy post of the Army's office of legislative liaison.

The Army on Wednesday completed an investigation into the Crusader controversy that unfolded over the last 10 days. The report has not been released publicly.

According to a synopsis of the report provided by the Army, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz told Army Secretary Thomas White of a "preliminary" decision to terminate the $11 billion Crusader program on April 30. White directed his staff to respond to congressional queries about the Crusader by stating the Army's continued support for the embattled weapon system, being developed by United Defense Industries Inc.

The chief of the legislative liaison office then directed the creation of "talking points" supporting the continuation of Crusader. Although these talking points were never approved by the chief of the office or White, Steadman sent them to Capitol Hill on May 1.

"I am personally and professionally disturbed by the preparation and distribution of these so-called talking points that I find, frankly, offensive and insulting to the Department of the Army and the Department of Defense," White said in a prepared statement released Friday.

The talking points, which have not been released, reportedly stated that the Pentagon decision to terminate Crusader would put Army lives at risk.

Last week an angry Rumsfeld told reporters he had a "minimum of high regard" for the perpetrators of the back room politicking that had gone on.

White escaped punishment in the flap as his direction to support the Crusader predated the final decision to cancel it, Rumsfeld told reporters Friday.

The Army warning to Capitol Hill about the Crusader's uncertain future came in time for interested members of Congress, notably Rep. J.C. Watts, R-Okla., to slip language into the House Armed Services defense authorization bill prohibiting the cancellation of the program until a thorough analysis is completed in mid-2003. The Senate Armed Services Committee contained no such prohibition, but it fully funded the original request for $475 million for Crusader.

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Kenneth A. Steadman, a retired Army officer and former director of Veteran of Foreign Wars of the United States, was a political appointee to the principal deputy post of the Army's office of legislative liaison. The Army on Wednesday completed an investigation into the...
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2002-00-10
Friday, 10 May 2002 12:00 AM
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