The Death Star Gets Audited: “What A Piece of Junk”


Even institutions as large as the Galactic Empire from the Star Wars universe must have oversight boards to make sure budgets are set and spending stays in line. Michael Peck drafted a letter for Foreign Policy addressed to “Lord Vader” and the “Imperial Navy” from the “Imperial Government Accountability Office” concerning the lack of project management and oversight surrounding the Death Star. The audit was performed at the request of Emperor Palpatine and was compiled from research from “numerous interviews with Imperial Navy leaders as well as Imperial Ministry of War senior executives.”

The letter has some concerns, and some recommendations, excerpted below.


Frequent Turnover in Senior Personnel Hampers Continuity. Competent management is key to a project as large as the construction of a moon-sized warship. Yet the unfortunate deaths of the last five Imperial admirals in charge of the Death Star project have contributed to a lack of continuity and institutional memory. We estimate that repeated asphyxiation of project managers has set back construction of the PCS by 16 months. Senior Imperial Navy leadership informs us that there have been difficulties in recruitment of qualified candidates, with several promising officers suddenly requesting early retirement when queried about becoming project leaders. Recommendation: Motivating project leaders through incentives such as cash bonuses, slaves, and land grants on habitable worlds. A reduction in the use of strangulation as a motivational tool.”


Inadequate Reactor Shielding Has Not Been Mitigated. The Death Star is sufficiently armored to withstand repeated hits from the full Rebel battle fleet. However, the thermal exhaust port of the PCS’s main reactor is not armored, and the shaft to the reactor is not compartmentalized to deflect blast effects. During our interviews with experienced TIE fighter pilots, they unanimously agreed that the port is so narrow that no fighter—not even one flying down the approach trench—could obtain a sufficient firing angle, especially when attacking craft would be under continuous fire from shipboard weapons and interceptors. The prime contractor, Darkside Technologies, also assures us that the reactor is sufficiently shielded to withstand a hit from a proton torpedo. We reiterate the concerns stated in our previous report regarding the validity of the contractor’s testing of reactor protection, and we remain concerned that penetration of the port could result in a catastrophic explosion of the main reactor. Recommendation: A permeable barrier over the port to allow heat to escape while deflecting projectiles, as well as compartmentalization to channel blast effects. Independent third-party validation of Darkside Technologies’ testing of reactor shielding.


Inadequate Marksmanship Training Has Not Been Addressed. Stormtrooper Command (STORMCOM) requires all troops to receive extensive blaster training. Yet our audit of their marksmanship tests finds that 70 percent of stormtroopers cannot hit a large stationary object, such as a ship, at a distance of 10 feet. This calls into question the ability of the Death Star crew to repel boarders. Recommendation: More rigorous marksmanship training. Increased use of guard bots.


Insufficient Analysis of Alternatives to Death Star. While tests indicate that the Death Star can vaporize planets and thus encourage loyalty to beneficial Imperial rule, the Imperial Navy has not demonstrated that a fleet of Star Destroyers cannot effectively accomplish the same mission through devastation of a planet’s surface at far less cost. Recommendation: Further modeling and simulation is needed to determine whether conventional ships can perform the same Imperial loyalty mission as the Death Star.


Lord Vader responded to the audit in simple Vader style: “I find your lack of faith disturbing.”


Attribution

Read the full letter on Foreign Policy


Commentary Ticker

  • Google Glass Lets You Take Photos With Your Brain
    July 12, 2014 | 4:02 pm

    If you haven’t heard, electroencephalograms (EEGs) have been getting better. Way better. Artificial limbs and even video game controllers are utilizing the non-invasive brain-wave monitoring method to guide computers by thought. Now English startup This Place has developed a way to bring the technology to Google Glass, allowing Google’s wearable to read your mind. Well, […]

  • Android Art: The Accidental Selfies of Google Art Project
    July 5, 2014 | 11:11 am

    Within the cultural centers of the world lurks a mechanical beast draped in silver spinning madly and capturing everything, sometimes even itself. In 2011 Google created the Art Project, an initiative to bring their Street View technology inside the cultural epicenters of the world. Google enlisted 17 world-class museums in short time. Institutions such as […]

  • Purple Mountunes Majesty: The Most Patriotic Playlist
    July 4, 2014 | 12:13 pm

    A while ago, Paul Lamere of The Echo Nest, a music-analysis company, took to finding each state’s most distinctive, yet popular, artist in a viral article. Spotify took note, purchasing Echo Nest for their analytical talent. Together, they’ve released a blog post documenting each state’s most distinctively American song creating a patriotic playlist for the […]

  • Emojinealogy: Where the Heck Emojis Come From
    July 2, 2014 | 3:10 pm

    On June 16th, the Unicode Consortium announced that 250 new emoji would be added to the list of symbols available to people’s cellphones and computer devices. The list of the new symbols can be found on Emojipedia. And no, the list doesn’t include the much needed minority representation, but it does include your favorite (?) […]

  • The Decline and Fall of the American Mall
    June 24, 2014 | 9:07 pm

    For ages, the shopping mall was as essential to the architecture of suburbia as Levittowns and freeways. But in an era of online shopping, these epicenters of brick and mortar yesteryear are quietly being abandoned across the country. While the U.S. currently has around 1,500, the number may soon shrink, and rapidly, leading to abandoned […]

  • RSSArchive for Commentary Ticker »

Join our mailing list!



Trending on The Airspace