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Prestigious source on military power charged with errors

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The credibility of one of the most authoritative sources for information on the world's armies and weapons, relied on by press and government alike, is being seriously questioned here.

According to the Center for Defense Information (CDI), "The Military Balance, 1980-1981," published by Britain's prestigious International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), contains scores of erros.

"We have identified ovre 100 items of dubious accuracy," says Rear Adm. Gene R. La Rocque (USN, ret.), director of the moderate, even dovish CDI, which has made a study of the section on United States forces in the widely respected IISS document. "There are numerous discrepancies between accurate official US information and the numbers contained in the IISS publication," he avers.

Admiral La Rocque has written to IISS director Dr. Christoph Bertram listing the alleged inaccuracies along with what he describes as the "official sources" for the accurate information.

Observing that the IISS "is often a major force for sanity in military affairs," La Rocque declares that "in view of the high reputation of 'The Military Balance,' every effort should be made to assure that it is as accurate as possible."

The CDI letter, dated Dec. 8, has not yet reached the London office of the IISS, says information officer Robert Elliot. "Really, until I've seen what they're unhappy about, we've got a problem," he says. "We expect it the end of the week."

Mr. Elliot concedes that he is aware of one or two entries in the latest "Military Balance" that "we did have difficulty with." He says one concerned the Hound Dog stand-off missile "which I frankly missed. It had been taken out [of service] in 1976 and I still had it as being in the inventory."

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