Teaching Case - Breaking the Bad News: Divad

Breaking the Bad News: Divad


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  • Product Description

    Between 1977 and 1985, the US Army invested almost $2 billion in the Divisional Air Defense, better known as Divad. The Army believed this modified tank, jammed with expensive computers, radar, and other high-tech gear, would protect frontline troops and equipment from increasingly sophisticated Soviet helicopters. Although Divad played to poor reviews from analysts inside the Pentagon, the weapon went into production in 1983. Only two years later, Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger cancelled the Divad program--a decision unprecedented for nearly a quarter of a century. What happened? Divad was cancelled following criticism in both the media and Congress. This case focuses on the early press coverage and tells the story of Gregg Easterbrook, a young Atlantic Monthly writer who broke the news of Divad's woes. It examines how he got his information, why he chose to write about Divad and how his choice triggered a chain of events ultimately leading to the weapon's demise. A videocassette of the ABC News "20/20" report on Divad, cited in the case, is available from ABC News for $160. The video features highlights of a failed Divad test, the reactions of Army officials and an ABC commentary. To order, please contact the ABC Distribution Co., 825 7th Avenue, New York, NY 10019 and ask for the segment titled The Armored Edsel, aired on December 13, 1984.

    Learning Objective:
    Options for classroom use include: how the press influences government policy; how a story becomes news; the roles of both the journalist and his sources in shaping a story.

  • Other Details

    Publication Date: January 01, 1988
    HKS Case Number: 841.0
    Case Author: Harvey Simon
    Faculty Lead: Howard Husock
    Pages (incl. exhibits): 15
    Setting: United States
    Language: English
    Funding Source: Department of the Army
    _year: Older than 2000
    _pages: 1-15
    _geography: US & Canada
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