Accident Analysis of the Death Star Mk2 (Part A – Executive Summary)Posted: March 2, 2012
The Imperial Navy Death Star was a bespoke counter-insurgency platform. In 4 ABY the Death Star collided with SSD Executor, a Star Dreadnought. All crew aboard the Executor were killed, and both vessels received substantial damage from the impact. The Death Star subsequently incurred further damage from small craft operated by terrorist agents, and exploded. The estimate of direct casualties is 13 million, but due to poor record keeping the precise numbers of civilians and military personnel on board the Death Star at the time of the accident is unknown. Further casualties occurred when the wreckage fell to Endor, causing substantial environmental damage and killing the entire Ewok species.
- Whilst the incident occured during active operations, it cannot be dismissed as attrition through enemy action. The puny rebel fleet should have been no match for the power of a fully operational battlestation.
- The Imperial Navy responded to the destruction of the first death star by introducing technical improvements to platforms and equipment, without responding to the wider organisational problems. These structural and cultural issues led directly to the circumstances of the second Death Star accident.
- The trade-offs between safety, operational effectiveness, and project schedule were made without due regard for the level of risk involved in this decision making. In particular, the visible importance that senior management placed on meeting deadlines overshadowed all other considerations.
- There was systematic misalignment of authority and responsibility throughout the Imperial Navy, leading to poor decision making in times of crisis.
- The absence of a Just Culture within the Imperial Fleet discouraged staff from raising concerns. This choked vital reporting mechanisms which could have alerted senior management to the systematic problems.
- The rebel fleet was overly reliant on “heroic individuals” to achieve organisational goals. This ad-hoc approach to management achieved short-term effectiveness at the expense of addressing systemic risk and longer-term fallout from their actions.
- The design of the Death Star incorporated defence-in-depth protection mechanisms, but these were subverted by common-cause failures.
- The effects of the accident were made significantly worse by overconfidence and lack of emergency response planning.