From a post to Baen's Bar Honorverse dated June 20, 2004:

Andermani intelligence gathering

    As far as Andermani penetration of the Star Kingdom is concerned, it is nowhere near as thorough as some people seem to be assuming (or as complete as the Andies wanted the Manticorans to believe that it was) .

    Andermani intelligence operations are unhampered by the Havenite tradition of an over emphasis on political questions, and are generally free of the distortion which the Legislaturalists and StateSec obsession with political reliability introduced into Peep intelligence ops. As a result, they are undeniably more efficient and effective than StateSec was, but that doesn't mean that they are the super-spooks of the explored galaxy.

    The Andies did manage to penetrate one or two specific programs, but Manticoran security was pretty much up to the task of holding them at bay where things like Ghost Rider were concerned. The big difference between the Andermani and the Peeps (aside from the political top hamper) was that the Andies' basic education and technological capabilities were far closer to the Manticoran norm, which meant that they were able to do more with less when it came to figuring out what the Manties had done and how they had done it. Some of the new Andermani systems are actually the result of efforts to duplicate Manty systems out of purely Andermani research, or to find another way to do the same thing, specifically because they were unable to "steal" the technology from Manticore. And some of the new Andermani systems, frankly, don't work all that well. The externally mounted pods, for example, are very definitely a second best alternative to a proper pod-laying design. They originally thought of it as somewhat analogous to mounting above-water torpedo tubes on wet-navy ships, but firing that many missiles creates some fairly nightmarish problems for their sidewall technology, not to mention what the pods physical interference does to sensors, communications links, and even some of their point defense systems. They do give smaller ships at least the possibility of a single large launch, but at the cost of some significantly awkward operational compromises.

    In terms of both missile range and missile size, their MDM designs are nowhere near as good as the current-generation Manticoran designs. They do have some advantages of their own, notably in terms of fire control and the onboard seeker/targeting systems built into their warheads. Their stealth technology is, I think, being overestimated by some readers. It's very, very good, but that doesn't equate to superior to what the Manticorans have. It's sort of like Manticoran comments about how good Solarian EW is. What they are comparing it to is Havenite technology, which is what they've been fighting for so long. Compared to their own technology, both the Andermani and the Sollies remain somewhat inferior. In particular, no one else can currently manage the capabilities of remote Manticoran platforms, in large part because no one else can manage the energy budget available to those platforms courtesy of the miniaturized fusion plants which are now being used to power them. Comparing the Andies to the Sollies, you'd find that the Andermani had a slight but measurable advantage over the Sollies in stealth and sensor technology, largely because they, unlike the Sollies, have recognized that they are in the position of playing catch-up ball where the Manticorans are concerned. Even those Sollies who are aware that the Manties had been up to something fairly extraordinary still hampered by their absolute assurance that Solarian technology is, always has been, and always will be superior to that of anyone else in space.

    There's a lot more that could be said about this whole subject. I haven't really incorporated all of this material into the novels because while I find it rather fascinating, and I've spent many an enjoyable hour working out how all of this is going on behind the scenes, I've always had the feeling that many of my readers think the books are to hardware-heavy already. Word count is already a problem, and I simply decided fairly early on that I wouldn't concentrate on this aspect of the conflict. I probably overdid that, so you may see a couple of "spy stories" in future anthologies, or some of this might get incorporated into the Saganami Island and Crown of Slaves series. It would actually make a good bit of sense to put this into the books which are going to the most focused upon and involved with relations with Mesa, Manpower, and the Solarian League. At the same time, the main front between Haven and Manticore is going to see aspects of the military balance of power seesawing on the basis of relative hardware capabilities, so it may make sense to have a plot strand with Shannon and Bolthole which would also touch on these matters.

    And now I have to go.