Archive for the ‘Air Force’ Category

Pentagon Rebids Flying Tanker Contract

July 9, 2008

Pentagon Rebids Flying Tanker Project
Above: NotionsCapital high-mileage Aero-Tanker (artist’s concept)

Secretary of Defense Robert Gates announced that the contract already awarded for an updated mid-air refueling aircraft will be withdrawn, and bidders will have to go through the bidding process all over again, for the third time.

The contract, which may eventually be worth $100 billion and last 20 years, had been awarded to Northrop Grumman and the European company EADS. Sore loser Boeing, American maker of previous Air Force tankers, objected, and the Government Accountability Office (GAO), a Congressional agency,  reviewed the bidding process and found it flawed.

The fact that this is a U.S. election year, the cancelled contract winner included a European partner, and Boeing claims it is an American company (it just happens to use lots and lots of imported parts) has absolutely nothing to do with this decision. Absolutely nothing. Nothing whatsoever. No way, no how.


CIA Secret Weapon Revealed

June 22, 2008

CIA Secret Weapon Revealed

Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates, who headed the Central Intelligence Agency from 1991 to 1993,  told some of his old CIA yarns at a confab for current CIA chief General Michael V. Hayden, who is staying with the Agency but retiring from the Air Force (note to job seekers: lots of top vacancies at the Air Force).

LA Times reporter Greg Miller says Secretary Gates reminisced about a CIA plan to float balloons over Libya and drop leaflets urging the overthrow of the government. Mr. Gates told the underspooks to re-write the pamphlets and specify just which government. If the wind shifted and the pamphlets fell on neighboring Egypt, he said, “General Mubarak would have been none too pleased.”

Oops! Secret weapon revealed! Balloons dispersing propaganda and disinformation. Stealth drones wafting silently through the sky. A great concept. It was even great the first time it was done, 200 years ago.


NASA Holiday Weekend Road Trip

May 27, 2008

NASA Holiday Weekend Road Trip
(Artist’s conception)

While you were stuck in highway traffic on the way home from the beach, mountains, or nudist fishing camp, NASA celebrated a space triumph, landing the Phoenix Mars probe in the cool North Polar area of Mars. No sea ice or polar bears there, either.


The Human Voice of War

May 26, 2008

The Human Experience od War

Over the past three days, Americans have commemorated and reflected on the human cost of war, remembering those lost in combat on behalf of our country. The Veterans History Project of the Library of Congress allows you to hear the words of those who served, their lives changed forever by the experience of war. Collected and archived under the auspices of the American Folklife Center, you can listen to these voices right now, right here.

 The Human Voice of War

Graphics: Veterans History Project, Library of Congress.

Rolling Thunder 2008

May 25, 2008

Rolling Thunder 2008
Photo by dbking

The skies are bright with sunshine, but the streets of Washington, DC roar with thunder. Rolling Thunder is back. The annual motorcycle event, originally conceived to draw attention to the plight of Vietnam-era POWs and MIAs, has grown into a roaring tribute to all America’s veterans.


Less Robust

May 2, 2008

Less Robust

President George W. Bush, responding to recent reports, denied that four thousand U.S. troops had perished in Iraq. They are just “not as robust as we would like it,” he said.

He also spoke about the economy

Counter courtesy of

Unasked, They Told . . . and Still Serve

January 9, 2008

Unasked, They Told . . .  and Still Serve.

“Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” has become “wink-wink” as more openly-gay and lesbian people are serving in the military, according to the Associated Press, Christian Science Monitor, and USA Today.


Turkey To-Do Tees Off Tenants

October 26, 2007

How do you say “Fore!” in Turkish?

U.S. servicemen stationed in Turkey are quaking in their flightboots over the Congressional resolution about Turkey and the Armenians, but not for the reasons you may have heard. The U.S. Air Force and Army families in Turkey have a lot more to lose. Let me put it into numbers:

9 Holes, Par 36.

Since 1951, when the U.S. built Incirlik AFB as a Cold War bulwark against the USSR, the airbase has gradually acquired many of the comforts of home. And because Incirlik is near Iraq and within striking distance of Iran and Syria, the 39th Combat Support and Community Services Unit does all it can to make daily life enjoyable.

The U.S. presence is reviewed by Turkey every six months, and the Congressional resolution could endanger the whole American Way of Life as it is enjoyed by servicemen in Turkey. Here is what could be lost besides all that boring strategic and logistical military stuff: