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And, yes, I DO take it personally: $16.2M for the Air Force to create "world class" accommodations exceeding the standards of a regular business-class flight
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Friday, July 18, 2008

$16.2M for the Air Force to create "world class" accommodations exceeding the standards of a regular business-class flight

flying as a passenger in a large military cargo aircraft is no joy ride... neither is flying economy on a commercial airline or a military passenger aircraft... but my response to that is, "tough shit"... i'm a regular long-haul flyer and i have to make do with what i can afford - economy - or what my employer will pay for - economy... if i have work to do, i figure out how to get it done... if i want to sleep, i try to make myself as comfortable as possible and nod off... i don't get the pleasure of the lie-flat beds in first class... i don't even get the pleasure of the fully-reclining seats in business class... the last thing we need is our military leaders even more separated from their troops than they are by enjoying first-class amenities on their travels, particularly amenities paid for by anti-terrorism funds...

from page one of today's wapo...

The Air Force's top leadership sought for three years to spend counterterrorism funds on "comfort capsules" to be installed on military planes that ferry senior officers and civilian leaders around the world, with at least four top generals involved in design details such as the color of the capsules' carpet and leather chairs, according to internal e-mails and budget documents.


Air Force documents spell out how each of the capsules is to be "aesthetically pleasing and furnished to reflect the rank of the senior leaders using the capsule," with beds, a couch, a table, a 37-inch flat-screen monitor with stereo speakers, and a full-length mirror.

The Air Force's new capsules, which will
fit in large aircraft, are meant to ensure
that senior military officers and civilian
leaders can travel in comfort.
(Special To The Washington Post)

An Air Force document specified that the
capsule's seats are to swivel such that
"the longitudinal axis of the seat is
parallel to the longitudinal axis of the
aircraft" regardless of where the capsules
are facing.
(Special To The Washington Post)

The effort has been slowed, however, by congressional resistance to using counterterrorism funds for the project and by lengthy internal deliberations about a series of demands for modifications by Air Force generals. One request was that the color of the leather for the seats and seat belts in the mobile pallets be changed from brown to Air Force blue and that seat pockets be added; another was that the color of the table's wood be darkened.

Changing the seat color and pockets alone was estimated in a March 12 internal document to cost at least $68,240.

In all, for the past three years the service has asked to divert $16.2 million to the effort from what the military calls the GWOT, or global war on terrorism. Congress has twice told the service that it cannot, including an August 2007 letter from Rep. John P. Murtha (D-Pa.) to the Pentagon ordering that the money be spent on a "higher priority" need.

Officials say the Air Force nonetheless decided last year to take $331,000 from counterterrorism funds to cover a cost overrun, partly stemming from the design changes, although a senior officer said yesterday in response to inquiries that it will reverse that decision.

i repeat... tough shit... fly like the rest of us... more importantly, fly like the troops have to fly...

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