There is a fascinating exhibition at MoMA "Home Delivery - Fabricating the Modern Dwelling" , which few can visit, but a brilliant and absorbing website that everyone can. This was covered in a post Monday, June 16, 2008 Compact, pre-fabricated factory built housing - design that should be easy, but isn't and included this crew rest cabin.
Unsurprisingly the fertile and inventive minds of the military and their suppliers have been at this for years.
Thereby hangs a fascinating tale.
The delightfully named Project on Government Oversight (POGO) - of which there is no UK equivalent) have just sent a fascinating letter stuffed with Appendices to The Honorable Robert M. GatesSecretaryU.S. Department of Defense,1000 Defense ,PentagonWashington , DC 20301
The Air Force have to carry around the top brass, in a war zone they cannot expect Emirates First Class, so a Senior Leader Intransit Pallet” (SLIP) was developed , thuis somehwo morpehed into two "Silver Bullets" which were a sort of modifed Airsteram trailer. Then followed twin "Steel Eagles". .... Dontcha just love this military terminolgy ?
Anyway in November 2006 a specification was drawn up for a Senior Leader In Transit
Comfort Conference Capsule (SLICC) (Note the sly elision from the impressions of gilded luxury to the rigours of military command'n'Control.) This was to provide senior leaders with an airborne state of the art environment in which to hold private conversations, accomplish work of a sensitive nature, conduct meetings and rest whilst the aircraft was on route ...SLICC wil be certified for occupancy during take off and landing in KC-10,C-17 and C-130 aircraft. (Appendix A 12 pages )
While General Duncan McNabb was head of the Air Mobility Command, he presided over a decision to extend the Steel Eagle-style privileges to a far-wider range of military and senior civilian leaders and intended to purchase up to ten SLICCs – a substantial expansion of high-end transport accommodations.
The Military have a piggy bank called the Global War On Terror (GWOT) supplemental which is meant to be directly used to fund troops involved in the current conflicts abroad. The Air Force requested $16 million in the recently passed GWOT supplemental to fund the additional SLICCs, according to a June 2008 Air Force briefing on the program. (Appendix B 10 pages).
Gen. McNabb was a picky customer , the SLICC has to have a the SLICC will be ‘World class’ interior. (Appendix D) He wanted Blue seat belts, not brown, blue leather not brown, (This the Air force goddamit!) and he wasn't happy with the carpet - the costs were queried ."How'd we get US$113 K for 4 Pallets ? " says some one in an e-mail ", "I could carpet and re-upholster a couple of house for US$113K !"
Before re-design , the capabilities document for the SLICC (known also as the “Senior Official Work and Rest Capsule” and the “DV Capsule”) contains a detailed list of amenities required such as: (Appendix E 15 pages)
“The wall mounted flat screen/flat panel monitor must have a diagonal measurement of at least 37 inches”;
“A full length mirror”;
“Aesthetically pleasing wall-to-wall carpeting”;
“Aesthetically pleasing wall treatments/coverings”;
“Aesthetically pleasing ceiling treatments/coverings”;
“Internal illumination level will automatically adjust to ambient lighting levels”;
“A single remote control unit which controls operation and all functions of the video playback devices as well as the wall mounted flat screen/flat panel monitor"
Things got to a pretty high level and involved the top brass ...According to another email this was all known at the highest levels of the Air Force: “the SLICC was briefed again this weekend to CSAF [Chief of Staff of the Air Force]who was then T. Michael Buzz Moseley.
The estimated cost of the first prototype SLICC is currently US$2.735 million – and it is based on the already existing Steel Eagle design. Originally the SLICC was estimated to cost US$1.743 million in November of 2006. There has been about 64% cost growth in less than two years.
As of March this year, the total cost increase for retrofit and further customization –which goes beyond wood and leather – for the SLIPs, directed by Air Mobility Command headquarters, is $493,000. (Appendix F)
POGO point out to Secretary Gates that .."The SLICC and SLIP programs are a gross misuse of millions of taxpayer dollars that could otherwise be used to train and equip soldiers. This case is just the latest in a long string of examples which illustrate a disconnect between the senior leadership of the Air Force from the increasingly pressing needs of servicemen and women (including those inside the Air Force) in the current and likely near term conflicts our country faces."
Chief of Staff of the Air Force T. Michael Buzz Moseley is sacked
PS : On 5 June 2008 Chief of Staff of the Air Force T. Michael Buzz Moseley was given an option by the Department of Defense of either resigning or being fired. This was directly related it was publicly stated to Six AGM-129 ACM cruise missiles, each loaded with a W80-1 variable yield nuclear warhead, were mistakenly loaded on a United States Air Force (USAF) B-52H heavy bomber at Minot and transported to Barksdale. The nuclear warheads in the missiles were supposed to have been removed before taking the missiles from their storage bunker.
Thundershow and retired generals sharing the graft
It may also be possible that it was also related to The Air Force Thunderbirds aerial display team which tours airshows as an aid to recruitment - it was intended as part of an extravagant outdoor huge video installation to present a "Thundershow" .A $50 million contract for audio-visual presentation services to Strategic Message Solutions ,of Plymouth Meeting, Pennsylvania. This appears to have involved former Chief of Staff of the Air Force Gen. (ret.) John Jumper, and Chief of Staff of the Air Force T. Michael Moseley. It is suggested that the contract price was inflated, Air Force General (ret.) Hal Hornburg, a pal of these two patriots was associated with Strategic Message Solutions.
The Arizona Republic newspaper reported extensively on the controversy in March, saying it had documents that showed Moseley steered the contract to Shipley. Strategic Message Solution's bid was nearly twice that of a competing proposal, the newspaper said.
Chief of Staff of the Air Force Gen. T. Michael Moseley was knighted during a ceremony at the British Embassy in Washington on May 30 2006. The honorary knighthood, (KBE) at the suggestion of Queen Elizabeth II, stemmed from the general's contributions to United States-United Kingdom relations while he served as commander of the air war over Afghanistan and Iraq at the onset of the war on terrorism.
Who is for petitioning the Queen for him to be de-frocked or whatever it is you do to these sort of people ?