While Troops Travel in Squalor, Air Force Brass Choose Swatches for First Class Cabins

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On Friday I noted the controversy over two related Air Force projects designed to provide senior military officials with “world class” aircraft accommodations. Outfitted with such first class perks as flat screen TVs, leather chairs, and “aesthetically pleasing” wall and ceiling treatments, the multi-million dollar projects, known as Senior Leader In-Transit Conference Capsules (SLICCs)—first referred to as “comfort capsules, according to Air Force documents—and Senior Leader Intransit Pallets (SLIPs) were the subject of a letter from the Project on Government Oversight’s executive director, Danielle Brian, to Defense Secretary Robert Gates last week. In it, she wrote that these programs, which were partially financed with counter-terrorism funding, illustrate a “disconnect between the senior leadership of the Air Force from the increasingly pressing needs of servicemen and women”—particularly given the “deplorable state” of the seat pallets used for troop transport.

Well, POGO has obtained several pictures of the interior of a cargo plane taken at Al Udeid Airbase in Qatar. And it’s not pretty:

militarytransport.jpg

Meanwhile, here’s a mock-up of a SLICC:

slicc.jpg

And a SLIP:

slip.jpg

I think it goes without saying that senior military leaders deserve to travel in comfort, and require privacy in order to carry out their responsibilities. But if the picture above is indicative of the state of military cargo aircraft in general, then the top Air Force brass are going to find it difficult to explain why they were picking out carpet swatches while the troops were headed to war in squalor.

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