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Trump Can Thank This ‘Pretty Sweet Beard’ For His Air Force One Upgrade
At the beginning of August, the Air Force slapped Boeing with a hefty contract for two 747-8 commercial jets to replace the decaying VC-25A aircraft that currently serve as the Air Force One fleet during President Donald Trump’s frequent jaunts around the world. While the contract couldn't come a moment sooner for the aging Reagan-era aircraft rife with technical glitches, then-president-elect Trump had previously pushed to cancel the $4 billion modernization plan to save the federal government money. “Costs are out of control,” Trump tweeted in December 2016. “Cancel order!”
Trump wasn’t totally wrong: The modernization effort was projected to cost $2.87 billion through 2021. Luckily, the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center’s President Aircraft Recapitalization Directorate at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base has been working overtime since Trump’s inauguration to control replacement costs under Air Force Maj. Gen. Duke Richardson, who was promoted in March to add “a new level of scrutiny” to the project, as Aviation Week reported. The Air Force eventually settled on a pair of 747s originally ordered by now-defunct Russian airline Transaero in 2013 (The branch wouldn’t disclose the final terms of the contract).
But the secret to cost control, according to Air Force officials? One dude’s “pretty sweet beard.”
You cannot make this up. On Aug. 24, Wright-Patterson AFB published a press release (first flagged by Defense New reporter Valerie Insinna on Twitter) praising the “countless hours and out-of-the box thinking” of James Patterson, the contracting officer who led his contracts team in a seven-month-long negotiation process with Boeing. This innovative thinking included a vow by Patterson to “not shave his beard until the contract was signed.”
“We realized early in the process that this was taking longer than we thought, and I decided I could probably grow a pretty sweet beard in that amount of time,” Patterson said in the release. “We began to treat it as a team incentive and a way to mark the progress of the aircraft purchase. People would pass me in the hall and instead of asking ‘are we there yet?’ they’d say, ‘oh are you going to shave the beard this week?’
After finalizing the contract with Boeing, Richardson presided over a “shaving ceremony” alongside Patterson’s wife. And while public affairs officials at Wright-Patterson AFB declined to comment on the release when reached by Task & Purpose, Defense News’ Insinna managed to snag a photo of Patterson with his fabled beard just moments before his shearing.
Perhaps the Air Force will take Insinna’s suggestion seriously and inject some beard-related incentives into its acquisitions and contracts processes. After all, the Army announced back in May it was finally considering major changes to its beard policy. This is America — anything is possible.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump on Tuesday proposed creation of a Palestinian state with a capital in East Jerusalem, dependent on Palestinians taking steps to become self-governing, in an attempt to achieve a peace breakthrough in their decades of conflict with Israel.
Senior administration officials, briefing Reuters on the details of a plan the president was due to announce at the White House at mid-day, said that under Trump's proposed Middle East peace plan the United States will recognize Israeli settlements on the occupied West Bank.
In exchange, Israel would agree to accept a four-year freeze on new settlement activity while Palestinian statehood is negotiated, the officials said.
WASHINGTON/KABUL (Reuters) - The United States on Tuesday recovered the remains of individuals from a U.S. military aircraft that crashed in Afghanistan and was in the process of confirming their identities, U.S. and Afghan officials told Reuters on Tuesday.
On Monday, the U.S. military said an E-11A aircraft had crashed in the province of Ghazni, but disputed claims by the Taliban militant group that they brought it down.
The US government is letting Marine veteran Austin Tice languish in a Syrian prison, according to his mother
The mother of Marine veteran Austin Tice told reporters on Monday that a top U.S. official is refusing to give permission for a meeting with the Syrian government to negotiate the release of her son, who went missing near Damascus in 2012.
"Apparently, somewhere in the chain, there is a senior U.S. government official who is hesitating or stalling," Debra Tice reportedly said at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.
Debra Tice said she is not certain who this senior official is. She also praised those in government who are working to get her son back.
A retired Navy SEAL whose war crimes trial made international news has launched a video attack on former SEAL teammates who accused him of murder, shooting civilians and who testified against him at his San Diego court-martial in June.
In a three-minute video posted to his Facebook page and Instagram account Monday, retired Chief Special Operator Edward Gallagher, 40, referred to some of his former teammates as "cowards" and highlighted names, photos and — for those still on active duty — their duty status and current units, something former SEALs say places those men — and the Navy's mission — in jeopardy.
The Air Force's top general says one of the designers of the ride-sharing app Uber is helping the branch build a new data-sharing network that the Air Force hopes will help service branches work together to detect and destroy targets.
The network, which the Air Force is calling the advanced battle management system (ABMS), would function a bit like the artificial intelligence construct Cortana from Halo, who identifies enemy ships and the nearest assets to destroy them at machine speed, so all the fleshy humans need to do is give a nod of approval before resuming their pipe-smoking.