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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.
The 2020 National Defense Authorization Act would allow service members to seek compensation when military doctors make mistakes that harm them, but they would still be unable to file medical malpractice lawsuits against the federal government.
On Monday night, Congress announced that it had finalized the NDAA, which must be passed by the House and Senate before going to President Donald Trump. If the president signs the NDAA into law, it would mark the first time in nearly seven decades that U.S. military personnel have had legal recourse to seek payment from the military in cases of medical malpractice.
A major serving at U.S. Army Cyber Command has been charged with distributing child pornography, according to the Justice Department.
Maj. Jason Michael Musgrove, who is based at Fort Gordon, Georgia, has been remanded to the U.S. Marshals service, a news release from the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Georgia says.
Navy senior leaders could decide whether or not to approve the new I-Boot 5 early in 2020, said Rob Carroll, director of the uniform matters office at the Chief of Naval Personnel's office.
"The I-Boot 5 is currently wrapping up its actual wear test, its evaluation," Carroll told Task & Purpose on Monday. "We're hoping that within the first quarter of calendar year 2020 that we'll be able to present leadership with the information that they need to make an informed decision."
Oklahoma Congresspeople slam private housing contractor at Tinker Air Force Base for negligence, fraud
U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe and U.S. Rep. Kendra Horn leveled harsh criticism last week at the contractor accused of negligence and fraudulent activity while operating private housing at Tinker Air Force Base and other military installations.
Inhofe, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, referred to Balfour Beatty Communities as "notorious." Horn, a member of the House Armed Services Committee, told a company executive she was "incredibly disappointed you have failed to live up to your responsibility for taking care of the people that are living in these houses."
The Saudi national who killed three students on a U.S. Naval Air station in Pensacola was in the United States on a training exchange program.
On Sunday, Sen. Rick Scott said the United States should suspend that program, which brings foreign nationals to America for military training, pending a "full review."