The real villain in the Air Force-Trump hotel scandal: the dreaded Defense Travel System, obviously

news
upload.wikimedia.org

The hullabaloo about an Air Force C-17 crew spending the night at one of President Donald Trump's resort in Scotland is just another reminder of why the Defense Travel System is the one piece of technology that the Pentagon wouldn't mind if the Chinese stole.

The Air Force has launched a review of how it selects which hotels airmen can book, after news broke that seven airmen stayed overnight at Trump's Turnberry resort in March during a stopover while the crew's C-17 refueled roughly 54 miles away at Glasgow's Prestwick Airport.


After Politico reported on Sept. 7 that lawmakers were investigating why the C-17 crew paid to stay at a luxury resort owned by the president, the Pentagon's top spokesman stressed to reporters on Monday that the Air Force's review into the matter has not found any infractions to guidelines for how the service selects which airports and hotels airmen can use for stopovers.

"In this case, they made reservations through the Defense Travel System and used the closest available and least expensive accommodations to the aircrew within the crew's allowable hotel rate," Jonathan Hoffman said at a Pentagon media availability.

"I'd like to point out that the cost of this hotel on the stopover mentioned was $136 a night, which is well within the $166 per night per diem rate and was significantly cheaper than the nearby Marriott property, which was $161 a night."

Since 2015, Air Mobility Command has increasingly used Prestwick Airport as a layover for flights headed to or returning from downrange because it is open 24 hours a day, the weather is better than at Edinburgh's Shannon Airport, and there is less aircraft parking congestion than in airports on continental Europe, Hoffman said.

The reason the C-17 crew stayed in Scotland overnight in March is they were required to rest after reaching the end of their duty day, said chief Air Force spokesman Brig. Gen. Ed Thomas.

"Because we don't want our airmen flying fatigued, you can have a 12-hour crew day but then you've got to have 12 hours of rest before you get behind the controls of the airplane," Thomas told reporters on Monday. "It can be waived during wartime or during periods of extremis, but it is a flight safety issue."

Thomas also called the costs of transporting the crew to the Trump resort as opposed to a hotel closer to the airport "negligible" because the Air Force has to pay for a bus or van to take airmen to their lodgings.

"So whether they go 5 miles or 10 miles or 20 miles it doesn't really change much," he said.

For his part, Trump vehemently denied influencing the C-17 crew's decision to stay at one of the Turnberry resort in March.

"I know nothing about an Air Force plane landing at an airport (which I do not own and have nothing to do with) near Turnberry Resort (which I do own) in Scotland, and filling up with fuel, with the crew staying overnight at Turnberry (they have good taste!)," the president tweeted on Monday. "NOTHING TO DO WITH ME."

It has been a deadly year for Green Berets, with every active-duty Special Forces Group losing a valued soldier in Afghanistan or Syria.

A total of 12 members of the Army special operations forces community have died in 2019, according to U.S. Army Special Operations Command. All but one of those soldiers were killed in combat.

In Afghanistan, Army special operators account for 10 of the 17 U.S. troops killed so far this year. Eight of the fallen were Green Berets. Of the other two soldiers, one was attached to the 10th Special Forces Group and the other was a Ranger.

Read More Show Less

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Documents from the Pentagon show that "far more taxpayer funds" were spent by the U.S. military on overnight stays at a Trump resort in Scotland than previously known, two Democratic lawmakers said on Wednesday, as they demanded more evidence from the Defense Department as part of their investigation.

In a letter to Defense Secretary Mark Esper, the heads of the House of Representatives Oversight Committee and one of it subcommittees said that while initial reports indicated that only one U.S. military crew had stayed at President Donald Trump's Turnberry resort southeast of Glasgow, the Pentagon had now turned over data indicating "more than three dozen separate stays" since Trump moved into the White House.

Read More Show Less
Sigourney Weaver as Ellen Ripley from 1979's 'Alien' (20th Century Fox)

Editor's Note: This article by Gina Harkins originally appeared on Military.com, a leading source of news for the military and veteran community.

QUANTICO, Va. -- Marines who spend much of their day lifting hefty ammunition or moving pallets full of gear could soon get a helping hand.

The Marine Corps is close to signing a deal to test an exoskeleton prototype that can help a single person move as much as several leathernecks combined.

Read More Show Less
NEC Corp.'s machine with propellers hovers at the company's facility in Abiko near Tokyo, Monday, Aug. 5, 2019. The Japanese electronics maker showed a "flying car," a large drone-like machine with four propellers that hovered steadily for about a minute. (Associated Press/Koji Sasahara

'Agility Prime' sounds like a revolutionary new video streaming service, or a parkour-themed workout regimen, or Transformers-inspired niche porno venture.

But no, it's the name of the Air Force's nascent effort to replace the V-22 Osprey with a militarized flying car — and it's set to take off sooner than you think.

Read More Show Less
In this March 12, 2016, file photo, Marines of the U.S., left, and South Korea, wearing blue headbands on their helmets, take positions after landing on a beach during the joint military combined amphibious exercise, called Ssangyong, part of the Key Resolve and Foal Eagle military exercises, in Pohang, South Korea. (Associated Press/Yonhap/Kim Jun-bum)

Task & Purpose is looking for a dynamic social media editor to join our team.

Our ideal candidate is an enthusiastic self-starter who can handle a variety of tasks without breaking a sweat. He or she will own our brand's social coverage while working full-time alongside our team of journalists and video producers, posting to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram (feed, stories, and IGTV), YouTube, and elsewhere.

Read More Show Less