I find it interesting that the Air Force is complaining that the Speaker of the House wants to use the Speakers aircraft.
We did not hear a peep out of the Air Force when Speaker Hastert inserted an earmark in the FY 2003 Air Force appropriation requiring them to lease 4 large aircraft to support the Congress. The lease provision was inserted the year before the Air Force initiated its cockamamie program to lease 100 large tanker aircraft. It would appear that the initial 4 were a stalking horse for how far credulity could be stretched in the name of pork and support for the Defense contractor who had recently moved their headquarters to the Speakers home state.
The only reason for the earmark-directed lease was to ensure that they would not be visible in the appropriated budget. As a lease cost, they were lost in the amorphous Operations and Maintenance appropriation. The lease rationalization for these aircraft was even more specious than that attempted for the tankers in as much as 2 of the large aircraft were sitting in the desert and could have been purchased for a fraction of the ultimate lease cost.
One is left with the impression that the Air Force is trying to play Politics.
-- Ron Garant
Former Director of Investment Appropriations,
DoD Office of the Comptroller