Monday, January 15, 2007

... and flying Pentagons, too.

[Image: E-4B National Airborne Operations Center, photo by FAS.]

Time magazine takes us on a mini tour of an odd "white Boeing 747 with the words 'United States of America' emblazoned on its side," better known to Pentagon types as the "Doomsday Plane." "With odd bumps and antenna protruding from its fuselage," the article tells us, "the modified 747 is the so-called 'National Airborne Operations Center' (NAOC)," a flying Pentagon, if you will, designed to keep the government's war room soaring free in the event of a catastrophic event, or disaster.

From Time:

The NAOC on alert 24 hours a day, seven days a week — although there are four identical planes that rotate duty, and also serve as backup to Air Force One.

Unlike Air Force One, the NAOC can refuel in midair and is designed and supplied with engine oil, and food and water for the crew to be able to stay aloft for days. Its full crew includes intelligence analysts, communications specialists, maintenance troops, and even its own security force. It constantly monitors all major U.S. commands and the location of nuclear forces, keeps an eye on potentially hostile military troops, gathers intelligence data, and monitors the whereabouts of every U.S. government official in the line of succession. The NAOC also carries with it at all times about a dozen of the most relevant war plans in case senior officers need them at hand.

We truly have entered the age of the flying fortress with secret jetliner taxis, airborne penthouses, stealthy airport-squatting mobile gulags, instant democracies and deployable pneumatic parliaments. You might say the skies have turned into a full blown aerial privatopia up there most of us will probably never see, much less even know about.
Unless it all comes falling from the sky one day in a kind of architectural hail storm of defunct government fuselages, disposable extraordinary rendition torture chambers, future fossils of jet-propelled Google headquarters, all tumbling from the clouds together in great bombastic chunks of classified debris, toppled by record breaking atmospheric pressures and freakish electromagnetic storms.
Just make sure to look out.

(spotted at Boing Boing).


Blogger RoseCovered Glasses said...

It is difficult to convey the complexity of the way DOD works to someone who has not experienced it. This is a massive machine with so many departments and so much beaurocracy that no president, including Bush totally understands it.

I am a 2 tour Vietnam Veteran who recently retired after 36 years of working in the Defense Industrial Complex on many of the weapons systems being used by our forces as we speak.

Presidents, Congressmen, Cabinet Members and Appointees project a knowledgeable demeanor but they are spouting what they are told by career people who never go away and who train their replacements carefully. These are military and civil servants with enormous collective power, armed with the Federal Acquisition Regulation, Defense Industrial Security Manuals, compartmentalized classification structures and "Rice Bowls" which are never mixed.

Our society has slowly given this power structure its momentum which is constant and extraordinarily tough to bend. The cost to the average American is exhorbitant in terms of real dollars and bad decisions. Every major power structure member in the Pentagon's many Washington Offices and Field locations in the US and Overseas has a counterpart in Defense Industry Corporate America. That collective body has undergone major consolidation in the last 10 years. What used to be a broad base of competitive firms is now a few huge monoliths, such as Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon and Boeing.

Government oversight committees are carefully stroked. Sam Nunn and others who were around for years in military and policy oversight roles have been cajoled, given into on occasion but kept in the dark about the real status of things until it is too late to do anything but what the establishment wants. This still continues - with increasing high technology and potential for abuse.

Please examine the following link to testimony given by Franklin C. Spinney before Congress in 2002. It provides very specific information from a whistle blower who is still blowing his whistle (Look him up in your browser and you get lots of feedback) Frank spent the same amount of time as I did in the Military Industrial Complex (MIC) but in government quarters. His job in government was a similar role to mine in defense companies. Frank's emphasis in this testimony is on the money the machine costs us. It is compelling and it is noteworthy that he was still a staff analyst at the Pentagon when he gave this speech. I still can't figure out how he got his superior's permission to say such blunt things. He was extremely highly respected and is now retired.

The brick wall I often refer to is the Pentagon's own arrogance. It will implode by it's own volition, go broke, or so drastically let down the American people that it will fall in shambles. Rest assured the day of the implosion is coming. The machine is out of control.

If you are interested in a view of the inside of the Pentagon procurement process from Vietnam to Iraq please check the posting on this blog entitled, "Odyssey of Armaments"

The following links may also be of interest:

4:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for the links RoseCovered, it's always interesting to get an insider perspective on this stuff.

I guess that's why i see the floating fortreses as so symbolic of the implosion of power, the break down. hence the need for mobile escape pods, airborn pentagons. it's all so dislocated, removed from itself. extensions of power retreating into places of its own refuge. hovering over the world, in pursuit of limitless power and a new place to hide.

bubbles of a state of exception, wizzing and orbiting about the planet. soon the prison system will exist completely out in space. detention facilities will deport people to lunar processing facilities. the pentagon will turn into another planet one day.

11:51 PM  
Blogger RoseCovered Glasses said...


Excellent Similes my poetic friend!


5:05 PM  

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