Monday, March 26, 2018

Oh, your Air Force Chief of Staff Caught Lying to your Defense Chief?

Relatively unreported here, I've been thinking over the weekend what the USA version of this would look like;
At least three Belgian generals, including the chief of the air force, and several senior officers were suspended yesterday by Belgian Chief of Defense Marc Compernol as the F-16 scandal continues to widen, to the point it is now referred to in the media as the “F-16-gate.”

The officers are suspected of having hidden from Compernol and Defense Minister Steven Vandeput studies carried out by Lockheed Martin and which concluded that the Belgian air force’s F-16s could remain in service for at least six years longer that their planned 2023 retirement date.
Compernol did not name the suspended officers, but media reports have identified them as Air Force Commander Gen. Frederik Vansina; Gen. Luc Roelants, head of the public procurement section of the defense ministry’s Material Resources agency; and Col Peter Letten, “manager” of the F-16 fleet. Col Harold van Pee, head of Air force procurement, and of the Air Combat Capability Program (ACCaP) which is managing the fighter competition, confirmed to Belga news agency that he had also been suspended.
I know a few Belgian officers that I've served with. They are a frustrated lot. Their politicians are thoroughly contemptible. Their military is small and starved, even for a nation of ~10 million people. As we covered last week, they are the premier "welfare queen" in the alliance.

You can see how, in a desperate attempt to try to get the best path forward, some would be tempted to nudge and fudge - but you can't do that. You can never do that. Those in uniform cannot adopt the habits of the politicians they work with. Sure, there are some of their techniques and habits you can adopt to survive at the highest levels when you are in the same tank as they are - but there are lines.

A lesson here for everyone. You can be in Brussels, but don't be of Brussels. You can be in DC, but don't be of DC.

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