Leahy’s Legacy of Lies: Oct. 15-29, 2019
EXPOSING LEAHY’S LEGACY OF LIES — Part 2
SPEAKING TRUTH TO POWER
Quotations from the Air Force’s official records of the F-35 Burlington Basing Selection Process
“We are here to read to you a quotation from the Air Force official administrative record of the F-35 Burlington basing selection process and to get your response to it.”
“We request that Senator Leahy initiate an independent investigation into the political corruption of the F-35 Burlington basing selection process.”
Day 1: Tuesday, October 15, 2019
On March 28, 2013, a Memorandum for the Record was written to capture the information discussed during a telephone conversation (telecon) among officials from the offices of the Secretary of the Air Force (SAF), Headquarters Air Force (HAF), and Air Combat Command (ACC) on the findings from the F-35 Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). In this excerpt from the Memo, officials state that McEntire Air National Guard Station in South Carolina is the preferred Air National Guard (ANG) base for the F-35—not Burlington.
“After the telecon with HAF/SAF ended, ACC participants discussed the contents of the preliminary draft Record of Decision (ROD), which states that the environmentally preferred alternatives are Hill AFB (24 total F-35 scenario) and McEntire ANG Base (18 total F-35 aircraft), for the ACC and ANG basing decisions, respectively. Due to the overwhelming evidence provided by the EIS documentation, A7P proposed the ROD recommendation to be structured around Hill and McEntire for the decision maker.” (Admin Record #57838)
Day 2: Wednesday, October 16, 2019
On March 28, 2013, a Memorandum for the Record was written to capture the information discussed during a telephone conversation (telecon) among officials from the offices of the Secretary of the Air Force (SAF), Headquarters Air Force (HAF), and Air Combat Command (ACC) on the findings from the F-35 Environmental Impact Statement. In this excerpt from the Memo, officials state that critical errors were made in scoring Burlington and McEntire Air National Guard Stations.
“To make the position, A5B needed to discuss the basis/reasoning for identifying Burlington ANG Base as the preferred ANG basing alternative in basing scoring model. ACC/5B leadership indicated that there is no operational benefit of Burlington ANG base over McEntire ANG base, and that Burlington scored higher than McEntire overall due to incorrect scoring (Burlington scored higher than it should have been and McEntire was scored lower than it should have been regarding encroachment and development) during the initial enterprise wide look.” (Admin Record #57838)
Day 3: Thursday, October 17, 2019
On March 28, 2013, a Memorandum for the Record was written to capture the information discussed during a telephone conversation (telecon) among officials from the offices of the Secretary of the Air Force (SAF), Headquarters Air Force (HAF), and Air Combat Command (ACC) on the findings from the F-35 Environmental Impact Statement. In this excerpt from the Memo, officials discuss their plans to brief other Air Force officials on their preference for McEntire over Burlington.
“The matter was breeched to ACC/A5B leadership as to how to proceed regarding the identification of the ANG operationally preferred alternative. Mr Murr indicated that he would have a follow-on discussion with Mr Pohlmeier regarding the preference of McEntire over Burlington. Once input is provided, ACC/A7PS will direct completion of the draft ROD, and submit to HAF/A7CI for review.” (Admin Record #57838)
Day 4: Friday, October 18, 2019
The following, written in March 2013, is from the “Draft Review Document of the Environmentally Preferred Alternative.” This is the document in which the Air Force announces which base they selected for the F-35 basing along with the reasons for selecting that base. In this excerpt from the draft document, Air Force basing experts recommend selecting McEntire Air National Guard station in South Carolina—not Burlington— because the F-35 noise affects far fewer areas, people, homes, and sensitive locations at McEntire than at Burlington or Jacksonville.
“The environmentally preferred alternative for Air National Guard (ANG) basing locations is McEntire ANG Scenario 1 (18 total F-35A aircraft). This ANG represents the greatest decrease in the amount of acres, population, households, and receptors exposed to noise levels 65 dB DNL and greater when compared to either its baseline or No-Action Alternative. This is also true when you compare McEntire ANG Scenario 1 among the other two ANG basing locations and their associated scenarios.” (Admin Record #57909)
Day 5: Monday, October 21, 2019
The following, written in March 2013, is from the “Draft Review Document of the Environmentally Preferred Alternative.” This excerpt provides the rationale for why the Air Force basing experts were recommending that the Secretary of the Air Force select McEntire Air National Guard station—not Burlington. The Air Force basing experts express frustration that some entities want Burlington selected. The basing experts say they do not have justification from the environmental study to select Burlington. They are asking for a reason to select Burlington that overcomes the negative environmental evidence against Burlington.
“Basis of Decision: While the EIS has, by overwhelming evidence, proven McEntire ANG to be the environmentally preferred alternative, Burlington AGS was previously identified as the preferred alternative. The EIS team is unable to craft justification language or rationale to continue supporting Burlington as the preferred alternative. Please provide information/evidence that may be used in the ROD to justify a decision that transcends the environmental evidence presented in the EIS.” (Admin Record #57909)
Day 6: Tuesday, October 22, 2019
On April 1, 2013, Mr Dryden, an Air Force official from Headquarters Air Combat Command, wrote to Mr Murr, an Air Force official also in Headquarters Air Combat Command about his frustration in being told to write a Record of Decision selecting Burlington since overwhelming evidence showed that Burlington was not the best place for the F-35. He states that McEntire — not Burlington— is the preferred base both environmentally and operationally. He is asking for those who want Burlington selected to provide the evidence and justification for that decision.
“Per our discussion following last Thursday’s (28 March 13) telecon with HAF (Headquarters Air Force), request inputs from your follow-on conversation with Mr Pohlmeier, AF/A8PB, regarding advice on the identification of McEntire vice Burlington ANG basing that aligns the environmentally preferred alternative with the operationally preferred alternative. We cannot proceed with completion of the draft ROD (Record of Decision) until this advice is received. A MFR (Memorandum For the Record) reflecting the main points of the HAF/ACC (Headquarters Air Force Air Combat Command) 28 March 13 telecon and follow-on discussion is attached for your continued information and use.” (Admin Record #57919)
Day 7: Wednesday, October 23, 2019
On April 4, 2013, Mr Murr, an Air Combat Command official wrote to Colonel King also at Air Combat Command informing him that the EIS indicated that McEntire Air National Guard station was the preferred F-35 base. Murr intimates that Air Combat Command and the Air Force selected McEntire based on facts, not personal caring.
“Were you aware that (according to ACC/A7P) the EIS indicates that McEntire is the “environmentally preferred alternative?” Does the AF care? From an ACC perspective and an operational perspective, I am pretty certain we do not care.” (Admin Record # 57921)
Day 8: Thursday, October 24, 2019
On July 18, 2013, Mr Penland, Chief of the Operational Basing at Headquarters Air Force, wrote to Mr Sample, a contractor working at Headquarters Air Force saying that the evidence from an “operational” standpoint—meaning military needs—not political wants —does not point to Burlington.
“I think the important thing you need to realize is there really were no “operational reasons as to why Burlington is designated as the preferred ANG alternative”. Not from an airspace range perspective anyways.” (Admin Record #61626
Day 9: Friday, October 25, 2019
On August 16, 2013, Colonel Will, Chief of Force Planning in the Air National Guard Bureau, wrote to Colonel Efferson in the National Guard Bureau about Air Combat Command’s decision to delay the selection of an Air National Guard base. He explains that the preferred active duty Air Force Base, Hill AFB, — unlike the Air National Guard bases — needs to know of their selection soon, since Hill has to get started on military construction projects in order to have them completed before the F-35s arrive. He also states that there are both political and legal complications with Burlington, such as a lawsuit and changing noise assessments. He further states that both of the other two Air National Guard bases, McEntire and Jacksonville, are more suitable bases than Burlington from an environmental perspective.
“…ACC’s intention is to delay the BTV decision until NLT 1QFY16. The rationale for the split is Hill is on a much shorter timeline to get MILCON laid-in. They get their first aircraft in Sep 15. They … can’t get bogged down in the political/legal issues in BVT…. The lawsuit, combined with the revised noise assessments make BVT politically problematic in the short term. In fact, ACC briefed that both McEntire and Jax are preferred environmental alternatives…” (Admin Record #62048)
Day 10: Monday, October 28, 2019
On August 30, 2013, Mr Penland, the Headquarters Air Force chief of Operational Basing,
wrote to Mr Murr, an Air Force official in Headquarters Air Combat Command, questioning why the Secretary of the Air Force selected Burlington as the “Preferred Alternative.” In an effort to come up with reasons for selecting Burlington, some entities have mentioned airspace as the reason. He says that airspace had nothing to do with selecting Burlington initially or now. Moreover, he intimates that there are bigger problems if airspace is the only reason Burlington was selected.
“As to why the Secretary picked Burlington as a preferred alternative before, my understanding is airspace had nothing to do with it and I would avoid trying to make the case now that it does or was why he picked it last time or should this time. If we don’t have other good reasons for picking Burlington beyond airspace, we need to think hard about what really should be picked.” (Admin Record #62293)
Day 11: Tuesday, October 29, 2019
On August 30, 2013, Mr Chupein, an official in Headquarters Air Force Operations, wrote to Mr Penland, the Headquarters Air Force chief of Operational Basing about the lack of data to support Burlington as the best location for the F-35 basing. Additionally, he says that the Air Force staff is recommending that the Air Force select only the active duty Air Force Base, which would be Hill AFB, and not select an Air National Guard base at this time. (Ops 1 refers to the active duty Air Force Base, and Ops 3 refers to the Air National Guard base.). He says their recommendation is based on the “integrity” of the EIS process, meaning that the EIS process did not support selecting Burlington. He advises against making up reasons (such as airspace) that he calls “unsubstantiated or dubious” to push for Burlington. He says the facts should dictate the decision.
“The decision to identify Burlington as the preferred alternative, by all accounts, had nothing to do with airspace. Nor can we empirically claim that Burlington has the best airspace as we don’t have the testing to support the claim. It’s not a defendable discriminator. We’re advocating to A3/5 leadership to split the Ops 1 and 3 RoDs. Likewise, we’re promoting the integrity of the EIS and SB process as a means to consider all reasonable alternatives and to make the best, informed decision. We can’t back this in. My recommendation is to avoid unsubstantiated or dubious qualitative statements and let the data stand on its own. Military judgement will account for other considerations.” (Admin Record #62293)