Governments Fight Each Other With PR Efforts

The last minute “panic attack” to to get the Air Force to locate not one, but two bases of F-35 fighter jets in Idaho brings to mind some the other ill fated government-funded Public Relations efforts we have seen over the years.

If the F-35 follows in the footsteps of most of the other projects we have seen, there is little chance of the thing even happening. The “buzz” is created by proponents of the fighter–whose future is troubled to say the least–seeking to show congress there is a wide support among the states. That “support” is really just simple greed and not based on any military knowledge or desire.

Here is what appears to us to be a well reasoned ANALYSIS. We think this PR campaign could easily be a battle over the F-22 versus the F-35. If Lockheed can go to congress and say, “Folks across the country are clamoring for the F-35,” congress will be hard pressed to deny funding for the plane–a feather in the Lockheed cap!

Oldtimers will recall the Idaho Commerce and Development spending many thousands to attract the GM Saturn Plant to Kellogg. The idea was to build cars in the Silver Valley to replace jobs lost to mining…mining that pollutted the area into one of the worst toxic waste sites in the nation. Never mind the lunacy of shipping materials to Idaho and cars out. GM went elsewhere and now they have dumped thousands of workers on local economies around the nation and don’t even make the Saturn anymore.

Then there was the “Super Conducting Super Collider” that was some sort of scientific experiment to split atoms or something that no one understood, but really wanted in their backyard. As we traveled around the nation it was pathetic to see the way every state with a few vacant acres of land declared themselves to be an “ideal location.” That whole deal never happened.

Of course we can’t forget the space ship launch pad that Lockheed was shopping around. They built a mock up transporter and got folks at Idaho Falls to declare the area to be a “perfect location” because of the elevation being a mile closer to the moon (space) than sea level. That project also failed to materialize, but the PR firsm made money all over the country creating presentations and local governments spent a ton of taxes touting their communities.

Now communities throughout the West are vieing for the F-35 fighter. How sad that local elected officials want the Dept. of Defense to base decisions on “jobs” and politics rather than sound strategic reasoning. Shouldn’t really be a surprise since we fight wars on the same basis.

The GUARDIAN’s concern about this PR campaign to get people to “support the effort” based on jobs and cash projected for the area is that it serves to divide the nation rather than “Provide for the Common Defense.” Idaho wants to beat Arizona out of the jobs, but California needs the economic stimulus more than Idaho etc. etc…

GROWTHOPHOBES should ask if there is really a benefit having 3,000 jobs if we need to build more fire stations, schools, roads, etc. We jumped on the housing boom and now find ourselves in a “foreclosure boom.” We built a sewer plant to help HP, gave tax breaks to Micron, cut deals for Tamarack to use public land and a lake, but are we really better off?

If the aircraft at Mt. Home are to be replaced, it makes sense to have the F-35 located there. It doesn’t make sense to have them in BOTH Boise and Mt. Home. Boise airport is looking at a third runway and a major expansion–they are even seeking (no surprise) a PR firm to “market Boise Airport.” Mixing commercial air traffic with military traffic is a conflict that could easily be avoided.

Just a thought. If the military side is consolidated with Mt. Home, perhaps we wouldn’t need to build a third Boise runway and all the infrastructure that goes with it. As former BSU coach Dan Hawkins said, “Better is better,” not necessarily more and bigger.

Comments & Discussion

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  1. Do you have any clue as the payrole that would be lost in Boise if the Air Guard was moved to Mountain Home, let alone the commuting distance for all the members who live in Boise or even Ontario, OR for each drill or meeting.

    EDITOR NOTE–No, please give us details. Our concerns are with the PR–not whether or not the Air Guard remains here. It should be based on a military “need” rather than a political decision made under pressure from a mayor and governor.

  2. Scammed, and Scammed Again
    Feb 7, 2010, 10:09 pm

    You left out the way the Corp of Engineers gets sea ports to compete against each other so the Corp can, you guessed it, get the job of dredging, expanding, and improving, all of the ports. The mighty USA, playing Bernie Madoff to its own citizens. There may be enough bullets, but there won’t be enough walls when the revolution comes.

  3. It’s pathetic to think that more than 50% of the nation’s payroll now come from the bloated government.

  4. Here is the fact – we have 4 votes in congress….any other state with more votes has a better chance of getting the F-35 than we do. Texas wants them too….so what are our real chances? Just work the numbers.

  5. It may surprise Mr. Guardian and readers that there already is a “third runway” at the Boise Airport. You can see it on the Google Earth. It’s south of Gowen Road, and currently could best be described as a “utility runway,” since it doesn’t have terminal services, lighting, etc. (The current Google-shots are obviously a few years old, since there’s no sign of the new control tower, which happens to be right in between the long-time runways and the isolated newer runway. That tower is also the tallest man-made structure in Idaho, by about 30 feet or so.)

    EDITOR NOTE–That runway is a dirt strip intended for C-130 training. It is NOT the megastructure intended for giant cargo jets flying to and from Asia.

  6. Holy smoke, your website is slow today. Probably getting jammed by the airforce.

    I bet that little gem gets put in a bunch of Dem states. We will see them all pass through here anyway because of the training range. I predict it’s a lawn-dart like the F-16 was for the first decade, and the noise is not something I want to live under either.

    I had a thing for the old stovepipe a few years back, but man it’s nice to not have the house shake 20 times a day now that she’s gone.

  7. BIKEBOY NOTE-A quick visit to Google Earth will provide visual evidence that it’s not a “dirt strip.” It’s a concrete runway, with white-painted stripes and numbers at each end. (Or that’s how it was at the time the aerial photos were taken. It may even have been upgraded since.)

    As previously stated, no intention to suggest it’s a fully-functional runway, but I think you can see the early makings of what they might be envisioning. Complete the vision with lights, fuel and cargo depots, and taxiways over Gowen… and 747s and A380s roaring in and out. Oh – and of course a squadron of F-35s!!

    EDITOR NOTE– Bikeboy, you are correct about paving. It is a short (5,000 ft) runway used only by military and the C-130 traaining was indeed the original purpose.

  8. Docdolittle
    Feb 8, 2010, 4:52 pm

    As a neighbor of the Boise Airport/Gowen Field, and having put up with the obnoxious jets courtesy of the Oregon National Guard last year, I hope this absurd idea never comes to pass.

    At some point it needs to be about the people who would be affected, not the money!

    I vote for Texas.

  9. Docdolittle, the airport and the Guard was there long before you moved in. Live with it! You remind me of the people in Eagle that moved into their fancy homes and then complained that the farmers used chicken poop to fertilize the fields. Those jets are anything but”obnoxious”, they are the sound of freedom!
    As far as the influx of F-35’s for Boise, Arizona also wants them. Does anyone here really believe that we will be awarded the mission when the senior minority member of the Armed Services is John McCain???

  10. Freight Hub? Nope… just a pipe dream of the white haired guy that used to run the airport. A bunch of freight, even FedEx freight, travels on a truck. Got to have a sort near to the big shipping points and destinations so ya don’t add a day or need to handle it twice. Boise has been slipping in numbers along with the tech industry. Strip south on main airport is for training and night vision goggle use… lots of night time chopper use. Kinda small and in a bowl, not useful for much else.

  11. F-15E is at Mt. Home. It’s not being replaced. Nothing can touch it at night, down low. Neither new plane can do what it does. But Mt.Home may still lose by not having enough friends in DC. Anything based at Boise needs to be silent, like the A-10’s, considering Ada county is now voting for democrats. And I do enjoy sleeping late.

    They’re trying to keep two USAF/Air Guard bases, we’ll be darn lucky to have one.

    Training pilots and airman from other countries is where the future is for Idaho, and Mt.Home is all set up for that. Plus those countries need not worry, after a few months of isolation in Mt.Home their airman will not want to stay in the USA.

  12. Day late and many dollars short for the Idaho Congressional delegation or any other State politician to make an impact on this decision….Not enough clout for a front line fighter and we took a seat at the table at “closing” time. It is only hype at this late stage of the game… I read that the Arizona Congressional delegation and Phoenix officials have been courting DOD for a year on this decision. We started this week?

  13. “but the PR firms made money all over the country ”

    See? All this hype is a good thing — it provides jobs. Keeping the PR types employed is important, since most of them are either ex-journalists with no newspapers left to go to, or people who can’t do anything else (or a combination of the two).

  14. Dr Spiegelvogel
    Feb 8, 2010, 8:19 pm

    Let’s hope the Air Force snoops evaluating Mt Home/Boise don’t run into the state legislators who are getting ready to degrade Idaho’s K-12education system. Or for that matter to any of the state university presidents.

    Comparing the Phoenix area’s universities and lower schools with Mt Home’s could be seal the deal for Luke AFB.

  15. F-35 has other problems too: It’s called the F-15SE, and it’s not five years behind with another decade of problems after that.

  16. The F-35 program. like most others of this scope and complexity, has been fraught with it’s problems. This is not new; in fact many military aircraft programs in history have faced similar challenges. Unfortunately the F-35 has not done well in testing so far. The additional threat to the F-35 program is the weak economy and the lack of demonstrable need.

    Having said all that, there is no reason for the state to act disinterested in having an F-35 program in Idaho. The lackadaisical attitude of Otter and Co. can have an affect on other programs besides just this one. Even if the chances are slim to none, to practically snub the Air Force brass who are making this decision isn’t wise.

  17. As an almost 40 year resident of Elmore County (Hammett area), I have a great appreciation and fully support the efforts of Idaho trying to provide DOD jobs there. With that said, my new offices in the Navy Yard in DC allow me daily contact with Navy officials and we have frequently dsicussed the F35 project. Other than the test aircraft at Anacostia NAS and Bolling AFB, I don’t think the F35 has much of a future. Seems like no one but the politicians want this airframe. Oh well, another step down the road to our countries eventual bankruptcy.

  18. The “utility strip” on the south side of Gowen road was used as a training facility for the C-130’s. According to the Airport Master Plan, it will be expanded when the new NIFC Campus is built between 2018 and 2022. A new connecting taxiway will be built at the same time. Currently, the strip is isolated.

  19. Butch the Gov was calling today to have a discussion with SW Idaho res to see what they think of having and earthshaking aircraft fly over the house 50 times a day.

    I’m all for Mt. Home. Shhh.. in Boise Butch.

  20. FYI: Gov. Otter is making telephone calls to SW Idaho residents to gauge support for the F-35. Recorded message from Idaho Department of Commerce telephone number 287-3151 for telephone discussion; Web site to leave comments:

  21. USAF says twice and loud. Expecting problems for people on their own bases.

    I want this thing in Idaho, but this will transform anything under the flightpath to a noisey industrial zone. Put it in Mt. Home.

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