Jeff Koopersmith takes a few minutes to write a confidential memo to USAF Generals McMahon and McNabb.
To: Gen. Robert H. McMahon
Cc: Gen. Duncan J. McNabb, Air Force Vice Chief of Staff
From: Jeff Koopersmith
Re: Comfort Capsules
Bob, I see you are taking a lot of heat for your new flock of world class "comfort capsules," which I agree do play a role – at least a $20 million role – in creating the proper atmosphere for traveling brass and, of course, the members of Congress who are probably your biggest users of the capsules, or will be now.
Bottom line: you blew it. Public relations disaster.
Your single biggest mistake? Well, put it this way: you would have had no trouble had you hired me first to represent you on this.
First of all, I would have made the capsule program at least a $1 billion project. Congress pays neither much heed nor respect to a piddling little $20 million expenditures for "comfort capsules." No way.
And that's another gaffe: "comfort capsules." Smacks of privilege and elitism. These protective "casings" should have been called "Inertial Pentagonal Security Capsules" and come complete with ejection devices that would save the top military staff and elected officials should the plane be sabotaged or shot down from the air. This would definitely have framed the expenditure as a "national security issue" – thus making all the paperwork and other tidbits that those nonsense POGO people got hold of would have been harder to filch – and justified the ten-figure expenditure in one fell swoop.
Also, I observe that the capsules themselves were very poorly designed.
Where the hell is the poker table and green felt cover storage? Where are the chips stored? Most importantly, where's the booze? Come on! You have to do it right when you're Air Force. Just ask the Commander-in-chief.
Also, I think you went too far with a 37" flat screen. You should have stayed with a 32-incher, but made sure you had a better DVD player, a Wii unit, and enough controllers so everyone in the capsule can participate in virtual golf. Besides, nothing gets Congress angrier than someone having a larger screen than they do.
I would also speak to the seat contractor – perhaps while you are armed. What's this crap about trying to get away with charging you nearly $70,000 bucks for a damn color change? That's bullshit and you know it. It you were Bill Gates and you had ordered a bunch of these capsules for your board of directors, would you let some stupid upholsterer try to goose you for seventy grand just because you went from brown to blue? No damn way.
Really though, your mistake was not having the "ejection" gizmo. The argument that entire brain trust of the Pentagon was at threat would certainly have overcome enlisted men's and women's complaints about coddling the big boys, while the privates had to fly "coach." The only thing "egregious" about the failure of leadership was not planning for ejection, and not adding a beer keg,a refrigerator, and ice maker. If you want "world class" then go for world class. I suggest you take a look almost anyone's Gulfstream V for an example of what that really is. Then go for it!
By the way, General McNabb, let me congratulate personally on the on your color choices for the seat belts and seat covers. And you went for the leather! Great choice!
If you need assistance the next time you plan something like this, give me a call. I'll plan it for you, and you'll never hear a croak from Murtha, WaPo or anyone else.
Jeff Koopersmith is an internationally renowned political consultant, opinion research authority and policy analyst. He has lobbied for causes including the alternative fuel sector and women's health, and is an expert on the international real estate market. He lives in Philadelphia, Washington and Geneva.