It’s not just that the Air Force is requesting $112.5 million for PR; it could buy a little more than half of one of the F-22s it so deeply covets with that, but hey, that’s cool. What bothers me is that the campaign seems so obviously calibrated for embarrassment; for some reason, the Air Force is incapable of describing its activities in something other than military terms, even when the targets are the other services or the American people:
The proposed advertising campaign’s goals are laid out like the strategic targeting plan of an air war.
The targets are 220 million adults. The goal is that each adult over a year’s span will see 30 Air Force advertisements, from ads on Web sites to full-page newspaper ads to prime-time television ads.
Success will be measured by creating a positive attitude about the Air Force. “The program seeks to change a mind-set by educating the American public on how today’s Air Force is the most engaged, versatile and high-tech of all the military services,” according to the budget proposal.
So yes, this is a campaign that is designed to make people feel good about their Air Force; once you
get hit by see thirty advertisements, you no longer worry about the prohibitive cost of a fighter with no obvious role, or the detrimental effects of the bombing campaign in Afghanistan. And I think you’ll all agree that spending $112 million is worth it if it results in all of us feeling good.
A reader also reminds me that the new slogan of the Air Force appears to be “Air Force: Above All”. Now I’m as big of a fan of the German national anthem as any liberal fascist, and if I had known that the USAF had similar inclinations, I wouldn’t have been nearly as critical.