April 1, 2008  

Ad nauseum

TO THE AIR FORCE, for extreme vanity. The Air Force is seeking a $59 million hike in advertising funds in 2009 — money that would buy two-thirds of an F-35A or one-third of an F-22 — not to boost recruiting, but to sell itself and its program to the public. The new “Above All” ad campaign aims to persuade Americans to support the Air Force, uber alles, in the perpetual competition for budgetary superiority. Despite a 2009 acquisition budget of $144 billion ($3 billion more than the Army’s request), Air Force leaders list another $18.75 billion in unfunded priorities (versus the Army’s $4 billion). Maybe the service’s new slogan should be “Above All, Spend More.”