Battleland

Lost in Transcription…

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Air Force photo / Master Sgt. Ken Hammond

A B-61 nuclear bomb trainer, a.k.a. a "fake."

Even with Battleland’s huge staff, we can’t get to all the important national-security confabs that happen every day in the nation’s capital. So we’re forced to assign our staff to skim transcripts of the gallimaufry that transpires, looking for insights.

Every once in awhile, these independent transcribers will make an error. The session dealing with counter-insurgency that mentioned “gorilla warfare” remains a favorite.

Then we came across this quote from Paul Hommert, director of the nuclear wizards at Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, N.M., on Tuesday before the Senate Armed Services Committee:

The most significant of these efforts is the B61 [nuclear weapon] life-extension program. I am pleased to report that we are now nearly a year into full-scale engineering development on the B61, executing the minimum technical scope that addresses longstanding issues with the system and, when complete, will provide the nation with a capability that will undermine the air leg of the triad for decades to come.

Undermine?

That didn’t sound very much like something a leader in a wholly-owned subsidiary of Lockheed Martin, the nation’s biggest defense contractor, would say.

So before we posted this apostasy, we double-checked with Sandia spokesman Jim Danneskiold.

“I asked a government-relations personage to check our transcript,” he said (apparently, we have a transcript dyad, as well as a nuclear triad).

Here, according to Sandia’s transcript, is what Dr. Hommert actually said:

The most significant of these efforts is the B61 life extension program. I am pleased to report that we are now nearly a year into full scale engineering development on the B61, executing the minimum technical scope that addresses long standing issues with the system and when complete will provide the nation with the capability that will underpin the air leg of the triad for decades to come.

Whew. Just dodged another possible Seven Days in May moment.

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