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A tightly held audit report by the Defense Department's Office of Inspector General says that the Air Force did not properly justify the planned acquisition of 401 so-called Reaper drones costing an estimated $76.8 billion.

"As a result, the Air Force risks spending approximately $8.8 billion to purchase, operate, and maintain 46 MQ-9 aircraft it may not need."

Linden Blue

Linden Blue

The vehicles, popular among military brass for killing insurgents in the Middle East and elsewhere, are produced by San Diego–based General Atomics, run by Linden Blue and his brother James Neal Blue, big campaign cash givers to federal politicians of both parties.

In addition to his role in lobbying for bigger military budgets, Republican Linden Blue  is a staunch foe of legalized marijuana, advocating compulsory hair tests for high schoolers.

"If kids know there is about a 99 percent chance they will lose, they won’t take the risk — especially on things that are important to them like a driver’s license or getting a job.

"We need to make this work for our kids and for Latin Americans, where the U.S.’s drug appetite has stimulated international cartels and contributed to thousands of deaths."

Blue has also been generous to San Diego politicos, and has been a key friend of San Diego GOP mayor Kevin Faulconer. Each Blue brother gave $5000 to committees backing Faulconer. On April 30, the brothers gave $550 each to Chris Cate, a downtown lobbyist and Faulconer ally running for a seat on the city council.

Designated "For Official Use Only," the full text of the September 30 audit was not released, but a summary says the report is highly critical of Air Force drone purchasing procedures.

In addition to their failure to "conduct and maintain consistent, complete, and verifiable analyses for determining the necessary aircraft quantity," the summary says, Air Force officials did not obtain approval from the "Joint Requirements Oversight Council" before formulating their drone order from General Atomics.

"We recommend the Director of Plans, Programs, and Requirements, Headquarters Air Combat Command…perform comprehensive analyses to determine the necessary quantity of MQ-9 aircraft for mission, training, test, Air National Guard, backup, and attrition reserve," the report said.

"In addition, we recommend the Chairman of the Air Force Requirements Oversight Council validate the necessary quantity and cost in the updated MQ-9 production document prior to providing the updated production document to the Joint Requirements Oversight Council for revalidation."

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Comments

monaghan Oct. 2, 2014 @ 2:52 p.m.

Maybe they can peddle those spare drones to San Diego public schools -- more versatile than giant armored vehicles.

GA chief Linden Blue's girlfriend/fiancee/wife (?) former USN Admiral Ronne Froman used to work for Alan Bersin at San Diego Unified. She also headed the USS Midway Museum for awhile and then became a honcho at the Monarch School for homeless children. That's three educational institutions and three drones minimum right there. Only 43 to go.

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AlexClarke Oct. 3, 2014 @ 6:54 a.m.

As soon as the Republicans are elected in Nov and then the president is replaced by a Republican in 2016 we will need these drones. We will be mired down in the Middle East for generations to come. We will need these drones here to fight the home grown terrorists from the third world communities and to fight the hundreds of gangs and thousands of gang members here in San Diego County.

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dwbat Oct. 3, 2014 @ 3:24 p.m.

It's NOT likely we'll have a GOP president next time around. But you're free to believe that pipe dream..

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monaghan Oct. 3, 2014 @ 1:46 p.m.

Page One of the LA Times today (10/3/14) tells about soaring stock prices for SoCal weapons manufacturers Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, General Dynamics and Raytheon since August when we began the move to bomb ISIS in Iraq and Syria. Pentagon reporter W.J. Hennigan says targets often include US-made Humvees and MRAPs that have fallen into Islamist hands. way. Plus we are numero uno in weapons sales to other nations in the world, many of whom are being enlisted in the anti-ISIS coalition.

So, time to dump those tax-free municipal bonds: if you're a military/industrial investor, you can win big every which way.

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Javajoe25 Oct. 3, 2014 @ 11:56 p.m.

$8 Billion worth of drones not needed? And today's paper talks of $15 Billion of problem-plagued combat Littoral ship program exceeding budget and not even tested before being accepted by the Navy. All to be dumped at San Diego of course, the city that will take anything as long as it's military, including armored vehicles for our schools. What a joke! And what a waste of an enormous amount of money that could have been used for so many other worthwhile projects. Seems Bush's War came with a whole book of blank checks and like the proverbial drunken sailors, the boys just spent and spent and spent. Damn fools. And Obama, unable to stem the bleeding, gives it the coffee cup salute when he should be asking one of those drones be employed circling the White House.

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