I had a restless night and was eating breakfast at 0600. At 0700 I received a text from Marcy that negotiations were going well, and they would do a VCATS from there at 1600 their time (that was 0900 Eastern).
At 0800 I was in the Section Two meeting with the national security team. North Korea was saber rattling again – that was almost an everyday occurrence. It seems like every day there was a missile launch or artillery barrage near the border or over the border with South Korea.
Putting the NSA and CIA rep on the spot I asked, ’’What have you learned from all the missile launches? You should be collecting data from everyone and the communications from the missile to the ground controllers. You should have plenty of information by now, you should be able to break down the coding by now.’’
‘’We are working on it, but they are changing the codes frequently,’’ Frank replied.
‘’Do you think they are testing missiles from other countries is the reason for the different codes?’’ I asked.
‘’That’s a possibility, there have been suspicions that Afghanistan was looking for a missile supplier since Iran is out of the picture. We know China is back in the arms business; they have replaced the arms dealer you killed in South Africa several months ago,’’ Frank said.
‘’Since it has become an everyday occurrence, move a couple of spy ships with escorts to the area and develop some real time information. That would make motormouth shift gears and hopefully get sloppy with their communications, ‘’ I said.
‘’Another thing would be to sea launch an anti-missile missile at one of theirs after it passes over head, just to see how close we can follow it before hitting the destruct button. That or as soon as they test launch theirs, giving us a free target to train with. That should unnerve the little gremlins,’’ I said.
‘’Just make sure the escorts are well armed and well equipped,’’ I added.
‘’That would just give the Chinese pieces of our missiles to analyze,’’ Ben said.
‘’Be ahead of their game – they are always trying to get to ours first, we just have to beat them to picking up the pieces, including picking up the pieces of the N Korean rocket. That’s what they are really after,’’ I said.
‘’That begs to wonder why the Chinese are so aggressive to recover the North Korean missile parts? Are they supplying the components and don’t want anyone else to find out or are they interested to see what the NK has developed?’’ I asked.
The Chinese had been trying to interfere for years in our operations in the South China Sea, from ship movements, ocean mapping or recovering our spent missile test components.
‘’They would not be doing testing for the Chinese – they have desolate areas to test them on their own,’’ Frank said.
‘’There are four squadrons of JBG fast boats available. Place them in the suspected track with a tender, so they can stay on station for a couple of weeks and have them patrol the area. They will be able to quickly pick up the pieces,’’ I said.
Marcy had continued the fast boat purchase contracts even after JBG had met the contract numbers for the OPEC group. Thirty had been damaged during the Iranian war and needed repair; some were extensive repairs so spare boats made sense.
Then there were the other contracts that we had to utilize the fast boats. There were thirty assigned to Mexican waters; most were in the Gulf to protect the oil well support groups.
There were thirty more supplying security as part of the Nigerian and Cameroon oil field security package. They patrolled off shore loading platforms and the harbors. Logistics to support all that was another challenge that required another group of people. Those logistics also required extra crews for vacations and training exchanges.
Marcy had a lot of spare parts for planes, trucks, boats and everything else we owned; parts books came with everything – either in paper
of or computer programs – or she wouldn’t accept the equipment. Every piece required a build list of every part used to make it to go in its equipment file. It only took getting burned on a specialized piece of equipment for Marcy to implement that requirement.
‘’We know they are trying to intimidate Japan. We know the approximate range they are getting. You said that they were getting consistent with all that. The fast boats can run down the pieces before the Chinese can get to them,’’ I said.
‘’Andy said you like playing with fire, aren’t you afraid it might grow to be a big bonfire? That might make North Korea and China both a little peeved,’’ Frank said.
‘’I think it may be more like pouring cold water on the issue. Every time they push the limit and don’t get challenged; they get braver. It’s time for some challenges to happen and maybe rough them up a little,’’ I said.
I was in the private Presidential den in my living area looking at the new MTAC screen that the maintenance group had installed this morning while I was in meetings. I was waiting for Marcy’s page. I didn’t have to wait long, it came a few minutes later.
My first question was ‘’How are you doing with the long flight and long hours?’’
‘’Doing really good! Better than I thought I would,’’ Marcy answered.
‘’We have a good long-term contract; we only have a few more small items to work through. They needed to get some more information for us to put things onto paper,’’ Marcy said with Jenny agreeing.
‘’I’m going to send three hundred of the call-up men from Fort Dean. They have been home from Mexico for over a month, they should have their beer drinking and sex life caught up by now and be ready to go back to work,’’ Andy said.
‘’I’m also sending two AT802s and two Blackhawks for air cover for now, and possibly a couple of the drones,’’ Andy said.
‘’Marcy has agreed to buy four more Blackhawks from the surplus system and the aviation shop has the four they were rebuilding nearly complete. We are good on choppers for a while,’’ Andy added.
‘’We have decided to buy new Raptors and new skid steers with front mounted bush hog mulchers for the right of way clearing. They want a really wide and clean right of way along the pipelines,’’ Marcy said and added, ‘’They are to supply fuel.’’
‘’I will order all the equipment after they sign. Andy will have the logistics and people on the way tomorrow. We will put everything together on the flight back,’’ Marcy said.
‘’OK, call me when you get to Morton,’’ I said.
‘’OK, we will,’’ Jenny said.
After months of intense and very heated conversations with the Secret Service, I had won another little battle with them. I had argued repeatedly that all the travel issues with me going back and forth to Summers Lane was unnecessary.
‘’The bounties are gone and the days of Iranian sponsored terrorist are over, the Russians were friendly again – at least for a while – and the security zone was keeping all the riffraff out of the country. And, all the incoming air travelers are subjected to close scrutiny, including facial recognition, cross checked with Interpol,’’ I had said.
The travel issues initially had been immense; they weren’t satisfied with one fifty car convoy with air cover. There had to be another one for a decoy. They closed down lanes on all the bridges – even in rush hour – causing massive backups.
After pulling rank on them, they finally decided using Marine One from the White House lawn to Morton or behind the office was adequate for security.
The next thing was trips in Air Force One; there were two of them, exactly the same. One I flew on with fighter support and one was a decoy complete with fighter support. If I landed at an airport a no-fly zone was applied to the airport, grounding all aircraft operations and creating massive problems for travelers.
The logistics were crazy for my official travels; if I scheduled a flight to Texas for an event it took seven C17 flights to carry the necessary logistics. The beast had to go plus one of the spare beasts. The rest were Suburbans for the Secret Service, DHS, FBI and CIA. An ambulance and medical equipment were pre-staged at every place I landed. The White House doc and a staff traveled with me on Air Force One.
I finally won another concession from the service. For unannounced – unpublished travels within five hundred air miles from DC that didn’t have mass public speaking events – I could travel in a G5, actually two of them would make the trip. One would carry me, Troy and the football, finished out with Secret Service and JBG. The other would carry a few of my staff, one reporter and a cameraperson. In other words, I could make a few low-key trips without the mass mess. I was going to test the arrangement today.
After my video meeting with Marcy, I told the Secret Service travel coordinator that I wanted to go to Rochester and be there 1130 at the latest. There was a quick discussion with the powers-that-be of the Secret Service but the two G5s that were at Andrews were ordered to be ready to fly in thirty minutes.
I sent a text to Ching Lee, ‘’Call the caterer for today’s meal and to add additional food for thirty people; you may have unexpected guest or plenty of leftovers for the night shift. Send both college armored Suburbans to the airport at 1100.”
All JBG colleges now had the upgrades that were demonstrated at KCC and the security departments expanded. Rochester – being so large – the security department had been nicely expanded.
They had a large meeting room, now that the administration found a reason to use it often, but then the best coffee on campus was there – or so they said. That meeting room was big enough to hold all the extra people coming today. The lunch room was equally as large.
I logged into Maar’s website and ordered four more cars for the additional people to use when we arrived.
Then I had a thought while my staff that was accompanying us got their things together.
‘’Invite Abdul Wakil to the luncheon,’’ I sent to Ching Lee said, ‘’I have some questions for him if I can steer the conversation in that direction.’’
I explained to Troy that the mayor, the police chief and college officials would be there.
‘’You’d better invite Governor Stallworth, I know he is still angry about you ordering his National Guard to the war zone and digs you every time in the media he can. If you don’t invite him, he will go on a tirade and it is normal procedure, ’’ Troy said.
‘’I don’t really want to listen to his sarcastic attitude and how his state deserves trillions in federal aid,’’ I said.
‘’I will non-descript his invite after we get airborne, that way time for him to arrive will be short, ‘’ Troy said.
‘’OK,’’ I replied.
Five minutes later we were headed to Andrews.
Not long after taking off Troy sent the message to the governor.
‘’To the Honorable Governor Stallworth.
“You are invited to a luncheon followed up by a meet and greet with question-and-answer session with the Executive White House staff at 1200. The meal and sessions will be held in the security meeting rooms at Rochester State College. Other local leaders will be there,’’ he signed it as, “The advisor to the Executive staff.‘’
I laughed when I read it – it was about as non-descript as one could get. The plane with the media person left Andrews first so they could be on the ground, they were instructed to not take fill pictures of the planes while showing the N numbers.
We were in the landing pattern at 1055 and departing the plane at 1110. There were surprised people at several places – the MAAR site when I signed the cars out and chatted a couple minutes and the drivers of the two college Suburbans.
It was 1145 when we walked into the college security office bringing things to a halt.
Edit by Alfmeister
Proof read by Bob W.