Temping Escapade #5

For the past several months, I've been working as the assistant to the Vice President of Communications at a large aerospace defense company. Most of their business comes from government-subsidized contracts to make state-of-the-art weaponry for the military. The contracts awarded to this company are for millions, and sometimes even billions of dollars. I am now one of the privileged few who gets to see, first-hand, the inordinate amount of funds our government spends on defense.

Part of my job is compiling a daily package of press clips, containing articles relating to this company and its competitors, for distribution to various department heads in my sector. To find these press clips, I look through several different daily newspapers, and many weekly publications. Reminiscent of my temp job at the pharmaceutical company, where I read bizarre industry-related trade mags, again I'm reading them, only instead of reading about animals, this time the topic is weaponry and defense.

Some of the names of these publications: Defense News, Armed Forces Journal, Jane's Defence Weekly, Aerospace Daily, Defense Helicopter, Rotor & Wing, Aviation Week & Space Technology, Journal of Electronic Defense -- the list goes on and on. I never knew such magazines existed! I'll now share with you some intriguing (yet ultimately gross and disturbing) quotes I stumbled upon during my innocent quest for press clips. (Note: I left out specific company names in an attempt to avoid any trouble. Oh, these touchy companies in the defense industry -- ya never know what might rub 'em the wrong way.)

"Tomorrow's brush wars will be instant and unpredictable. The U.S. Army needs a bat-out-of-hell, turn-on-a-dime reconnaissance attack helicopter with a skin of space-age composites, an array of stealth techniques and a suite of electronic equipment that can memorize an entire battlefield in a matter of seconds. And, of course, the requisite firepower. This machine is XX, The U.S. Army's 21st century helicopter."

"We met the challenge head-on. This is the XX Joint Strike Fighter. It's more lethal, survivable and supportable than any existing Strike Fighter. A lightweight and compact configuration that not only increases the ability to hit hard, but is harder to hit."

"XX Demining Suit: Tactical Medical Developments has recently introduced a fragmentation-resistant suit for deminers that is specifically designed to shield the genitals, lower abdomen, groin, buttocks and rectal area. XX protects these anatomical regions, as well as the chest and neck. Manufactured from laminated extended chain polyethylene fibre, the XX complies with Stanag 2920 specifications for ballistic protection."

"It's every pilot's worst nightmare: You can't see them, but they're out there. An entire squadron of enemy fighters. You can, however, be alerted by XX's threat warning and ESM/Targeting products, which will prepare you for the most difficult of situations."

"Whatever the tank - it