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"How the Military Invades Our Everyday Lives"



“How the Military Invades Our Everyday Lives” is the subtitle of a book by Nick Turse called “The Complex”—recommended reading for anyone concerned about the state of America’s democracy. An obvious example of how the military invades our everyday lives is the whole proposed Low Altitude Training Navigation (LATN) over 60,700 beautiful, peaceful and silent square miles in northern New Mexico and southern Colorado. The invasion played out at the meeting held in Taos at the Kachina Lodge on Tuesday night, September 20, which according to Kachina Lodge staff was attended by “an easy 300.”

At the meeting Colonel Kirk Smith, Vice Commander for the 27th Special Operations Wing at Cannon Air Force Base highlighted the Draft Environmental Assessment that he felt demonstrated that LATN pilots of the CV-22 Osprey and the C-130 Hercules aircrafts would make little impact practicing at night. Colonel Smith turned over the Public Comment portion of the meeting to a civilian to run, although the civilian might have liked having the military invaded his everyday life. He is an employee of Science Applications International Corporation, a company awarded a $35 million contract by U.S. Special Operations Command.

Michael Levy, one of the commenters, is a private pilot. He lives at the top of El Salto next to the wilderness area where the airspace 300 feet above his house would be fair game for frighteningly loud Osprey and Hercules practice, certainly invading his everyday life. Levy stepped up to the microphone, unfolding his aviation chart of New Mexico to show that the Air Force already commands the airspace of half of southern New Mexico. According to the FAA, military airspace there totals approximately 27,000 square miles before adding in the contiguous approximately 13,000 square miles in southeastern Arizona. How much more airspace does the military need?

Levy told me by telephone that Holloman Air Force Base uses some of the above military airspace that includes mountainous terrain. Why can’t Holloman and Cannon share it?

What Colonel Smith did not tell those who attended the meeting at the Kachina Lodge was that Cannon AF Base pilots not only learn to fly the Osprey and Hercules; pilots there also train to operate unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) or drones such as the MQ-1 Predator with a range of 454 miles and the MQ-9 Reaper with a range of 3,682 miles. (Holloman also trains pilots to fly the same model drones.) If LATN gets its foot in the door flying Ospreys and Herculeses over northern New Mexico and southern Colorado at night, will Cannon feel free to fly drones over the same area by day?

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