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article imageAir Force Pulls Controversial Commercial

By Samantha A. Torrence     Jun 2, 2008 in Technology
An Air Force commercial has sparked a debate within the military branch on whether its claims could be seen as misleading. In response the Air Force pulled the commercial.
New commercials promoting jobs within the Air Force as the Air Force's domination of the skies expands to include Space and Internet. One of the latest recruiting and public relations commercials depicts the destruction of a satellite by an enemy missile while proclaiming that one missile could interrupt your life by ending bank transaction, phone calls, and other types of communication and access.
From the commercial:
“What if your cell phone calls, your television, your GPS system, even your bank transactions, could be taken out by a single missile?” The announcers voice says followed by a missile impacting and destroying a satellite. "They can."
The claim that one missile can cause that much destruction brought out the critical voices of airmen in the satellite field as well as Internet bloggers. The A.F. Branch of Marketing and Branding was bombarded by concerns about the apparent inaccuracy of the ad.
Keith Lebling, the chief of the marketing and branding branch stated that, “It’s not technically inaccurate, but it is misleading. A single missile wouldn’t destroy all those capabilities necessarily. ... If the GPS satellite went down, then the other satellites wouldn’t necessarily work, but they fly at different orbits and different altitudes.”
GPS experts and Lebling indicate that while one GPS satellite being destroyed would hinder communications tools, it would take the destruction of multiple GPS satellites to garner the effect that commercial claims. One missile could not do the job.
The has been pulled since May 14, 2008 and will begin airing in Fiscal year 2009, fiscal years begin in October, with the "single missile" line edited.
For more information see the original article in the Airforce TImes.
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