Executive Office of the President

Reduce The Number of Helicopter (Marine One) Decoys

I propose that helicopter flights between the White House and Andrews Naval Air Facility on Marine One (and Marine Two), which transport the President and Vice-President, fly in fewer numbered groups. Currently, an average of three helicopters appear to be used (with two serving as decoys). My idea is to limit the number of decoys to one on routine trips. Understanding the nature and purpose of decoy flights, I still feel it is fiscally prudent to limit the decoys to one and that this would still achieve the goal of safety and protecting the lives of the President and Vice-President. This act alone would save the Government and U.S. taxpayers upwards of millions of dollars each year and would be an excellent example of the Administration's committment to fiscal responsibility.

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RESPONSE to Comment...

Yes, I could imagine the cost of replacing the President and the disruptions caused by the loss of the life of the President. With any such similar security attempt, there is a balancing of the cost vs. the benefit. Note that this idea is not to have 0 decoys or to encourage the President to take a cab to Air Force One. There is a clear need for decoys, and this is certainly acknowledged. Too many times in the Government, the balance has fallen on the side of over caution and therefore overspending. What if the current number of decoys was three, would two decoys be considered to be unsafe and a short-sighted cost saving measure? By many, probably yes. However, my idea centers around a belief that 1 decoy is sufficient. The question ultimately is how many decoys is too few and how many would be too many. Currently, Air Force One operates with only one decoy, and of course some may feel that this is overkill while some may feel there is a need for more decoys. Similarly, some may feel that 2 decoys for Marine One is too few while some feel it is too many. This idea follows the latter line of reasoning. Finally, this idea assumes that the reader of the idea would not look to the current modus operandi but would make an independent investigation of the matter... my belief being that 1 decoy is sufficient.

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Idea No. 14868