Faithful readers, the Army is sending me to Stockholm next week and around France the week after. Before you send me a nasty-gram advising me to "stop bragging" about my "awesome job," I will have you know that neither trip will be particularly enjoyable. If you think the politics of defense procurement are ugly here in the United States, imagine what it is like in Europe where most of the defense giants are partially or completely state owned.
Then add to that the years of fridged relations with the Continent since the 2003 invasion of Iraq and you will probably start to see what I mean. Things have improved some now that the Rumster is out of the Pentagon, but it will be another year or two before those in the security cooperation community can shed their bureaucratic parkas.
Worst of all, I will spend 15-20 hours in meetings with a bunch of Swedish defense officials. I seriously doubt any of them will look like this:
I will be back for a few days at the end of next week before I head off to Paris. Check back Wednesday night for new posts and maybe even photos.