March 1, 1999
Decade of Neglect

“From my perspective … we have been neglectful of our armed forces throughout this decade of the ’90s, a decade of unprecedented prosperity for our nation, a decade [in] which we could have afforded to be much better stewards of these institutions that have served our nation so well through so many crises. … How many of you drive a 20-year-old car today? Anyone drive a 20-year-old car through the equivalent of an Indianapolis 500 race every day? I didn’t think so. But that is what is being asked of those [F-15 pilots] who are enforcing no-fly zones in Iraq, those who today are being fired at by Iraqi surface-to-air missile batteries.”–Gen. Richard E. Hawley, commander of Air Combat Command, in a Feb. 1, 1999, address to civic leaders in Houston.

Spence I: Missing Dollars

“The President’s defense budget proposal claims to increase defense spending over the next six years by $112 billion, when in reality it only provides $84 billion in increases. Compared to the over $150 billion worth of unfunded requirements identified by the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the President’s proposal falls short of the mark by as much as $70 billion.

“Compounding the shortfall problem is the President’s decision to resort to a ‘grab bag’ of questionable assumptions and gimmicks in order to make the budget appear to fit within the spending caps. The services’ unfunded requirements are real, while savings associated with optimistic economic assumptions and gimmicks may never be. The President continues to play high stakes poker with our military’s future and with the nation’s ability to protect and promote its interests around the world. We can and must do better.”–Rep. Floyd Spence (R-S.C.), chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, in a Feb. 1, 1999, statement on Fiscal 2000 DoD budget.

Spence II: Speak Up

“Usually, the military has to come to Congress … [to] ask us for certain things that they think they need to carry out their responsibilities. And usually they’ve got to convince the Congress of the need for these things, and we go from there. The reverse has been true in recent years. The Congress has found itself in a position of having to try to convince the military to tell us what they need when we found out through other means what we think the needs are. And it makes it difficult, because we have to try, we’re talking about budget caps, to raise those, or get money from the surplus or someway. But to be able to do this, we’ve got to convince, not only the American people but the rest of Congress why we need to do these things. And if we can’t get our own military leaders and the Department of Defense to tell us that we need more, it makes our job very difficult, if not impossible.”–Spence to members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in a Jan. 20, 1999, hearing on force readiness.

Swelled Up

“The United States in the post-Cold War world has developed something of a swelled head, in the sense that we think of ourselves as the sole universal power with a responsibility to intervene anywhere, and that the whole world is our protectorate. We don’t have the forces … to intervene everywhere. … We are not able to control everything, irrespective of the illusions that have developed after the collapse of the Soviet Union.”–James R. Schlesinger, former Secretary of Defense, in a Nov. 6, 1998, conference at Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta.

The Whole, Not Just Its Parts

“These exchanges have been initiated by Saddam Hussein. This has been a deliberate onset of repeated attacks against our forces. I think, just by following the track since Desert Fox, you realize these are increasing not only in numbers but in intensity, and we’ve seen, in fact, that the sophistication and the coordination and the experimentation, if you will, on the ways to come at us have increased. This poses a threat to our aircraft, both in the north and the south. We view this threat as centralized and deliberate, and we view the entire air defense system that’s being set against us as the objective in any response that we take. And we will defend our pilots and our aircraft against these attacks.”–Gen. Anthony C. Zinni, USMC, commander in chief of US Central Command, in a Jan. 25, 1999, Pentagon press conference regarding Iraqi air defense threats.

Call the Claims Adjuster

“This [defending commercial space assets] is something we have looked at hard for a number of years, now, because you can’t advocate increased use of commercial space without addressing the issue of vulnerability [of commercial spacecraft]. If we are going to put commercial systems on the critical path of the execution of military operations, then we’ve got to have adequate assurance. … When you put that question to a businessman, who is worried about return on assets employed, the two things that you will get back are (a) show me the validated threat, [and] (b) that is what insurance is for.”–John M. “Mike” Borky, member of the Air Force Scientific Advisory Board, in a Jan. 12, 1999, statement to the Eaker Institute Colloquy in Washington.

Love, Al

“The absence of missile defense forces nations into the position of having to consider pre-emption. I mean, Al Capone said it. ‘I’m from Chicago,’ he said. ‘You know, you get a lot more with a kind word and a gun than you do with a kind word alone.’ … Just substitute ‘ballistic missile’ for ‘a gun,’ and substitute a couple of Al Capones in another part of the world, and you’ve got it all figured out.”–Donald H. Rumsfeld, former Secretary of Defense, at the same conference.