March 1, 2001

The Basics, According to Bush

“We will build our defenses beyond challenge, lest weakness invite challenge. We will confront weapons of mass destruction, so that a new century is spared new horrors. The enemies of liberty and our country should make no mistake: America remains engaged in the world by history and by choice, shaping a balance of power that favors freedom. We will defend our allies and our interests. We will show purpose without arrogance. We will meet aggression and bad faith with resolve and strength.”—President George W. Bush, Jan. 20 inaugural address.

Adventures in Fantasyworld

“Initially, we [the European Union Rapid Reaction Force] would in no way want to compete with NATO. In the early years, we will be looking at things below the NATO threshold, things NATO doesn’t do, like disaster relief and evacuation of citizens. In due course, once our collective capabilities are developed and we have strategic transport, the EU should be in a position to go higher. At that point, there will have to be a critical conversation between the European Union and NATO over who takes on what.”—British Maj. Gen. Graham Messervy–Whiting, head of EU military staff, quoted in Jan. 31 London Daily Telegraph.

True South From Tariq Aziz

“Iraq was the victim of a conspiracy against its sovereignty, national interest, and Kuwait was part and parcel of the conspiracy. So Kuwait got what it deserved in 1990.”—Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz, in remarks at a Jan. 16 Baghdad news conference on 10th anniversary of start of the Gulf War.

Now That’s Cooperation

“Russia … claims to lack the financial resources to eliminate weapons of mass destruction but continues to invest scarce resources in the development of newer, more sophisticated ICBMs and other weapons. We would not want the US investment in the CTR [Cooperative Threat Reduction] program to become the means by which Russia frees up resources to finance its military modernization programs.”—Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld, written response query propounded by the Senate Armed Services Committee before Jan. 11 confirmation hearing.

Re-Examine Your Portfolio

“A case can be made to re-examine the traditional sharing out of the [Pentagon] budget in more or less equal shares among the services. If we are really going to rely on airpower as the instrument of first and hopefully last resort, then we had better start looking at why we spend as much money as we do on ground forces.”—Jeffrey Record, a member of the faculty of the Air War College, in Jan. 8 issue of Defense Week.

Ground Forces Did Better

“It is difficult to comprehend [Record’s] comment. … [W]hile aerospace forces are excellent at responding to emergencies, they failed to prevent aggression from Korea to Vietnam, to Iraq and Yugoslavia.”—Retired USAF Maj. Earl H. “Butch” Tilford, Jr., former editor of Air University Review, now director of research at the US Army War College’s Strategic Studies Institute, in Jan. 15 letter in Defense Week responding to the comments of Record.

The Distant Mirror

“There is scarcely a [national defense] category that does not require immediate and costly improvement. The military’s situation is eerily similar to the one it faced in 1981. That year, at my first Congressional hearing as [President Reagan’s] Secretary of Defense, I was repeatedly asked, ‘What is your highest priority?’ I told the committee I had several ‘highest priorities.’ The first was to restore the morale of our forces. … The second was to restore, modernize, and improve our weapons. Once again, we must do the same for morale and weapons. Only then will we regain the strength lost by Mr. Clinton’s dangerous ‘procurement holiday.’ ”—Caspar W. Weinberger, former Secretary of Defense (1981–87), in Jan. 22 issue of Forbes.

Big Bad Wolf

“[Chinese leaders] will try to shift the blame [for new American arms sales to Taiwan], but their own behavior over the last three or four years has made it very hard for the United States to accept how the Chinese are approaching a whole set of issues. … There’ll be a big debate and a big brouhaha, and in the end, we’re going to end up with more arms sales [from the US during the Bush Administration] than the Clinton folks would have made, and there’ll be an element of risk involved. But there’s not much the Chinese can do about it. They’re going to huff and puff, but, in the final analysis, where can they go?”—Michel Oksenberg, Stanford University China expert, in Feb. 3 Los Angeles Times.

Back to the Future

“The parallels between the early struggle for airpower that led to the creation of the Air Force and the issues we face today in seeking space power are truly astounding. Today, military space is only used to support air, land, and sea warfare—essentially, the space component of information superiority. Opportunities to leverage the uniqueness of space … continue to be unfunded.”—Sen. Bob Smith (R–N.H.), in Jan. 22 Space News.

Space Force

“When mankind decides we’re going to break the surly bonds of orbital pull, that’s when we will go to a separate Space Force. I don’t think we’re going to be extraorbital from a commerce standpoint for a heck of a long time unless we have some huge breakthrough in our capability with lift. And I don’t think that’s going to come for 50 years. ”—Gen. Michael E. Ryan, Air Force Chief of Staff, at a Feb. 8 aerospace conference in Washington, D.C.