June 1, 2001

Strategic Un-Ambiguity

Q: [I]f Taiwan were attacked by China, do we have an obligation to defend the Taiwanese

President Bush: Yes, we do … and the Chinese must understand that. Yes, I would.

Q: With the full force of American military

Bush: Whatever it took to help Taiwan defend herself.-Bush, on April 25 “Good Morning America” broadcast.

Clinton’s Legacy

“I think they [President Bush’s top Defense Department leaders] have been really taken aback by how much money it will take to fix the problem. It’s sort of like buying a house that looks fine on the outside and then realizing, once you move in, that the wiring is old, the roof needs repairs, and the plumbing is bad.”-Andrew Krepinevich, member of a defense panel reviewing US weapons needs, as quoted in the May 2 Wall Street Journal.

This Beret Thing …

“The decision to disregard the history and proud tradition of the Rangers [by letting all troops wear the distinctive black beret of the Rangers] was the first bad decision. The decision to … purchase the berets from China and other foreign countries, rather than buy them from US suppliers, was the second bad decision. … The longer the situation drags on, the worse it seems to become. … We have troops without adequate ammunition and pilots who cannot fly because of a lack of funds, so why would the Army spend $23 million to change the color of a hat on the whim of one general?”-Rep. Walter Jones Jr. (R-N.C.), member of the House Armed Services Committee, in May 1 floor statement.

… Turned Out Well

“The Army Chief of Staff has determined that US troops shall not wear berets made in China or berets made with Chinese content. Therefore, I direct the Army and the Defense Logistics Agency to take appropriate action to recall previously distributed berets and dispose of the stock.”-May 1 memo from Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz to Army officials.

A Hill of Unhappiness

“I don’t think anybody is happy with Rumsfeld. I don’t know of anybody, be it in the industry, the generals, or Congress, that is happy with Rumsfeld. … He can do anything he wants to do in the strategy review, but in the end, he’s got to deal with us, so he ought to cut us in now, but what he’s doing is ostracizing all of us.”-Remarks of unnamed Republican defense aide on Capitol Hill, reported in April 24 Washington Times.

The Frontier Spirit

“They’re claiming everything from harm to the tourist industry to the sterilization of their firstborn. I wonder how they might feel if our fine Air Force is forced to enter heavy combat, and their training is lacking because of such frenzied legal attacks. They need to get a life.”-Brewster Co., Tex., property owner Aubrey Mayes, in April 23 Washington Times. Mayes was referring to west Texas ranchers suing the Air Force for alleged damages caused by bomber training missions.

Not Ready for Prime Time

“We recommended that the [V-22 Osprey] program be continued but restructured. We found no evidence of an inherent safety flaw in the V-22 tilt-rotor concept, that the requirement is justified, and that the V-22 has demonstrated its ability to satisfy the requirement. However, we found that the V-22 lacks the maturity needed for full-rate production or operational use.”-Gen. John R. Dailey, USMC (Ret.), head of V-22 Osprey review panel, in May 1 statement to the Senate Armed Services Committee.

The Wild Windowless Yonder

“It [the flight of the Global Hawk Unmanned Aerial Vehicle] is mostly autonomous. The two commands we have to get it airborne [are] one, a taxi command, and second, a takeoff command. It’s very similar to what we do with a manned aircraft, but I don’t have a window.”-USAF Maj. Chris Jella, a Global Hawk operator, in April 30 “Defense Week.” Jella gave the UAV its orders from an enclosed facility at Edwards AFB, Calif., for its flight to Australia.

In Those Places, a Tank Is Best

“Ask any Iraqi who he feared more-[an Air Force fighter-attack aircraft or an Army M-1 Abrams tank ready to] close with and destroy [the enemy] by fire, maneuver, and shock effect? All this technology stuff is cool, but does it work in triple-canopy jungle? In mountains? My guess is no, but I don’t want to find out when I’m knee-deep in combat.”-Capt. Glenn D. Hemminger, an Army tank officer, in May 1 Newhouse News Service article.

We Call It the Army Way of War

“Against a lot of solid armies, it’s necessary to go forth into death ground at bayonet point and kill the other guy, face to face. … The United States continues to trust in airpower and magical technology, then hopes for the best. It may work. But history offers no particular cause for optimism.”-Army Col. Daniel P. Bolger, author of Death Ground: Today’s American Infantry in Battle, quoted in May 1 Newhouse article.

Now You Know

“The rising cost of low readiness has made it impossible to attain high readiness, even though we are spending more dollars per unit of combat power than we were at the height of the Cold War (taking out the effects of inflation).”-DOD gadfly Franklin C. “Chuck” Spinney, a DOD tactical aircraft analyst, in April 23 “Defense Week.”