Aug. 1, 2001

The End of Infamy

“The Pentagon did not take an active role in trying to influence the portrayal of Japanese forces [in the controversial Disney movie “Pearl Harbor”], but we noted from the outset that the film did not intend to demonize the Japanese military. We simply took note of that, and it certainly wasn’t troubling to us. I think we would have been troubled if they had tried to demonize them.”-Philip Strub, DOD’s chief film reviewer and advisor, in the May 24 Washington Times.

Peace and Co-Prosperity

“WOULD A MILITARIZED JAPAN BENEFIT ASIA?”-Headline from July 1 edition of the Honolulu Advertiser.

The Hated “H” Word

“Over the past several weeks, you’ve heard a lot about … how we’re going to handle our defense challenges. And, generally, the solutions involve two alternatives: either adjust the strategy to meet what we have available to execute it with, or you adjust the resources to meet the strategy. There’s another way, and that is to look at these [aerospace combat] capabilities and use them to increase and basically enhance our joint concept of operations. [We should] investigate and explore how we can accomplish-with precision engagement-the halt of enemy aggression, the halt of enemy activity early on, and expand our different capabilities in a variety of ways. … There’s huge institutional resistance to change inside the Department of Defense. Wouldn’t you all like to have the capability to halt aggression? Well, there are some forces out there that view the four-letter word ‘halt’ as a four-letter word.”-Maj. Gen. (sel.) David Deptula, head of USAF’s national defense review office, in June 27 remarks in Washington.

Try West Virginia

“If we were to station a handful of interceptors in Alaska in 2004, there is no guarantee-none, no guarantee-that they would provide any useful [missile] defense at all. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld has downplayed this problem, saying that an early system does not have to be 100 percent effective. … I do not support the deployment of a multibillion dollar scarecrow that will not be an effective defense if a missile is actually launched at the United States.”-Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.) in June 25 Senate floor speech.

Perle of Wisdom

“If the Europeans asked us not to defend ourselves, while asking us to defend them, [that] simply is unsustainable. We are going to proceed with the missile defense, and either they can join us in that endeavor or they can sit on the sidelines and complain about it.”-Pentagon advisor Richard Perle, June 5 Financial Times of London.

DOD’s New Best Friend

“I want to briefly highlight one very important priority that this tax bill threatens-a strong national defense. Like many of my colleagues on both sides of the aisle, … I am very concerned that the Bush tax plan makes it extremely difficult to give our men and women in uniform the support they deserve. Many of the men and women who protect this nation are underpaid and underequipped right now. … [T]he surplus will be largely squandered, and I’m afraid America’s troops will find themselves squeezed out.”-Rep. Martin Frost, liberal Texas Democrat and chairman of House Democratic Caucus, in June 7 statement.

Jovial Fellow

“[USAF officials] don’t really have a solution to … the problem of aging software in the avionics. One of the things that’s surprising in some ways, and disappointing, is that the B-2, which is one of the newest aircraft we have, has an avionics suite that is written in Jovial. I programmed in Jovial when I was in the Navy in 1969, and it was kind of a dead language then. It’s almost the equivalent of speaking ancient Greek today. It’s going to be an industrial base issue, a personnel issue. … Even the commercial stuff that’s on our aircraft was commercial 15, 20 years ago, and it’s no longer actually being maintained.”-F. Whitten Peters, former Air Force Secretary, quoted by reporter Adam J. Hebert in June 1 issue of Inside the Air Force.

Back to Bombers

“Geographically, current planning scenarios are limited to littoral regions such as Iraq and North Korea, where most or all of the potential targets are within range of fighter attack forces operating at sea and from nearby allied territory. But these are not the most stressing threats that we may face. It would be far more prudent to optimize our forces to deal with the potential adversaries that truly threaten vital US interests: a resurgent Russian threat to Europe, an expansionist Chinese threat to its Asian neighbors, and an aggressive Iranian threat to the sustained and affordable flow of oil from the Persian Gulf. This is not to say that these are the only threats we should prepare to face, but they are the ones that should dictate the size and shape of our military forces two decades hence. For air forces, … the common challenge posed by all these threats is strategic depth. … These are not threats that our current or planned forces are optimized to deter or defeat. But a bomber-centric attack force has much more relevance in all of these scenarios. … Despite these changes in the threat, we continue to pursue a force structure that is an enhanced version of the one that fought Desert Storm.”-Gen. Richard E. Hawley, retired commander of USAF’s Air Combat Command, writing in Spring 2001 issue of Strategic Review.