Oct. 1, 2001

Beaten Senseless

“The two-war strategy makes a lot of sense. It made a lot more sense when we had the forces that could support it.”—Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, in Aug. 22 interview with Washington Post reporters.

The Skelton Option

“There is no simple, elegant proposition … to replace the two Major Theater War construct, but let me offer a notional ‘1 – 2 – 3’ approach. One: We must be able to fight and win decisively at low risk a major regional conflict. Two: We must be able to conduct serious military actions in at least two other regions simultaneously to deter those who would take advantage of our distraction in a major conflict. Three: At the same time, we must be able to undertake at least three small-scale contingencies throughout the world.”—Rep. Ike Skelton (D–Mo.), House Armed Services Committee, in Sept. 4 address to the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Don’t Miss, Don’t Kill

“When a bomb goes astray and hits a residential area, when a Tomahawk missile crashes into a hotel lobby, or when a sniper’s bullet kills a pregnant woman getting water at a well, US foreign policy—not just military policy—suffers a setback. We can no longer afford to miss. More than that, even when we hit the target, we have to do so almost softly and with minimal impact. One is reminded of TV Westerns many years back: The good guy—the one in the white hat—never killed the bad guy; he shot the gun out of his hand and arrested him. That is our new standard.”—Retired USAF Col. Phillip S. Meilinger, writing in the fall 2001 issue of Aerospace Power Journal.

And You Know Who You Are

“We can’t afford to have the entire armed forces of the United States being ‘expeditionary.’ We don’t have the airlift or the sealift—even if it was a requirement—to move it. We are going, in a Major Theater War, to flow forces. There’s going to be [a group of] people who are going to get there early, and there’s going to be follow-on forces.”—Gen. James L. Jones, Commandant of the US Marine Corps, quoted in Sept. 4 Washington Post.

Dr. Feel-Good

“To the extent I bring anything … to the job, maybe it’s an ability to think about how a product, whether it’s Prozac or a president’s proposal, is marketed.”—Mitchell Daniels, Bush Administration’s budget director and foe of DOD budget increases, quoted in Aug. 15 Wall Street Journal. Daniels is a former executive of pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly & Co.

Two Wrongs Strategy

“I am very worried that, in all this rhetoric about the budget, we’re not going to take care of national security when we have a surplus. It should be the No. 1 priority of this nation. Nussle and Conrad are budget guys. Their expertise is on the budget, and both of them are wrong.”—Rep. Norman Dicks (D–Wash.), House defense appropriations subcommittee, in Aug. 29 Washington Post. He referred to Rep. Jim Nussle (R–Iowa) and Sen. Kent Conrad (D–N.D.), chairmen of House and Senate Budget Committees, who opposed Bush’s $18 billion defense increase.

Corvettes and Corvairs

“At some point, if you’re in a conflict, it’s going to get back to a lot of what we already do today. You’re going to need divisions. You’re going to need air wings of a somewhat conventional sort. And you can’t be flying airplanes that are already getting up pretty old in average age. At some point, you’ve got to replace your car. At some point, you have to replace your airplanes. In a way, the ideal balance would probably be 15 percent that’s highly modern and maybe 85 percent that’s the Chevrolet of the present— … a good, reliable, low-end system.”—Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, quoted in Aug. 30 Washington Times.

After the U-2

“Our U-2s are slowly attriting out, and we don’t have anything short of Global Hawk [unmanned aerial vehicle] right now that is a replacement. No one has invented another way to do this that gives us the persistency we need. I don’t have another choice. If someone else has one, I’d like to hear it.”—Gen. Michael E. Ryan, then USAF Chief of Staff, in Aug. 29 remarks.

Message to Beijing

“We can more than adequately back up the commitments that are enshrined in the Taiwan Relations Act and which the President affirmed. So the Chinese would be making a great mistake if they thought they could settle this thing on their terms by using force.”—Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, quoted in Aug. 29 Washington Times.

The Longest Day

“[The Pentagon should take the] B-2 and move it from its present 16-weapon capability [and convert it] to Small Diameter Bombs—of which it can carry 324. If we launch 18 … B-2s, that’s 5,824 individually targeted weapons. That represents the first seven-and-a-half days of Desert Storm operations.”—Retired USAF Gen. James McCarthy, in Aug. 28 remarks at the Center for Emerging Threats and Opportunities, Arlington, Va.

Meet Vlad the Impaler

“I keep telling the old guys like me who are a little concerned about the nontraditional [recruiting message], We’re not recruiting you, we’re not recruiting me. We’re recruiting the kids that watch ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer.’ “—Army Secretary Thomas White, in Sept. 3 remarks to the press concerning use of the new recruiting slogan, “An Army of One.”