July 1, 2008

Keep ’Em Flying

“We can never forget that our gains on the ground are possible because of our superiority in the sky. Our Air Force is essential to that different form of warfare that we have had to learn—or perhaps I should say relearn—in recent years.”—Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, speaking at Air University, Montgomery (Ala.) Advertiser, April 15.

Reverting to Volatility

“In the years before the Cold War, … peacetime defense spending typically claimed only one percent of gross domestic product. Back then, it was typical for weapons outlays to spike upward by a thousand percent in a few years as the nation mobilized for war, and then to rapidly retreat back to previous levels once the danger had passed. The volatility of weapons outlays became less pronounced during the Cold War because the danger didn’t go away for 40 years, but even then it was common for weapons accounts to swell or contract by 50 percent in a few years, depending on perceived changes in the threat. … We may be gradually reverting to the more volatile demand dynamics of the pre-Cold War period.”—Loren B. Thompson, Lexington Institute, April 22.

Joint Assets

“I don’t view any of our [intelligence-surveillance-reconnaissance] assets as Air Force assets. I view them all as joint assets for wherever the theater commander wants them. That’s where they go. We do not have Air Force ISR targets that we service for our own needs.”—Lt. Gen. Donald J. Hoffman, USAF’s top uniformed acquisition official, Senate Armed Services AirLand subcommittee, April 9.

Crimebusters Alert

“Patriotic people of Tibet strongly condemn and vehemently denounce the litany of crimes committed by the 14th Dalai Lama and his followers.”—Tibet Daily, published by the Chinese government, as quoted by Reuters May 4.

Super Bowl

“Every day when you wake up here, it’s the Super Bowl. There are no practice games. There is no preseason. There is no training camp. When you get on the ground in the AFCENT area of responsibility, no matter where you’re at, the day you hit the ground, it’s game on. You got to be mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually ready to go, and you have to be technically sound at what you do.”—CCMSgt. Scott H. Dearduff, 9th Air Force and US Air Forces Central, to airmen in Southwest Asia, April 25.

Hanging by a Thread

“While US military forces are getting by, painfully, and performing today’s missions despite readiness shortfalls, we are simply not prepared for the emergence of a new conflict. Experience tells me that we cannot assume another crisis won’t come our way. In my 31 years in Congress, the US has been involved in 12 significant military conflicts, none of which were predicted beforehand. Because we can’t know with complete certainty what dangers lurk around the corner or when they might strike, we need the insurance policy military readiness provides for America’s security.”—Rep. Ike Skelton (D-Mo.), House Armed Services Committee chairman, May 1.


“This deployment has been planned for a long time. I don’t think we’ll have two carriers there for a protracted period of time. So I don’t see it as an escalation. I think it could be seen, though, as a reminder.”—Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates, about a second carrier in the vicinity of Iran, Reuters, April 29.

Major Debacle

“Measured in blood and treasure, the war in Iraq has achieved the status of a major war and a major debacle. … Our efforts [there] were designed to enhance US national security, but they have become, at least temporarily, an incubator for terrorism and have emboldened Iran to expand its influence throughout the Middle East.”—Joseph J. Collins, former deputy assistant secretary of defense for stability operations, in a paper released by the Institute for National Strategic Studies at National Defense University, April.

Fat Russian Generals

“The new military uniform should match what is inside it.”—Vyacheslav Sedov, Russian Defense Ministry spokesman, on the design of a new uniform for the Russian Army, a third of whose top officers are overweight, London Daily Telegraph, April 11.

Enough for Deterrence

“You don’t really even need to have a nuclear weapon. It’s enough to buy yourself an insurance policy by developing the capability, and then sit on it. Let’s not kid ourselves—90 percent of it is insurance, a deterrence.”—Mohamed El Baradei, director general of UN International Atomic Energy Agency, on spread of nuclear capability, Washington Post, May 12.

Evolution in Spying

“Since 1990, offenders are more likely to be naturalized citizens, and to have foreign attachments, connections, and ties. … Two-thirds of American spies since 1990 have volunteered. Since 1990, spying has not paid well: 80 percent of spies received no payment for espionage, and since 2000, it appears no one was paid. Six of the 11 most recent cases have involved terrorists. … Many recent spies relied on computers, electronic information retrieval and storage, and the Internet.”—Department of Defense report on changes in espionage by Americans since 1947, March 2008.

One Stop Shopping

“In a democracy, I realize you don’t need to talk to the top leader to know how the country feels. When I go to a dictatorship, I only have to talk to one person and that’s the dictator, because he speaks for all the people.”—Former US President Jimmy Carter, questioned about his meeting with Khaled Mashal, head of the Palestine terrorist group Hamas, Wall Street Journal, April 15.