Sept. 1, 2008

There’s Jointness …

“The technology is not what paces us, it’s the culture. And that needs to change. … ‘I’ve got to own it. If I don’t own it, I can’t defend it. If I don’t own it, I can’t operate it’ [is] not serving us well. We fight joint, we fight as a coalition, we fight as a government, not as services.”—Marine Corps Gen. James E. Cartwright, vice chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff, lecturing at the Air Force Cyberspace Symposium, June 19.

… And Then There’s Jointness

“In Iraq, the Army has quietly decided to try going it alone for the important surveillance mission, organizing an all-Army surveillance unit that represents a new move by the service toward self-sufficiency, and away from joint operations. Senior aides to Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates say that he has shown keen interest in the Army initiative—much to the frustration of embattled Air Force leaders.”—Thom Shanker, New York Times, June 22.

Just Riding Around

“That large squadron in the Navy that he commanded wasn’t a wartime squadron. He hasn’t been there and ordered the bombs to fall. … I don’t think riding in a fighter plane and getting shot down is a qualification to be President.”—Retired Army Gen. Wesley K. Clark on Presidential candidate Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), whose aircraft was shot down over North Vietnam in 1967 and who was held POW for almost six years, CBS “Face the Nation,” June 29.

Strategy Gap

“The United States suffers from the complete absence of a comprehensive strategy for advancing US interests. This strategic void detracts from almost every policy effort advanced by the United States government. As a result, major policies are inconsistent and contradictory in different areas of the world and across different policy realms. We find ourselves unable to agree upon and set national priorities for addressing the major challenges of our time. We suffer from a splintering of national power, and an inability to coherently address threats and reassure and cooperate with allies.”—Rep. Ike Skelton (D-Mo.), chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, July 9.

How You Tell

“Torture ‘is basically subject to perception. If the detainee dies, you’re doing it wrong.’ “—CIA counterterrorism lawyer Jonathan Fredman, minutes of a meeting with military and intelligence officials in 2002, in documents released by Congressional investigators, Washington Post, June 18.

Objections Overruled

“When you have a difference of philosophy with your boss, he owns the philosophy and you own the difference. … There were differences that accrued.”—Former Air Force Secretary Michael W. Wynne after being fired by Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates, Associated Press, June 20.

History Lesson

“The British were the best in the world at fighting ‘irregular’ wars at the close of the 19th century, policing an empire that encompassed a quarter of humanity. They employed large numbers of locally recruited colonial troops. But when war broke out in Europe in 1914, London could muster only a handful of divisions to help defend France against the German invasion. The larger British forces rapidly mobilized for the 1915 campaign suffered horrendous casualties due to a lack of training and a shortage of weapons and ammunition. Despite its wealth, Great Britain was unprepared for a decisive struggle against a major rival. America cannot afford to make the same mistake.”—William Hawkins, US Business and Industry Council, Washington Times, June 26.

Slipping in Space

“We spent many tens of billions of dollars during the Apollo era to purchase a commanding lead in space over all nations on Earth. We’ve been living off the fruit of that purchase for 40 years and have not … chosen to invest at a level that would preserve that commanding lead.”—NASA Administrator Michael D. Griffin on diminishing dominance of US in space, Washington Post, July 9.

Airpower Lost, All By Itself

“Thirty years after the end of World War II, the hollow promises of airpower enthusiasts provided only a stalemate in Korea and a tragic defeat in Vietnam.”—Maj. Earl Tilford, USAF (Ret.), former editor of Air University Review, former director of research for the Army War College’s Strategic Studies Institute, a professor at Grove City College, FrontPage Magazine, June 18.

High-End Proliferation

“These advanced nuclear weapons designs may have long ago been sold off to some of the most treacherous regimes in the world.”—Report from former UN arms inspector David Albright on international traffic in plans for compact nuclear weapons, Washington Post, June 15.

Short in Afghanistan

“I don’t have troops I can reach for, brigades I can reach to send into Afghanistan until I have a reduced requirement in Iraq. … Afghanistan has been and remains an economy of force campaign, which, by definition, means we need more forces there.”—Adm. Michael G. Mullen, Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff, Pentagon news briefing, July 2.

Gays and Unit Cohesion

“Evidence shows that allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly is unlikely to pose any significant risk to morale, good order, discipline, or cohesion.”—Report by Lt. Gen. Robert M. Alexander, USAF (Ret.), Vice Adm. Jack Shanahan, USN (Ret.), Lt. Gen. Robert G. Gard Jr., USA (Ret.), and Brig. Gen. Hugh S. Aitken, USMC (Ret.), Associated Press, July 7.

Like GPS, B-2, and Predator

“The Air Force has a fondness for fancy toys of questionable necessity.”—Foreign Policy online, July 2008.