Jan. 1, 2009

Remembering Pearl Harbor

“Roosevelt had become President on his public pledge not to go to war, so in order to start a war between the United States and Japan, it had to appear that Japan took the first shot. … Even now, there are many people who think that our country’s aggression caused unbearable suffering to the countries of Asia during the Greater East Asia War. But we need to realize that many Asian countries take a positive view of the Greater East Asia War. It is certainly a false accusation to say that our country was an aggressor nation.”—Gen. Toshio Tamogami, Japanese Air Force Chief of Staff, fired within hours of the appearance of these remarks in a Web site essay. Tamogami, unrepentant, stood by what he had written, New York Times, Nov. 1.

Funding for Flying Submarine

“We are open to submissions from anywhere. DARPA has a budget of $3 billion.”—Jan Walker, spokeswoman for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, on solicitation for designs for a “submersible aircraft” to carry eight persons 1,150 miles by air, 115 miles by sea, or 22 miles underwater in less than eight hours, New York Daily News, Oct. 24.

Where’s Osama

“You have to ask what [al Qaeda leader Osama] bin Laden is actually doing these days besides hiding. … While it would be very, very, very important to kill or capture bin Laden, there are numerous other leaders, … so while we clearly have devoted considerable assets to finding and killing or capturing him, we have to recognize that even were we to do that, al Qaeda would by no means cease operations.”—Army Gen. David H. Petraeus, commander of US Central Command, Army Times, Oct. 27.

Game Changer

“Even program leaders fully admit that F-35 unit costs have increased 38 percent to $77 million since the contract was awarded in 2001. But the attacks are way out of line, and highly misleading, when they compare JSF’s performance on an apples-to-apples basis with legacy planes such as the A-10 and F-16. The F-35 is an extremely nontraditional program conceived on joint and coalition principles and requirements that neither existed nor were technologically feasible in the conception days of the F-16. Its prime operational requirement is to be able to go deep into a dense surface-to-air missile environment from any base. Combined with its stealth technologies, the F-35 becomes a game changer.”—Armed Forces Journal on criticism of F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, October.

New Powell Doctrine

“We have to do a lot more with respect to poverty alleviation and helping the needy people of the world, because when you help the poorest in the world, you start to move them up an economic and social ladder, and they’re not going to be moving toward violence or terrorism of the kind that we worry about.”—Retired Army Gen. Colin L. Powell, former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and former Secretary of State, Philadelphia Inquirer, Nov. 2.

Unmanned Flying

“When you look at the requirements, we have to fly unmanned vehicles. That’s hard stuff, because you want to fly a jet, but now, all of a sudden, your career path gets ventured into sitting behind a console. … You may not like that, but I’m telling you that’s a vital mission, and we are going there.”—Adm. Michael G. Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Air War College, Oct. 28.

Domains Yet To Appear

“Though we recently recognized cyberspace as a warfighting domain along with the land, maritime, air, and space domains, who is to say that cyberspace is the fifth and final domain? Will there be a sixth? … What will it look like? How will it change things? Will its nature be cognitive or physical? Will it be in the neural pathways of the mind, or in the space between molecules? Will we face a fight in a virtual world, or in the infinitesimal regions of ‘nanospace’?”—Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton A. Schwartz, remarks to Scientific Advisory Board, Oct. 8.

Worse Than Economic Problems

“What could be worse than credit markets collapsing just as baby boomers are about to retire? Well, here’s something a lot worse: losing a million of those baby boomers and their kids in a nuclear attack. That danger has been with us since the dawn of the nuclear age, but it grew worse over the last eight years as the Bush Administration botched efforts to slow the spread of nuclear weapons. Because of its missteps in Iran, North Korea, Pakistan, and elsewhere, we are facing a more diverse and unpredictable nuclear danger than ever before.”—Loren B. Thompson, Lexington Institute issue brief, Oct. 28.

Industry Giants Always Win

“The Obama Administration will begin by trying to kill Cold War legacy systems of marginal utility, but he will run into bipartisan opposition in Congress. Legislators love to praise our troops, but they vote to preserve defense contracts. Our soldiers have no lobbying clout comparable to that of defense industry giants. Budget advisors will fall back on cutting people and benefits, while an influential minority of political activists will be delighted to punish the military.”—Ralph Peters, foremost champion of “Boots on the Ground” (and a chronic critic of airpower), USA Today, Nov. 12.

Between Crime and War

“When does a cyber attack on a bank change from being just a cyber-criminal to being someone attacking the nation’s banking system? Some would argue it doesn’t matter, and it may not matter if you are inside the bank, but it matters if you are following US law in determining what action, what activity, you can take against it, if you can figure out who the attacker is.”—Maj. Gen. William T. Lord, commander, Air Force Cyberspace Command (Provisional), UPI, Nov. 4.


“The air force has built up a solid barrier against any kind of strike, using up-to-date equipment as well as unique military tactics.”—Iran’s Air Force chief, Brig. Gen. Ahmad Miqani, Xinhua news agency (China), Nov. 12.