Sept. 1, 2010

Air Force Tempo

“One of the biggest challenges we’ve had is our tempo. … We have pushed you, pushed the Air Force, pushed our airmen hard, and you have really met the task, time and time again. You’ve set the example in so many ways.”—Adm. Michael G. Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, June 3.

Jobs Program

“You can see a certain air of complacency even on government websites. On the front page of the House Committee on Homeland Security site, there’s a picture of Chairman Bennie Thompson, a Mississippi Democrat, then below, an area devoted to something called ‘Business Opportunities Model’ and an area for ‘DHS Business Opportunities.’ On the Homeland Security Department’s website, the priorities seem equally clear: ‘Find Career Opportunities,’ ‘Use the Job Finder.’ There’s little sense of urgency; it’s a government employment agency, not a crisis leader.”—Peggy Noonan, Wall Street Journal, June 11.

Up to the Responsibility

“Airmen have been providing strategic [deterrence] for more than 50 years. They have shown that perfection is not only achievable, it’s the standard. … There’s no room for error in their mission. … We owe a debt of gratitude to these warriors who provide security for us every day.”—CMSAF James A. Roy, The Enlisted Perspective, June 10.

The Unshared War

“The Long War is not America’s war. It belongs exclusively to ‘the troops,’ lashed to a treadmill that finds soldiers and marines either serving in a combat zone or preparing to deploy. To be an American soldier today is to serve a people who find nothing amiss in the prospect of armed conflict without end.”—Andrew J. Bacevich, Boston University, Washington Post “Outlook,” June 27.


“The entire COIN strategy is a fraud perpetuated on the American people. The idea that we are going to spend a trillion dollars to reshape the culture of the Islamic world is utter nonsense.”—Retired Army Col. Douglas A. Macgregor, author of Breaking the Phalanx, on the counterinsurgency strategy, Rolling Stone, June 22.

New Industrial Base

“We’ve got to get beyond the fact that it’s Russian. … It works well in Afghanistan.”—USAF Brig. Gen. Michael R. Boera, Combined Airpower Transition Force, on the simple and rugged Russian Mi-17 helicopter, favored by both US and Afghan military officials to become the core of Afghanistan’s fledgling air force, Washington Post, June 19.

Control of the Air

“Control of the air … must be present wherever friendly forces operate so that they may maintain their freedom of action with minimal threat of attack from above. Even where the adversarial threat from above is negligible, friendly airpower constitutes a constant threat to hostile ground forces, ultimately enhancing joint and coalition freedom of action on the surface.”—Gen. Norton A. Schwartz, USAF Chief of Staff, RAF Airpower Conference, June 18.

Invest Without Fear

“There is absolutely no possibility of a full-scale war on the Korean peninsula. … Don’t worry about a war, invest.”—South Korean Pres. Lee Myung-bak, speaking at a business meeting in Singapore closed (he thought) to news media, Washington Post, June 6.

Not Just al Qaeda

“Defining the enemy by reference to al Qaeda implies that this war is primarily about destroying an organization, rather than defeating a broader political ideology. This war will not end when al Qaeda has been vanquished—though that, of course, is a critical goal—but only when the ideology of violent Islamist extremism that inspires and predates it is decisively rejected.”—Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman (I-Conn.), Wall Street Journal, June 15.

That Would Be Bad

“In the forthcoming defense review, the abolition of the RAF and the absorption of its remaining airpower into the Army can be expected.”—Daily Mail (Britain), June 23.

Marine Anxiety

“There is a paranoia, bred into every marine, that the Marine Corps will be made to look like the Army, and then in lean times something will get cut—the ‘extra’ army.”—Ret. Marine Corps Lt. Gen. Emerson N. Gardner Jr., Los Angeles Times, June 21.

The Advantage of Bombers

“Perhaps the most flexible leg of our nuclear deterrent, however, includes air-delivered weapons loaded on a long-range bomber, affording the President the option to increase or decrease force posture and thereby adjust the message to our allies and opponents. Simply generating our strategic nuclear bombers on alert allows the nation to make a strong statement and the ability to reposition, launch, and recall bombers adds significant flexibility and scalability to our military tool box.”—Secretary of the Air Force Michael B. Donley, National Defense University, June 23.

The Afghanistan Problem

“What weakens transparent central governance is not so much [President Hamid] Karzai’s intentions, ambiguous as they may be, but the structure of his society, run for centuries on the basis of personal relationships. Demands by an ally publicly weighing imminent withdrawal to overthrow established patterns in a matter of months may prove beyond any leader’s capacities.”—Former Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger, Washington Post, June 24.


“Somewhere upward of 2.4 million Americans hold security clearances. A population that size will always contain a significant portion of individuals disaffected for one reason or another. … The power to leak on a confidential basis offers any one of the 2.4 million a megaphone into which he or she can speak while wearing a mask. Often acting from partisan motives or for personal advancement, and almost always under the cover of anonymity, such whistle-blowers are willing to imperil the nation but not their careers.”—Gabriel Schoenfeld, Necessary Secrets: National Security, the Media, and the Rule of Law.