June 1, 2012

Money Talks …

“If you give us force structure back, give us the money, too, because the quickest way I know to a hollow force is if you give us force structure and no money. To just indicate that [the Air Force must] keep it and make it work is not a satisfactory solution in my mind.”—Gen. Norton A. Schwartz, USAF Chief of Staff, remarks directed to lawmakers seeking to block cuts in Guard and Reserve units,, May 2.

… and Congress Balks

“The preference would be not to cut a single aircraft or a single person [from ANG or AFRC], but if it’s going to happen because the budget forces these decisions in the end, then we need to be smart about things. … The Air Force sees the Guard and Reserve as a safe place to go for savings, which is somewhat contradictory when the Guard and Reserve are still doing a lot of the heavy lifting overseas.”—Joe Kasper, aide to Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.) of House Armed Services Committee, Air Force Times, May 7.

Your Time Will Come

“The problem for Zawahiri, however, is that ‘the CIA has demonstrated that it can break the code [of al Qaeda security]. Bin Laden actually practiced pretty good operational security, but Zawahiri has to take it up a notch. If I were him, I would be worried. I think we’ll find him, and I don’t think it will take 10 years.’ “—Newsweek, quoting former CIA official Bruce Riedel, advisor to the Obama Administration on counterterror measures, referring to the hunt for al Qaeda leader Ayman al Zawahari, May 7.

The Party’s Over

“Don’t turn on the light.”—Osama bin Laden’s final words, spoken to his wife Amal as Navy SEALs reached their bedroom, Time, May 7.

How You Shoot Is Moot

“Is it more honorable for us to engage a target from an F-16 or an F-15 than it is from an MQ-9? Is that somehow more ethical? Come on. … The question … is, ‘Is it a legitimate target?’ If it is, then I would argue that the manner in which you engage that target, whether it be close combat or remotely, is not a terribly relevant question.”—Gen. Norton A. Schwartz, USAF Chief of Staff, Air Force Times, May 1.

Russian Roulette

“Taking into account a [NATO] missile-defense system’s destabilizing nature—that is, the creation of an illusion that a disarming strike can be launched with impunity—a decision on pre-emptive use of the attack weapons available will be made when the situation worsens.”—Gen. Nikolai Y. Makarov, Russia’s Chief of General Staff, remarks at a conference in Moscow,, May 4.

All Together in Space

“What we know from looking at every military operation that we undertake is that there is value in combined and coalition operations. It’s time for us to bring those concepts to space. It makes sense for us. It makes sense for all the same reasons that combined operations in every other warfighting discipline make sense.”—USAF Gen. C. Robert Kehler, commander of US Strategic Command, National Space Symposium in Colorado Springs, Colo., April 20.

How To Provoke an Attack

“The Obama Administration is said to be considering negotiations for a new round of nuclear reductions to bring about ceilings as low as 300 warheads. … The goal of future negotiations should be strategic stability, and … lower numbers of weapons should be a consequence of strategic analysis, not an abstract preconceived determination. … Indeed, excessively low numbers could lead to a situation in which surprise attacks are conceivable.”—Former Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger and former National Security Advisor Brent Scowcroft, writing in the Washington Post, April 23.

Dead Spin

“The centrifuges are spinning. They were spinning before the talks began recently with Iran, they were spinning during the talks, they’re spinning as we speak. … If the sanctions are going to work, they better work soon.”—Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, remarks to CNN, April 24.

Invitation to Disaster

“There’s a very dangerous enemy out there … with safe havens in Pakistan. To get out before the Afghans have a full grip on security, which is a couple of years out, would be to invite the Taliban, Haqqani, and al Qaeda back in and set the stage for another 9/11. And that, I think, is an unacceptable risk for any American.”—Ryan C. Crocker, US ambassador to Afghanistan, speaking to CNN in Kabul, April 16.

Blurred Vision

“Anyone with clear eyes saw long ago that behind these drills is reflected a mentality that will lead the South China Sea issue down … the road towards military confrontation and resolution through armed force. Through this kind of meddling and intervention, the United States will only stir up the entire South China Sea situation towards increasing chaos, and this will inevitably have a massive impact on regional peace and stability.”—Commentary on US-Philippines military exericises, Liberation Army Daily, mouthpiece of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army, as reported by, April 21.

Ninety Percent Solution

“The technology of the current satellite architecture is pretty much at its limit, and the commercial satellites are producing just about the same thing at a much lower cost. The government’s satellites are better, but the question is, What do you need? Most studies show that about 90 percent of what the military needs can be solved with commercial.”—Retired USMC Gen. James E. Cartwright, former JCS vice chairman, New York Times, April 19.

Nothing Fails Like Success

“Over the past decade, the all-volunteer force has been put to the test and has succeeded, fighting two sustained foreign wars with troops standing up to multiple combat deployments and extreme stress. This is precisely the reason it is time to get rid of the all-volunteer force. It has been too successful. Our relatively small and highly adept military has made it all too easy for our nation to go to war—and ignore the consequences. … When the wars turned sour, we could turn our backs. A nation that disregards the consequences of its gravest decisions is operating in morally hazardous territory.”Thomas E. Ricks, Center for a New American Security, Washington Post, April 22.