May 1, 2013
Into the Uncharted
“We must implement a tiered readiness concept, where only the units preparing to deploy in support of major operations … are fully mission capable. Units will stand down on a rotating basis so our limited resources can be focused on fulfilling critical missions. Historically, the Air Force has not operated under a tiered readiness construct because of the need to respond to any crisis within a matter of hours or days. The current situation means we’re accepting the risk that combat airpower may not be ready to respond immediately to new contingencies as they occur. … We’re entering uncharted territory.”—USAF Gen. G. Michael Hostage III, Air Combat Command, statement on how Combat Air Forces will adjust to the sequester, April 9.
Thatcher Remembered
“She said what she meant and meant what she said and did what she said she would do.”—Tony Benn, left-wing British politician, on the essence of the late Tory Prime Minister Margaret H. Thatcher, Wall Street Journal, April 8.
Thatcher Remembered II
“Welcome to the United Kingdom. I want our relationship to get off to a good start, and to make sure there’s no misunderstanding between us, I hate Communism.”—Mrs. Thatcher, to Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, as recounted by press secretary Bernard Ingham, Wall Street Journal, April 8.
For Whom the Fruit Calls
“This year, my heart really does not want to go back to the jihad. … Allah, pardon me, but I cannot make up my mind whether or not to go to the jihad this year. … I have to be satisfied that what I’m doing is correct. We have killed a lot of innocents in the fight. … My heart is telling me that it may be time to close this book and start selling fruit in the bazaar.”—Taliban fighter Mohidain Akhund, expressing concerns to his commander, recounted in, April 6.
And Don’t You Forget It
“Government officials might tell you that Afghan and foreign forces only have the right to use air strikes in unpopulated areas, but in practice it is different. Americans will use their air support whenever they need it, no matter where it is and no matter how many presidential decrees are issued.”—Gen. Amrullah Aman, military analyst in Kabul, New York Times, April 7.
Pack Rats of the Caribbean
“We always find contraband. Every search, every time. From improvised weapons (clubs, shanks, knives, garottes) to hoarded medications to unauthorized electronics (audio/video recorders, games, etc.). Sometimes in the Quran, but every search results in something.”—Navy Capt. Robert Durand, spokesman for Guantanamo Bay detention center, Miami Herald, April 6.
Send in the Prunes
“The process is constipated. It’s broke.”—Gen. James F. Amos, Commandant US Marine Corps, on F-35B development, Navy League’s Sea-Air-Space conference,, April 8.
Tyranny of Distance, Revised
“The resistance of the bomber community to ICBMs was significant. General LeMay referred to them as firecrackers. But to his credit, the USAF leadership garnered the resources and built the ICBMs. I think hypersonic [weaponry] poses a very, very similar change in mindset. … Distance only gives you tyranny if you’re clanking along at 30 knots. If I’m flying at Mach 2, Mach 3, Mach 5, Mach 6, I don’t think distance is such a tyranny any longer.”—Mark J. Lewis, former chief scientist of the Air Force and expert on hypersonic technology, AOL Defense, April 8.
Carole King at the Pentagon
“Remember, you always have a friend in the Secretary of Defense.”—Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, remarks to enlisted personnel at a private luncheon, New York Times, April 1.
Now He Tells Us
“Intelligence is always imperfect and should be read critically, with skepticism. The Intelligence Community should not present information in a way that suggests greater knowledge than the community has in fact. The Bush Administration should have made clearer that the war’s rationale did not hinge on classified information but could be grasped by anyone who read the newspapers and history books.”—Douglas J. Feith, top Pentagon official under George W. Bush, on lessons of Iraq War, op-ed in USA Today, March 30.
One Out of Three Ain’t Bad
“The fundamental airplane is going to be there. It’s going to be late. It’s going to be more expensive than we thought to do the development. But it’s still going to be there. … I think that’s the ultimate metric.”—Lockheed executive Tom Burbage, head of F-35 integration, remarks to reporters as he prepared to retire, April 2.
Cliché Overload
“The United States military remains an essential tool of American power but one that must be used judiciously, with a keen appreciation of its limits. Most of the pressing security challenges today have important political, economic, and cultural components, and do not necessarily lend themselves to being resolved by conventional military strength.”—Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, address to National Defense University, April 3.
“The world can see the US has acquiesced in North Korea’s weapons program and lacks the will to stop Iran. It can see the US is shrinking its own nuclear capacity through arms control, even as rogue threats grow. And it can see the US is ambivalent about its allies getting nuclear weapons, even as it does little to shore up the US umbrella or allied defenses. Above all, the world can hear Mr. Obama declare for domestic American audiences that ‘the tide of war is receding’ despite the growing evidence to the contrary. On present trend, the President who promised to rid the world of nuclear weapons is setting the stage for their greatest proliferation since the dawn of the atomic age.”—House editorial, Wall Street Journal, April 8.