A microphone. Verbatim. Air Force Magazine. Cornelia Schneider-Frank/Pixabay
Photo Caption & Credits


March 31, 2023

Not Today … Or Tomorrow

R. Nial Bradshaw/USAF

This budget is a procurement budget. It puts its thumb on the scale in favor of game-changing capabilities that will deliver not just in the out-years, but in the near term, too. Our greatest measure of success and the one we use around here most often is to make sure the PRC leadership wakes up every day, considers the risks of aggression and concludes today is not the day, and for them to think that today and every day between now and 2027, now and 2035, now and 2049, and beyond.

Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks, unveiling the Biden Administration’s 2024 defense budget request, March 13 [from transcript].

Do The Math


The budget will hit a trillion dollars. Even if it only grew 3 percent a year, when the numbers are what they are, it’s inevitable. And I think maybe that’s going to be a psychological, big watershed moment for most of us. … It just reflects the growth of the economy, among other things. When I was born, [defense spending was] at 9 percent of GDP; [during] Ronald Reagan’s [term, it] was considered high at 6 percent. Now we’re at three. So it’s a big number, but in other contexts, you could look at it another way.

DOD Comptroller Michael J. McCord, March 13, on the growth of the defense budget. At 3 percent annual growth, it will reach $1 trillion by 2030.


Everything needs to go faster. Everyone needs a sense of urgency, because that’s what it’s going to take to prevent a conflict.

Adm. John C. Aquilino, commander, U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, on Chinese military expansion and the need for America to move rapidly to improve its force deployment in the Pacific
[The Washington Post, Feb. 20].


Staff Sgt. Danielle Sukhlall

My goal is to be ready today, tomorrow, next week, next year, next decade. And set ourselves as an Air Force to have capability and capacity to be able to provide options for the President.

Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr. during a recent event at the Brookings Institution stating that we must be ready for all looming threats.
[DefenseOne, March 3].

Anchored Away

I woke up this morning, checked what’s the readiness rate. It’s 32 [percent]. We can’t live with that. We can’t live with a 32 percent readiness rate. And over the last decade it’s below 50.

Gen. David Berger, Commandant of the Marine Corps, to the Amphibious Warship Industrial Base Coalition [DefenseOne, March 9].

Digital Whack-A-Mole

Mike Tsukamoto/staff; Robinraj Premchand/Pixabay

Today, the threat that everyone is talking about is TikTok, and how it could enable surveillance by the Chinese Communist Party, or facilitate the spread of malign influence campaigns in the U.S. Before TikTok, however, it was Huawei and ZTE, which threatened our nation’s telecommunications networks. And before that, it was Russia’s Kaspersky Lab, which threatened the security of government and corporate devices. … We need a comprehensive, risk-based approach that proactively tackles sources of potentially dangerous technology before they gain a foothold in America, so we aren’t playing Whack-A-Mole and scrambling to catch up once they’re already ubiquitous.

Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-Va.), Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, and Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) along with 10 other senators, proposing a new bipartisan bill (RESTRICT) to address foreign national security threats on March 7.

No More Questions

Mike Tsukamoto/staff

When addressing the pacing, acute, unforeseen challenges of today or tomorrow,
Airpower is the Answer.

Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr. at the AFA Warfare Symposium March 7.