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


July 28, 2023

Need for Speed 

Secretary of the Air Force Frank Kendall listens to comments while testifying before the House Armed Services Committee Washington, D.C. Eric Dietrich/USAF

Over my career in national security and defense new product development, one drumbeat has been constant: the process is too slow. This proposal represents low-hanging fruit that would eliminate one to two years from critically needed programs without any risk. … The United States needs a bigger toolkit to maintain our competitive advantages and strengthen stability and deterrence. When we discover innovative applications of technology that will give us a significant military advantage, we need to act.

Secretary of the Air Force Frank Kendall stating that with help from Congress with regards to time when fielding new capabilities in “new start” programs, we can remain the most capable military in the world [Breaking Defense, June 26].

Can We Have a Word

He’s jeopardizing U.S. security by what he’s doing. It’s just totally irresponsible in my view. … I’d be willing to talk to him if I thought there was any possibility of changing his ridiculous position. The idea that we’re injecting into fundamental foreign policy decisions what, in fact, is a domestic social debate on social issues is bizarre.

President Joe Biden commenting on Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.) blocking confirmations of military officers at a NATO press conference in Helsinki, Finland [AP News, July 13].

Two Sides to Every Story

Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash). Courtesy photo

The bipartisan [NDAA] that was easily passed out of committee invested in the core of our national defense: service members and their families, innovation and technology, allies and partners, and our defense industrial base and military readiness. It ensured a 5.2 percent pay raise for service members, strengthened the DOD civilian workforce, and better supported military spouses and military families. It addressed the pacing challenge posed by the People’s Republic of China (PRC), the acute threat posed by Russia, and the persistent threats posed by North Korea, Iran, and violent extremist organizations. The bill as amended, however, has allowed an extreme and narrow contingent to bring their culture war to what was a bipartisan process.

Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.), pictured above, ranking member of the House Armed Services Committee, on the version of the NDAA passed by the House [July 14].
Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Ala.), chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, during the 2024 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) hearing in Washington, D.C. CSPAN image from video

It is only because of the selflessness of the brave men and women who service in our armed forces that our nation remains free – the FY24 NDAA includes strong provisions that support our service members and their families. The threat we face from China is the most pressing national security threat we’ve faced in decades–the FY24 NDAA is laser-focused on countering China. The FY24 NDAA protects our homeland from threats by investing in a stronger missile defense and modernizing our nuclear deterrent. The legislation also boosts innovation and revitalizes the industrial base to ensure they can deliver the systems we need to prevail in any conflict.”

Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Ala.), pictured above, chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, on the NDAA passed by the House [July 14].

If It Isn’t Broken…

If you turn engineers loose without supervision, they will absolutely, guaranteed find a solution for which you have no problem.

Air Force Brig. Gen. Luke C.G. Cropsey, Integrating Program Executive Officer for Command, Control, Communications, and Battle Management, speaking at an AFA Warfighters in Action event [July 10].

Attitude is Altitude

Lt. Col. James Harvey III (Ret.), one of the original members of the Tuskegee Airmen. USAF

Being old doesn’t mean anything. It’s just a number. It’s your attitude: you have to keep a positive attitude about everything. If you do that, you’re all right. And have a sense of humor. If you don’t have a sense of humor, you’re dead in the water.

Retired Air Force Lt. Col. James Harvey III, an original Tuskegee Airman, on turning 100 years old [July 10].

ACE In The Hole

An A-10 Thunderbolt II lands on Highway 287 during Exercise Agile Chariot, near Rawlings, Wyo. Master Sgt. Cody Ramirez

I really think the big indicator of a cultural change in the Air Force will be when they unambiguously embrace runway independence. … As the Chinese deploy more and more ballistic and cruise missiles, all of which are very accurate, it’s not possible, at least with currently available active defense systems, to comprehensively protect any single base or group of bases against large salvos. … There’s no silver bullet.

David Ochmanek of the RAND Corporation, a former deputy assistant secretary of defense for force development and a former Air Force officer regarding the direction of future USAF resilient basing [July 5].