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


Nov. 30, 2023

Curated by China

An illustration of a mobile phone displaying the TikTok logo with fictitious words against the backdrop of China’s national flag. Mike Tsukamoto/staff; Solenfeyissa and Sayyid96/Pixabay

The grabbing of data from TikTok isn’t my biggest concern. It’s the manipulation of our perceptions … to shape our behavior. … If your first reaction when you see something is an emotional one, you’re being manipulated. Just realize, your social media feeds, especially on TikTok, are being curated by the PRC or those aligned to the PRC in ways that are pushing certain narratives and certain information and trying to foment dissent within our population as well as to push the narrative that’s advantageous to the PRC.

Lt. Gen. Kevin B. Kennedy Jr., commander of the 16th Air Force, on information warfare, at the Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies [Nov. 13].

Clean Sweep

China Minister of National Defense Li Shangfu. Vadim Savitsky/Russia Ministry of Defense

Xi’s anti-corruption campaign in the PLA is nowhere near done. It’s impossible to completely root out corruption in the PLA. They are a singular power structure within a monopolistic governance structure (CCP). Like the Corleone family, you can selectively remove actors whose corrupt practices become too large to ignore to ‘kill the chicken to scare the monkey’ and hope the message gets through. But the organized crime system stays intact.

Lyle J. Morris, Senior Fellow for Foreign Policy and National Security at the Asia Society Policy Institute’s (ASPI) Center for China Analysis, on the quiet dismissal of China’s Defense Minister Gen. Li Shangfu.

Driven to Distraction

A commercial KDC‐10 tanker aircraft refuels Air Force F‐16s from the 51st Fighter Wing, enroute to Exercise Commando Sling 23 at Paya Lebar Air Base, Singapore, on Nov. 6. The goal of the exercise is a stronger alliance with the Royal Singapore Air Force and a safer Pacific Region. Courtesy photo

The [Asia-Pacific] region is concerned about the focus of the United States. We’re involved in two wars, … our presidential election next year, and whether this emphasis on the Indo-Pacific and [whether] an emphasis on cooperating with allies—building these coalitions—is really going to be sustained.

Bonnie Glaser, an Asia expert at the German Marshall Fund of the United States [Reuters, Nov. 13].

Putin sees Hamas as a way to distract us and to weaken the coalition that we have built against him. His unwillingness to vote to condemn what Hamas did Oct. 7 … is a sign that he prefers to see us distracted by this fight and to see Hamas as a sort of second front against us.

James O’Brien, assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian affairs [Nov. 8].


An image from the Hamas military wing, the Al-Quassam Brigade, shows their forces during clashes with Israeli troops in the Gaza Strip on Nov. 6. Al Quassam Brigade via Mehr News Agency

I think the longer this goes, the harder it can become. … The faster you can get to a point where you stop the hostilities, [the sooner] you have less strife for the civilian population.

JCS Chairman Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr., speaking about the conflict in Gaza [Nov. 9].

Airpower … About Time

What the F-16 does allows the Ukrainians to leverage multidomain operations in a way that they simply don’t have the ability to do today.

Retired Lt. Gen. David A. Deptula, dean of the Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies, on the beginning of F-16 training for Ukrainian pilots in the U.S. [Oct. 25].

Career Change

We’re looking at things like dedicated career tracks focused on technical areas, where people who are specialists stay in their specialty through what is a good career track for them, as opposed to the traditional [paths]…up through the … ranks to higher levels of responsibility and management. …We do this with other fields. We do it with medicine, for example, right? But we’re going to need that technical expertise. And in some of these fields, continuity is really important to us. So all of that is going to be considered and how we attract and retain people as part of that process as well.

Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall, speaking on a Center for New American Security webcast, on some of the personnel changes coming in his “re-optimization” of the Air Force, set to be unveiled in January.