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Verbatim

Nov. 1, 2020

Threat Pictures

Mike Tsukamoto/staff

If you visit my office here in Omaha, you will notice that I keep pictures of Xi, Putin, the Ayatollah, and Kim on my wall, under the words, ‘Not Today.’ They are a constant reminder that we must remain inspection ready, and keep us intently focused on the threats we face.

Adm. Charles A. Richard, commander of U.S. Strategic Command, in an Oct. 21 message to the Center for Strategic and International Studies’ virtual conference on International Security at the Nuclear Nexus.

Whose Authority?

Until recently, you needed the permission of the President of the United States to come close to another satellite. But given the right guidance, an 18-year-old can kill someone on his own authority in the middle of a war zone. Those are interesting, centralized controls for some things, and very decentralized in other circumstances. Getting that balance right will be difficult.

Former Air Force Secretary Heather A. Wilson, speaking at an Oct. 22 Center for Strategic and International Studies even
Lisa Ferdinando/DOD

I’m not going to engage in speculation. I’m going to engage in the rigorous analysis of the situation based on the conditions and the plans that I am aware of and my conversations with the President.

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark A. Milley on the possible withdrawal of 2,500 American troops from Afghanistan by early next year [NPR, Oct. 12].

Navel Gazing

The F-22 is a state-of-the-art aircraft. With joint all-domain command and control, the Navy can actually leverage a fifth-generation aircraft. It becomes a force multiplier for all the services being integrated.

Rear Adm. James Aiken, Carrier Strike Group 3 commander, told reporters on a Sept. 24 call about the third Advanced Battle Management System experiment, the first in the Indo-PACOM region.

Cyber Insecurity

Mike Tsukamoto/staff; Pixabay

China has effectively seized considerable market share in several critical technologies and components through a mix of investments; engagement … [and] protectionist policies. … The reality is that the United States has lost much of its market share for the manufacture of electronics components and nearly all of its market share for the manufacture and assembly of finished electronics products.

The U.S. Cyberspace Solarium Commission, co-chaired by Sen. Angus King (I-Maine) and Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-Wis.), on the vulnerability of the U.S. information and communications technology supply chain.  
 

Prepositioning

The foremost family of threats to the United States stem from China and the challenges it is offering in every domain from cyber to conventional military to a kind of a novel approach to expanding influence through … apparently benign offers to build things. … It doesn’t take very long before gradually China becomes the owner of the port or the highway or the power plant … and begins to have enormous influence over that government’s policies. … China’s goal in all this is to … gain resources like cobalt in Congo, or lithium in Chile, [and] key locations, such as Suez Canal, Djibouti … Malacca, [or] Gibraltar—strategic locations that enable them to function in the event of conflict and to project their forces with confidence.

Former National Security Advisor Bud MacFarlane at the Atlantic Council [Oct. 19]

Round Trip

NASA

We’re excited to see what you would pack for the ultimate adventure—a trip to the Moon.

Bettina Inclán, NASA’s associate administrator for communications, inviting citizens to describe what they would pack in a 5-by-8-by-2-inches “personal preference” bag on a trip to the moon,Oct. 6.