June 1, 1995
“Irresponsible Internationalism”

American lives should not be risked-and lost-in places like Somalia, Haiti, and Rwanda with marginal or no American interests at stake. Such actions make it more difficult to convince American mothers and fathers to send their sons and daughters to battle when vital interests are at stake. The American people will not tolerate American casualties for irresponsible internationalism.

Sen. Robert Dole (R-Kan.), Senate Majority Leader and candidate for the 1996 Republican presidential nomination, writing in the spring 1995 issue of the journal Foreign Policy.

Iran’s Threat to the Gulf

This [Iranian force deployment] involves almost 8,000 military personnel moved to those islands. It involves antiship missiles, air defense missiles, chemical weapons. It can only be regarded as a potential threat to shipping in the [Persian Gulf] area.

Secretary of Defense William J. Perry, in a March 22, 1995, press conference in Bahrain concerning the recent buildup of Iranian military forces and equipment on several Persian Gulf islands.

Global “Presence” From Afar

[T]he Air Force has reconceptualized “presence.” . . . Our concept of presence includes all peacetime applications of military capability that promote US influence, regardless of service. Correspondingly, the way we exert presence is changing. . . . Our space and airborne collection platforms help provide global situational awareness. Sometimes this information by itself can promote US influence. In other cases, information linked to forces that can react swiftly with the right mix of joint capabilities anywhere on the globe reduces the need for traditional physical presence. Our bomber force, for instance, can deliver incredible firepower anywhere on Earth in less than twenty hours. . . . Of course, permanent presence is still imperative in many areas, . . . but the United States doesn’t need and cannot afford to be everywhere at once.

Air Force Secretary Sheila E. Widnall and USAF Chief of Staff Gen. Ronald R. Fogleman, in a March 2, 1995, statement to the Senate Armed Services Committee. Emphasis in original.

Here’s the Future

During World War II, the Eighth Air Force attacked something like fifty target sets in all of 1943. In [Operation] Desert Storm, the coalition struck 150 individual targets in the first twenty-four hours. Not too far into the next century, we may be able to engage 1,500 targets within the first hour, if not the first minutes, of a conflict. Gone are the days of calculating aircraft-per-target kinds of ratios. Now we think in terms of targets-per-aircraft.

Gen. Ronald R. Fogleman, US Air Force Chief of Staff, in a February 24, 1995, address to the Air Force Association’s Air Warfare Symposium in Orlando, Florida.

Quick, Somebody Call Oprah

The honeymoon [between post-Soviet Russia and the United States] has come to an end. The sobering period has not ended in divorce but rather in a growing ability to resolve jointly [the] problems we face. Something we won’t allow to happen is unfaithfulness.

Russian Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev, in a March 23, 1995, news conference at the conclusion of two days of talks in Geneva with Secretary of State Warren Christopher.

Now That’s a Cutback

Over the past decade, the total obligational authority dedicated to strategic nuclear forces has decreased by some seventy-five percent, so that it now constitutes less than 3.5 percent of the total defense budget. Since 1985, the number of people in our strategic nuclear forces has declined approximately fifty percent; the number of strategic bases has dropped sixty percent; and the number of strategic nuclear weapons platforms-bombers, ballistic missile submarines, and intercontinental ballistic missile silos-has been reduced about forty-four percent. Many strategic force programs have been terminated, curtailed, or outright canceled, resulting . . . in a cost-avoidance savings of approximately $100 billion.

Adm. Henry G. Chiles, Jr., commander in chief of US Strategic Command, in February 23, 1995, testimony to the Senate Armed Services Committee.

South of the Border

Real, immediate challenges to NATO Allies have been mounting to the south [of Europe]. Flash points have emerged in the Mediterranean, in southwest Asia, in the Balkans, and in North Africa. The potential spread of instability across the Mediterranean would not only threaten friendly regimes of North Africa and the prospects for peace in the Middle East, it would also threaten Europe with new social and security problems. Not, in the first instance, “military” in the traditional sense, but nonetheless immensely challenging because they would involve terrorism and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. Attention to these issues has to be high on the agenda of NATO.

Walter B. Slocombe, under secretary of defense for Policy, in a March 2, 1995, address to the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C.

And Congress Will Be a Big Help

That whole building [the Pentagon] needs to be reinvented. Look at the procurement system. It takes you twenty-five years to bring a C-17 from development to on-line [status]. I mean, the whole procurement system is a disaster, and we are going to have changes in that Pentagon.

Rep. John R. Kasich (R-Ohio), chairman of the House Budget Committee, in March 19, 1995, remarks on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”