June 1, 1996

Air Expeditionary Forces

“To bolster US presence in unstable regions and to reinforce our diplomatic influence, the Air Force . . . developed a new operational concept that we’ve executed twice in the last six months. It’s called the Air Expeditionary Force. This force consists of a package of fighters stationed in the continental United States that can pick up and deploy inside normal wartime deployment time lines, to another part of the world, to augment or substitute for other forces that have to rotate out of theater. They are supported by tankers and backed up by long-range bombers that remain in the United States.

“As our aircraft carriers become fewer, we’re experiencing carrier gaps in different regions of the world–so one of the ways we can deal with that is by deploying an Air Expeditionary Force. We were called upon by the commander in chief of US Central Command to do that last October to Bahrain in the Persian Gulf, and just last week we completed another Air Expeditionary Force deployment to Jordan, where those forces will operate for the next two months.”–Gen. Ronald R. Fogleman, USAF Chief of Staff, in an April 23, 1996, speech to the World Affairs Council, Orange County, Calif.

Sword and Cyber

“My concern is that we are creating a force that ten years from now [will have] a lot of headquarters and little combat capability.”–Gen. John J. Sheehan, USMC, commander in chief of US Atlantic Command, in March 19, 1996, testimony to the Senate Armed Services Committee about current DoD enthusiasm for the tools of information warfare over more traditional weapons.

Give Us Helpful-Type Rhetoric

“Some Chinese lower-level officials told some visiting American officials that we wouldn’t dare defend Taiwan [against a Chinese military attack] because they’d rain nuclear bombs on Los Angeles. . . . This is unhelpful-type rhetoric.”–Winston Lord, assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, in a March 17, 1996, appearance on C-SPAN’s “Sunday Journal.”

“Deep and Enduring” Commitment

“The [Russian] commitment to democracy seems to be a deep one and an enduring one.”–Secretary of State Warren M. Christopher, in a February 10, 1996, press conference in Helsinki, Finland, following his meeting with the new Russian Foreign Minister, Yevgeni Primakov.

Meanwhile, One Month Later . . .

“Last week’s vote in the Russian Duma to reconstitute the Soviet Union was highly irresponsible. . . . It was as disturbing to us as I know it was for Ukraine. Ukraine and other countries of the former Soviet Union are independent, sovereign nations. Any unilateral attempt to change their status will be rejected by the international community.”–Secretary Christopher, in a March 19, 1996, statement in Kiev, Ukraine, on the Communist-dominated Russian parliament’s vote denouncing the breakup of the Soviet Union.

Spence Speaks

“The strain on our military personnel and their families continues to grow as the services are being asked to do more with less, while the perennial promise of adequate budgets continues to be pushed further out into the future.”–Rep. Floyd D. Spence (R-S. C.), chairman of the House National Security Committee, in a March 4, 1996, statement on the Fiscal 1997 defense budget presented by President Clinton.

US “Will Surely Respond”

“It is important for the [US], as a friend, to be clear with the Taiwanese that they must not misjudge China on the question of Taiwan independence. . . . It is also important for the Chinese to understand that the United States values . . . its relationship with the people on Taiwan. It is crucial that the Chinese understand that, if China uses force to resolve the Taiwan issue, the United States will not stand idly by but will surely respond.”–Sen. Sam Nunn (D-Ga.), in a February 23, 1996, floor speech on US foreign policy.

National Missile Defense

“Our [intention] is to position the US to respond [with an active defense] to a strategic missile threat as it emerges. We are not making a commitment to deploy the system today. What we are doing . . . is shifting our emphasis from technology to deployment readiness. . . . Within these three years of development, what we would do is develop and begin testing of the elements of an initial national missile defense system. If, after three years, we saw a threat situation that warranted a deployment, in another three years that system could be deployed. So, from where we stand today, deployment would be six years away. If a decision were made to deploy after the first three years, that IOC could be achieved in 2003.”–Paul G. Kaminski, under secretary of defense for Acquisition and Technology, in a February 16, 1996, press briefing on national missile defense and other topics.

“Living Off the Force”

“I’m in the position of having watched the Air Force procurement accounts decrease by some sixty percent [since 1990]. We had no fighter procurement in our ’94 budget, none in our ’95 budget. There was a plus-up from the Hill in the ’96 budget. We have made these kinds of decisions in order to try to keep a balanced force. We’re living off of the force–[off] of the procurement of the past. It’s got to stop.”–General Fogleman, in March 13, 1996, testimony to the House National Security Committee.