Sept. 1, 1996

Still a Good Idea

“This commission finds unacceptable the idea of holding ourselves in all cases to a criminal standard of proof before we act. The US must be ready to view some terrorist attacks as a matter of national security and indeed, in some cases, should be prepared to treat the act for what it is–an act of aggression against the US. A swift response could be directed against the terrorist group responsible and/or its state sponsor. The commission recommends planning, training, and equipping [US forces] for direct preemptive or retaliatory action against known terrorist hideouts in countries that sanction them.”–May 15, 1990, final report of The President’s Commission on Aviation Security and Terrorism, formed to examine the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland.

Ticket to Ride

“I see the writing on the wall that there could be an ever-widening [military technology] gap, which at the end could be very divisive. The train of future technological developments is about to leave the station. If the Europeans would like to be in the first-class compartment, then we have to invest now and not place our hopes on 2004 [or] 2005. It’s a question of being a partner on an equal footing.”–German Gen. Klaus Naumann, NATO Military Committee chairman, quoted in a July 29, 1996, Washington Post story about divergence in US and European military capabilities.

Of Storms and Successes

“One of the real successes in [Operation] Desert Storm was taking out [Iraq’s] Integrated Air Defense System. Many people are critical of how effective the Iraqis were. Let me tell you, the Integrated Air Defense System was a very capable system, and we were effective and fortunate in taking that whole system out of operation. Our precision weapons played a large role in that. The F-117s with 2,000-pound laser-guided bombs and the Tomahawks played a very significant role in taking down that integrated air defense. . . . That skewed the whole remainder of the campaign.”–Paul G. Kaminski, under secretary of defense for Acquisition and Technology, in a July 23, 1996, rebuttal to a General Accounting Office report denigrating the role of precision weapons and stealth aircraft.

New-Age Russia and . . .

“Personally, I am calm about [NATO expansion into eastern Europe]. Maybe others want to be more propagandistic, but I think that Russia simply cannot be aggressive anymore.”–Gen. Alexander Lebed, Russia’s top security chief, in a July 24, 1996, interview in Moscow with the Financial Times.

. . . A Blast From the Past

“I could be blown up by a bomb. I could be killed by a bullet. The main thing, first of all, is to survive.”–General Lebed, same interview.

Vital US Interest in the Gulf

“The security and stability of the [Persian] Gulf region ranks as a vital national interest for the United States. That judgment has been US national policy since the presidency of Franklin Roosevelt. The Gulf is the world’s energy storehouse, home to two-thirds of the globe’s proven oil reserves. . . . We must not allow ourselves to be driven out by terrorists. That would not only reward and encourage terrorism; it would jeopardize our ability to defend our vital national interests.”–Defense Secretary William J. Perry, in a July 9, 1996, statement at a hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Cyberstrategic Attacks

“Our intelligence agencies have acknowledged that potential adversaries throughout the world are developing a body of knowledge about Defense Department and other government computer networks. According to these DoD officials, these potential adversaries are developing attack methods that include sophisticated computer viruses and automated attack routines [that] allow them to launch untraceable attacks from anywhere in the world. Our government understands that many countries are developing offensive information-warfare capabilities. . . . At some point, we must consider how we would respond to an actual attack if one were to happen. . . .

“I’m not speaking of military force, but I’m speaking of perhaps using some of the tools of information warfare to basically back up on a system that carries out the attack, so that the information system itself is the subject of very severe punishment and counterattack, wherever it’s coming from. . . . If we don’t think in that vein, then we’re just basically going to be in the game-playing where everybody tries to hit us and it becomes a game as to how we can defend against it. It seems to me we’ve got to leap into the thought process . . . of trying to use information warfare itself to be able to make an attack or even a serious illegal probe very unattractive to the potential perpetrator.”–Sen. Sam Nunn (D-Ga.), in a June 25, 1996, statement at a hearing of the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee.

Electronic Pearl Harbor

“I think that we are fully alerted to [cyber attack] now. I don’t know whether we will face an electronic Pearl Harbor, but we will have, I’m sure, some very unpleasant circumstances in this area, or our allies will have unpleasant circumstances in this area. . . .

“I’m certainly prepared to predict some very, very large and uncomfortable incidents.”–John M. Deutch, director of Central Intelligence, in June 25, 1996, testimony to the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee.