Nov. 1, 1996

Strong Spirit

“No military authority I know of argues that the twenty-one B-2s currently approved and funded represent an adequate modern bomber force. Secretary of Defense [William J.] Perry and Air Force Chief of Staff [Gen. Ronald R.] Fogleman are both on record that more B-2s are desirable but precluded by budget constraints. I simply cannot agree with the premise that a $250 billion annual defense budget cannot accommodate what is clearly our most capable and reliable deep-strike weapon. It is instructive to note that the cruise missiles used to strike Iraq [in September 1996] cost approximately $70 million. Two B-2s could have delivered thirty-two precision bombs (having much better accuracy) costing only $6 million–and future precision guided bombs will lower the cost for such a mission to just $600,000. If not for a slow and cumbersome procurement process, we could have these cheaper precision guided bombs today. This is exactly the kind of leverage a capable and reusable platform like the B-2 offers.”–Rep. Newt Gingrich (D-Ga.), Speaker of the House, in a September 16, 1996, letter to President Clinton supporting procurement of B-2 Spirit bombers beyond the twenty-one currently programmed.

Assume Nothing

“Europeans should never take for granted American interest in participating in European security. There is a strong streak of isolationism in the United States. For the last fifty years, we have suppressed that streak. . . . We, as Americans, have to continue to work to suppress that isolationist streak. You, as Europeans, also have to work at maintaining our involvement.”–Defense Secretary Perry, in September 24, 1996, remarks to a European defense seminar in Copenhagen, Denmark.

The “Crucial” F-22

“This bill makes good on our pledge to keep our armed forces the best-trained, best-equipped fighting force on Earth. It carries forward our modernization programs by funding crucial weapon systems, such as the F-22.”–President Clinton, in a September 23, 1996, statement at the signing of the Fiscal 1997 defense authorization bill.

Warning Did Exist

“Intelligence did provide warning of the terrorist threat to US forces in Saudi Arabia. As a result, those responsible for force protection had both time and motivation to reduce vulnerabilities. However, it was not enough. Tactical details were needed, and they could only have been provided by human intelligence.”–Gen. Wayne A. Downing, USA (Ret.), in a September 16, 1996, news briefing at the release of the report on the June 25 bombing of Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia.

The Last of Tailhook

“I attended Tailhook . . . in 1990 and 1991 in my official capacity as assistant chief of Naval Personnel for Distribution. We, the leadership of naval aviation, including myself, permitted an atmosphere to exist wherein bad things could happen and did happen. . . . While I can’t change the past, I can and I did learn from it, and so did the rest of the Navy. I was cautioned by the Secretary of the Navy for not being proactive in monitoring the conduct of junior officers and not taking effective action to prevent misconduct at Tailhook. . . . I believe very strongly that [the caution] brings me strength. . . . I regret, as I said in my opening statement, every day that we got ourselves into a situation where we have to be still talking about Tailhook. There was a fundamental flaw in all of us as leaders to allow that to happen.”–Adm. Jay L. Johnson, in July 31, 1996, testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee on his nomination to become the US Navy’s new Chief of Naval Operations.

The Age of Info-Dangers

“During the last fifteen years, we have experienced at least three major information revolutions–each introducing unique security problems–with additional revolutions expected into the indefinite future. The personal computer revolution begat viruses passed by floppy disk or downloaded from bulletin boards. The widespread explosive growth of the Internet brought greatly increased hacking, and its related ‘packet sniffers’ and ‘packet spoofers,’ that easily crossed international and organization boundaries. The World Wide Web phenomenon, with its browsers and the Java language and ‘applets,’ is promoting the use of downloadable, executable code from strangers, while bypassing normal fire-wall protections–a combination that is ripe for exploitation by malefactors.”–Robert H. Anderson, head of Rand Corp. Information Science Group, in June 25, 1996, testimony to the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee.

Hussein’s New Strength

“In general, I believe that Saddam Hussein’s position has been strengthened in the region recently. Why? First, six years of containment and sanctions have failed to dislodge Saddam Hussein from leadership. Second, Saddam Hussein still has the possibility of threatening his neighbors. . . . Third, there is a perception of weakened determination of the coalition to meet Iraqi aggression. . . . Fourth, [there is] Turkey’s apparent willingness to deal more directly with Saddam. . . . Finally, Saddam Hussein has cleverly parlayed concerns about relief to UN Resolution 986, which will permit Saddam to export oil, . . . and hopes to gain a collapse of the sanctions. . . . All of these factors contribute today to a strengthened position for Saddam Hussein in the region.”–CIA Director John M. Deutch, in September 19, 1996, testimony to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.