Sept. 1, 1998

Permanent Crises

“We finally got the message; some of these contingencies are not going to go away.”–Gen. Michael E. Ryan, USAF Chief of Staff, at an Aug. 4, 1998, unveiling of a new “Expeditionary Aerospace Force” structure designed to help the Air Force cope with the strains of post-Cold War operations.

Horner on the War

“I disagree [with assertions that] there were tensions [among Desert Storm campaign planners] between bombing the Iraqi army and [bombing] Baghdad. That thought might be gained from listening to Col. [John] Warden, who wanted not to bomb the Iraqi army. He didn’t think it necessary, and that is why he didn’t get the job as head planner. From the start of the war, we bombed both. …

“There were some tensions between some of the land forces, as to who should get priority of effort from the air strikes in January and February, but this was always resolved [for me] by [Army Gen. H. Norman] Schwarzkopf, who was the Land Force Component Commander, because he was also the CINC [commander in chief]. …

“In the end, some [Army] Corps tried to get more air by submitting longer lists; it didn’t work, as much of their list was bogus. Others knew I knew what I was doing and sent in very short lists and no requests for CAS [close air support]. They trusted the airmen. …

“That’s about the only tensions I am aware of, between the corps commanders, some with each other and some with Schwarzkopf. But they pretended they were mad at me. [It] made life much easier for them.”–Gen. Charles A. Horner, USAF (Ret.), the Desert Storm air boss, in an interview on the Washington Post web site Aug. 2, 1998.

Iran and the Bomb

“We believe that [Iran] does have a clandestine nuclear weapons program. … People tend to say that it [acquisition by Tehran of such a weapon] is many years off. … I would want to be a bit cautious about that because I think there are large gaps in our knowledge as to what is going on there. [Iran is seeking to] acquire technologies for that program that are quite disturbing.”–Ambassador Martin Indyk, assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern Affairs, at July 28, 1998, Defense Writers Group session.

Not So Fastidious

“The fact of the matter is, it [ballistic missile attack against the United States] is going to come quicker, in my opinion, than I think many of us would realize. … We’re finding that countries who are developing these systems today are not doing it the way we [the superpowers] did. They’re not going for accuracy. They’re going for having the capability–which, in fact, is an indication of military might and national power. …

Nobody has a crystal ball and knows exactly what’s happening. Based on what we’ve seen going on elsewhere, you get this feeling that there’s more going on than we know about.”–Gen. Howell M. Estes III, head of North American Aerospace Defense Command, US Space Command, and Air Force Space Command, in a July 29, 1998, session with the Defense Writers Group.

Blame Enough for All

“We have failed to modernize the force. We’re losing qualified men and women. We’re having to lower our recruiting standards. … I’ve got to also tell you that Congress … has great culpability in this degeneration of our military capability. The pork-barrel spending is at an all-time high. …

The lack of appreciation of the problems [that] the men and women in the military face–and now the belief that, somehow, the defense budget is a way to fund a hometown pork-barrel project and pump up the National Guard at the expense of the regular forces–I think is really very serious.”–Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, in a July 5, 1998, broadcast of “Fox News Sunday.”

Much Greater Dependence

“We have staked our way of life on the use of information. We rely more and more on computer networks for the flow of essential information. Like electricity, we now take information infrastructures for granted. Reliability breeds dependence, and dependence produces vulnerabilities. …

Disruptions in information-based technologies can range from being a serious nuisance … to potentially disastrous. Consider what such a disruption would have caused in Operation Desert Storm, where our information systems had to accommodate a communications volume of 100,000 electronic messages and 700,000 telephone calls a day.

Seven years later, those figures would be far greater, and our reliance on computers is much greater as well.”–George J. Tenet, director of Central Intelligence, in a June 24, 1998, statement to the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee.

Thirties Something

“This year is the first since Ronald Reagan was elected President where I think we have to raise the alarm about our national survival. We should be very clear: The Clinton-Gore Administration is the most consistently misleading administration on the question of American survival that we have seen. I think it rivals, frankly, the administration of [1930s British Prime Minister] Stanley Baldwin, … who came very close to destroying Britain by his refusal to tell the truth about Germany.”–House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) in a July 23, 1998, address to a Young Republicans meeting in Washington, with reference to the growing worldwide ballistic missile threat.