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Verbatim

June 30, 2021

Looks are Deceiving

DOD

When I got to the program office, four years ago, and I was a one-star … I was talking to a Navy captain in the hallway, and … I said, ‘Hey captain, it’s good to see how the Navy runs programs because, boy, this isn’t how the Air Force runs a program.’ And he looked at me with terror in his eyes and said, ‘gosh, sir, I thought this was how the Air Force ran programs.’ So at that point, it dawned on me that we were very unusual. And so we started to look at ways that we can make this program look and feel much more like a normal program.

Air Force Lt. Gen. Eric Fick, Program Executive Office director, Joint Strike Fighter, at a House Armed Services Committee hearing to discuss chronic sustainment cost issues on the F-35, April 22.

Cyber Deterrence

Russia harbors [them], then won’t extradite them and, at the same time, Russia uses them. … So they may not have directed this cyber ransom that’s happening right now, but they certainly are culpable … if that’s the way they want to play, then, yes: We should respond in-kind and in an irregular warfare manner.

Ruben Gallego, (D-Ariz.), chairman of the House Armed Services Committee Subcommittee on Intelligence and Special Operations at a Global SOF Foundation’s SOF Imperatives Roundtable, May 11.

Does It Hurt Yet?

Illustration: Mike Tsukamoto/staff; DOD; Thomas Breher

I want the Pentagon to feel some measure of physical pain every time they spend a dollar

Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.), Chairman, HASC, at a hearing of the committee on April 22.

Twister: right hand blue, left hand red

What we saw taking place in the country and in the military, frankly, during this past year especially was reminiscent of Mao’s cultural revolution where you had to toe a certain party line. 

Lt. Col. Matthew Lohmeier, 11th Space Warning Squadron, fired for comments in his recently self-published book, on a radio show alleging a Marxist plot to infiltrate the military and overthrow the U.S. government [Washington Post, May 17].

Know-It-Alls

We seem to have more and more people spouting off about Marxism, communism, and socialism who don’t seem to have a clue what they’re talking about

John Sipher, former CIA operative and fellow at the Atlantic Council, in a tweet responding to fired Lt. Col. Matthew Lohmeier’s comments on a radio show [Washington Post, May 17].

Service Members

USN

The nuclear disaster in Palomares [Spain], caused untold suffering and harm to the service members sent in to clean up radioactive material without adequate protective gear or warning of severe health risks. Yet 55 years on, the VA still hasn’t recognized radiation risks at Palomares, cutting off benefits and health care for these deserving veterans.

U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), press release April 15.

Sure-Fire

Tech Sgt. Bob Wickle via National Archives

Nothing lasts forever. … You cannot indefinitely life-extend anything. I cannot deter with the leftovers of the Cold War forever. … I need a weapons system that will actually work and actually make it to the target.

Adm. Charles A. Richard, commander, U.S. Strategic Command, describing the Minuteman III ICBM before the Senate Armed Services Committee April 20.

Details, Details

Illustration: Mike Tsukamoto/staff; Tumisu

If we are serious about spending taxpayer dollars wisely and effectively, we have got to end the absurdity of the Pentagon being the only agency in the federal government that has not passed an independent audit.  

Joint statement from Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), and Mike Lee (R-Utah) on a proposed bill that would penalize the Pentagon for failing to pass an audit. Beginning in fiscal 2022, any of the agencies failing to obtain a clean audit, 1 percent of their budget would be returned to the Treasury Department  [The Hill, May 19].