Jan. 1, 2000

Running for Daylight

“He [Deputy Defense Secretary John J. Hamre] gave them [Army National Guard and Army Reserve supporters] a couple of head fakes, so they think they’re still in the fight [to prevent more force reductions]. … We say, ‘Thank you for your interest in national defense’ and send them away. … We tell them no decision will be made without taking their sage advice into account.”-“An OSD [Office of the Secretary of Defense] official,” as quoted by reporter Elaine M. Grossman in the Nov. 11 issue of the defense newsletter Inside the Pentagon.

Thank You for Your Interest in National Defense …

“The Clinton-NATO bombing was carried on for 78 days with total disregard for human life. … What was advertised as an air war against Yugoslavia’s military capabilities was really a war directed against the Serbian people. … Before the bombing began, there was no humanitarian crisis in Kosovo. It was only after the US and NATO airstrikes began that the Serbs started to expel Albanians from Kosovo.”-Phyllis Schlafly, writing in the Nov. 19 Washington Times.

Clinched Jaws

“There is an oversight job here, you know. If they [Air Force leaders] presume [it’s] still business as usual, it could be a difficulty, because we’ve got to look with great care. … Listen, there’s not a more favored force around here, among the members-including this member-than the Air Force. I don’t start out as being anti­Air Force, I’ll tell ya, … but oversight still is our job.”-Rep. Jerry Lewis (R-Calif.), chairman of the House defense appropriations subcommittee, in an interview published in the Nov. 15 issue of Defense Week.

And Existential, Too

“We do find it puzzling and passing strange that France would spend so much energy and focus so much attention on the danger to them of a strong United States rather than the dangers that we and France together face from countries like Iraq.”-State Department spokesman James P. Rubin, as quoted in the Nov. 23 Wall Street Journal.

The 15-Year Gap

“The C-5’s readiness remains a significant concern, as its MC [Mission Capable] rate continues to decline from the 61 percent I reported to you earlier this year to about 58 percent today. This aircraft, important to every peacetime deployment we undertake today, is even more critical in an MTW [Major Theater War] scenario, where we would be required to move significantly more unit equipment from CONUS. … To meet the … two-MTW requirement, we need a 75 percent MC rate for the C-5.

“We are putting a C-5 modernization program in place in an effort to raise the C-5’s reliability to the required level, but even if we succeed, … we will not see MC rates rise significantly until 2005 nor-assuming full funding for the current program and assuming the modifications are successful in reversing the C-5’s declining reliability rates-will we begin to approach the required 75 percent MC rate until 2014.”-Air Force Gen. Charles T. Robertson Jr., commander in chief, US Transportation Command, in an Oct. 26 statement to the House Armed Services Committee.

Second Thoughts …

“Since the last Quadrennial Defense Review [in 1997], I’ve said-and believed-that a force of 305 ships-fully manned, properly trained, and adequately resourced-would be sufficient for today’s requirements, within acceptable levels of risk. But … mounting evidence leads me to believe that 305 ships are not likely to be enough in the future. … Numbers do matter, especially when it comes to contested littoral warfare.”-Adm. Jay L. Johnson, Chief of Naval Operations, writing in the November 1999 issue of Proceedings, journal of the US Naval Institute.

… In Lehman’s Terms

“In 1979 the Chief of Naval Operations testified before Congress that the Navy was ‘trying to meet a three ocean requirement with a one-and-a-half ocean Navy.’ The Navy of 1979 was being stretched beyond the breaking point. … Now, the situation is much the same, but our military leaders are not being as blunt as Adm. Tom Hayward was in 1979. Neither the Secretary of the Navy nor the Chief of Naval Operations has testified to Congress that the Navy cannot meet its mission with the forces and resources that have been provided. Our current Navy leaders only hint that there are problems and that ‘mounting evidence leads me to believe that 305 ships are not likely to be enough,’ in the words of the present Chief of Naval Operations. These are not the bold and unvarnished words that are needed to head off another Pearl Harbor and hollow military.”-Christopher Lehman, a Reagan Administration national security affairs staffer, writing in the Dec. 7 Washington Times. His brother, John F. Lehman Jr., was Secretary of the Navy in the period 1981 to 1987.

Walkie Talkie

“While Pentagon civilian officials and service chiefs all see their future forces as being fundamentally different than today’s, they urge that change be cautious and deliberate, so we continue to place the highest priority on current readiness-keeping our organizations and weapons prepared to deal with the threats they were designed to deal with while trusting that incremental and evolutionary improvements will allow them to adapt to deal with different threats as they emerge. Consequently, our resource allocation is still too much like it was during the Cold War. … What we are doing now is talking the revolutionary talk but not walking the revolutionary walk.”-Sen. Joseph Lieberman (D-Conn.), Senate Armed Services Committee member, in a Nov. 2 statement at a conference in Washington.