July 1, 2001
Top Gun

“What would we [the Navy] be like without naval aviation? … [W]e would be like everybody else in the whole world. Naval aviation is what truly sets our Navy apart. … I’m working in Washington, in the environment now … where everything is being challenged. I want you to know that I’m not intimidated by that. … [W]e don’t have to worry about bumper stickers and writing a new concept paper. It is really all about delivering the kind of capability that is required for our nation to be able to fight and win. … Let me assure you, carriers are not going away. That’s not going to happen, not anytime soon, anyway. Hello! The product is in huge demand.”—Adm. Vern Clark, Chief of Naval Operations, May 26 remarks to the Association of Naval Aviation, quoted by Christopher Castelli in “Inside the Navy.”

It Is Written

“[D]espite a protracted strategic air campaign employing thousands of sophisticated precision guided munitions, airpower achieved none of the initial war aims articulated by the Clinton Administration. For the Kosovars, the political and human costs of this failure were appalling. … The key to future success remains as it has always been—presenting real options for the [National Command Authority] that can translate into tailored joint forces for the CINCs. Such options necessarily include land power.”—Army Lt. Col. Steven Sifers, Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff of the Army for Programs, in letter published in May Armed Forces Journal International.

USAF’s Two Big Problems

“It’s clear that the costs of trying to maintain these aging [transport, tanker, bomber, and fighter] aircraft across the board for our Air Force are eating our lunch. They’re not getting anything new and it’s costing more and more to repair the old ones. I hope that this review that the Secretary has going on really looks at and emphasizes the problem of aging aircraft and our readiness capability. … The aging problem for our Air Force [and] the pilot retention problem [are] the two greatest problems for the Air Force.”—Sen. Ted Stevens (R–Alaska), remarks at a June 6 Senate Appropriations Defense Subcommittee hearing.

Cold War II

“The biggest single issue related to National Missile Defense is whether or not a deployment commitment at this time would make our nation less or more secure. … [T]here surely is doubt that unilaterally deploying NMD would increase our security. But there is a serious possibility that, if we take the wrong approach, it would decrease our security and increase the risk of nuclear proliferation. I think we could even start a second Cold War, Cold War II.”—Sen. Carl Levin (D–Mich.), now chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, May 11 address in Washington, D.C.

Shut Up, He Explained

“I was called away from dinner to take an urgent telephone call from [the JCS Chairman, Gen. Henry H.] Shelton. ‘Wes, at the White House meeting today, there was a lot of discussion about your press conference,’ Shelton began. ‘The Secretary of Defense [William Cohen] asked me to give you some verbatim guidance, so here it is: ‘Get your f——g face off the TV. No more briefings, period. That’s it.’ I just wanted to give it to you like he said it. Do you have any questions?”—Retired Gen. Wesley K. Clark, NATO commander in Operation Allied Force, in June 4 Time excerpts of Clark’s book, Waging Modern War: Bosnia, Kosovo, and the Future of Combat.

Open to Suggestions

“This is a real consultation [on missile defense] that President Bush launched on May 1 … and not a phony consultation. We really want to hear back from our allies. We are an alliance. We believe in this alliance, and we’re going to consult with our colleagues as we move forward. But, at the same time, I made it clear to them that we know we have to move forward. We can see the threat. The threat is clear, and we have to deal with that threat.”—Secretary of State Colin Powell during May 29 news conference in Budapest after talks with NATO allies about missile defense.

Bunker Mentality

“It is important that nobody forgets that the Foreign Service is, in many respects, more on the front lines of the nation’s defense than even the military.”—Marshall P. Adair, president of the American Foreign Service Association, as quoted in May 28 US News and World Report.

On Strategy I

“I don’t know whether there will be a change in strategy. There may or there may not, but there certainly won’t be without a great deal of discussion and thought and care and attention. … It [the idea that there would be a major change] certainly never came out of my mouth that way.”—Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, in May 25 interview on the PBS “NewsHour.”

On Strategy II

“Any suggestion that the United States is going to, and wants to, or might, turn away from Europe is fundamentally flawed in logic. … I think the Asia thing [reports that Rumsfeld will put new emphasis on Asia] is overemphasized. Asia is different than Europe, and how you are arranged for Europe is one thing, and how you ought to be arranged for Asia is conceivably something else. The distances are different, the needs are different, the circumstances are different, and it would be unwise for the United States to not recognize those distinctions. It’s perfectly possible for the United States to address that in a way that in no way diminishes the importance of the Atlantic alliance.”—Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, in June 3 remarks to reporters.