April 1, 2008

Shortfall in Airpower

“I think the Air Force and naval airpower are right on the verge of crashing on us. We have not made the investments. The technology is old. We’re running them into the ground.”—Ret. Army Gen. Barry R. McCaffrey, “NBC Nightly News,” Feb. 3.

The Tiers of NATO

“I worry a great deal about the alliance evolving into a two-tiered alliance, in which you have some allies willing to fight and die to protect people’s security, and others who are not. … It puts a cloud over the future of the alliance if this is to endure and perhaps get even worse.”—Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates, Senate Armed Services Committee, Feb. 6.

Unknown, But Big

“It was positively, absolutely nothing from these parts.”—Local resident Steve Allen, describing the UFO he estimated to be a mile long and half-a-mile wide, hovering over Stephenville, Tex., in an area where Air Force Reserve F-16 fighters were flying, Dallas Morning News, Jan. 17.

First Things First

“I am concerned about the possibility of a rapid deterioration of security and stability in Afghanistan. History will judge us very harshly if our focus and effort in Afghanistan are insufficient to the task. A failure of the mission there would not only damage our security, it would do serious damage to NATO. We should do first things first, just as in World War II where we focused more of our resources on Germany and the war in Europe until that war was won.”—Rep. Ike Skelton (D-Mo.), House Armed Services Committee chairman, Feb. 6.

Bastion of Liberty

“If you’re going to join the marines, you’re going to join the marines, but you don’t have to join the marines from our town.”—Zanna Joi, spokesman for Code Pink, after the Berkeley, Calif., City Council gave her group a reserved parking space directly in front of the Marine Corps recruiting office and the authority to use loudspeakers in weekly protests, New York Times, Feb. 1.

Toward Mach 6

“The Chinese and Russians have learned how to disable our spy satellites, so we need some way to avoid being blinded in a war. A really fast aircraft that could get over those countries right away would be a good backup to losing our spy satellites.”—Loren B. Thompson, analyst at the Lexington Institute, on resurgence of interest in hypersonic vehicles, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Feb. 8.

Adjusting to Terrorism

“Pakistan, Israel, and the UK, when a terrorist activity takes place, … they move right on back to their life. It’s a tough go for the United States. So us US folks, we probably have to prepare in our psyche that there is the potential for terrorist activity. … We have to look at it, not overreact, assimilate it emotionally and professionally, and then move on with our lives.”—Dell Dailey, State Department coordinator of counterterrorism, Defense Writers Group, Jan. 22.

Bomber Prospects Dim

“The Air Force’s commitment to field a new bomber in 2018 (the 2018 Bomber) as mandated by the 2006 Quadrennial Defense Review report is, at best, uncertain. … Its advocacy for a new bomber lacks conviction and credibility. … Fielding a penetrating bomber by 2018 is probably not doable, because the technology is not mature enough, and almost certainly not affordable, because the cost of trying to field immature technology will lead to skyrocketing costs.”—Center for Strategic and International Studies report, Jan. 25.

Fewer Willing, Able To Join

“The propensity for young Americans to serve their country, coupled with a drop in key influencers—such as teachers, coaches, and family members—recommending service, is at its lowest point in 35 years. Moreover, nearly three-quarters of America’s youth do not meet eligibility standards to serve in our nation’s military.”—Brig. Gen. Suzanne M. Vautrinot, commander, Air Force Recruiting Service, who also said USAF is meeting 101 percent of its recruiting goal and maintaining high quality standards, Senate Armed Services personnel subcommittee, Jan. 31.

Russians Toss High Hats

“The time has definitely come to reform military uniforms. Those utterly shameful caps need to be taken away or minimized. It is simply impossible to walk around in them when there is a strong wind, since they get blown away.”—Retired Russian Army Gen. Eduard Vorobyov, agreeing with the decision to abolish high peaked caps designed to accommodate a two-headed eagle insignia, Moscow Times, Feb. 6.

To Fight and To Stabilize

” ‘Army doctrine now equally weights tasks dealing with the population—stability or civil support—with those related to offensive and defensive operations,’ the manual states. ‘Winning battles and engagements is important but alone is not sufficient. Shaping the civil situation is just as important to success.’ “—New Army operations manual, New York Times, Feb. 8.

Staying on Them

“Part of our strategy is to stay on the offensive against these folks—I mean every day, stay on the offense, an unrelenting effort to find them and bring them to justice. It’s hard to plot, plan, and attack America if you’re running and hiding.”—President Bush, Las Vegas, Jan. 31.

Remember Robert E. Lee

“Consider that 72 years after our Constitution was ratified in 1789, many people—including men like Robert E. Lee—still saw themselves more as citizens of their respective states than as Americans. How long will it be, for example, before a Shi’ia Arab sees him/herself as an Iraqi first and a Shi’ia Arab second? It is a hard truth that achieving US objectives in Iraq will require a sizeable long-term American military presence.”—Andrew F. Krepinevich, Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, House Armed Services oversight and investigations subcommittee, Jan. 23.

Ridge on Waterboarding

“I believe, unlike others in the Administration, that waterboarding was, is, and always will be torture.”—Tom Ridge, former (and first) Secretary of Homeland Security, Associated Press, Jan. 19.