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Verbatim

July 22, 2021

Biden’s Last Word …

Adam Schultz/White House

I will not send another generation of Americans to war in Afghanistan with no reasonable expectation of achieving a different outcome.

President Joe Biden, defending his decision to pull all U.S. troops out of Afghanistan after 20 years, even as Taliban forces advanced, and experts said the government would fall soon after the U.S. withdrawal.

… Their Lasting Impression

Courtesy

Nations are judged by the manner and care with which they leave the field of battle—not just by future foes and prospective allies, but also by the eyes of history. The world is watching to see what we do—or don’t do—for our Afghan allies in this life-or-death moment.

Sen. Angus King (I-Maine), op-ed in Air Force Times, June 28.

Accelerate Change, Please

The strategic environment has rapidly evolved and we haven’t changed fast enough. … Competition and future warfare will be conducted across all domains simultaneously. … It will be a trans-regional and global undertaking with complex actions and actors intertwined.

Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr., Chief of Staff of the Air Force, in a “posture” hearing, Senate Armed Services Committee, June 17.

SitRep

It is important for those of us in uniform to be open minded and to be widely read. … I’ve read Mao Zedong. I’ve read Karl Marx. I’ve read Lenin. That doesn’t make me a communist. So what is wrong with understanding—having some situational understanding—about the country for which we are here to defend?

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark A. Milley, responding to criticism about “critical race theory” and the U.S. Military Academy during a House Armed Services Committee hearing, June 23.

Let It Wave

Let me say, right off the bat, you have the coolest flag back there. I don’t know if it’s because it’s new but … it pops. It’s got that ‘new flag smell.’

Rep. Adam Smith, Chairman, House Armed Services Committee, to Gen. John W. “Jay” Raymond, Chief of Space Operations, doing his first in-person appearance to testify on the fiscal 2022 budget request, June 16.

Out of the Chain

After trying, and failing, to address sexual assault in the military for years, the time has come to take the prosecution of sexual assault crimes out of the chain of command. … The question before us is not whether to update the UCMJ, but how to update the UCMJ.

Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.), Chairman of the HASC, June 23.

Freedom To Deter

Tayeb Mezahdia/Pixabay

I know classification is holding us back. A lot of things are over-classified. … If we’re going to be a force that is taken seriously and deters our adversaries, we need to start showing them things to deter them. We need to show them what we have.

Lt. Gen. Nina M. Armagno, U.S. Space Force director of staff, in response to a question at AFA’s Doolittle Leadership Center July 2.

Time to Act

Luan Cheng/China Ministry Of Defense

We can say definitively that China’s actions show a sense of urgency. They see a future that is very different from the one we would want to see, and they are moving with a purpose to realize that future. Their efforts include a massive buildup of military power and a clear intent to use that military to create leverage on us, our allies and partners. … We are together waking up to this challenge.

Lt. Gen. David S. Nahom, deputy chief of staff for plans and programs, June 22, in Senate testimony.