Verbatim

Feb. 1, 2020
Illustration: Staff

Baby Space

“This is like the birth of a new baby. Its mother is the Air Force for some time. But this child will grow up to be independent.”

Rep. Jim Cooper (D-Tenn.) after the passage of the fiscal 2020 National Defense Authorization Act.

“Some people have been trying to kill this baby in the womb for the last three years. I believe there’s going to be some who want to see it die in the crib over the next three years. We’re not going to let that happen.”

Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Ala.), on the threats still ahead for a nascent Space Force.

Who’s Hungry

“I would rather not have to shove this down industry’s throat. I would rather this be a conversation than direction, but we’ve unfortunately seen over the years … if there’s no repercussions to not having security, there’s no incentive to have it.”

Maj. Gen. Thomas E. Murphy, director, Protecting Critical Technology Task Force at the Pentagon, stating that the ability to protect your own data could affect whether DOD does business with companies or not. [Breaking Defense, Dec. 16, 2019]
Photo: A1C Bryan Guthrie

Excellence in All We Do

“Getting this medal is important because it lets people know the war is still going on … People are still out there dying and fighting for each other, and it needs to be recognized.”

TSgt. Gavin Fisher, a PJ with the 350th Special Warfare Training Squadron at JBSA-Lackland, Texas, who received the Silver Star in December for a two-day fight in Ghazni Province, Afghanistan, in 2018.
Photo: Lucasfilm Ltd.

Taboo

“I’m going to say the word you’re not supposed to say in public—lethal AI is real. It’s going to have to be real … We’re going have to figure out how to do it, and feel like we’re controlling it, and how we’re going to exercise control and jurisdiction over it.”

Retired Marine Corps Gen. James “Hoss” Cartwright, former Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff at a MITRE seminar on strategic modernization in Tysons, Va., [Dec. 12, 2019].
Photo: Monica King/USA

Don’t Stop Believing

“We must figure out how to get on a cycle that allows us to design, engineer, build, rebuild, upgrade, modify, modernize [nuclear weapons ] on a continuing cycle so we don’t have to train a whole new cadre of designers and engineers and production people every 30 years.”

Peter J. Fanta, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Nuclear Matters, MITRE Corp. seminar on nuclear modernization [Dec. 12, 2019].
Photo: Sgt. Dana Clarke/USA

Call of Duty

“This was a bad guy, we took him off the playing field. And that’s important because this was a fella who was the glue, who was conducting active plotting against the United States of America, putting American lives at risk.”

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to ABC News Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos in regards to the death of Iranian commander Qassem Soleimani. [This Week, Jan. 5]

Discipline

“We will not turn into a gang of raping, burning, and pillaging (soldiers). … That is not going to happen as a result of this.”

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Army Gen. Mark A. Milley, under questioning from Rep. Seth Moulton (D-Mass.) about President Trump’s pardoning of three Navy SEALs convicted of war crimes.