Verbatim

March 1, 2020
Media outlets visit one of the many impact sites created by the recent missile attacks at al-Asad Air Base, Iraq, on Jan. 13, 2020. Photo: Specialist Derek Mustard/USA

Uncategorically Speaking

“There are three categories of wounded in action that we’ve had for years: One is VSI, very serious—and you’re probably all familiar with this—very serious injured; one is SI, serious injured; and one is NSI, not serious injured. And, in this case, the reporting to date indicates mild TBI [traumatic brain injury], which would be in the category of not serious injured. That doesn’t mean they’re not injured … but in the categories that we categorize wounded in action, these individuals are in the NSI category at this time.”

Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Mark Milley at a Pentagon briefing Jan. 30, on how the military characterizes traumatic brain injuries in combat, in the wake of Iran’s attack on U.S. air bases in Iraq. At least 64 cases of TBI had been reported at the time.
U.S. Navy Adm. Craig Faller, U.S. Southern Command commander, speaks to 12th Air Force (Air Force Southern) Airmen at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., on Jan. 9, 2019. Photo: Tech. Sgt. Angela Ruiz

Don’t Forget SOUTHCOM

“ISR is a key part of the intel picture, it is a global demand, and we’re short in this hemisphere.”

Adm. Craig Faller, commander of U.S. Southern Command, testifying to the Senate Armed Services Committee on Jan. 30. Military assets fulfill only about 8 percent of SOUTHCOM’s ISR needs.
A KC-46A Pegasus prepares to land on July 28, 2019 at McConnell Air Force Base, Kan. Photo: Senior Airman Skyler Combs

Mission Incapable

“We require your attention and improved focus on the KC-46. . . . The Air Force continues to accept deliveries of a tanker incapable of performing its primary operational mission.”

Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein in a letter to incoming Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun.
President Donald Trump delivers his State of the Union address on Feb. 4, 2020, in the House chamber at the U.S. Capitol in Washington. Photo: Shealah Craighead/White House

Forewarning

“Our message to the terrorists is clear: You will never escape American justice. If you attack our citizens, you forfeit your life.”

President Donald Trump, Feb. 4, in his State of the Union Address, after explaining his reasoning for ordering the targeted killing of Iranian Quds Force Commander Qassem Soleimani.

Evolution

“Tradition alone should never be the sole justification for anything we do. …There has to be an objective-based ‘why’ behind everything we do for cadets. If an activity doesn’t add value or enhance the cadets’ academic and training experience or ability to lead, we shouldn’t do it.”

Brig. Gen. Michele Edmondson, U.S. Air Force Academy Commandant, after a review showed a wide variance in the amount and type of training received across USAFA’s 40 cadet squadrons [Jan. 13].

Running in Place

“We have adversaries now that are going faster than we are. And it doesn’t matter how far ahead you are in the race, if somebody’s running faster than you are, they’re eventually going to catch you.”

Gen. John Hyten, Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, on why he’s focusing on speed as he takes up his new job.
Illustration by Mike Tsukamoto/staff

Tipping the Scale

“Yet no matter how much uncertainty there is across the straits, the fact that the Chinese mainland is getting increasingly stronger and the Taiwan island is getting weaker is an inevitable reality.”

Editorial by the Chinese Communist Party’s Global Times newspaper, reacting to the reelection of Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen [Associated Press, Jan. 20].