Jim Cash, Brig. Gen., USAF, Ret.
Sliding silently under the mud, muck and fog of national politics, is a current event that makes Bill Clinton's excursion into the world of elderly sex look tame in comparison. This time the nation's national security is truly threatened in my opinion, and it involves not only a weak President with limited problem-solving ability, but leadership at the highest levels in the Pentagon as well. The American people would do well to demand a full investigation by an unbiased group, and let the chips fall where they may. I am referring to the "missile shot" taken of California coast recently, and the lame response by NORAD, the Pentagon and the White House itself.
First, in hope of adding some creditability to my assessment of what really happened just off the coast of Los Angeles let me convey a bit of my background which can be checked easily by going to Google and typing in my name. An Air Force biography will appear.
During the late eighties I was assigned to NORAD, as a Command Director initially and later as the assistant Director of Operations for NORAD. The NORAD operation was located inside the Cheyenne Mountain complex just outside Colorado Springs, Colorado. Twenty four hours a day a team of approximately 150 highly trained individuals, lead by a Brigadier General, monitored one of the most sophisticated computer systems in the world. This system was fed data from many different sensors that were able to detect missile shots from any point on the globe. All this data was taken into consideration when making the "assessment" as whether or not North America and/or Canada were threatened by such a launch. If the launch was assessed as a true threat, the President was contacted immediately by NORAD through a military individual always close to the President who carried what we called, "the football", a black brief case with release codes for our nuclear forces. I know the system well, as for near three years I led one of those teams.
In addition, for over 25 years, I flew US Air Force fighters to include the F-106, F-4, F-15, F-16, and commanded an F-15 Squadron and an F-16 Wing. The sole purpose of the F-106 assignment was to maintain an ability to become airborne in minutes to intercept inbound bombers posing a threat to the US mainland. Untold hours were spent studying and being tested on visually identifying an air-to-air threat to include its type and threat potential. I understand the difference in an aircraft contrail and a missile launch contrail.
In my opinion there is absolutely no doubt that what was captured on video off the coast of California was a missile launch, was clearly observed by NORAD, assessed by a four-star General in minutes, and passed to the President immediately. That is the way the system works, and heads fall if there is a failure. This is one of the most important tenets of National Defense and its sole purpose of protecting the American people. Even the smallest failure in this system gets intense scrutiny at the highest level.
Now, the question that still must be answered is why NORAD's muted response was simply that North America was not threatened, and later our government approved the lame excuse that the picture recorded was simply an aircraft leaving a contrail. This decision was made far above the four-star level, and because the system in place demands it, was made by the President himself.
There are many possible answers to the question why. Normally, when a situation of this nature occurs the decision makers in Washington feel it would create panic among the mere mortals who go to work every day. To avoid shocking the population the truth is shaded, or sometimes just kept quite in hope it will just go away. I would say to our government officials who disregard the intelligence of the American people, be careful. The people are awakening, and their trust in our government is fading. This level of decision making will hasten that process.
In my opinion we must question the timing of this shot across our bow. The President was abroad being diplomatic, which means trying to placate China which is becoming overly concerned with our handling a totally out of control deficient in spending. They do not want our debt to them be paid in cheapened US dollars, and it appears that our current plan is to do just that. China is devoting a major portion of their GDP to defense spending, and what better time to show the US that they can slip a missile equipped submarine through the South Pacific undetected right up to one of our largest cities, than right now. And, the Chinese have the guts to do it.
Important in my opinion is that once again the leader of this nation chose to disguise the truth and keep the American people in the dark on an issue that constitutes a major threat to the entire population of the United States of America. This is no longer a threat to only our military thousands of miles from the homeland. This is a show of force sending a signal that downtown USA is now capably of being hit by an undetected submarine and at any time. It may very well be the beginning of the real power struggle between the United States and China. If so, I predict the next phase will be China's demand for the US to cease support of Taiwan, and so it goes.
President Obama is getting in over his head once again on this one. Hiding the severity of issues we face with China to include this possible signal of strength is a terrible mistake. It is happening at a time that our Secretary of Defense, under the guidance of the President, is literally gutting our military forces. We have seen it already when the F-22 buy was cut from over 600 aircraft to 187, and research and development for follow on systems severely reduced. This is but one of hundreds of examples of military reductions. I fear that this could be another reason for this cover-up. If the American people fully realized the severity of the threat they might demand restoring our military to face the growing threat from China and Russia, as opposed to the massive domestic spending that we have witnessed over the past two years.
So, where does this leave us? Again, the people must decide and place pressure on the government to insure that our National Security remains intact. Military strength prevents war. Military weakness invites not only war, but also a lack of deterrence for intervention and bullying on many fronts.
If there was ever a time for the people to look closely at the national leadership and demand honesty and integrity, it is now. This is not a Democrat or Republican issue. At issue is electing those who have the ability to make proper decisions for our country, and will do so with no regard to their own personal gain. It is time to elect a President and a Congress who will put country above self, and defend this great nation against all enemies, foreign or domestic, and above all be honest with the people who honored them with election to high office.
Brig. Gen., USAF, Ret.
BRIGADIER GENERAL JIMMY L. CASH -- Retired June 1, 1991.