Defense Secretary Miller rants about his $200K a year job, F-35 flaws and ...

ACTING SECRETARY OF DEFENSE CHRISTOPHER C. MILLER: Okay, are you guys ready? My statement is just, I made some notes. I went out, you know, met with the General VanHerck today, and his team. Key tasks were, one, kind of get an update on, um, state of homeland defense, two, make sure that we were synced on not just the inauguration threat, because that’s really like…but at this point there’s a machine that’s cranking on that, but just made it…wanted to talk about the rest of the country, you know, and uh, then listened to his team on the stuff that they’re doing. They’re doing some really, really innovative stuff about, you know, competition and how we do things below the threshold of armed conflict, which I think is kind of really, really important. And, uh, it’s kind of the future of the department, even though a lot of people just want to continue doing the same old thing again and again. I think that’s the definition of insanity, isn’t it? Oh, did I say that out loud? Uh, so, and then, one of our key things that we wanted to do when we got here was, recognize transnational threats, counter narcotics, human trafficking, all that stuff, which, for the longest time was like, oh we have a program for this, a program for…It’s all…it’s…you all know at this point it’s international. Fentanyl coming in from China, has a component with human smuggling and all that. And one of the things we wanted to try to do was, kind of…not refocus, but there was a concern that we probably went too far on focusing on INDO-PACOM and China, trying to bring it back a little bit, recognize like, wow, NORTHCOM, SOUTHCOM, even AFRICOM has some real, significant challenges and also, just to recognize, hey, we probably need to look at these things globally as opposed to, you know, one, one area. So I had a really good conversation about that with him. And that was kind of the intent. Let’s see…I think I covered all my talking points.

[Crosstalk]

Q: So the D.C. Guard, said that on the 12th, they got authorization to be armed in support of the Capitol Police, protect the Capitol, members of Congress. How was that authority passed down? From whom to whom…

ASD MILLER: Right, right, very typical, very standard, typical thing. I felt strongly that, you know, it’s easier to just keep everything at my level and, like, I own it all, but that’s not how we work. And, at least, my upbringing was, you want to get your authorities. I have responsibility for everything, remember, if something goes wrong, I own it. Completely, 110 percent. But the authorities, you want to push down, where the people on the ground that are seeing things happen—when I’m sitting at the Pentagon, or in my plane. So I made that decision to push it down to, uh, Secretary of the Army McCarthy, who’s kind of down there on the ground, so that they could move faster.

Q: Is that the call that you took during the briefing at the Tennessee National Guard?

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[Ed. Note: The telephone call the Acting Secretary is referring to took place on Jan. 12, 2021. The call does not reference the events at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.]

A/SEC. MILLER: I don’t remember.

Q: Gen Fenton had a phone, came up and you were talking, and he said, was that…

A/SEC. MILLER: I think it was.

[Crosstalk]

A/SEC. MILLER: Oh yeah, right, so that was…you know, some people, some of the lawyers were like, oh my gosh, don’t do it, I’m like no, we trust our people, you gotta have them have what they need to move faster. And then, of course, and then my thing is like, you’ve got your left and your right limits. If you’re not comfortable, call me, I’ll give you some guides, but otherwise, get going and move faster. Yeah?

Q: Are you seeking any additional authorities for NORTHCOM for next week?

A/SEC. MILLER: No, they got everything they need. That was one of

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