Briefing Bullets

Here are the key quotes that hit the target in Thursday’s Pentagon press briefing with Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Joint Chiefs Chairman Martin Dempsey: ON AFGHANISTAN: PANETTA: “I believe very strongly that Gen. [John] Allen’s plan that was adopted in Chicago by NATO is working and we’re fully committed to finishing the job.” PANETTA: ...

DOD photo by Glenn Fawcett
DOD photo by Glenn Fawcett
DOD photo by Glenn Fawcett

Here are the key quotes that hit the target in Thursday’s Pentagon press briefing with Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Joint Chiefs Chairman Martin Dempsey:

ON AFGHANISTAN:

PANETTA: “I believe very strongly that Gen. [John] Allen’s plan that was adopted in Chicago by NATO is working and we’re fully committed to finishing the job.”

Here are the key quotes that hit the target in Thursday’s Pentagon press briefing with Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Joint Chiefs Chairman Martin Dempsey:

ON AFGHANISTAN:

PANETTA: “I believe very strongly that Gen. [John] Allen’s plan that was adopted in Chicago by NATO is working and we’re fully committed to finishing the job.”

PANETTA: “We’re not going to walk backward from what we’ve accomplished.”

DEMPSEY: “No option is entirely off the table…I’m not prepared to say anything more than that.” Dempsey said he provided the “zero troops” option to the White House national security staff on request, but not yet to President Obama directly.

ON THE BUDGET:

PANETTA: “We have no idea what the hell is going to happen.”

PANETTA: “We really have no choice but to prepare for the worst”

PANETTA: “This fiscal uncertainty has become a very serious threat to our national security.”

DEMPSEY: “I am very concerned that our elected leaders were unable to set aside sequestration during the last Congress.”

ON HAGEL:

PANETTA: “I’ve known Chuck a long time. He is the right person to lead the department at this time.”

ON WASHINGTON:

PANETTA, on what’s changed in his decades-long time in Washington: “Governing was good politics…for whatever reason that concept has been lost, and I think that there’s an attitude that governing isn’t necessarily is good politics, that gridlock and confrontation are good politics. And I think we pay a price for that, that that’s what’s happening.”

ON BEING UNABLE TO STOP SYRIA FROM USING CHEMICAL WEAPONS:

DEMPSEY: “If they decide to use it, I think we would be reacting.”

Kevin Baron is a national security reporter for Foreign Policy, covering defense and military issues in Washington. He is also vice president of the Pentagon Press Association. Baron previously was a national security staff writer for National Journal, covering the "business of war." Prior to that, Baron worked in the resident daily Pentagon press corps as a reporter/photographer for Stars and Stripes. For three years with Stripes, Baron covered the building and traveled overseas extensively with the secretary of defense and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, covering official visits to Afghanistan and Iraq, the Middle East and Europe, China, Japan and South Korea, in more than a dozen countries. From 2004 to 2009, Baron was the Boston Globe Washington bureau's investigative projects reporter, covering defense, international affairs, lobbying and other issues. Before that, he muckraked at the Center for Public Integrity. Baron has reported on assignment from Asia, Africa, Australia, Europe, the Middle East and the South Pacific. He was won two Polk Awards, among other honors. He has a B.A. in international studies from the University of Richmond and M.A. in media and public affairs from George Washington University. Originally from Orlando, Fla., Baron has lived in the Washington area since 1998 and currently resides in Northern Virginia with his wife, three sons, and the family dog, The Edge. Twitter: @FPBaron

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