Lt. Gen. (ret.) Robert E. Schmidle Jr. earned his doctorate from Georgetown University and was the first-ever Deputy Commander of United States Cyber Command. Before joining us as a panelist for “What is Our Responsibility for Our Government’s Wars?,” the first event in our Mellon Foundation-supported inquiry, “How Should Societies Remember Their Sins?,” he sat down in our green room to chat about flying, French philosophers, and his favorite spot in D.C.
You have extensive flying experience. What planes are you flying right now?
A year ago, I started a flight school to teach aerobatics. So I teach aerobatics in an airplane called a super decathlon. And I also have an acrobatic biplane. Last year, just because I could, I went through a qualification process to race at the Reno National Air Races in a biplane. And so I did that last September, and that was extraordinary.
Who is your favorite pilot, be it historical or present-day?
There’s been a lot of pilots in the past that have inspired me. All the usual suspects. Charles Lindbergh, Jimmy Doolittle…
What’s your guilty pleasure?
I have a 1962 Porsche 356 Super 90 that I drive as much as I can. It's fun, and nothing I need.
What are you reading right now?
I have a soft spot for a number of French philosophers—Foucault and Deleuze. They’re dense, but they make my brain hurt and I enjoy it.
Where's your favorite place to go in D.C.?
The place that I enjoy the most is the Udvar-Hazy. It’s got a bunch of cool stuff.
Do you have a piece of emerging technology that you like or you're excited about?
[Gestures to his phone] This thing is my life. I’m all over this thing. I buy a new one every two years; I just want to have the latest and greatest of whatever the operating systems are. But my cars are almost all analog. And my airplanes are pretty analog.