Tuesday, February 15, 2000, 1:45 p.m.
ADM. QUIGLEY: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen.
I have two announcements. I'd like to just, I guess, follow up on two items that have been in the news recently. And you all know that the Department of Defense has had at least a part of the activities.
The first is on last week's cyber-attack against Yahoo and eBay and other web-based sites. As we discussed last Thursday from here, from the podium, as of close of business last Thursday we put out a message to all parts of the Department of Defense asking them to check their computer systems, with a deadline of a week, which would be this coming Thursday, to make sure that none of the denial-of-service tools had not been inadvertently loaded onto our own systems. And I wanted to just give you kind of an update on that today.
And as of today, there's been still no indications of any DOD sites being targeted by those efforts or used. And that means that so far, we have not found any of the denial-of-service tools on any of the DOD computers. Now, the work is not done, as I indicated, and it won't be until Thursday. We'll give you another update on that on this Thursday. But so far, nothing found.
And the second issue is the tragic airline accident from last month, the Alaska Air off the Pacific coast of the United States. The Air Force, the Marine Corps and the Navy all fly a variant of the C-9 aircraft. The services use them to fly people, to fly cargo, medevac aircraft in some cases. There are a total of 52 of those aircraft; 23 Air Force and 29 split between the Navy and Marine Corps. And as of today, the inspections of all 52 of those aircraft have been completed and we have not found any abnormalities or failures in those assemblies. And again, these are similar to the ones --
QWhat was checked, exactly?
ADM. QUIGLEY: The jackscrew assembly, which controls the horizontal stabilizer and the tail assembly of that type and series of aircraft, C-9, DC-9 and that sort.
And with that, those two announcements, I'll take your questions. Yes, sir?
QCould you clarify the ambulance in Kosovo that was found with arms?
ADM. QUIGLEY: I'll try. In the French sector, I believe, there was an ambulance that tried to go past a checkpoint. When the French troops at that checkpoint properly stopped the ambulance and asked for identification and for inspection, the driver panicked, took off real fast, rolled the ambulance in an adjacent ditch, as I'm told, trying to get away from the French forces. And the driver and a passenger both took off running. Their status is unknown to me. But in the ambulance were a variety of small arms, hand grenades, ammunition, and things of that sort that were on the road improperly, of course. And so the good news is we were able to confiscate all of those weapons before they got into the wrong hands.
QWas it purely a French KFOR action --
ADM. QUIGLEY: It was.
Q-- there were no U.S. troops involved?
ADM. QUIGLEY: It was French sector and French troops at the checkpoint.
QDo you have some U.S. troops moving into that sector to help out?
ADM. QUIGLEY: I've heard that there were -- are you talking about into Mitrovica -- is that right? -- that there had been a deployment, or is today a deployment, I believe, of a Greek company into that sector. And the Greeks, as you know, are in the U.S. sector. But the ones that we're talking about in the area of Mitrovica are in the French sector.
There have been many cross-sector operations in the last few months, I'll say. A U.S. platoon, as a matter of fact, I understand, went up to the same general vicinity several weeks ago. There is a display of cross-NATO solidarity. These forces are very visible when they move into various sectors by design to show NATO's presence, to show solidarity, and the cross-national solidarity of the NATO alliance as well.
And accompanying this Greek company, going up today, as I understand it, is a small number -- 20 to 25 -- of U.S. communicators and some interpreters or interrogators. I'm not sure of the other small number of folks. These U.S. soldiers had been assigned really as -- within the same sector, of course, because the Greeks are in the U.S. sector. So these are people that they're used to working with, and if this can facilitate the efficiency and good movement and brisk movement into an area, then we'll try to support that as we can.
QFor how long?
ADM. QUIGLEY: Yeah, for a short period of time, as all of the cross-sector operations are. I don't think it has a specific time frame involved, but I wouldn't expect them to be there for more than a few days.
QDo you know how many people are in the Greek company?
ADM. QUIGLEY: About a hundred. If you look at a U.S. company, it's about 120, 125. I think a Greek company is 90 to 100. So a little -- some fewer, but about the same size. Same structure, too.
QIs that the only Greek company that's serving with the U.S. in our sector? Or does that leave any Greek troops still there?
ADM. QUIGLEY: I'll have to take that. I just have to check my notes. I'm not sure.
QAdmiral, Mitrovica is -- been boiling over. I believe there's two French troops wounded, and there seems to be an escalation in the violence there, especially with the Albanians. Is this seen by the NATO and the United States as a danger to the overall stability in Kosovo, as it's spilling over?
ADM. QUIGLEY: Well, we knew this wasn't going to be an easy mission when we took it on.
Keep in mind, the purpose there is to create an environment whereby a democratic process, a peaceful process, can be worked out through international agencies. Wherever you have seen there be flare-ups in any sector throughout the region -- since NATO troops have been in that region, since last summer, you have seen, I think, a very proper response on the part of NATO forces, to go in, quickly try to quell the disturbance before it gets out of hand; as I mentioned before, be very visible in your activities, be impartial in your activities; and to clamp it back down before it gets out of hand.
The activities that you see, some of the lawlessness and what not, it's another reason to try our very best, internationally, to accelerate the introduction of trained police forces into that region, to govern some of the law enforcement activities that go on. But I mean, we'll do the best job we can. And I think we have been, and we'll continue to do so.
QThis morning, General Shelton kind of acknowledged that Iran seems to have been getting some kind of kickback during the smuggling for the oil -- (inaudible) -- for low-end folks to use international waters, or at least he didn't deny that that was happening. What information do you all have on that?
ADM. QUIGLEY: I don't have any information on that. I don't think that I can add to what General Shelton may have said this morning.
QHas Secretary Cohen responded yet to Senator Feingold's letter on the F/A-18 program?
ADM. QUIGLEY: As of last Thursday, the answer was no. Now, he has been on the road. I'll find out for you. I don't think so, but I'll find out for you.
QI have got a follow-up on the F/A-18. We just heard a briefing from the Navy on the Pentagon's top --
ADM. QUIGLEY: Right.
Q-- one of the top weapons programs. It's like a $45 billion program. They gave the impression that -- this is pretty much by rote now -- the Pentagon will go forward with a $9 billion multiyear contract. Basically, you're just dotting the "i"s because of the test results to date.
What is the Pentagon's perspective in terms of what needed to be accomplished from your vantage point, over the next month or two, to actually put this major program on a huge procurement path?
ADM. QUIGLEY: Well, I guess not different. Despite the size of the program, the process would not be that much different as with any other program, in the sense of you have a service doing its own operational evaluation, or op eval in this case. And those test results are then reviewed by DOD, shared with many interested parties who very much care how the programs develop and mature. And if everything still looks good, that will take us one way; if there are issues involved, that would take us another way. But I would say that the process would not differ, Tony. So --
QSo you're saying that the Pentagon has not put its final stamp on full-scale production of the F-18?
ADM. QUIGLEY: Correct. Correct.
QWhen will that happen?
ADM. QUIGLEY: I don't have a time line for you. I know Secretary Cohen certainly hasn't had a chance to review the findings yet, so there are several steps in the process that are yet to go. Although I will say that we're encouraged by what we've seen so far.
QYeah, but you're encouraged, but that's the Navy's spin on it. There could be some problems they didn't disclose today, though, I mean --
ADM. QUIGLEY: Well, I would -- you know, the portions of the testing that are not classified are going to be very accessible to a variety of reviewers. And if you are a reviewer and you have the security classification, the whole thing is accessible to you. And it will all be laid out there for a very clear analysis. And I don't think there will be any fast ones pulled here at all. This is a very important program that is important, I think, that we get it right the first time. It's important to the nation. And so there's going to be no shortcuts taken, no just quick-and-dirty fast looks. It will be thorough, as all review of all weapons programs is, particularly one of this scope.
ADM. QUIGLEY: Thank you.
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