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DoD News Briefing: Ms. Sherri W. Goodman, Deputy Under Secretary of Defense

Presenters: Ms. Sherri W. Goodman, Deputy Under Secretary of Defense
September 30, 1997

Environmental Security Ms. Carol Browner, EPA Administrator DoD Environmental Protection Agency Awards Ceremony Thursday, 25 September 1997 - 2 p.m.

Mr. Bacon: Good afternoon. Welcome to our briefing.

The Pentagon is a building of many rooms. In most of these rooms we worry about national security, how to prevent wars, and if prevention fails, how to fight them and win them. But we worry about other things as well -- economic security and environmental security. Today we're talking about environmental security, and to lead off we have Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Environmental Security, Sherri Goodman.

Ms. Goodman: Thank you, Ken.

Welcome, and thank you all for coming to the Pentagon. We are very honored to have the Secretary of Defense and the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency together today, joining forces to protect the environment.

Protecting the global environment requires commitment and teamwork

  • commitment to conducting business in an environmental sustainable manner; and teamwork to make that vision a reality.

We are here today to celebrate that commitment and teamwork.

Administrator Browner has joined us to present the Best-of-the-Best Stratospheric Ozone Protection Award to Secretary Cohen for Defense Department leadership and excellence.

The Defense Department is receiving this recognition for our outstanding achievements in reducing the use of Ozone Depleting Substances (ODS).

The Department of Defense and its people have won more Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) awards for protecting the ozone layer than any other organization in the world. Leadership and technological innovation are the heart of our success. We believe the very same leadership and technological innovation will help us to meet the current worldwide challenge to combat global climate change.

I will speak to that in a moment, but first, I would like to recognize the Best-of-the-Best Defense Department international leaders with us today. They received awards in Montreal earlier this month. These individuals and organizations have shown remarkable leadership, technological innovation, and commitment. We have a short video which highlights the accomplishments of the Defense Department organizations and industry leaders.

(Video Shown)

These accomplishments could not have taken place without the hard work and vision of the individuals we are recognizing today.

Stephen Evanoff, Lockheed Martin Corporation for 100 percent elimination of ozone-depleting chemicals from military aircraft manufacturing for the F-16 program you just saw.

John Manuel, representing Lockheed Martin Corporation as an organizational winner for technical innovation in solvents and degreasing agents.

Joe Felty, Raytheon TI Systems, for advances in evaluating cleaning technologies.

Mike Leake, representing TI Systems as an organizational winner for being the first international military supplier to eliminate Ozone Depleting Chemicals (ODC) in the manufacture of missile systems.

Gary Vest, my deputy, recognized for effective government leadership.

Tom Morehouse, who when with the Air Force was instrumental in getting halons included in the 1987 protocol.

Ron Sibley, for demonstrated leadership at the Defense Logistics Agency in Ozone Depleting Substances (ODS) banking and recycling.

Joel Krinsky demonstrated leadership for Navy's ODS management and elimination program.

Bruce Buckley, commanding officer at the Naval Research Laboratory as an organizational winner for being a premier Navy center for identifying, testing, demonstrating, and validating ODC replacements.

John Preisel, the commanding officer, Naval Surface Warfare Center, Carderock, as an organizational winner for implementation of new technologies to eliminate 90,000 pounds of ODCs from air conditioning and refrigeration systems aboard U.S. Navy ships worldwide.

Dan Verdonik, who with the Army spearheaded a government industry effort to establish a new international standard for recycled halons.

Renata Price, representing the Army Materiel Command, an organizational winner for strategic guidance and planning in pollution prevention.

And Jim Beale, representing the Titan launch program as an organizational winner for eliminating 2.9 million pounds of ODCs associated with all U.S. commercial production and launch of large solid rocket motors, and avoiding $800 million in ODC-related costs to the Titan manufacturing program.

Thank you all for your hard work. Your efforts have had a big payoff for defense and for the environment.

And this provides, and you each provide an incentive for us to face the new challenges of today, one of which -- the biggest of which -- is global climate change. The Department will continue to provide leadership in balancing environmental protection and national security in this area. Already we have steadily reduced the average energy use at our facilities and we have robust programs that focus on reducing energy use and fuel consumption while improving performance in our weapons systems and facilities.

For the technology buffs with us today, let me show off a sample technology that has the collateral benefit of helping us to combat global climate change.

In this video you see advanced aircraft engine technology that is being developed by the Air Force, Navy, Army, DARPA, NASA, and the major U.S. turbine engine companies. They are developing engine technology for the next generation of fighters, bombers, and transport aircraft. The goal is to increase engine efficiency and reduce life cycle costs. This technology initiative will also reduce fuel consumption by about 40 percent in these engines, thus reducing the emissions that cause climate change.

I urge you to take a look at the display in the back of the room on this technology.

We in Defense are working cooperatively with other agencies and the public to ensure that we can meet our commitments to environmental protection while maintaining the flexibility required to preserve military readiness.

EPA is one of the agencies with which we work closely. This is in large part due to the Administrator and her people. I would particularly like to thank Steve Anderson of EPA for his tireless efforts in helping DoD meet the challenges of the Montreal Protocol. His cooperation with DoD is the model for what we must do to address global climate change.

It is now a great pleasure to introduce the EPA Administrator, Carol Browner.

Ms. Browner: Thank you, Sherri, for that introduction and for your comments.

I want to begin by commending you and Secretary Cohen and everyone else here at the Department of Defense for working so hard to make environmental protection a priority in the vitally important work you do for our country and for the world at large.

The leadership that this Department has shown in improving energy use and motivating not only your employees but also your contractors in developing new technologies is a critical part of the Clinton/Gore Administration's overall efforts to address the monumental challenge of environmental problems that we face.

But it's actually more than just protecting our environment. It is also about protecting the health of our people, the health of people around the world, and it is about the security of future generations of Americans. Therefore, it is only fitting that the Defense Department should take a prominent role in something that is so essential to the quality of life we will pass on to our children and their children to come.

Your success in phasing out ozone-depleting chemicals is, without a doubt, an awesome achievement, and it is a lesson not only for the public sector agencies, but also for the private sector as well. You showed the rest of the nation, you showed the world how it could be done without shortchanging your commitment to excellence in what is obviously your number one mission, and that is safeguarding America's freedom.

Today as we more fully understand the threats that global warming pose to future generations, your leadership is going to be more important than ever.

More than 2,000 of the world's foremost experts on the global environment, internationally recognized scientists, are telling us that there is ample evidence that for the first time in history, pollution from human activities is, in fact, changing the earth's climate. Modern industrial activity, particularly the burning of fossil fuels, coal, petroleum products, is filling the atmosphere with carbon dioxide and greenhouse gasses. These gasses trap the sun's heat in the atmosphere and cause the steady, gradual warming of the earth's surface temperature. The average surface temperature is slowly rising, and the scientists tell us that there will be devastating consequences to our environment within the next 100 years. They're predicting more frequent, more intense heat waves; thousands more heat-related deaths; severe droughts; floods will become more common; tropical diseases like malaria will expand their range; agricultural production will suffer; the oceans will rise perhaps by several feet over the next century swamping many coastal areas. This will be our legacy to our children if we do not look for some way to begin reducing our emissions of greenhouse gasses.

There are some who will try and tell you that in order to win the battle against global warming we will have to sacrifice economic security in the years ahead. That is nonsense, and you are proving it right here at the Department of Defense. This is about getting the most out of what has long made this country great -- our creativity, our innovation, our ingenuity. This is about technological leadership. Those who are first in bringing pollution-reducing technologies to the market are going to be very well positioned in the global economy of the 21st Century, and this Department, along with its partners in the private industry, are leaders in developing those technologies. They have been, and I have every confidence that they will be again in the future.

We just saw some examples of the new technologies. The integrated high performance turbine engine technology program that we just saw is but one example of the partnerships that you are producing. There are many others. The new materials the Army has developed to make combat vehicles lighter, more efficient, and at the same time, more fuel efficient. The Navy's new designs for the bows of its ships using technologies that are expected to result in big fuel savings. And the Department of Defense is a leader in using the energy efficient technologies in the construction and renovation of its buildings.

Of course any fuel savings also mean a reduction in greenhouse gas emission, and that helps the overall effort to prevent global warming.

So we come here today to commend the Department of Defense for its continuing leadership role in developing pollution-reducing technologies, bringing alternative technologies on-line, and creating the kinds of partnerships with the private sector that will keep American industry in the forefront of the global marketplace for decades to come.

Thanks in no small part to your efforts, I believe that we can develop the kinds of strategies and approaches that will enable us to fully address the threat of global warming while enabling our economy to grow.

This Department has already shown the way through your work on ozone-depleting substances. We look to your leadership and innovation as we confront the great challenges yet before us.

In closing, I want to congratulate all of the winners, those that we recognized in Montreal last week with our Best-of-the-Best Stratospheric Protection Awards. There are individuals and organizations worldwide who have made significant contributions to global environmental protection through leadership, through motivation, through technical innovation. Congratulations to all of you who join us here today.

We made 71 awards last week. I think it's very, very important to note that eight of those awards were for U.S. military organizations and contractors, and an additional six of those awards were for military employees or employees of military contractors. In other words, fully 20 percent of these prestigious global awards -- we award these on a worldwide basis -- recognize the achievements of the military community.

Congratulations to all of you, and thank you for what you have done to give us a healthy, a better environment.

I am now honored to introduce to you someone who needs no introduction in this building, but that's what the script calls for at this point -- the Secretary of Defense, William Cohen.

Secretary Cohen: Thank you.

I was just noticing as Carol Browner was speaking that the symbol of the Pentagon behind me seems to be turning green. (Laughter) Is Ken Bacon up to his mischief? It's not done for atmospherics today.

Carol, let me thank you. When I was in the Senate, I helped to sponsor legislation that would elevate EPA to a Cabinet-level position. I felt that those who care about the state of the earth should share the same table as those who are concerned about the state of health of our country, the state of education in our country, and indeed, those who are concerned about the security of our nation. So I'm grateful that President Clinton has given Carol Browner a seat at the Cabinet, and I'm glad to hear a very clear and strong and sensible voice in the Cabinet meetings that we attend.

I'm also very gratified, obviously, to hear her speaking in praise of the military contribution to the environment. And I should take notice that we have our Secretary of the Navy here, John Dalton; Secretary of the Air Force, Secretary Widnall, who is also with us today to share in this moment.

When I think about the Department's environment efforts, I obviously think about Teddy Roosevelt. As a soldier, Roosevelt was the original "rough rider" but as the original environmental President, TR also knew that you couldn't ride roughshod over the land. He said, "To skin and exhaust the land will undermine the days of our children."

The spirit of Teddy Roosevelt is present today in the 25 million acres of land that are under U.S. military stewardship. Even as the armed forces protect our national security, they are also helping to protect global security in a very larger sense -- the health of the planet that we pass on to our children.

The proof is here today in the men and women whom EPA has named as champions of the world for their work to heal the hole that's developing in the ozone layer. And thanks to these champions and so many others, it was the Defense Department that led the development of alternatives to halon as you saw during the video presentation, a major ozone depleting substance. Thanks to them, DoD has exceeded the Montreal Protocol's targets in the time tables for curbing the use of these chemicals, so these champions of the world are just a part of the story of how the Department values the environment every day in the way we train and operate.

By way of example, over the past ten years we have drastically cut our energy use more than any other large federal agency, and this not only cuts down on waste and costs, it cuts our greenhouse gas emissions. And in cutting these emissions, the Department has been making its own contribution to world security, as such, and preparing us to gather in Japan in December to consider the treaty to fight global warming itself.

Some say that the only fight the Department should carry on and should care about is defending our nation and not defending the earth. Of course we're the first to say that our primary and foremost mission is and always will be to fight the nation's wars, and by helping to be prepared to deter those who might ever challenge us. That's why the U.S. armed forces and the Department exist. But by protecting the peace and freedom of the world and our interests in the world, it need not be at odds with protecting the earth itself. Our efforts to make the military and those who support it more efficient can make it greener, as well as leaner.

America's armed forces, we truly are the champions of the world in every sense, and in the most important sense, creating a better world that will leave our legacy to the generations that follow us.

We thank you very much for being here, and now I'll turn it back over to you, Sherri. Thank you very much.

Mr. Columbo, just one more question.

Q: Just one question, if I might ask.

The Presidential Advisory Commission has said that while the Pentagon has improved its investigation of Gulf War Illnesses, that its early problems of the investigation have raised major problems about its credibility, and that you should turn leadership of the investigation over to somebody else. How do you feel about that?

A: I would disagree with that. I think I have been the first to indicate that the entire investigation initially was not well handled, that a number of mistakes were made, that records were not kept, there were lots of gaps. I think we were the first to admit that.

Since that time there has been, I think, an enormous and extraordinary effort undertaken with Dr. Bernie Rostker leading that effort. He has done an outstanding job. He has tried to make as thorough an investigation as possible. As you know, I have asked former Senator Warren Rudman to serve as sort of overseer of our own investigation, to coordinate reports concerning Gulf War Illness, and I think there has been an extraordinary effort made by Dr. Rostker. I think that the Pentagon under his leadership has brought forth the errors that were made in the past, has reached out in every conceivable way to our veteran community, to the military, to the public at large to inquire as to what information they might have that we might need to alert them to any information that we have that they would need to be aware of. I think the Pentagon is fully capable of conducting an investigation, so I would disagree with that recommendation.

Q: I take it in a nutshell you would reject any suggestion that you give up control, that the Pentagon gives up control of the investigation.

A: Well, it's not up to me. It's the Presidential Advisory Committee or Commission that's making the recommendation. What I believe is that if you look at what has happened during the past year, you will find an extraordinary effort undertaken, and I believe in the most open, transparent fashion possible to bring as much information to our veterans as possible, and to gather as much information and to make it public.

I believe that Dr. Rostker has done a superb job. Any complaints that might be directed, I think would go back to the initial phases of the investigation that began back in the early '90s. I believe that the Pentagon is fully capable of conducting such a continuation of its own investigation, making its findings public, and whatever deficiencies might still exist, making those public. Again, with the help of former Senator Warren Rudman, I think that we have the capacity to make a full investigation and report to the public.

Q: Would you take one on Bosnia and your coming trip? Specifically, there are reports that you're changing your mind about U.S. withdrawal from Bosnia in July of next year...

A: June.

Q: June. Excuse me, sir. June of next year. That you're being persuaded to come around on that. Sandy Berger hedged the other day in his speech. This all comes to a head in December, does it not, sir?

A: I don't think it comes to a head in December. I think it comes to a head when the mission ends. If you read very carefully what Sandy Berger said in his speech to the National Press Club, and if you compare that with what President Clinton said about a month ago, I think you will find they are completely consistent.

The SFOR mission will, in fact, end in June of '98. Sandy Berger reiterated that again in his speech. The President said six weeks or so ago that the United States obviously has a continuing interest in what takes place in Bosnia and doing what we can to help continue to stabilize that area. He indicated in his speech yesterday or the day before yesterday, Mr. Berger, that the international community had a continuing interest in promoting stability in that region of the world. And what role the international community might play, and indeed, what role the United States might play in the future remains undecided.

So I think it's very clear from what the President said, what Sandy Berger has said and my own views. I believe the SFOR mission should and will terminate in June of '98. And I've also said on many occasions, as has the President, Mr. Berger, Secretary Albright, that what we need to do is focus on what takes place between now and next June. As a result of our trying to intensify that focus, you have seen a much greater degree of activity in recent weeks, in the last couple of months, I would say. There's been a greater activity in energizing some of the civilian agencies. We've had a donor's conference in which they have pledged in excess of a billion dollars. There is more economic reconstruction going on. We did see the arrest of two in the Prijedor Sector. You have seen much more activity taking place. That has been brought about by virtue of the fact that we have indicated that the mission should, in fact, end and will end in June of next year.

Will there be any follow on? No one can tell you that. There's been no decision as far as the international community is concerned. There's been no decision as far as the President is concerned. He has said this mission will end in June of '98. What form if any, the United States participation in helping to encourage and support stability in that part of Europe remains to be seen. But it cannot be done and will not be done without full consultation with Congress.

As you know, the House passed a measure which would mandate a legislative cutoff of any funding beyond June of '98. The Senate had a "Sense of the Senate" resolution that would accomplish virtually the same. The Appropriations Conference has recommended language that would indicate that no funds shall be spent beyond June of '98 unless the President were to certify there were a national interest in remaining beyond that time, what force, if any would be required, how many, how much, and request a supplemental appropriation.

It's very clear that there is strong sentiment on Capital Hill for not continuing a military type of operation of any significant degree, certainly, beyond June of '98, and that's a matter that cannot be decided by the executive alone; it will have to be decided in consultation with Congress.

So I think there is complete consistency between what Sandy Berger said in his speech at the National Press Club, I believe it's completely consistent with what President Clinton has said and consistent with what I and Secretary Albright have been saying, that we need to focus our energies on what takes place between now and June of next year, and that's precisely what we're doing, and that's why you're seeing some of the results taking place.

Q: Did General Shalikashvili signal new willingness to go after war criminals in his statement yesterday?

A: I believe General Shalikashvili has indicated that there is no statute of limitations on war criminals. That those individuals who are charged with or indicted for war crimes will one day come to justice. I don't believe he's indicated any time frame in which that will take place. I think he's always had the same position -- those who have committed war crimes should be held accountable and will be held accountable.

Q: The General yesterday did say that he sees this time frame as set by Congress as actually not being helpful, that it just makes people sit out and wait that kind of deadline. Do you believe that as well?

A: I think I said this when I was a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, that it is not usually prudent to set deadlines or time frames for specific types of operations. So as a general proposition, those time deadlines should be avoided if at all possible.

In that particular case because of the concern about how long and under what circumstances the United States would become involved, an initial pledge was made to limit the military involvement to one year. Then, of course, last year, last fall, NATO decided to extend that 18 months.

As a general rule, it is, I think, prudent to avoid setting specific time deadlines, but those have been set and they were set for specific purposes, and that was to give members of Congress some assurance that this would not be a limitless or endless commitment of American forces to that region.

But I believe that this is a matter that will have to be discussed in the coming weeks and months with Congress. The deadline of June of '98, the President intends to meet as far SFOR is concerned. Beyond that there has been no decision, there have been no discussions. There have been no discussions amongst the allies, and there have been no discussions within the Administration about any commitment beyond that time. So I think what is being said is quite consistent through all the spokesmen on national security.