United States Department of Defense United States Department of Defense

News Transcript

Press Operations Bookmark and Share

Transcript


DoD News Briefing - Rear Adm. Craig R. Quigley, DASD PA

Presenters: Rear Adm. Craig R. Quigley, DASD PA
April 26, 2001 1:30 PM EDT

Thursday, April 26, 2001, 1:30 p.m. EDT

Quigley: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. I have one announcement today, and that announcement is seated among you. I'd like to welcome to today's briefing the sons and daughters of the Pentagon press corps.

Today is National Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day. This is a day that is dedicated to introducing young women and men to the workplace by exposing them to options and future opportunities in the labor force. Millions of boys and girls around the country participate each April. The event takes place on a Thursday, and the children are encouraged to report back to their classmates in school on Friday.

You will see plenty of young people roaming the halls of the Pentagon today, participating in this important event. Please feel free to stop and chat with them in your travels.

And for those of you that are here, welcome. Good to have you with us. You should feel free to ask a question during this course of this, okay?

And with that, I'll take your questions.

Q: (Off mike.)

Quigley: No, I wasn't talking to you. I was talking to her.

Bob?

Q: Craig, could you bring us up to date on the status of the government's damage assessment of the lost -- intelligence lost in the -- (off mike)?

Quigley: Sure. Can do. It is still a work in progress. We have had -- you know the window of time, Bob, that we've had actual access to the crewmembers. It's basically from the flight that took from Hainan Island to their arrival back, via Guam, to Hawaii, and then to Whidbey Island. During that time, they went -- started a debriefing process on the plane en route and continued it on the ground for just a couple of days in Hawaii.

We learned some things about not only the emergency destruction process that took place, but also about their treatment and some of their observations while they were detained by the Chinese.

Then, after a homecoming at Whidbey Island Naval Air Station, they were all released to be home with their families for the next 30 days.

So the clock stopped, if you will, at the -- when the crew members dispersed to join their families for 30 days, and that ends about the first part or the middle of May, I believe.

So we have what we have at this point from our understanding of the debriefings that we've had with the crew, and that tells us that we still feel that the crew did the best job they could with the time that they had after the collision and before the plane touched down on Hainan Island.

It wasn't perfect, but we feel they did the best job that they could. There is more we need to understand.

So the intentions are that when the crew members come back from leave, on not only issue but others as well, we will continue with a more extensive debriefing effort, try to learn everything we possibly can, take that and then, based on that understanding of what actually may have been compromised, then analyze that very carefully as to the damage that may have occurred from compromise, what changes then we might have to make in procedures, in equipment, things of that sort, in order to compensate for that possible compromise, and that's kind of the way ahead.

Q: Did the initial series of debriefings indicate then that the loss was more serious than initially believed, based on what Secretary Rumsfeld said, for example?

Quigley: I hesitate to -- I hesitate to characterize it yet, because it is still very much a work in progress. Our understanding is not complete, and I think I'd like to hold off until we have a more complete understanding.

Q: Well, Craig, are you saying that, essentially, that your knowledge of this hasn't really changed since the day the crew was released? Since then? Has there been any additional --

Quigley: No. It has advanced, Jamie, but not as much as it will once we have a chance to sit down once again with the crewmembers and speak to them in more depth. We've taken the information that was provided and -- up until the day of the homecoming at Whidbey Island -- and then our analysts have used that in the past week or week and a half, whatever it's been, to try to work that ahead and to analyze from there.

But what we're finding is that the analysts need more information. You always think of that next good question you wanted to ask before you let the person out of your sight, and there are good questions, necessary questions that still need to be asked to complete our knowledge.

Q: Can you say at this point whether there was, in fact, some intelligence lost?

Quigley: We feel there was.

Q: And can you characterize that in any way?

Quigley: No, I can't.

Q: And as long as we're on this subject, have you made any progress in negotiating with the Chinese for a return of the plane, number one?

Quigley: Not that I know of, John. I know that process continues through our embassy in Beijing, and our views on that are very clear. I mean, we consider the plane U.S. property and we'd like it back.

Q: And there has been repeated assertions by you and by others in the government that the flights are going to resume, yet the clock ticks, the flights do not resume. Can you give us any guidance on what your thought process is here?

Quigley: Well, we have made no announcement on a schedule, but the policy decision remains the same.

We have every intention of continuing strategic reconnaissance and flights around the world. But we'll not provide details on schedules or locations or things of that sort.

John?

Q: Is it your judgment that it would be prudent to wait until after the damage assessment before resuming the flights?

Quigley: Not necessarily.

Hunter?

Q: Sir, is it possible that, once the damage assessment is complete, given that some intelligence was lost, that you will have to make some significant changes in the types of equipment or the way that equipment is operated on future Aries II flights elsewhere in the world?

Quigley: That's certainly -- I'm sorry to interrupt you. Go ahead.

Q: That's okay.

Quigley: That's certainly one of the questions we'll need to look at; is it procedural, is it equipment-related, what are the elements here that we may need to change? We don't know the answer to that yet, but that is certainly one of the questions we will pursue.

Yes?

Q: Is there any indication so far at how serious the intelligence loss was? And also, did the crew have all the tools that they needed on board the plane to have completed destruction?

Quigley: I can't characterize in some level of severity for you because our knowledge is incomplete, and I don't want to give a half-baked answer. We need to have a complete answer. And on the second part, on the tools available, I don't know. I have not heard that issue discussed.

Q: You said the process of talking about the plane is continuing through our embassy in Beijing. I think when there was the special meeting of the Defense Department team for a few days, they left it that that meeting of the Maritime Commission that had been scheduled, I think for this last Monday, would happen but at some later date. Has that been scheduled yet?

Quigley: I checked on that just before I came in. And no, it's not yet scheduled. What we hope to do, as one of the topics of discussion for that meeting when it does get rescheduled, is to discuss procedures that we might put in place with the Chinese to preclude or at least reduce the chances of any future collisions. But that is not yet scheduled.

Q: Have there been any indications that the Chinese have moved the plane from the last photographs that we've all probably seen? And do we have any read on where the plane is right now? Is it on the same spot on the tarmac?

Quigley: I have no indication that the plane has moved.

Alex?

Q: In light of this affair, has there been any change in the decision by the Pentagon or the administration as far as continuing the military-to-military relationship?

There are sources in China who say you've suspended it.

Quigley: No, we just have not come to that conclusion yet. Secretary Rumsfeld keeps that under review. We have very limited mil-to-mil interaction through the month of May for the next five weeks, and then everything after the end of May is that portion that Secretary Rumsfeld said, "Okay, let me take a look at this." And he has not yet completed his review.

Q: What, for example, are these very limited events that are still taking place, then?

Quigley: The mutual participation in a multilateral conference on some military-related subject in some country -- (laughter) -- as an example. I said it's pretty thin, okay? It's pretty thin.

What you don't see in there -- and I say, by a significant event, what you don't see as an American military delegation visiting China, or the flip side of that, a Chinese military delegation visiting the United States for some fighter base or a naval base or an Army installation or something. None of that is scheduled through the end of May.

Q: And scheduled in June and July?

Quigley: There are no schedules developed past the end of May. These things take a little while to put into place. So you can figure that if Secretary Rumsfeld finishes the review and sets off on something after the end of May, then you might not pick up on it right away in the first part of June, because it's going to take a while to get back up to speed.

But I'm actually ahead of myself, and we really --

Q: So it's not -- you do not agree that the relationship has been shelved for the time being?

Quigley: There's just not much there in the next five weeks, of substance. And it is not settled past that point.

Chris?

Q: Well, Craig, maybe you wouldn't consider port calls, since there isn't usually mil-to-mil contact in those, as mil-to-mil. But are you saying there wouldn't even be any --

Quigley: We do.

Q: Oh, you do consider it --

Quigley: Yeah, we do consider that.

Q: Are you saying there are no port calls in Hong Kong for the next six weeks or so?

Quigley: No port calls in Hong Kong for the next five weeks or whatever it is.

Q: Is that their usual --

Quigley: No, we -- they kind of go in fits and starts. I think the last vessels were there --

Q: Right before.

Quigley: Yeah, six weeks, seven weeks ago, something like that. It's not even longer than they're -- before that --

Q: (Off mike.)

Quigley: You're right; just before the collision occurred. But you can go weeks and months, even, before another vessel might call there, or other ports in China as well.

Q: Craig?

Quigley: Yeah, Tom?

(Cross talk.)

Q: What about possible fighter escorts for the EP-3s? Is that under consideration?

Quigley: No, I won't get into any details on that at all, on any of the processes or details as to the particulars of strategic reconnaissance flights.

John?

Q: Admiral, the Chinese have indicated very strongly, in reaction to the arms sale decision to Taiwan, that they might discontinue cooperation with us on nonproliferation, and they might even consider selling weapons to nations with which the United States is not friendly. I wonder what the Pentagon's view of that is?

Quigley: I won't get into critiquing their motivation. I will clarify and strengthen and repeat the United States's motivation in providing arms to Taiwan. These are of a defensive nature and in accordance with the Taiwan Relations Act. They are always viewed through that lens as to what types and quantity and level of sophistication that we would provide to Taiwan. So I will only speak for the United States's motivation and the strictures that we place on ourselves in providing arms to Taiwan.

Q: Would it not be a concern to the United States if China in fact did make good on these -- I don't know whether to call them "threats" or not at this point, but --

Quigley: Well, I think you hit on one of the key elements: it would very much matter to whom, and what systems -- are they offensive or defensive in nature, in what quantity. Lots of possibilities stem from that very broad statement of intentions on their part, so you would just have to wait and see how that played out in the particulars. The devil there would be in the details.

Jon?

Q: Going back to the EP-3, has the Japanese government made any representations or asked for any consultations on the issue of these flights, and particularly the greater intensity of flights out of Kadena. There are reports in Tokyo that there's some tension about this.

Quigley: Not that I'm aware of.

Q: Another subject? On Vieques, you have been reluctant to discuss the talks that were ongoing between the secretary and the governor of Puerto Rico because you wanted, and so did they, to make sure the talks were privileged and private as much as possible. But now that she and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico have filed suit in federal court, it seems that those talks have at least foundered or totally broken off. Can you tell me if that's correct?

Quigley: Well, they not communicated for some weeks, Ivan. It's been mostly between Governor Calderon and acting secretary of the Navy Pirie during that period of time. And that is felt that the Navy, the Navy Department is certainly the single largest user of the range, and the service secretary responsible for the organize, train and equip functions of the Navy Department. Secretary Rumsfeld thought that that communications was appropriate at that level.

Q: Okay, just a follow-up, if I may. As you know by now, the federal judge here has refused to grant a temporary injunction so that the training apparently will proceed by this weekend with the Enterprise carrier battle group. But things are coming to a head down there. The Puerto Ricans are expecting to have some kind of a flotilla to block this and everything else. Is it the stated position still of this department that the agreement in force from the Clinton administration and the former secretary is in force, or is there any wiggle room not that all this is going on?

Quigley: The sequence of events was first we had the agreement, and then that was translated into law. So it is not administrative in nature. It is the law. And we fully intend to comply with the law as the particulars are spelled out in the law as to what steps must be taken. That is our intention. We would certainly hope that the commonwealth government would follow the same course.

Q: Can you give us your --

Q: But you're going through with the referendum still, coming up in the fall?

Quigley: Again, it is in the law. We will obey the law.

Q: Can you give us just briefly your reaction to the ruling by the federal judge this afternoon?

Quigley: Sure. I mean, we continue to say that the training down there is very, very important. Realistic training is one of the reasons that the United States military is as effective as it is around the world. And Vieques is a superb training range, the best in the entire Atlantic for the uses that the Navy and Marine need to put it towards. So the provision of training through the inner range at Vieques is absolutely essential to the value and the realism and the preparedness of our military forces as they prepare to deploy forward.

Q: But what about the -- what's your response to the charge that the exercises, and in particular the noise, have a deleterious health effect on the citizens of Vieques?

Quigley: Well, that's an issue that under review both by John Hopkins, doing a quick look, as I understand it, Jamie, of the result from the Ponce Medical School, and a more detailed, longer-term look by HHS. And the Navy has pledged to continue to support the review of those medical findings, and that they will do.

Q: The governor of Puerto Rico seems to be under the impression that Secretary Rumsfeld promised her that there would be a moratorium on these exercises until that evaluation of possible health effects had been completed. What's the story there?

Quigley: He made no such promise.

Dale?

Q: During the hearing this morning, Judge Kessler asked a number of questions about what harm the Navy and the Pentagon would suffer if the training were to be postponed. I realize she didn't grant the injunction, but she asked questions about what would be the damage. And the answer that the counsel for the Navy gave was that persons who are already deployed would have to stay where they are; that replacements, a new battle group, could not be deployed if this training wasn't given.

Is that the Pentagon's position, that if something were to happen over the weekend that would prevent that training, that the Enterprise group would not be able to go over and go on station?

Quigley: Well, I suppose that's one of the outcomes, Dale, but you would probably pause for a minute, you would think about the options available to you and try to work out a path for the way ahead. More realistically, however, we're very pleased that the training has been cleared to proceed.

Yes?

Q: Craig, on a different topic, can you tell us what the status of Secretary Rumsfeld's responses to the Space Commission report is? Has it been signed, sent to Congress? And if not, why is it late?

Quigley: Not yet, although we're getting closer all the time. He has looked at a draft, directed some changes be made to the draft. I would expect to see it out in just the next few days, would be my best guess, although I can't give you an exact date. But we're getting close.

Q: And why is it late?

Quigley: It was a more complex response to the commission report than I think most people had anticipated.

Q: With respect to Vieques for one second, has the Pentagon or has the U.S. government taken any measures to prevent protesters from infiltrating the range or somehow stopping the planned training for this weekend? Any increased security or any other measures?

Quigley: Yes, indeed. We have a very robust security arrangement in place there, using both federal and commonwealth law enforcement officers, both land abased and water based. U.S. Coast Guard. We think we have a good security plan, Jamie. It's in place. And we feel that it's prepared to respond to any contingencies that may pop up.

Q: Again, just to stay with Vieques for a second, while -- as I understand it, while the temporary restraining order has been denied, the case remains on the docket and a more permanent decision might come later in terms of future training at Vieques. During the argument, it was pointed out that the president could negate this whole lawsuit by making a declaration that the training is so important that the noise restrictions need to go by the board; that the law gives the president that option, which would negate the whole lawsuit.

Is Secretary Rumsfeld going to ask President Bush to make that finding and just basically throw this whole matter out of the courts?

Quigley: I don't know that that is what the law allows, Dale. I don't know it to that level of detail. I'm sorry.

John?

Q: To switch to a different subject -- this is Senator Kerrey and the whole controversy surrounding that -- is there a -- can you explain to us what the process is for going back in history as far as Vietnam? If there are substantial questions raised about awards given to individuals, is that a dead letter? Is there any process? What would have to happen to go back and review whether or not an award was erroneously handed out? How does that happen? Or doesn't it happen?

Quigley: I don't think there's a single method, John, that you must follow in order to ascertain that. You could have lost records. You could have conflicting records. You could have records that conflict with eyewitness accounts. Any of several ways, I think, could start you down that road. I don't think there's a single way that's right, so to speak.

Q: Does the Defense Department take back medals that it has given to people for heroism and other deeds?

Quigley: I would have to take a look at that historically. I don't know off the top of my head. But that's not a very good answer.

Q: If an individual has filed -- it turns out that the individual has filed a false report, an incorrect report, that has led to an individual getting an award for heroism, what would the response be by the Defense Department? How would you proceed?

Quigley: You could conceivably rescind the awarding of the medal.

Q: Is the Pentagon in fact considering looking into that matter or is it looking into the matter?

Quigley: Right now I know of no such efforts under way or considered, Bob.

Q: Is there any plan to look into the incident itself that Senator Kerrey was involved in?

Quigley: Not that I'm aware of at this point, no.

Q: What would it take for that to be considered?

Quigley: I don't know.

Q: Well, you know, I was just -- there have been a couple of cases recently in which the Pentagon has conducted quite lengthy investigations, including the recent report about No Gun Ri and about -- in which it was also alleged that civilians were killed. This incident would seem to be comparable in some respects. Why is there no consideration of looking into it and setting the record straight?

Quigley: I don't know of any at this point, Jamie. I'm not ruling that out. I don't know of any at this point, though.

Q: Well, the issue, Craig, seems to be the citation for a Bronze Star in which Senator Kerrey and other members of the unit now say what was alleged in the citation for the Bronze Star is not true, that they encountered aggressors and killed these aggressors and gave a body count.

Now all the participants -- there's variations of degree -- are saying that in fact they killed unarmed civilians in this unit. I mean, that's the testimony of pretty much everybody involved. I think of the -- Admiral Boorda's award of a Bronze Star, which was also investigated on the basis of news accounts.

Is it likely he'll look into this citation for this Bronze Star for possible removal?

Quigley: I don't know. I can't answer your question today.

Q: Is it possible?

Quigley: Sure.

Q: Is it standard to hand out medals when it is only unarmed civilians who die?

Quigley: No. No, I don't think that's standard.

Toby?

Q: I'm sorry, just to go back to that damage assessment. Do you know when it's going to be completed? And at this point, the plane's been sitting there for almost a month. You know, you haven't completed the damage assessment, so you're saying you don't know the full extent of the compromise. Is it possible at this point to even prevent any compromise, since it's been sitting there for almost a month now, they've had a look at it?

Quigley: I don't think we know that, exactly. I don't think we know the extent to which Chinese authorities have been on the plane, nor their level of activities. We just don't have that knowledge. As far as a time line goes, once you get an understanding, a better understanding than we have today from additional conversations with the crewmembers, you would take that, you would -- you would kind of do the process again that we have had so far -- take the additional information, further analyze that, and then do your assessment from there. That will probably take some time, but I can't give you a time frame. It would depend on what we learn.

John?

Q: What obligation does a soldier, sailor, Marine or airman have to correctly state the circumstances in combat for awards that they later receive? What is the obligation to tell the truth?

Quigley: I think that obligation is always present.

Q: And if they do not tell the truth, what is the consequence of that?

Quigley: You would have to ascertain the circumstances under which the facts were put down incorrectly. Is this an honest effort to describe facts as you best remember them, and you have a failure of your memory, or conflicting facts, or is this an intentional effort from the get-go to describe a situation that never occurred? They're very different, and you'd have to ascertain which one you have.

Q: If it is intentional, again I'm looking for the pathway. What happens?

Quigley: Eventually, by some mechanism, you would have the award of that decoration rescinded, because the awarding was never appropriate in the first place and you would have to correct that.

Q: What is needed to start that process?

Quigley: Each of the services runs a board -- an awards board. Basically, that is the vehicle by which awards are given, and that would probably be the vehicle by which you would reevaluate the appropriateness of their being awarded in the first place.

Q: And the Navy awards board would have to take a look in this particular case?

Quigley: Yes.

Q: And what is the obligation if you -- if a service member is given an award, and at the time it's awarded the service member knows that the circumstances cited for this award are not true, are incorrect, do you have an obligation to turn down the award or make that known at that time?

Quigley: Say that again?

Q: If you're essentially awarded a citation or an award that you know you don't deserve because the circumstances described in your citation are not correct, and you know that at the time the award is given to you, do you not have an obligation to speak up and say -- and to turn down the award?

Quigley: We would expect service members to relate the truth in all cases, Jamie.

Q: But this is a decision by the secretary of the Navy as to whether to investigate, or is it Secretary Rumsfeld?

Quigley: That could be one the avenues, yeah. I don't think it has a particular necessary starting point. That's one of them.

Q: Have the facts been presented to Secretary Rumsfeld? Is he considering the matter?

Quigley: Not that I'm aware of.

Pat?

Q: What's the policy on appointing defense contractors to oversee major defense contracts in this administration?

Quigley: Give me an example.

Q: Lockheed, Grumman, Northrop Grumman -- I think officials of those companies have been appointed to senior jobs, or are under consideration for senior jobs.

Quigley: You mean into a political appointment position --

Q: Right, into --

Quigley: -- like the service secretaries, or something?

Q: Service secretaries, under secretaries.

Quigley: What is the policy on that?

Q: Do you happen to know if there's a generic policy on appointing these people to oversee defense contracts?

Quigley: In all cases, the president tries to find, using the recommendations of his Cabinet officials and others, to find the person that he feels is best suited to hold the position.

Q: Is there a cooling-off period? Say a fellow comes from Lockheed Martin, is he prohibited, for one year or so, from awarding contracts to Lockheed Martin?

Quigley: I don't think so, but let me take that. I don't believe so. There is one when the flip side is the case. If you're in a position of acquisition authority within DoD, you are precluded from going into defense industry and basically doing the same job for the same sort of equipment that you were responsible for purchasing. But I don't think the opposite is in place, but let me check.

Q: Can someone who's been a vice president of General Dynamics be able to review the merger of General Dynamics and Newport News Shipbuilding?

Quigley: We don't have a person that is the service secretary in place that has --

Q: (Off mike.)

Quigley: Yes, that's true. You would have to take a very -- no, I don't mean to be cute about that, but you would have to take the circumstances as they're dealt you. And if you felt that this would be a very deliberate process of consultation with our general counsel's office, our ethics office, the individual concerned, having a very clear understanding of the issues that needed to be dealt with, and you always have the option -- (coughs) -- excuse me, of recusing yourself to avoid any perception of undue influence on a process that needs to be perceived -- properly so -- by the public as being done for the right reasons and based on merit.

Q: Follow up?

Q: Speaking of appointees, when do we get a prettier face than yours up there, if you'll excuse me? What's the situation on her?

Quigley: Well, the confirmation hearing was Tuesday afternoon. I read the transcript. I thought it was a very interesting hearing. There's been no announcement that I have seen at least to confirm, a vote to confirm, and I believe the Senate is in recess tomorrow. So next week some time would be the earliest opportunity, although I have not seen a schedule, Ivan.

Dale?

Q: Did you mean to say these defense industry officials coming into the administration would have to recuse themselves --

Quigley: No.

Q: -- on decisions relating to programs they previously administered?

Quigley: No. No, there's no "have to" involved. It's a process. It's a very deliberate, thoughtful process that is followed in order to determine whether or not there are grounds to be recused based on your background and the decision to be made at hand.

Q: Isn't this getting into a situation where you're going to the fox's den to watch the Pentagon chicken coop. (Laughter.)

Quigley: No, I don't think so at all. (Laughter.)

Q: Well, I'm thinking of Lockheed Martin. I'm thinking of General Dynamics. All these companies have records of ripping off the Pentagon, of misusing funds, of --

Quigley: Dale, did you have a question?

Q: You don't want to answer that question?

Quigley: I think it's ridiculous.

Dale?

Q: What?! They're criminals! They've been indicted!

Quigley: You assume they're crooks.

Q: They've been convicted!

Quigley: You assume they're crooks. I assume that this nation has a very deliberate process to put in place for those who choose to serve in the federal government of the United States. So I don't -- I have confidence in that process. Clearly, you don't. We disagree.

Dale.

Q: Well, can you tell us what process the department will follow in reviewing the General Dynamics/Newport News proposal and when that process might be concluded?

Quigley: It just started, obviously, but the conclusion would typically be -- we make our recommendations known to the Justice Department, and the final arbiter for the government is the Justice Department. What are the criteria? You look for the effect of such an acquisition or a merger between two companies would have on defense contracting, on defense sources of supply, of materials and labor and products. What would it do to competitiveness? What would it do to the pricing structure and the availability of both raw materials and finished products? And in this particular case, you would take a look at what's different between the time that this issue was looked at in 1999 and today. When all those are taken as an aggregate, then you would make your recommendation to the Justice Department. I don't think there's a particular time frame attached, but we wouldn't let it dally, either.

Q: One thing that we know is different is that there is a different administration in this building now. Does that administration, if you know, have a different standard for reviewing these matters than the Clinton administration had?

Quigley: Other than, I think, that they would probably start with a fresh sheet of paper, Dale, and take a look at the subject with a fresh set of eyes in a different perspective just by the very nature of the beast. I don't think they're predisposed in any way to this or any other such merger or acquisition issue.

Q: And just to clarify what we were discussing a minute ago, it's not been determined whether Mr. England, assuming he's confirmed as secretary of the Navy, will be involved in that process or not; he may be, he may not be?

Quigley: Correct.

Jamie?

Q: On the Udairi Range report, can you tell us whether the initial investigation has been completed and whether you could give us any idea of what conclusions they might have drawn?

Quigley: Yes. The investigation that General Franks put in motion has been completed, and he has completed his review. A courtesy copy of the findings of the investigation have been provided to the service chiefs and -- but for their information, as well as to facilitate the family notifications. And as of yesterday, I believe, late yesterday, the component commanders, the heads of the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps and Special Operations for Central Command have been provided copies of the report, the investigation, the findings, the recommendation, for their review and action as they deem appropriate.

Why the service components? Because in this particular case, when you had different services involved, General Franks was tasked by the secretary to push this down to the lowest responsible level, to take the action necessary that would stem from the findings of the investigation and the recommendations.

And in his view, that was the component commanders.

Now they are then due to review the report, take the appropriate actions, if any, that they feel are appropriate, and then report back to him the actions that they have taken, once they are complete.

As far as the process and the time line here in the days ahead, the services are in the process of notifying the families of the injured and killed during the accident. When that is complete, we'll notify the Hill, and then Central Command intends to post the report in toto on its web site.

Now that's going to be soon, but I can't you an exact time line.

Q: Can you give us a sneak preview?

Quigley: No, I can't.

Q: You can't tell -- well, can I ask you if the carrier battle group that was involved in this training exercise -- was it -- did it receive the requisite amount of training that it was supposed to have before it deployed to the Persian Gulf --

Quigley: I don't know.

Q: -- or was the unavailability of Vieques a factor in not getting the level of training it would normally have? Do you know?

Quigley: I don't know. I would have to think that the investigation -- one of the things it would look at would be the training level of the -- of all of the forces that were involved in the accident. But I have not seen the report, so I'm not sure.

Q: Has the Udairi range been used since that accident?

Quigley: No -- well, it has, John, but not for the air-to- ground portion of the training such was involved in the accident here. It's a Kuwaiti range, but U.S. forces run that particular portion of the range. And until we figure out, you know, what are the direct and the contributing causes here to the accident, we have -- that portion of the range has remained closed.

Q: Does the Udairi range provide the same level of training that the training range at Vieques provides us?

Quigley: I'm not familiar enough with either of them to compare.

Q: Is the pilot involved still in command of his squadron?

Quigley: I don't know. I'll find out. [The pilot remains in command, in a non-flying status.]

Yes?

Q: Admiral, excuse me if you were asked this earlier, but I'm wondering, what is the Pentagon's interpretation of the president's comments yesterday that we would be willing to do whatever it takes to help Taiwan defend itself against a Chinese attack?

Quigley: I think I'll let the president's words stand without my help.

John?

Q: Pursuing that, does the words -- does the pledge of the commander in chief have any implications for the defense review?

Quigley: Say that again? I'm sorry.

Q: Does the pledge by the commander in chief that the U.S. will do whatever it takes to defend Taiwan have any implications for the defense review?

Quigley: Hm, that's a good question. I think the answer would be "kind of." And let me explain -- let me explain why I choose that response.

He's the commander in chief of the armed forces of the United States. What he wants the American military to do, and be capable of doing, is certainly something for he and the Congress of the United States to determine. Secretary Rumsfeld has set about carrying out the tasking of the president to review what America's military should be capable of doing in the early 21st century, and that process is ongoing, as you know. Certainly this is an element of that.

The review -- the only thing I would -- I waffle is because the review is very broad-based and very far-reaching in trying to look down the road literally decades as to what sort of a world we're going to face. And there is no single element of that that is going to so completely skew the reviews as to change their scope or change the course. So that's why I answered the way I did, John.

Q: I have, on the same subject, just one very simple, direct yes-or-no question to ask you.

Quigley: Shoot.

Q: If Mainland China were to launch an attack against Taiwan, would the United States come to Taiwan's defense?

Quigley: That is a decision that the president of the United States would have to make, in consultation with the Congress. It's not a yes or no.

Pat?

Q: On Secretary Rumsfeld's review, is he still sticking to this winter deadline that he told --

Quigley: Well, you can break this out into different parts, depending on your need for funding. Let me give an example. If it's an organizational issue and it really has nothing to do with funding, then my timing is not critical, and I could complete that now, I can complete it a month from now, I could complete it a year from now, if I wanted to.

But if I hoped to have an impact or be impacted by the fiscal '02 budget, which is now before the Congress, then I need to give the Congress, after the president has approved it, a proposal as to how to amend the budget that is now before the Congress so that the Congress can do something with it in the time they have between now and the 1st of October.

If it's further down the road, an out-year issue, something that I can perfectly fine deal with in the '03 or out budget, then the findings of my reviews I would probably put into the Quadrennial Defense Review, which would have a profound impact on the '03 budget and the years beyond that.

So it's one of timing and of scope.

The secretary has said that some of the issues that he is uncovering will take additional work and will push you out into the QDR and '03 and places downstream from there. But if it's something that you need to have '02 money to accomplish, then there is a sense of urgency. You're not going to go much more past June, July at the outside, or Congress simply won't have the time to do anything with the proposal you give them.

Q: Has he turned to a number of defense contractors to support his review?

Quigley: These are all -- the studies that are being done to provoke his thinking, to stimulate his thought, are all being done by federally funded research and development centers. FFRDCs, they're called. Institute for Defense Analysis. Center for Naval Analysis. Rand. Places like that. And then they choose the people that are most qualified to do the analysis that's called for. And these are in small and large-scope packages.

Q: There's no private corporation officials heading these studies?

Quigley: Not that I'm aware of, no.

Q: Craig, would missile defense fall in the category that you describe as a longer-term type of review that doesn't have to be done in the next --

Quigley: That could be one that has a foot in both sides. If there is a near-term decision -- at the end of the day, if there's a near-term decision that needs to be impacted by money in '02, then I need to have at least some rigor to my analysis to have it complete to the point where I can give a coherent package to the Congress sometime spring, summer, and -- of course that will be a longer-term program -- and '03 and out for the funding.

Q: You will have some results on that review in the next couple months, then?

Quigley: I would expect, yes, certainly within that time frame, yes.

Yes, sir?

Q: Do you have any comment on the new Japanese prime minister and his cabinet or your expectations for future relationship with this cabinet?

Quigley: We would certainly hope to continue the strong relationship that we have had with Japan for many years, consider them one of our strongest allies and strongest friends anywhere in the world. And we certainly hope that that would continue.

Q: Thank you.

THIS TRANSCRIPT WAS PREPARED BY THE FEDERAL NEWS SERVICE, INC., WASHINGTON, DC. FEDERAL NEWS SERVICE IS A PRIVATE COMPANY. FOR OTHER DEFENSE RELATED TRANSCRIPTS NOT AVAILABLE THROUGH THIS SITE, CONTACT FEDERAL NEWS SERVICE AT (202) 347-1400.

Additional Links

Stay Connected