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
May 10, 2001 1:30 PM EDT

Thursday, May 10, 2001 - 1:30 p.m. EDT

Quigley: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. Three announcements this afternoon.

Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz was in Berlin, Germany and Warsaw, Poland earlier today, and is presently en route to Moscow. He's in those countries as part of a team effort to make a four-day visit to Europe to consult with senior officials as part of President Bush's commitment to consult closely with other nations concerning missile defense. His talks are allowing for an exchange of open and frank ideas on missile defense. He'll meet with officials in Moscow tomorrow, and has already met with officials in Paris, France yesterday. And he'll return late, late -- I believe tomorrow -- to Washington, D.C.

Later today, Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo is coming to the Pentagon. There will be a full honor ceremony at 4:00, followed by a short meeting with Secretary Rumsfeld and a 20- to 30-minute plenary session. There's no media availability planned. We expect the discussions will focus on the progress of Operation Focus Relief, continued security assistance to the Nigerian military, and other regional security issues.

And finally, the United States began deploying approximately 150 soldiers to Ghana and Senegal to begin the second phase of equipping and training West African countries for peace operations. This deployment is the second phase of Operation Focus Relief, an equipping and training initiative first announced last August. In the first phase, U.S. trainers assisted two Nigerian battalions to field a variety of small arms, vehicles and communications equipment.

Most of the participating service members are assigned to the 3rd Special Forces Group Airborne and U.S. Army Special Operations Command in Fort Bragg, North Carolina. The remaining participants are members of U.S. Army Europe logistics units who will provide support to the Special Forces trainers. Equipment issue and training are expected to begin by the end of May and conclude by the end of August.

With that, I'll take your questions. Charlie?

Q: Craig, has there been any progress on the proposed bilateral meeting on the maritime agreement between the Chinese and the United States to discuss the aircraft? And is that still the intent of the United States to discuss that, discuss the aircraft at that meeting?

Quigley: You're talking about the MMCA construct?

Q: That was sort of a vehicle before to discuss this issue.

Quigley: We have proposed dates and we have not yet gotten a response back from the Chinese on that. But we do think that that is a vehicle to at least discuss ways at which we can possibly design procedures to preclude events like the collision that happened on April 1st this year. But so far, we're still waiting for their response.

Q: Have the Chinese indicated -- they have indicated that they don't want the plane flown out. Have they indicated at all whether or not in fact officially that the United States can have the plane when it figures out how to bring it out?

Quigley: Not that I have heard, no. I know our folks in the embassy staff in Beijing are working with the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs on that. You know, we have options on bringing the plane home. We'd like to get it home as quickly as possible. And we'll just await the outcome of those talks.

Dale?

Q: The service secretary nominees, particularly Mr. England, were questioned pretty closely this morning by the Armed Services Committee on how they'll handle contracts and other matters that involve their former employees if they're -- employers -- excuse me -- if they're confirmed. There was some particular concern about Mr. England and what his role would be in the General Dynamics-Newport News merger proposal and other matters involving General Dynamics. What is Secretary Rumsfeld's policy going to be on those secretaries being involved in matters of their former employers?

Quigley: Well, you know, this is a process that's very public. As you go down the road of whether it's a merger or acquisition or if it's the simple awarding of a defense contract, Dale, you just have a great deal of analysis and information gathering and crunching of numbers that goes into that decision. Ultimately that process is a very public one, and so that there can be, and indeed needs to be, a public understanding of how its government officials came to that decision and that it was done fairly and with the appropriate -- and on the appropriate basis.

So I think Secretary Rumsfeld, you know, knows these people. Good heavens, there's an incredible vetting process that goes into the nomination and ultimate hearing process and confirmation of everyone, particularly at such a senior level of the government. And these are folks who lead very, very public lives and very public decisions. I think there's all kinds of checks and balances built into the system to make sure that the public confidence in those officials remains high.

Now, Secretary Rumsfeld has talked to each of these nominees at length in the very early stages of this nomination process. And had he not been convinced of the basic integrity of these three men, they never would have gotten this far down the road. So he is very convinced that these are honorable men who will make decisions based on the right -- for the right reasons, based on hard, cold data.

Q: Well, he knows these people well. How about the public? I guess what Tina was asking is, is the secretary and this building going to bend over backwards to have these men recuse themselves so there is no sense at all, by anybody, of favoritism or otherwise, involved in these decisions?

Quigley: Your point is well taken, Charlie. And they are well known within certain slices of American society, I would say; certainly in the business world and in the government as well, at least for one of them, earlier.

But there cannot be an actual or a perception of bias on the part of government officials who are called upon to make decisions involving policies that affect the lives of people under their control, the expenditure of taxpayers' dollars -- millions and even billions of taxpayer dollars. This needs to be a sense of confidence by the American people that these are honorable men that are making these decisions.

If there comes a point where there is a recusal or something like that necessary to create that public confidence, I'm sure that will be the case.

Q: Well, just to follow that for a minute, Mr. England suggested that his inclination would be to recuse himself from any matter that involved something he had been working on while he was still at General Dynamics. Senator McCain, I think, suggested that wasn't good enough; that there ought to be a complete recusal from anything involving General Dynamics. Can you help us out as to what Secretary Rumsfeld's view would be on that, in order to foster public confidence?

Quigley: I don't know. I didn't hear that exchange. I had it on, but I was listening off and on. I didn't hear that exchange, Dale. I don't know.

In every one of those persons' minds, as well as Secretary Rumsfeld, there is a very deep conviction that there be public confidence in their ability to make unbiased judgments, and I am very confident and Secretary Rumsfeld has expressed his confidence in their judgment to do just that.

Hunter?

Q: There was the suggestion, also, that perhaps the DoD may be prepared to fast-track the General Dynamics/Newport News merger in order to make the whole issue of Mr. England's participation or recusal a moot point. Can you address whether or not DoD has in fact put the General Dynamics bid for Newport News on a fast track for --

Quigley: I can tell you that we have not. In all of these acquisition and merger actions that are proposed, there is always a sense of moving out smartly and not letting this languish for an extended period of time. But by the same token, you've got to do your homework and you've got to make sure the analysis is sound and stands up to public scrutiny, as I indicated before. So I know of no effort to put this on a fast track. We'll move it along as quickly as we can, to be sure, but I don't know of any particular effort to accelerate the process here.

Q: And I assume that would also apply to the Litton proposal?

Quigley: Yes, indeed. I was just going to say -- thank you for reminding me. This isn't about just General Dynamics and their proposed merger with Newport News Shipbuilding, there is also the element now of Northrop Grumman's bid on the table, which certainly complicates that process, which goes back, Hunter, to, you know, this is -- you've got to do this right, and you can only move it so fast, particularly when it gets more complicated by having the Northrop Grumman bid as well.

Suzanne?

Q: Has the secretary spoken with Senator Lott to appease his unhappiness in order to release the holds on these two nominations that were reported?

Quigley: Well, I know he spoke with Senator Lott and Senator Warner, Senator Stevens, I believe last week, and has spoken -- I mean and met with him personally, I should say, and then has spoken with at least Senator Warner, I know, on several different occasions on a variety of topics during the last few days, at least. I don't know if that topic was discussed.

You know, their hearings -- their confirmation hearings went very well. There sure didn't appear to me, at least, to be any objectionable issues there. The Senate will move on this at its own pace when it's prepared to do so. They've got a lot of stuff going on. You know, we just saw the service secretaries and David Chu before the Senate Armed Services Committee today. So there's movement there. They've got a lot of stuff and more and more people going through the process all the time. I'm very confident they'll move on that soon.

Alex?

Q: How would the secretary respond to criticism that he is not consulting enough with members of Congress, but also senior military officers, in the process of planning for the strategic review and the budget and so on?

Quigley: Well, I know he's had several sessions either on the phone or in purpose -- or in person, I should say, with the leaders of the appropriate oversight committees, both Republican and Democrat on the Hill; service chiefs, chairmen, vice chairmen, unified CINCs, senior enlisted advisers on some of the elements that he thinks would be germane to the quality of life of men and women in uniform, particularly. So he's talked to a lot of folks, Alex, and the list grows all the time, and in many cases, the same folks several times as we move through different iterations of the process.

So I think that Secretary Rumsfeld thinks that he has talked to an awful lot of folks within the Defense Department in uniform and in civilian as well as Capitol Hill. There are undoubtedly some folks who haven't been approached yet and discussed this clearly to their satisfaction. This process is going to continue for quite a while. And it'll sort itself out.

Q: Did he meet with the president yesterday?

Quigley: He did. Yesterday afternoon, I believe.

Q: Do you have any information on their talks?

Quigley: I don't have any feedback from their meeting, no.

Tom.

Q: Is there any concern here about the reliability of the Russian early warning system either actually or potentially, given the fire in the Space Command there and the loss of control of their military satellites?

Quigley: Well, I'm aware of the fire. I saw it in a wide variety of news organizations today. I was watching some of the television and radio reports of it earlier in the day. But I don't know the actual effect on the control of some of their satellites in space. I think that one's best put to the Russians.

Suzanne.

Q: Back to Mr. Rumsfeld. Does he have, now that he's handled the Space Commission, any plan for a roll-out for these various reviews that he's been going through? Do you see any kind of timing frame on this?

Quigley: Yeah, let me talk about the studies for just a second, too. I think there's an expectation that each of the studies that he has put together to help him shape his thoughts and increase his knowledge and understanding of defense issues that he needs to be aware of, each of them will result in a finished public product. And that is not the case. Some of the studies -- I mean, all of the studies' purpose is simply to stimulate his thinking on a variety of topics. And some of them are as few as one person for a few days has done a limited amount of research, answered the particular piece of information that he was looking for; he digests that and moves on.

So there are all kinds of levels of effort in the various studies that are being done. But the overarching goal is simply to provide input to his thought process as opposed to being a stand-alone topic.

Now, some of them clearly will be. Missile defense would be a good example, but I think you're going to probably see that manifested, ultimately, in the president's proposal after the consultations with our allies and some more of the analysis has been completed as opposed to publishing a study, per se. But I don't think that we're going to see each and every -- I know we're not going to see each and every one of them result in a finished, published work of some sort.

Q: Will we see any of them --

Q: How about the --

Q: Will we see any of them result in a --

Quigley: I definitely do believe that ultimately, for instance, the quality of life and morale study that is doing -- that will come to fruition very soon. You will see -- I mean, there's nothing classified about that issue. And that will end up being a -- certainly a published finding, recommendations that he's approved and things of that sort. So some will; some won't. I just don't see -- there's no particular pattern, Chris, I guess is what I want to say.

Q: How about the broad strategy statement, you know, whether there will be a two-war strategy, or if it's redefined in some other way, but some sort of a statement that describes, you know, the strategy that he intends to pursue as Defense secretary?

Quigley: Ultimately the strategy piece -- and you have a problem there as far as the publication of classification, Jim -- but he's going to try to make as much of that declassified, or rephrase it to make it an unclassified document, as he can. That's still a work in progress.

You will definitely see a public -- certainly a discussion of the decisions made in that regard. Now, that might be by the president if he chooses to do so. If he prefers that Secretary Rumsfeld do that that's certainly his call, his prerogative. I don't know the mechanics of that, but we'll try to make as much of that, the actual product -- the actual paper if you will -- available publicly. And the parts that are classified, we'll try but there may be some parts that don't have that detail that we can provide.

But certainly you'll see it publicly in the sense of an announcement one way or the other that this is what I see as the strategy for the American military as we move into the 21st century.

Q: Isn't that a key to sizing the force? Will that be part of --

Quigley: He has said and the president has said from the get-go that first we have a strategy and then we have a force structure to carry out that strategy, and that force structure will have certain equipments to carry out the strategy. And you need to do it in that order.

Q: Will that be part of the announcement -- I'm sorry, will the structure follow the strategy or will it be part of it?

Quigley: Yes, indeed. It will not be a part of, it will follow.

Q: Will that be ready in time for the president' speech at the Naval Academy?

Quigley: I don't know.

Jamie.

Q: How many review panels are there?

Quigley: I don't know.

Q: You don't know, or you just won't -- can you --

Quigley: No, I mean, the question -- without being flip, the question isn't relevant. Some of the studies have been one person for as little as three days. And I guess by -- you know, honestly, I guess I ought to count that. But I think there's a public perception that a study is a relatively large team of people that works for some number of weeks or months to put together a thick, tabbed, indexed report, and that's simply not the case --

Q: Well, how many people are involved in these unnumbered, undetermined number of panels?

Quigley: Again, I don't know. Several dozens, all told.

Q: But you know, if we were to be able to, say, have an answer to that question, then maybe we wouldn't have the misconception that -- about them. I mean, why is it that we can't get an answer to the question of how many panels there are looking at what general subject areas, and who's serving on these panels? Are these secret?

Quigley: Well, all of them have been put together through the federally funded research and development corporations -- IDA, Institute for Defense Analysis; Center for Naval Analysis, RAND Corporation. And we have stated to those FFRDCs that this is the topic area that we'd like you to look at. And then they find people that have expertise in those areas, and that's one way.

Another way is to do it in house and have folks in perhaps PA&E or the policy shop look at it in house -- again, sometimes as few as a couple or one, to a small group of four or five or six people that aren't even necessarily in Washington. They could be physically located elsewhere and doing their work corroboratively via the Internet and --

Q: Isn't there any way we can get a listing of what subjects have been reviewed and who's doing the reviewing, or is there somewhere you can point us to where we can get that information for ourselves? I mean --

Quigley: Let me see what I can do. I mean, I -- there's been a -- it's a moving target, for one thing. As a study would progress, they'll uncover an element of additional needed research, and a new effort will spring up, sometimes for a matter of days, sometimes for a matter of weeks, until that issue is resolved to the secretary's satisfaction, and then moves on from there.

Yes?

Q: There are a number of programs, or perhaps better put, there are a number of categories of technological acquisition that the military has put on hold, ending the guidance that DoD, in the form of Rumsfeld, through these reviews, plans to give to the individual service chiefs to then disseminate to their various acquisition communities and give them the go-ahead, or not, to pursue these technological lines. I'm thinking of tactical aircraft hanging, you know, out there in the wind a little bit.

Quigley: F-22 would be a good example of that.

Q: F-22, the Joint Strike Fighter.

Quigley: Right.

Q: Also, with the Navy, a huge issue of whether or not to embrace electric drive, whether or not to pursue DD-21, whether these things that have been announced as major issues for the Navy, for example, are going to in fact be brought to fruition beyond the '02 budget. So for those types of things, can we expect some sort of statement of guidance to come from you or from this building somehow on, yes, you, Navy, may pursue DD-21; or yes, you, the joint community, may pursue Joint Strike Fighter; or yes, Air Force, go for it with F-22. When will we see that sort of thing made public?

Quigley: You're not going to see -- ultimately, you need to put together an '03 budget. That needs to be influenced by the Quadrennial Defense Review and the Nuclear Posture Review, and all of that needs to be submitted to the Congress by the president next January, February. That's going to be the first budget that it is completely shaped by the efforts of this administration since they came into office on the 20th of January.

So, going back to the studies for a second, if you have a topic that needs to be influenced by money in the '02 budget, then you have a greater sense of urgency with that than you do with something that can wait, if it needs to be influenced by money in the '03 budget and out. Or, if you have a policy decision that doesn't have a fiscal impact necessarily one way or the other, but it's a complex issue that deserves additional analysis and thought, that effort might not be done for some months to come. But there's a very clear understanding of the need for timeliness if an issue needs to be impacted by money in the '02 budget. I can't wait much more than June, early July and hope to give the Congress time to do something with it. They need to deliberate, they need to consider this as they work to prepare the budget and mark up the budget for '02. And then here comes the 1st of October and starting the fiscal year.

So my sense of speed and pacing and timing is influenced by the elements of the study, as to whether or not I need to have money in '02 or not, or if it's just such a complex topic that there's just no way that I can do it in anything but a slapdash way before the process for '03 starts. There'll be lots of elements that will need to be folded into, and should be folded into the Quadrennial Defense Review, whose vehicle, put into force of law by the Congress many years ago now, exists specifically to force this analysis, to prepare a very structured way of looking at defense priorities every four years.

Q: Can I just clarify that whether you -- did you agree to take my question to see if you could get an answer to how many panels there are and what subject areas they're looking at and who might be serving? I just wanted to clarify.

Quigley: Mm-hm. (Affirmation.) I'll try.

Suzanne.

Q: Isn't the chairman and his staff required by law to conduct a national military strategy review? And is it --

Quigley: I think it's -- go ahead.

Q: Well, that's what I'm saying. Where does that fall in line with these other reviews, and where is that input going to take --

Quigley: Let me take that, to make double sure, but I think it is tied coincident with the Quadrennial Defense Review. But let me take that, and I won't guess.

Charlie?

Q: Craig, on the nuclear policy review, isn't that just about complete? The secretary was indicating he was well along in that. And this is not going to depend on treaties or other countries; I mean, this is going to be a unilateral thing involving the United States, and it will save money, so it's not a budget issue so much, right?

Quigley: There are two efforts here. One is that he is indeed looking at strategic forces as one of the studies that he's got going on right now, but there is a separate requirement under the law that was a part of the fiscal 2000, or 2001, authorization bill to do a nuclear posture review, which is a separate formalized study effort which is due in December of this year. I think the last time we did one of these, Charlie, was '94, I believe, and that took a look at everything -- the forces, the force structure, the command-and-control, the strategic intelligence apparatus that goes into that process, and resulted in some pretty substantial changes to our nuclear forces.

The Congress has set up a process to do another one of those, and that is due in December. But again -- and that's a process that is much more detailed than the quick look, if you will, that the secretary has put in place for the study here for the strategic forces.

Q: When will that come up, the strategic forces study? Whether to have more long-range bombers, that kind of thing.

Quigley: Yeah. Well, the president alluded to that in his speech at NDU last week, and I don't have a timetable as to when that's going to be completely mature.

Dale.

Q: I just want to get something clarified. I think you started to say there's a lot of uncertainty in this building and on the Hill about how the secretary is going to complete his review, and the QDR will be complete by the deadline, I believe, this fall. I take it from your answer that it is still the secretary's intention to do that QDR on time and not to ask for any kind of extension in the deadline on the QDR?

Quigley: No. No.

Q: Okay.

Quigley: Some of the studies, now, will feed into the QDR, directly into the QDR. But at this point at least, he believes the timetable can be kept.

Q: Well, just to stay with that for a minute, you said a minute ago that, if I understood it correctly, that the secretary was focusing on decisions that have to be made for the '02 budget, and some of those that could be deferred for '03 might well be deferred for some months yet. How will you do that and still get the QDR done? Doesn't the QDR basically have to answer all those questions?

Quigley: Well, the QDR feeds directly into the '03 budget. So if I get a piece of analysis or a topic that I can feed into the QDR process, by definition I'm feeding into the '03 budget process.

Alex.

Q: Perhaps this is the final one. Is the -- an old story, but it's come up again today. Is the Pentagon involved in suppressing evidence of the existence of aliens and spacecraft?

Quigley: No.

Q: Thank you. (Laughter.)

Q: Glad we got that out of the way. (Laughter.) Thank you.

Quigley: Thank you.

Q: I thought he'd just say yes. (Laughter.)

"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."