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DoD News Briefing

Presenters: Rear Admiral Craig R. Quigley, DASD PA
May 31, 2001 1:30 PM EDT

Thursday, May 31, 2001 - 1:30 p.m. EDT

Quigley: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. I need to apologize in advance, I guess. We're going to do this in the exact opposite order that we advertised it. Dr. Zakheim has been delayed for a few minutes, so rather than have you sit here and twiddle your thumbs for some indefinite amount of time, I'll proceed at this point with the front end on all topics, except the '01 supplemental, and then when Dr. Zakheim gets here, and I expect him any old time, but I can't promise exactly when, so we'll press on.

Q: How about the '02 budget? (Laughter.)

Quigley: The '02 budget is not on the agenda for today, I must say. I do have three announcements today. Secretary Rumsfeld departs Sunday to Europe to visit U.S. forces in the region and to consult with his counterparts and senior government officials in a number of countries. In Turkey, the secretary will meet with senior government officials and visit American personnel participating in Operation Northern Watch.

While visiting the Ukraine, he will participate in a joint protocol-signing ceremony. In Macedonia and Kosovo, the secretary will meet with U.S. forces supporting NATO's efforts to bring peace to Southeastern Europe. While in Greece, the secretary will attend an informal meeting of the Southeastern Europe Defense Ministerial in Thessaloniki. In Belgium, Secretary Rumsfeld will join his peers and make remarks at meeting of the North Atlantic Council on Defense and participate in a series of bilateral meetings with a number of ministers of defense. The secretary will conclude his trip with a visit to Turku, Finland, where he will attend a meeting of the Nordic- Baltic-U.S. Ministerials. The secretary's party will then return to Andrews on June 9th.

Second, the secretary will be the guest of honor tomorrow night at the Marine Corps' Evening Parade at 8th and I, here in Washington. The parade is held every Friday evening from May through August. The ceremony starts with a concert by The President's Own, the United States Marine Corps Band. As the oldest post of the Corps, Marine Barracks Washington was established in 1801 and has performed military reviews and ceremonies since its founding.

And finally, this Saturday, the 2nd of June, Deputy Secretary Paul Wolfowitz will give remarks at the United States Military Academy graduation at West Point, New York. Wolfowitz's remarks are open to the media. Approximately 15,000 people, including members of Congress, civilian and military officials, United States Military Academy cadets and family members will attend the ceremony.

With that, I'll take your questions.

Charlie?

Q: Anything new on the EP-3? Is that group from Pacific Command there now?

Quigley: They did arrive did arrive at about 7:15, 7:30 this morning, our time. And as you know, Beijing is 12 hours out so it was early evening there when they arrived. I believe the intention -- and it's five people, by the way. It was to have been four and a fifth was added to the team. [Update: only four people made the trip, not five.]

I believe the intention is for tomorrow to have them meet with U.S. embassy personnel, and then over the weekend to commence the meetings with the Chinese authorities. So they arrived safely and the process has commenced.

Q: Are they all military, or are they --

Quigley: Three military -- four military and one Lockheed Martin. [Update: three military, one Lockheed Martin, total four.]

Yes, sir.

Q: Yes, Admiral, there are reports that the United Nations command in Korea is looking to play a more active role in arms reduction talks between the North and the South. Now, so far that's prohibited under the agreed framework, and I wondered whether you had seen these reports or whether you have any comment on them?

Quigley: I have not seen the reports. I'm sorry, I have no information on that. Let me take the question and see if we can find some information for you, but I have not heard that.

Everybody's here for the supplemental. (Laughter.)

Q: We love you, Craig. (Laughter.)

Quigley: I do say -- Ms. Clarke's suggestion is that we have some sort of entertainment or something -- (laughter) -- but, I'm sorry, I don't fit that bill.

Q: Could you tell us about this protocol you're talking about in Ukraine; what --

Quigley: It is -- it's a bilateral agreement between the United States and Ukraine to continue the ongoing discussions and studies that we have. It had a sunset clause in it, Charlie, to end soon -- I think over the course of the summer -- and this extends that for another period of time.

Q: These are mill-to-mill relations, essentially aren't they?

Quigley: Yes, although it's not exactly -- a mill-to-mill relationship does not include, for instance, a bilateral study arrangement to take a look at something. That's not in the traditional explanation or definition, I should say, of mill-to-mill. This does include studies, so it's --

Q: (Off mike.)

Quigley: I don't know, Bob. I don't have a listing of those, but there have been some that have been done and this commits to continue that process.

Q: Is it part of that PFP? Is it under that auspices?

Quigley: I don't know. Let me see if I can find out some more information on that.

Dale.

Q: Admiral, the Navy has sent notice to the governor of Puerto Rico that it intends to train again at Vieques, I believe, beginning -- or some time after June the 13th. Actually the training will only include bombing, no naval gunfire. Is that a concession to Puerto Rico and the concerns that were raised about noise, and specifically the noise law that was passed down there last month?

Quigley: No, it's a reflection of training needs.

Q: So you reserve the right to do naval gunfire in the future?

Quigley: Certainly. Certainly, yes.

Yeah?

Q: Since the government of Puerto Rico has been notified of the training, the governor has said that she's going to submit a bill in the legislature to have a local referendum, including the option of not one more bomb, which is not what was originally in the directives nor in the defense authorization bill. Does the department feel that this would be a violation of the agreement?

Quigley: I'm not going to try to guess what effect a referendum of that sort, that hasn't been held yet, would have on the scheme of things. I don't know, and it would not be very productive to guess at this point.

Q: There are already groups that are calling for acts of civil disobedience. In three days of training last week, we had about a hundred -- over a hundred arrests. With a possibility of 18 days of training, there might be even more possibilities of arrests. Is the department taking any measures to guarantee the security of the perimeter, or is the department in contact with the government to see if they will cooperate in providing security?

Quigley: I guess yes on both counts is the answer to your question. We will put in the best security procedures that we can to safeguard the perimeter of the live-impact area, particularly, and work with the commonwealth law enforcement authorities to do it in conjunction with their -- with the local law enforcement officials as well.

Q: In the past, Navy officials were concerned about the lack of cooperation with the government in spite of their apparent agreement or commitment to cooperate Is security an issue of concern this time around?

Quigley: The security is always an issue of concern, and we want to safeguard the safety of the -- we want to safeguard the process of having the training in the first place, but you've got to do it in a safe manner and make sure that no one is placed at risk when you conduct the training. So that's why it is important to keep the perimeter secure, to avoid trespassers and those that would go on to the range and place themselves in danger, place security forces, both U.S. Navy and commonwealth security forces in danger. And that's a big difference to take that action than a peaceful protest action. Big difference.

Q: Is the department in consultation with DoJ for their cooperation in security the perimeter?

Quigley: The Navy Department probably is. I would refer you to them to confirm that. They have in the past, and I would suspect that process is happening again now.

Q: Are we still looking at the end of June for the '02 amendment, or would that maybe slip to July now?

Quigley: I can't really predict for you. I know it's in that ballpark -- late June, early July -- but the honest answer is, whenever the president feels that he's satisfied with its status and content, he will submit it to the Congress. Beyond that -- I'm just guessing, beyond that.

Q: Craig, has Secretary Rumsfeld recommended any figures yet for '02?

Quigley: I know he has discussed budget with the president. I don't know if he's come up with a final recommendation.

Jamie?

Q: Does the United States still have any military or Department of Defense personnel in Yemen? And are you aware if there are any plans to either relocate them or evacuate them because of a security concern?

Quigley: The Justice Department and State Departments have asked for our help in providing airlift, air transportation, to move Justice Department, FBI, and the FAST team, the Marine Corps security team that has been with them for these many months where they've been operating out of Aden, relocate them to Sana'a -- the capital in Sana'a, northwest of Aden.

That C-130 was on the ground several hours ago. I don't have real-time information, but they should be in the process of moving both people and equipment to Sana'a. If they haven't left, they will shortly.

Q: Just one plane?

Q: Was this the result of a security concern or a threat, or --

Quigley: It's a result of a request by the State Department and Justice Department to help move their people.

Q: Do you know how many people are involved? Will they all fit in one plane?

Quigley: I think around 50 to 55. Yes, they all fit in one plane.

Q: And that's all of the people involved? Nobody's left? I mean --

Quigley: I don't know that. If there are any State or Justice Department folks that are staying behind in Aden, I don't know that, and you should check with them.

Q: But it's all the military? Is it all the --

Quigley: The military are there in the first place -- the FAST team are there in the first place to provide the security for the FBI and Justice Department personnel that have been working with Yemeni authorities on the investigation for these several months since the attack, and so they're going to stick with the folks that they are there to protect in the first place and move with them to Sana'a. If there are any that have stayed behind, Charlie, I'm not sure. You would need to check with their parent agencies.

Q: And you won't characterize why they're moving?

Quigley: We're moving them at the request of the State and Justice Departments to move them to another city. Their motivations, John, I would steer you to those organizations.

Q: But you have no knowledge of whether there has been any threat or if anything has --

Quigley: I didn't say that. (Laughter.)

Q: Well, then, what -- what's --

Quigley: I'm going to stick with what I said, and we have been asked to move them to another location, and by those two agencies, and I would refer you to them for their motivation.

Q: Have U.S. forces in the Gulf been put on higher alert anywhere besides Bahrain?

Quigley: I'm not going to get into a threat condition or a level of alert or what posture we are taking as it moves up and down. As you all know, we have had that policy in place for a very long time, and with the attack on the Cole, we changed it. Why? Because it was obvious that it was the right thing to do. Less obvious are the sometimes daily changes that take place in threat conditions around the world based on the existence or lack of credible, specific information of a threat towards U.S. forces. They are very changeable; literally can change in a 24-hour period. And rather than provide a description of an increased or a decreased condition of readiness, a threat condition, we are going to stick with the fact that local commanders are best suited to make those calls, but it is not productive to describe the level of preparedness for an attack on U.S. forces.

Q: Where was that C-130 from?

Quigley: It was in the Gulf region, but I'm not sure where its last point of departure was from. But it was from the Gulf region.

Q: It's just going to drop them off and then head back?

Quigley: Yes. Yes.

Pam?

Q: When was the request made?

Quigley: Within the last day or two.

Dale?

Q: By moving them to Sana'a, is there additional security available there that was not available in Aden; apart from the question of whether that's the reason they moved, is there more security?

Quigley: Well certainly the U.S. Embassy compound in Sana'a is there.

Q: Thank you.

Quigley: If there no other questions, I'd like to introduce Dr. Dov Zakheim. He is the department's chief financial officer --

Q: Just one more question.

Quigley: Yes?

Q: There's a couple of media reports from Hong Kong that are saying that the Chinese might be planning to conduct huge military exercise near the Taiwan Strait in upcoming June. Does the Pentagon have any concern on this?

Quigley: I would steer you to the Chinese government to see if they've made any announcement on that regard.

Q: Thank you.

Q: Has the United States been informed of any -- by the Chinese government of any such planned exercises?

Quigley: Not that I know of, no.

Thank you.

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