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DoD News Briefing - Rear Admiral Craig R. Quigley

Presenter: Rear Admiral Craig R. Quigley
May 02, 2000 1:30 PM EDT

Tuesday May 2, 2000 1:30 p.m. EDT

ADM. QUIGLEY: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. Three short announcements today.

Secretary Cohen traveled yesterday to the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Kosovo, and met with troops there at Camp Bondsteel and Camp Montieth. Earlier today, at Patch Barracks in Stuttgart, he gave remarks at the U.S. European Command change-of-command ceremony between Generals Clark and Ralston. And tomorrow he will attend the Supreme Allied Commander Europe change-of-command ceremony at SHAPE headquarters in Mons, Belgium. Following that ceremony, he will depart for Andrews Air Force Base and arrive early tomorrow evening back in the D.C. area.

Second, the undersecretary of the Navy, Jerry Hultin, announced today that he has accepted a position as the new dean at the Stevens Institute Wesley J. Howe School of Technology Management. Secretary Hultin will assume his new position later this summer. And we have a bluetopper [news release] later on this afternoon on that, as well as, I'm sure, additional details are available from the Navy.

And third, we're pleased to welcome 10 graduate students majoring in journalism from the University Laval in Canada and University Ecole Superieure de Journalisme de Lille, in France. They are here in France for a one-week -- I mean, here in Washington -- I'm sorry. (Laughter.) Where are we, again?

Q : Sounds like France.

ADM. QUIGLEY: We are here in Washington -- for a one-week visit as guests of the Foreign Press Center and visiting some of the major news organizations in various places where you work, including today's Defense Department press briefing. Welcome to you all. Good to have you with us.

And with that, I'll take your questions, ladies and gentlemen. Charlie?

Q : Thank you. Are U.S. marshals on those two ships off Vieques? And will military helicopters be used in clearing these demonstrators out of Vieques? I mean, you said -- this building has said repeatedly that the U.S. military would not be used in a police action. Will military helicopters be used to transport?

ADM. QUIGLEY: Let me -- I know that this issue is probably THE single most important topic that you all want to discuss today. Let me save us all some time and tell you what I will and won't talk about today.

If you have questions on the contents of the agreement that was signed between the federal government and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico some months ago, I can go through that in some detail.

I can also repeat the reason that the American military feels that the training facilities that exist on Vieques are so important to maintaining the readiness of the Atlantic Fleet.

But I am not going to go into anything on future operations. I simply won't go there.

So with those boundaries, how can I help you?

Q : Why can't you discuss who's on those ships? That's not a secret, is it?

ADM. QUIGLEY: The ships have their normal crews embarked. And beyond that, that is going to get something involved into discussing future operations, and I simply cannot do that, Charlie. I'm sorry.

Jamie?

Q : I have a category two question.

ADM. QUIGLEY: Category two. Yes? (Soft laughter.)

Q : Movie stars. I mean, just to restate what you said, why is it that -- I mean, the Navy keeps saying that there are no good alternatives to Vieques. Based on what do you say that?

ADM. QUIGLEY: Well, I'll take you back to the Fallon-Pace work that was done last year. And there was quite an extensive look at alternative sites, potential alternative sites within the Atlantic Ocean. And what Vieques offers is the combination of attributes that make it so valuable. In one location, with the hydrographics, the topographics, the airspace in that particular part of the world, where you are off the beaten path of regularly scheduled airlines, you have deep water, you have -- it is not a high-traffic area for either commercial vessels, passenger vessels, commercial aircraft, so you have a very clear spot, if you will, and also the opportunity to combine both the amphibious training, the naval gunfire training, and the air-to-ground ordnance training that you would find in a typical carrier battle group or an amphibious ready group. Those attributes at this point are only found at Vieques.

Q : Well, then what are you going to do if you're not able to use Vieques? Because there is provision under this agreement --

ADM. QUIGLEY: Absolutely.

Q : -- going back to category A, that if the referendum rejects it, the Navy would have to leave. So how can you say there's no alternatives when one of the alternatives is you're going to have to leave?

ADM. QUIGLEY: Well, I probably couldn't have put it better myself. Today there is no alternative to the capabilities Vieques offers the Atlantic Fleet for training. Clearly, in accordance with the terms of the agreement that was signed earlier this year, if the referendum comes out that the people of Vieques want the Navy to leave, then that will be the action that the Navy will take. But there will have to be another site found and developed at considerable expense in order to hope to replicate the training that can be had at Vieques today. Today there is only one Vieques.

Q : People on the beach say that there are other uninhabited islands that the Navy could select, but they just refuse to --

ADM. QUIGLEY: I would just disagree with their characterization, John. There are plenty of uninhabited islands in that general vicinity and other parts of the Atlantic as well, but none, not a single one that the Navy has found so far that offers the combination of attributes that I described earlier.

Q : When the Navy was kicked off of another Puerto Rican island, Culebra, almost exactly the same argument was made, that there is no place that uniquely qualifies for this kind of activity as Culebra. You left, you found another perfectly acceptable island.

ADM. QUIGLEY: Well, I think if you go back and review the history of that, immediately subsequent to the closing of Culebra there was a considerable investment then -- I mean, the facility on Vieques existed at that point in time. But there was considerable investment to upgrade the facilities that were in use on Vieques at that point. And that's kind of the circumstance we find ourselves in today. If the referendum says that the people of Vieques through their votes say that the Navy should leave, then it's incumbent upon the Navy to then locate and develop an alternative site somewhere that will have to do. But today those are the attributes. If you go back to the Culebra and Vieques comparison, when the Navy departed from Culebra, there was an investment to upgrade the capabilities at Vieques, and that's where we are today.

Q : Well, there could be another island where you could upgrade the facilities and do just fine.

ADM. QUIGLEY: Well, we haven't found that yet. But that would simply have to be the way that we would go.

Q : In other words, it's a question of money?

ADM. QUIGLEY: No. We haven't -- it is a question of money to a certain extent, Jamie. But money aside, we have simply not found a location that offers the combination of attributes that Vieques offers today.

Yes?

Q : And what are the plans for the training of the George Washington Carrier Group and the -- I think it's the Kearsarge?

ADM. QUIGLEY: Yeah. I believe the Navy announced two or three ago, in that ballpark, that the George Washington Battle Group would not train at the ranges, ashore at least, in Vieques and that alternative sites would be found. I believe that that has included some air-to-ground ordnance training at the Pine Castle Range in Florida, some amphibious training in other locations. I am not sure what other locations they have chosen. But there has been a decision to not use the Vieques facility.

And clearly, what you have found now is with two succeeding battle groups, you can achieve an acceptable level of training for the forces, but at incredible levels of effort with no guarantee that you are going to have access to ranges.

We mentioned Cape Wrath in the past. That is a gesture of comradeship and assistance on the part of a strong ally of the United States. But the weather there is tough. There are certain times of the year when that range is simply not available. And you cannot always rely on the continued goodwill and assistance to put a good friend and ally in a position of having to rely on their facilities. There are times when it may not be convenient for them, as well.

So the only thing that you can really count on, on a continued basis, is the availability of a range like Vieques to give you the comprehensive combined arms training that that site offers.

Yes?

Q : Yes. I understand that the Center of Naval Analysis had been charged by the secretary of the Navy to look for alternative sites and -- in terms of sites and methodology of training -- and that that report was due some time in April, May or June. Is that report -- has it been released?

ADM. QUIGLEY: I don't know of the status of that effort. I would have to steer you to the Navy on that.

Q : And also as a follow-up, since the presidential directives provide for an 18-month window to have the referendum on Vieques, wouldn't it be beneficial to the Navy to have that referendum earlier, to know what's the outcome and if they have to speed the efforts to find an alternative site?

ADM. QUIGLEY: I am not aware of any discussions of specific timing, at least yet, on holding that referendum, so I am not sure on that.

Tom?

Q : You mentioned that the G.W. would have to go elsewhere for its training. What about a ship's guns training? I understand Cape Wrath and Sardinia are off-limits, or out of the --

ADM. QUIGLEY: They're not off-limits, but then you have the restrictions there, or potential restrictions, at least, that I described before. So that's one of those issues that we're going to have to work through each and every time that you're about to forward-deploy another battle group or amphibious ready group, with no guarantees that it's going to work that time, when you need it. It was successful the last time, when the last battle group deployed and ships went up there and completed their gunfire qualifications at Cape Wrath and elsewhere. It's just -- for the reasons I've just explained, it's something that you can't absolutely count on each and every time, and when you may need it very badly.

Q : And the G.W. will deploy when to the Gulf? July, is that it?

ADM. QUIGLEY: It's summer, but I don't remember the exact date, Tom. I'm not sure. We can get that for you.

Bill?

Q : So when the referendum occurs and when the results are known, there will be a time lag period where Vieques would be the only range available until something else is opened.

ADM. QUIGLEY: Yes.

Q : So even if the referendum says, "No, get out, USA," the USA will have to continue to use Vieques for some time.

ADM. QUIGLEY: Well, I would say that that's a decision we're going to have to confront when the time comes. I would find that nearly impossible to predict on how that agreement would come about.

Q : Back to what's going on right now, how can you assure some people are concerned that there's a perception, at least, that the Pentagon will somehow be involved in what is essentially a domestic law enforcement operation?

ADM. QUIGLEY: Well, we have been discussing -- we, the Pentagon -- have been discussing with the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico government, with the White House, with the Justice Department, for some time now the way ahead here and how to regain use of the range. But I think we have said on many occasions that ultimately, this would be a law enforcement initiative and not the use of military forces, of any service, in the law enforcement role. That's just not the appropriate use of military forces.

Q : So once the operation is over, then -- I mean, as some around this building have been suggesting, then that's when the military gets involved and establishes security, establishes the perimeter to keep the demonstrators from going back in --

ADM. QUIGLEY: No, ultimately the Navy, in this particular case, as the service that has that facility, would regain the use and control of that range for its training purposes, yes.

Tammy.

Q : Craig, how quickly after a law enforcement operation takes place would you envision the military would start to use the range again? How quickly could that happen?

ADM. QUIGLEY: Well, I think first things first. We'd have to first regain use of the range. I would think that could happen fairly quickly, but I don't know of the condition of circumstances on the range at the moment. We'd have to take a careful assessment of that. But I would think it would be a fairly quick turnaround. I'd be hard-pressed to put an exact time on it, though.

Pam?

Q : Aren't there constitutional prohibitions on the military being involved in this kind --

ADM. QUIGLEY: Yeah, it's called the Posse Comitatus Act, and it prohibits the use of military forces from doing essentially police work.

Now, you can use an example of a national guard at the state level. When they are working for the governor of a state, being used in a variety of law enforcement activities over the years -- disaster recovery, hurricanes, wildfires, civil disturbances -- you've seen a variety over the years. But that is a different circumstance, and that is answering to the state governor. But at the federal level, I mean, it is literally a presidential decision to invoke military forces to actually enforce the law or perform police actions like we're discussing here.

Yes.

Q : The terms of the agreement with our governor of Puerto Rico call for a different kind of practices now in the future. How much will this affect negatively the practices of the forces there?

ADM. QUIGLEY: You mean the use of inert ordnance?

Q : Right.

ADM. QUIGLEY: Well, there is value, certainly, in using inert ordnance. Just so we're clear here, this is the use of pieces of training ordnance that are aerodynamically and physically identical to the shape and the size and the weight of actual ordnance, but there is no high explosive component to the ordnance. So there is value in using inert ordnance; we use it all the time. But there's also great value in using live ordnance because of the added tension that it gives to the military forces that are involved, there's that feeling of authenticity and realism that, hey, this is real. And there's an incredible stress that's put on military forces when they are engaged in combat. And we try to train as realistically as we can to replicate the actual conditions as well as we can that are found in combat. And there is value in trying to come as close as you can to that extremely high-stress situation by using live ordnance. So both are necessary.

Q : Right.

ADM. QUIGLEY: In accordance with the terms of the agreement here, we're talking about the use of inert ordnance only at this point.

Q : So it won't be the same as what it used to be?

ADM. QUIGLEY: Correct. Correct.

Q : Right. And so the value of Vieques has been diminished for this whole thing, the practical value that you were talking about at the beginning of the briefing.

ADM. QUIGLEY: The military has used Vieques for both live ordnance and inert ordnance over the years, so the use of inert is not something that is new here. But the restriction to only inert is certainly of value, and you still get a greater training benefit from the combined arms activity of both the air-to-ground, the amphibious, and the naval gunfire all going on simultaneously, that is still an improvement over the current piecemeal way that we would have to do it today.

Chris?

Q : Given the restrictions of posse comitatus and the need to have the Justice Department clear these people, combined with the promise or threat from protestors down there that after it was cleared they would continue to return, or follow-on protestors would go to the island to continue to protest, do you anticipate that Marshals or Justice Department officials will stay there to clear additional protestors, or once they clear the range, does this become a military problem, and do you then revert to base security rules?

ADM. QUIGLEY: Well, I think the initial reaction would be to have it revert to military forces to maintain their own security, as they had in the past, prior to the accident a year ago. We'll kind of have to play that one by ear to a certain extent, although I would say that's -- ultimately, the intention is, once we have regained use of the range, to have that turned back over to Navy and Marine Corps authorities for the management and security of the range.

Q : Is that not --

ADM. QUIGLEY: Barbara?

Q : -- I'm sorry. Just to follow, is that not military performing a police function, if this is an ongoing demonstration?

ADM. QUIGLEY: Well there's a difference -- I would make a distinction between the security functions that are performed at a variety of military installations around the world by military personnel, and the arrest function -- okay -- of federal authorities, U.S. Marshals, and what have you, to do a law enforcement. You don't find the circumstances such that you typically would find a Marine security force person or a Navy security force person with that arrest authority. And there's a big distinction made there. Can they maintain security? Sure. There's a variety of threats to the security of a military installation anywhere in the world. But the actual law enforcement, in accordance with the application of the law, arrest authority, and things of that sort -- that's clearly a law enforcement issue, and that's better done by those that are empowered to do so.

Q : But aren't these people just trespassing on a military base now?

ADM. QUIGLEY: They are trespassing now, but on federal property. And we have said for some time that the way ahead here to regain the use of the range, at least in the early going, is the use of law enforcement authorities, not military forces.

Q : Well, what -- I'm sorry. Just to -- what's the difference between the people that are there now and protesters that would come after it reverts to military security?

ADM. QUIGLEY: I would try my very best to not let them come aboard the facility, unless they were authorized visitors or something like that. So I could maintain perimeter security using military forces, and bar their entry from any of the federal lands that constitute the Vieques training range. But they're there. The trespassers are there today. They have been there for a year. And their initial removal is far more appropriately done by law enforcement authorities.

Barbara?

Q : Is this the first time that the U.S. military has sent warships to support a law enforcement action regarding civil disturbances?

ADM. QUIGLEY: I'm always hesitant to say "first," "biggest," "highest," "lowest." I don't know. I'd have to do a thorough historical search before I could give you a good answer to your question.

Q : But can you recall any?

ADM. QUIGLEY: No, but my memory doesn't go back that -- very far.

Q : There's another angle to this. Defense Week, in its current edition, quotes Congressman Jim Hansen of Utah, a Republican who's not a great friend of the administration. He's asking for an investigation by the House Armed Services Committee into politicization of this process. And he tells Defense Week, "To me, it's political, since Mrs. Clinton is running in New York, and there are a lot of Puerto Rican votes up there. So that's obviously why this is being done."

Now you strip away some of the rhetoric, political rhetoric, on this -- but can you at least address this perception that the White House is doing this in part to help Mrs. Clinton's campaign?

ADM. QUIGLEY: I don't think I can. But I would tell you that that's never something you've heard from this podium, or anywhere in this building, to my recollection. The Department of Defense has made its case on the training value of the Vieques range, period.

Pam?

Q : Can you take us back to the first protestors? How did they get on the base if it was being protected by military police? And then what makes you think that military police can keep protestors from returning?

ADM. QUIGLEY: Well, there would be very few exceptions of military bases, if you're really adamant about getting onto a facility, you can -- you know, this is always part of that ongoing process that you're assessing what is the local threat to the security of my installation in physical location x. So if you look at the geography of Vieques in the particular example here, there are ways to get aboard the facility on Vieques, and there's not like some gigantic cement wall or barbed wire fence around the entire perimeter. There is perimeter security, both in people and in fencing that is put up in a lot of it, but there are ways to get aboard the facility and it is a very doable thing to get aboard in the facility, in some of the more remote areas, particularly, without a lot of effort.

Q : Is there any military security there today? I mean --

ADM. QUIGLEY: Oh, yes. Absolutely. There's the military security forces, the Navy has been there for all this time, and for many years prior, Barbara, as well. I mean, so that security force has not gone away.

Q : Is the Pentagon concerned about the international media coverage of the issue? And will there be regular briefings, once the range is secure, on the island?

ADM. QUIGLEY: I think we'll probably have to play that one by ear as well. But I don't that any branch of the federal government would be the least bit reluctant to acknowledge what actions have been taken. It's the difference, though, between acknowledging actions that have been taken and predicting those that will occur in the future.

Q : Who makes the final decision? Is it the Justice Department, the White House, the Pentagon, to implement or give the go-ahead to the operation?

ADM. QUIGLEY: This has been an interagency discussion from the beginning, and I don't think we'll change on that.

Q : Can I ask you? Just a political question has come up about the number of missiles required for a national missile defense system. Does the Pentagon think that the 2,500 number of missiles is all that's needed?

ADM. QUIGLEY: Twenty-five hundred missiles?

Q : Right. There has been a --

ADM. QUIGLEY: Oh, are you talking about the U.S. National Missile Defense?

Q : Yeah. Right. Apparently, it's become a subject of some --

ADM. QUIGLEY: I'd say that's a typo. There is a first stage; that is, the first phase of a national missile defense system that would be employed, if that's the decision. That would include 100 missiles at a single site.

There are succeeding phases of the program that could grow between 200 and 250, again if that the choice that the nation makes to grow. But -- I think there is one too many zeros there. (Laughter.)

Q : Right.

ADM. QUIGLEY: Someone asked the question -- I don't recall who -- on the George Washington, when she deploys. It's late June or early July. And I think it's the late June time frame. So -- yes, sir?

Q : On the example that you used about the use of the military forces under the request of a governor, does that mean that --

ADM. QUIGLEY: Yes, National Guard.

Q : -- National Guard -- does that mean that the only one who could ask for this kind of assistance in this case is the governor of Puerto Rico?

ADM. QUIGLEY: Ask for the assistance of the Puerto Rican National Guard?

Q : Well may be involved --

ADM. QUIGLEY: The governor of Puerto Rico would have --

Q : -- in any way.

ADM. QUIGLEY: -- the governor of Puerto Rico would have the authority, as any governor would, to place the National Guard in his area of responsibility, Puerto Rico in this case, to perform other-than-military functions. And that's from flood relief to wildfires to -- it's been a variety of activities over time.

Then ultimately -- I mean, you'll see National Guard forces. There is a Texas National Guard unit today in Bosnia, for instance. Now, in that hat, they no longer work for the governor of Texas. They have been nationalized, and they now are military forces working to an entirely different chain of command.

Charlie?

Q : You also seemed to suggest earlier that the president could do that with active-duty troops. In other words, could he order Marine helicopters to be used to transport these marshals or do whatever --

ADM. QUIGLEY: Well, this goes back to the Posse Comitatus Act. Again, it's certainly something that exists in the Constitution as the authority, but it's certainly nothing that's taken lightly. And it's just not something that Americans expect of their military.

Q : But you could do this.

ADM. QUIGLEY: The authority exists within the Constitution to do that. But, again, I've got to say, it's not something that Americans expect of their military to perform. And it is more appropriately done by traditional law enforcement authorities: highway patrol, police departments, things of that sort.

John.

Q : Can you tell us about the -- what the Israelis have done, a test missile shot that went flying over a couple of American ships? And is there a view from the Pentagon that perhaps they might have told the Navy that a missile was coming their way and --

ADM. QUIGLEY: Yeah. The incident you're referring to is the firing, I believe it was April 6th, of a Jericho short-range ballistic missile from Israel out into the Eastern Mediterranean. And there was no notification made in the sense of a notice of mariners or something of that sort that we've been able to discern, at least. And the parts of the Jericho as it terminated its flight came down within 25-40 miles of the cruiser Anzio, U.S. Navy cruiser Anzio that was in that vicinity, part of the Enterprise battle group, I believe.

I would be quick to point out that the Israelis broke no law in doing this. They are certainly entitled to practice firing Jerichos or another system. But it is a more common practice, I think, to file that notice to mariners to ensure safety and knowledge that there's going to be an inherently dangerous event over a certain piece of the ocean and that other nations and navies and commercial shipping and whatnot can be advised and to stand clear of the area.

Q : Did the ships see the missile coming?

ADM. QUIGLEY: Yes.

Q : And they just said, Oh, a missile coming our way. Did they come to battle stations? Did they --

ADM. QUIGLEY: I don't know on the general quarters status. But, I mean, the Anzio is an Aegis cruiser, has the Aegis combat system on board. And it was -- the missile was detected almost immediately after launch, which is one of the capabilities of that system. Another capability of the Aegis combat system is to predict trajectory given what you've seen so far. And it was pretty clear from the predicted trajectory that this was not going to hit Anzio. And so it was tracked. I don't know on the general quarters status of the crew, however.

Q : You don't know whether -- that did cause a bit of a stir on the bridge of a ship when you see a missile coming at you from the Middle East.

ADM. QUIGLEY: Sure, it caused a bit of a stir on the bridge of that ship. I mean, even though your combat system will tell you that it was not aimed directly at you, this is an event you had no warning of in advance, and it certainly gets your undivided attention until you can figure out exactly what you're looking at and what the circumstances are.

Q : Has the U.S. filed a demarche on this?

ADM. QUIGLEY: No. No. I would just -- again, I would say that this is not something that's in violation of law at all. But it is --

Q : But it is a violation of international custom --

ADM. QUIGLEY: We would hope that there would be some sort of a notification and a publication of such an event in the future so that shipping would be well advised to stay clear of that area.

Q : Well, short of a demarche, has the U.S. government said anything to Israel about this?

ADM. QUIGLEY: I don't know that through diplomatic channels there is any initiative being taken, no.

Q : And military channels?

ADM. QUIGLEY: I don't know that, either.

Q : Was the Anzio there to monitor the test?

ADM. QUIGLEY: No, the Anzio was one of a couple, I believe, of U.S. Navy ships that were actually in the area to engage in exercises within that part of the Mediterranean.

Q : Didn't the missile actually --

ADM. QUIGLEY: We had no foreknowledge of the test shot.

Q : Didn't the missile actually go over the Eisenhower, for example? The Eisenhower was closer to shore than was the cruiser, although at a slightly different angle.

ADM. QUIGLEY: I'm not sure of the exact trajectory, John. I'll see if I can get that for you, but I'm not sure of exactly -- I think the closest proximity of parts that actually came down after the shot would be that 25-40 mile range. But I'm not sure in the intervening flight path.

Q : And was the carrier engaged in flight ops, which would be a further hazard, not only to the ships, but to the aircraft that are operating in the area?

ADM. QUIGLEY: I'll see if we can find that as well.

Q : And what's the range of this missile, the Jericho missile?

ADM. QUIGLEY: We've got a fact sheet on the missile at the news desk, but I don't have it here with me. It's termed a short-range ballistic missile. It's been in the Israeli inventory for some 30 years, I believe.

Q : Were there other ships in the area other than U.S. warships that this missile or the debris may have come closer to than that? I mean, that's a busy area.

ADM. QUIGLEY: I don't think so. If they were in the area at all, I'm not sure. But I think the closest that any vessel came to the debris coming down was the U.S. Navy vessels that were there. But if there were any merchants or fishing vessels anywhere in the vicinity, I don't know that. I'm not sure that we will know that.

Q : But countries all along the Mediterranean can launch missiles into the Mediterranean all day without warning, and that's hunky-dory?

ADM. QUIGLEY: Well, you see many nations around the world launching missiles both over land and over water. It's incumbent upon the nation to do the best they can to try to make sure that the intended flight path of the weapon is clear of any obstructions and is safe. And that's something that's just a common procedure followed by all nations.

The way you described there is simply not the way that it happens, although, again, I would say that there's certainly no violation of law here at all.

Q : Is there any reason to believe that Israel made sure that their path was clear or that the landing area, the area where this missile came down, was going to be clear?

ADM. QUIGLEY: I would refer you to the Israelis on that. But I would say that it is common practice for that to occur.

Bill?

Q : General Clark -- will he be invited to come in and brief us when he gets back to Washington? And isn't this his last day today? And is he resigning as well?

ADM. QUIGLEY: General Clark is retiring. This is the day that he has been relieved of command of his U.S. hat. The person that holds his position wears two hats. One is U.S. One is NATO. These are two separate ceremonies. Today's took place in Stuttgart, Germany. Tomorrow's is in Mons, Belgium, for the NATO hat. So today he has been relieved of the U.S. hat. Tomorrow it is the NATO hat. And then he will be relieved of his duties and will retire this summer.

Q : And could he be invited in -- (off mike)?

ADM. QUIGLEY: Let me see if we can do that.

Q : Thank you.

ADM. QUIGLEY: One correction. What did I say before? George Washington?

Q : You said the --

ADM. QUIGLEY: Enterprise.

Q : The Enterprise.

ADM. QUIGLEY: I said Enterprise. Eisenhower -- the Eisenhower Battle Group. I'm sorry.

Q : I wanted to ask you --

Q : We've got one more --

Q : Extra bonus question.

ADM. QUIGLEY: One more. Please. Go ahead. Please. Yes?

Q : -- if you could talk about what's been going on in today's meeting with the South Koreans on No Gun Ri.

ADM. QUIGLEY: It's one of a series of meetings to exchange views on the status of respective investigations that are ongoing. They're not being done in concert, but there is a sharing of information, where it is appropriate to do so.

Q : And on that one, can you confirm that they've asked for and been denied permission to interview the soldiers who were involved -- allegedly involved in the incident? And if so, how is the investigation -- how can they do an investigation if they don't interview them? I mean, what -- how will the investigations sort of mesh together or not?

ADM. QUIGLEY: Eventually -- let me take the latter part of your question first. Eventually both the Koreans and we will come to a completion of the investigations going on. And this is largely a search of historical records, but also interviews of individuals either there at the time or at least knowledgeable of events at the time.

At some point when both the Koreans and we think that we're just about there, okay, and there's no more materials left to review, we can't find any more people that would contribute knowledge to the process, then you would release -- we think it's important that the two investigations be done independently, but there be sharing of information where it's appropriate. For instance, the only repositories of historical records are here, in the United States, involving United States units. On the other hand, the Koreans are the repository of the specific records involving Korean units from the same period of time. That's important, but each nation is doing work that is focused on its own thoughts and processes in the way ahead.

So I guess the answer to the question is, there is a sharing of information along the way, such as the activities you see today, and ultimately there will be the release of both works that will have been done independently but sharing some of the common databases.

Q : So they don't need to interview our guys. Right? We're doing that?

ADM. QUIGLEY: I won't speak for what they feel is important to their investigation.

Q : You're not going to make them available. You're not going to help them interview them, right?

ADM. QUIGLEY: Let me take that. I'm not sure. Let me check on that for you. We'll let you know.

Q : So you don't know whether the United States has refused them permission to interview.

ADM. QUIGLEY: No, I don't. We'll see what we can find out.

Q : Thank you.

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