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

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

Thursday, July 26, 2001 - 1:30 p.m.

ADM. QUIGLEY: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. I have one announcement this afternoon. Secretary Rumsfeld departs tomorrow night for Canberra, Australia, where he will attend the Australia-U.S. ministerial talks, or AUSMIN -- we've always got to make an acronym of everything. The participants in AUSMIN include Secretary Rumsfeld, Secretary of State Powell, and their counterparts, Minister for Defense Peter Reith and Foreign Minister Alexander Downer. The AUSMIN talks this year during the 50th anniversary of the ANZUS treaty will focus on regional and global security issues as well as bilateral defense relations. Secretary Rumsfeld returns to Washington early Tuesday morning. And on the margins, when not actually involved in the discussions within the AUSMIN, he will also meet with Prime Minister John Howard as well as the shadow ministers there in Australia.

And with that, I'll take your questions. Charlie.

Q: Craig, can you give us any details on that -- the attempt by the Iraqis to shoot down the United States U-2 on Tuesday, and was it a surprise that that missile came as close as it did? Was ground- based radar used -- targeting radar used?

ADM. QUIGLEY: Charlie, I am very limited in what I will be able to be -- not going to be very helpful in the details of that entire engagement. But let me do what I can.

An American U-2 was shot at by an Iraqi surface-to-air missile. What I will not be able to get into with you is details of altitude, flight profiles, proximity of the shot, any sort of tactical details of the engagement for the obvious reason: so as to not provide any advantage or information to the Iraqis that might improve their chances should they do this at some point in the future.

But it's not the first time that a U-2 has been shot at by an Iraqi surface-to-air missile. Indeed, coalition aircraft of all types have been shot at in both Northern and Southern Watch virtually every day that they are up on patrol in either of those two areas for the recent past. You had a Navy E-2 a week or so ago in Kuwaiti airspace being shot at by an Iraqi surface-to-air missile again. Thankfully, both of those engagements were misses. But it's -- it just continues the pattern of Iraqi aggressiveness in shooting at coalition aircraft.

Saddam has had a long-standing goal of downing a coalition aircraft by any means he can. It places the entire -- I mean, you go back to the very beginning. Why do we have Northern Watch and Southern Watch? And it is to stop Saddam from -- both in the North and the South -- from stopping Saddam from going after his own people and threatening his neighbors. And those patrols are designed to ensure that that does not occur.

So it's very much a regional stability issue. If you take a look, just as an example, the shot against the E-2 Hawkeye last week, that was in the sovereign airspace of another nation. And should there be any other aircraft in that vicinity other than a military aircraft, in this case, they're all equally at risk. And that's a reckless and aggressive behavior that we all condemn every day.

Q: Craig, so you can confirm that the U-2 pilot both saw the missile and felt the impact from the missile; that it was that close, perhaps not close enough to shoot down the plane, but that he did see the missile and felt the impact from it?

ADM. QUIGLEY: No, I cannot confirm any of those details for you. I'm sorry.

Q: Can you tell us whether there will be any response from the United States to these provocations?

AM. QUIGLEY: We have said on any number of occasions, Jamie, that we reserve the right to respond in a time and a location and a manner of our choosing to these aggressive actions against coalition aircrews. I'll just leave it at that.

Q: In the U-2 incident, did the Iraqis use radar or any electronic device, or was it another blind shot?

ADM. QUIGLEY: Again, I'm not going to be able to provide that detail. I'm sorry.

Q: (Off mike) -- detail on last week's incident.

ADM. QUIGLEY: I'm sorry?

Q: You had that detail on last week's incident.

ADM. QUIGLEY: Correct.

Q: Are any changes being made in U-2 flights or other flights to make such flights less predictable?

ADM. QUIGLEY: I will say that we're very much aware of this incident and are assessing what, if any, should be modifications to our patterns of flight activity, both tactical and strategic aircraft. And we will adapt if we need to, but that's still under consideration.

Barbara?

Q: You said this was not the first time. Can you give us any indication in the last year or so how many times --

ADM. QUIGLEY: I'll say several times -- I don't have a number for you, but several times over the last, say, six months or calendar year 2001.

Q: And what's different about this one, then?

ADM. QUIGLEY: I'm not so sure that there was a dramatic difference.

I don't know that we've acknowledged publicly any of the previous shots at any of the U-2 aircraft. That might be a difference, but I don't think there's a dramatic difference in this one.

Q: Would it be the proximity of the missile to the plane?

ADM. QUIGLEY: I'm sorry. I'm just not going to be helpful in that regard.

Q: Was it over the no-fly zone in Southern Iraq, or someplace --

ADM. QUIGLEY: Yes. Yes.

Q: Was this an SA-2?

ADM. QUIGLEY: Don't know.

Q: You assume that it was an -- was the aircraft at high altitude?

ADM. QUIGLEY: We know it was a surface-to-air missile, but we don't know.

Q: What kind of protection does a U-2 have against a surface- to-air missile, since it's slow-moving surveillance plane, as opposed to a very maneuverable fighter plane?

ADM. QUIGLEY: It does have on-board self-protection capability, Jamie, but I'll not be able to describe that for you.

Q: And was that on-board self-protection used in this incident?

ADM. QUIGLEY: I'm not going to go there, either. I'm sorry.

Yes, sir?

Q: New topic?

Q: No, one more.

ADM. QUIGLEY: Barbara?

Q: Since the --

ADM. QUIGLEY: I'll come right back to you.

Q: Sorry. Since the most recent air-strikes in February in Iraq when you degraded their IAD system, how do you assess how far they've come back and how much they've been able to reconstruct since then? What's your current assessment?

ADM. QUIGLEY: We think, we said at the time -- I think the date was February 16th of the strike -- and we said at the time that we suffered no illusion that this would be some sort of a permanent impact on their system, but it would disrupt and degrade to a certain extent for a considerable period of time. We don't think to this day that it has been completely reconstituted to the level that it was on the day of the strike, and yet it has largely been reconstituted. As we said at the time, this was not going to be a permanent impact.

We constantly take a look at that, take a look at the components of the Iraqi integrated air defense system, and if we feel that they are contributing too much in the way of a threat to coalition aircraft -- I'll go back to answering Jamie's question earlier -- we reserve the right to respond in a manner and a time and a place of our choosing.

Q: Do you believe if they have largely reconstituted it, as you say, do you also believe that they are now using it, number one; and number two, are you still seeing Chinese participation in their fiber optics systems that you've talked about before and Chinese participation in reconstructing the IADS?

ADM. QUIGLEY: To answer -- to give you answers to those questions, Barbara, I'm going to have to get into intelligence issues, and I just can't do that.

Sir?

Q: During the presentation of the budget on the Hill, the secretary mentioned several times that several issues and systems would depend on the QDR to determine, you know, where they're going. There's also been talk about some problems with the QDR system, some delays. Could you give us an update on where that stands as far as the progress on the QDR?

ADM. QUIGLEY: Sure. Yeah.

Q: Is it going to meet time goals?

ADM. QUIGLEY: Let me be very unequivocal. We will submit the QDR to the Congress on time.

Now within any given week's worth of activities, John, or two weeks or a month or something like that, a 9:00 meeting could be moved to 3:00. A Tuesday meeting can be moved to Wednesday. A Friday meeting could be moved to Monday. There are all kinds of changes to the internal schedule as we proceed down the road to complete the QDR. But at the end of the day, on the 30th of September, we will have a completed QDR to give to the Congress.

Now that does not mean that that report will say we got it all figured out; it's all done. You've heard Secretary Rumsfeld from here, from the podium, say that the QDR process may very well reveal areas that need further study, perhaps for many months, to study in the depth of detail that you need to make intelligent decisions.

But the QDR process is making good progress, and it will be submitted to the Congress on time.

I was asked a short while ago if there was a -- when Secretary Rumsfeld was here last week and talking about the QDR process, there was an issue of ambiguities within some of the terms of reference. And what has happened since he was here to discuss that with you-all is that the senior-level group has met to resolve those ambiguities, talked it out with the integrated process teams that are going to be carrying it out. They have a very good understanding of the meaning of the terms of reference. The ambiguities have been removed, in their mind, and they are moving on down the road to completion.

Yes?

Q: Is there a chance of seeing an unclassified version of this new clearer terms of reference?

ADM. QUIGLEY: Let me see what I can do.

Charlie?

Q: Change of subject?

ADM. QUIGLEY: Anything else on -- yes?

Q: Another question on Iraq --

ADM. QUIGLEY: Sure.

Q: As I understand it, there was a review of the way the no- fly zones will be enforced. Has that review -- you know, has that concluded? Is --

ADM. QUIGLEY: I think what you're referring to is the new administration is taking a look at Iraq policy writ large, of which the military component of that northern no-fly zone, southern no-fly zone are an element.

And that -- I do not believe that the administration has announced its new Iraq policy per se. We are always looking at the most effective way to conduct the patrols in both the northern and southern no-fly zones. But it's possible that when the administration review of policy is announced it could impact on the military components of that overall policy. We just don't know that yet.

Q: But no changes have been made as part of that with you --

ADM. QUIGLEY: To date?

Q: Yeah.

ADM. QUIGLEY: No.

Charlie.

Q: Has the BMDO office completed its assessment of the recent test at Kwajalein? And can General Kadish come and brief us on it?

ADM. QUIGLEY: Not by a long shot, is the answer to the first part of the question. It'll be a couple of months before it's all done. I just was discussing this with his folks yesterday. And at this point if he were to walk in the door right now, he would have very little more to say other than what he did on the evening -- Saturday night of the test. He said he would be down; he will be down. But right now they're just not to the point in the data reduction where he has anything more to offer.

To really be done, it's going to be a couple of months. But we don't have to wait that long to have the initial findings. But he's not quite ready yet.

Q: You don't -- to make a long story short, you don't know what worked and what didn't work exactly.

ADM. QUIGLEY: Correct. Correct. Nor can I give you a good prediction as to when he might be down to share at least the level of knowledge that he has. But it'll be sooner rather than later.

Pam?

Q: The Pentagon on Monday is going to deliver to Congress its assessment of when its planned ballistic missile tests are going to violate the ABM Treaty, when or if they are. I'm wondering if we are going to get briefed on this either before that or on that day, or if there's going be, like, another secret briefing -- (laughs) -- that only some of us are invited to. And if there is a secret briefing, can I come? (Laughter.)

ADM. QUIGLEY: I don't know, is the honest answer to your question. Really, on the public sharing of that, this may very well be something that we want to discuss with the Congress before it is made public.

Q: Can I put in a request that if there is a briefing on this, it being an issue of importance and something that we all cover, that we all have a crack at being briefed on it personally?

ADM. QUIGLEY: You certainly can make such a request, yes.

Q: Consider it made.

ADM. QUIGLEY: Okay.

Q: All right.

Q: Senator Warner had some rather harsh things to say about the issue of base closures. Was he here to meet with the secretary yesterday, the day --

ADM. QUIGLEY: I don't know when they met, Suzanne. I don't know where -- if the secretary was on the Hill, or if Senator Warner was here, I'm not sure.

Q: Well, was the secretary -- what was the outcome of that meeting, if you can tell us, and is there a plan to put forward some legislation on base closings?

ADM. QUIGLEY: Well, as a matter of fact, just before I came out, I read a story from your wire service that was quoting Senator Warner in his comments on the meeting that was held with Secretary Rumsfeld yesterday where Secretary Rumsfeld expressed his regret that the phrasing that had been used was used.

He assured Senator Warner that the process that we will put in place will be fair and equitable, and there are no pre-decision lists that have been drawn up for any installations anywhere. And that's, I think, a pretty fair characterization of their meeting.

Q: Any sense of when that plan might --

ADM. QUIGLEY: We are indeed working on draft legislation in that regard. As Secretary Rumsfeld has said on several occasions, there's no question that we have more infrastructure than we need. The numbers vary, but it's somewhere 20 to 25 percent, somewhere in that ballpark. You can see here a very clear progression, I think, of a logic to describe what you ought to have for an infrastructure. We have an ongoing Quadrennial Defense Review. That will be done in a couple of months, and it will describe the force structure that we will have in place then for many years to come. Then that force structure needs to be supported by a sure infrastructure, both here and abroad. And that needs to be no more, no less than you need for that force structure. So it will be a very logical progression, and that is our intention.

Now, we don't have that legislation quite done. Our goal is to get it submitted to the Congress before the August recess. But today it is still a work in progress.

Jamie?

Q: Can you tell us what's been done to increase security at the U.S. Embassy in Skopje, Macedonia, given the civil unrest there recently?

ADM. QUIGLEY: To a certain extent. The ambassador there has sought additional U.S. military security forces. They have been sent to be made available as he sees fit to use them. We have augmented the in-place forces at Camp Able Sentry with some additional forces that are specifically earmarked to be available for the ambassador's use should he need them in the form of security there at the embassy or elsewhere. They are in place. They're in contact with the ambassador and his staff in Skopje and awaiting developments from there.

Q: So just to be clear, so these additional forces are at Camp Able Sentry and not yet dispatched to the U.S. Embassy in Skopje?

ADM. QUIGLEY: If you want to look at it as kind of a home base concept, they are being lodged and most of the time they are spent at Camp Able Sentry. They can move, have moved, several of them, particularly the folks in charge of the unit, have had discussions with the ambassador. The ambassador has been at Able Sentry. Members of the security augment group have been over at the embassy compound. So they move back and forth. But the bulk of the forces remain available at Able Sentry.

Q: And are these in fact U.S. Marines who --

ADM. QUIGLEY: They are U.S. military forces. And I will not describe their size nor capabilities.

Q: Isn't this a FAST team?

ADM. QUIGLEY: Same answer.

Q: Where did they come from?

Q: Can we go back to BRAC for a minute?

Q: Could you just finish up with that? Did they --

ADM. QUIGLEY: Let me -- Dale, let me come back to BRAC.

I'm sorry. Jim?

Q: Where did they come from?

ADM. QUIGLEY: Europe.

Q: (Off mike.)

ADM. QUIGLEY: Europe. (Laughter.) Forces that were already in Europe.

Q: Okay, how many people are in -- how many American service members are in Macedonia today?

ADM. QUIGLEY: About 500, I believe.

STAFF: Right.

ADM. QUIGLEY: About 500.

Dale?

Q: That includes the FAST team?

ADM. QUIGLEY: That includes the forces that were sent there to augment the security of the embassy, yes.

Dale?

Q: Just to go back to BRAC for a minute. There have been four BRAC rounds with legislation that the Congress has passed. Senators Levin and McCain have a bill pending right now; it's been introduced. Is the department looking at some fundamentally different approach to this? I mean, it looks like -- how to do a BRAC bill is pretty well established. Is there some new approach the department is going to take here that is causing this delay in getting a bill ready? Or is there some pessimism in your assessments of getting this bill passed that's making people think twice about sending one over at all?

ADM. QUIGLEY: I think you will not see a complete replacement of the existing [previous] BRAC legislation that has been in place in the Congress for several years now. But by the same token, we are looking to make sure that the existing [previous] legislation is best suited to align the infrastructure with the force structure as we best see it. I would anticipate there being some suggested changes to the existing [previous] legislation, although I don't think it will be a wholesale replacement.

Q: Will that change entail keeping the White House from stepping in after the changes are made and making further changes, as the Clinton administration did in Texas and California and caused this whole brouhaha in Congress?

ADM. QUIGLEY: I think after all is said and done and the legislation is submitted to the Congress and the Congress takes a good hard look at it -- and this is going to be very much a subject of public debate and a very public process -- I think it will withstand the closest scrutiny.

Pam?

Q: Could you tell me exactly what language was it that Warner found objectionable? What was it that DOD had -- how DOD had to describe the -- (off mike)?

ADM. QUIGLEY: I don't know if it was that so much as if it caused him to just ask the broad question of things like do you have pre-decisional lists and things of that nature, and the secretary assured him that we, indeed, did not. I don't know -- the honest answer to your -- the direct answer to your question is, I don't know.

Q: But you said that the secretary told Warner that he was sorry or he regretted the way it was expressed because it caused some problem.

ADM. QUIGLEY: Sure. I mean, it is not his intention to leave any impression that there is some sort of pre-decisional list somewhere. And there were those that interpreted the article that appeared as implying that there was a pre-decisional list or suggested areas where you might look harder or something like that, and that's simply not the case.

I think the senator's motivations were plain and simple: to ensure that a fair and equitable process be put in place. And the secretary gave him those assurances.

Dale?

Q: Different subject?

ADM. QUIGLEY: Sure.

Q: I understand that several naval personnel and a former resident commissioner from Puerto Rico, Carlos Romero Barcelo, were assaulted outside the gates at Camp Gracia either this morning or yesterday. Can you update us on that or what the injuries were, if any?

ADM. QUIGLEY: I did not know that. No, I can't. I did not know that. First I'd heard that.

Q: What is the status of military-to-military contacts with China? And is that still being looked at on a case-by-case basis? Is there anything on the schedule, for instance?

ADM. QUIGLEY: I don't know what the near-term schedule is, but the process remains the same, yes; a case-by-case basis, and going slow and making sure we do it right.

Q: Thank you.

Q: (Off mike.)

Q: Oh, I'm sorry. Go ahead.

Q: Since the QDR is going to be dealing with, as you said, long-term force structure, at what point does the National Command Authority get a say in this? What is the contact at the White House and where in the QDR process?

ADM. QUIGLEY: You've got most of the analytical work being done here in the form -- under the leadership of Secretary Rumsfeld. And this is all found in the basic QDR legislation that very specifically describes the process. And ultimately, the product is given to the Congress on the 30th of September. And there are steps along the way, including a risk assessment by the chairman during the month of September, and things of that sort. But this is something that the secretary will be discussing the findings with the president and with the national security team prior to the submission to the Congress.

Thank you.

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