Tuesday, August 14, 2001 - 2:15 p.m. EDT
ADM. QUIGLEY: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. Two announcements this afternoon.
First, 13 Marines of the famous 2nd Raider Battalion, killed during a raid on Butaritari Island in 1942, will be honored at a memorial service and interred at Arlington National Cemetery this Friday at 11:00. The commandant of the Marine Corps, General James Jones, will speak at the service. A ceremony involving the Marine Band and Marines from the Marine Barracks here in Washington will take place Thursday morning at 9:30 in the morning when the remains arrive at Andrews Air Force Base. Both events are open to the media, and there is an advisory in DDI with additional details.
And second, Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics, Pete Aldridge, will be here in the briefing room tomorrow afternoon at 4:30 for a roundtable event. You remember last week when Under Secretary David Chu was down here. We're going to try to do this for those who -- of you who have may not had an opportunity to meet the new members of the administration yet. Dr. Chu last week; Dr. Zakheim was down earlier on budget issues; Secretary Aldridge tomorrow. And we will keep doing this in the weeks ahead so the new folks can come down here and meet you in something of informal setting. And this will be here in the briefing room tomorrow afternoon from 4:30 to 5:30.
Q: Will he be discussing the DAB on the F-22 at that time?
ADM. QUIGLEY: I don't know. The DAB happened this morning. I think it went -- it started at 10:00. I think it was done at 12:00 or 12:30, so two to two-and-a-half hours total. And I know that they're preparing the paperwork that follows such an event right now, but I have no feedback from the decisions that may have been reached.
There is a process you need to go through, Rick, that's rather formal in notification of a variety of people of the decisions. In this particular case, as I'm sure you're aware, the secretary has to certify the actions of the Defense Acquisition Board. Normally that is something under the purview of Under Secretary Aldridge for other acquisition programs, but in this particular case, due to the congressional language in the fiscal '01 authorization bill, that's not the case, and the secretary must certify. So that adds another step in the process. You need to have congressional notification, of course, of the relevant oversight committees and things of that sort to report back on the decisions that have been reached. So whether or not by 4:30 tomorrow afternoon he'll be prepared to do that, I don't think I can predict very well.
Q: Can I -- let me ask you two things about that. One, is the secretary likely to overturn or reject the recommendation of the board?
ADM. QUIGLEY: I will make no such prediction. I have no idea.
Q: And two, when would you expect the result to be announced?
ADM. QUIGLEY: Well, after all of those things that I've just been discussing take place. But Congress is not in session. You have -- it takes you longer at this time of year, during the August recess, to notify relevant members of the oversight committees that need to be notified, expect to be notified, deserve to be notified. So this is going to take a little bit longer. How many days will that take? I don't know. We'll just work through it as quickly as we can. But I'm not -- I don't know how long that might be.
Q: But you're talking about -- they are -- they have come to some sort of a decision --
ADM. QUIGLEY: No, I don't know that either, Toby. I know that they're done meeting today. They didn't adjourn for a couple hours and then come back. The proceedings are done today. But I don't know if they reached a point where they're ready to make a decision to go to this direction or that direction. I do not know.
Q: Craig, would you give us the dump on the raid in Iraq today?
ADM. QUIGLEY: Coalition aircraft struck a surface-to-air missile site near An Nasiriyah, I think -- I can get that spelling for you. I don't know it off the top of my head through -- about 175 miles southeast of Baghdad. This is south of the 33 parallel -- 33-degree parallel. Another element in the Iraqi integrated air defense system that had been very active in threatening coalition aircrews, and the opportunity presented itself. Good planning was carried out, and we did the strike, about 8:15 our time this morning.
ADM. QUIGLEY: I can spell that. Thank you, Captain Taylor. A- N, new word, N-A-S-I-R-I-Y-A-H.
Q: In Arabic, "N" is what's called a moon or a sun letter, and that's why it's An rather than Al.
Q: Thank you. (Laughter.)
Q: Now, a follow up on that, if I may. Actually two follow- ups. One, we're getting conflicting reports as to the number of F-16s involved, two or four. Also conflicting reports, although we now seem to believe they were G-model bomb droppers.
And two, was this the same radar site or close to the site that threatened the U-2 last month?
ADM. QUIGLEY: I know they were F-16s. I'm not sure which model, and I'm not sure how many of them. For those sorts of tactical details, I refer you to CENTCOM, although we typically are not very forthcoming in that level of detail.
Q: They're not talking --
ADM. QUIGLEY: I have no idea if this site chosen had anything to do with the missile fired at the U-2 last month.
Q: Okay. Is this part of an ongoing process now?
ADM. QUIGLEY: Well, I'd say it's a very long ongoing process. You keep in mind the basic reason why we are conducting the flights in the no-fly zones, both north and south, and that is to protect the Kurds in the North and the Shi'ites in the South from Saddam Hussein, as well as minimizing any movement of his forces that would threaten either those peoples or neighbors as well.
When the coalition aircraft fly their patrols and they are fired upon by the Iraqi air defense system or some element of that, we reserve the right to strike back and to minimize as best we can the risk to coalition aircrews doing those strikes. But as always, we reserve the right to do that at a time and a manner and a place of our choosing.
These elements -- a surface-to-air missile system, in this case -- any surface-to-air missile system has multiple parts. There's the launcher. There's a command and control van. There's a fire-control radar, maybe repair elements that are co-located with that. So all of those components, if you will, are viable targets. Each goes to the creation of a whole surface-to-air missile capability. So if I've gotten one part, I might try to get a second part and further degrade the capability.
There is -- again, there is no permanence here on a lot of this, but if we can degrade the capability to lessen the risk to coalition aircrews, that is indeed the goal.
Q: Craig, what's the reason that the secretary decided not to brief us after announcing he would brief us?
ADM. QUIGLEY: He got his schedule absolutely hammered this afternoon by outside forces. He does intend to come down tomorrow or Thursday, regrets it very much for not coming down today. But it was not a rescheduling of his choosing today.
Q: If I could just go back to the Iraq for one second.
Q: There were or weren't British aircraft involved in this particular strike?
ADM. QUIGLEY: I am typically not going to say that from here, but in this particular case I know that the British have acknowledged that they were not a part of this. So I would steer you to the Brits to confirm that, Pauline, but that's what they have said.
Q: And also on Iraq, just a couple of things. Was the site that was targeted -- did it have anything to do with the Chinese, you know, trying to build a sort of a communications system helping the --
ADM. QUIGLEY: No, that's really not a criteria of who made it or who fixes it or who operates it. It's capabilities to threaten coalition aircrews.
Q: Do you know if they were involved in this particular flight?
ADM. QUIGLEY: I don't have anything for you on that.
Q: The second thing is, Iraq said that the area that was bombed was about 225 miles southeast of Baghdad. If that's true, then that would suggest that you missed the target. (Laughter.)
ADM. QUIGLEY: No, I don't believe that's the case. It was about a hundred and -- that's a -- I mean, if it was a couple of miles either way, I'd say we are indeed talking about the same site. But I don't think so. We're not 50 miles off.
Q: It could be kilometers, right?
Q: No, no. I'm talking about miles.
ADM. QUIGLEY: We're not 50 miles off. This was the site that we intended to hit.
Q: And it hit. And do you have any --
ADM. QUIGLEY: But we don't have any battle damage assessment yet. We typically don't have for another day or two, depending on availability of resources and weather and the like. But we don't have any of that yet at all.
Q: Admiral, to what extent do you think the coalition planes are able to protect the people in the south? A couple of months ago, NASA and the U.N. showed with satellite images that Saddam had been able -- Saddam Hussein had been able to kick out dry -- all the wetlands and, you know, disperse 100,000 of opponents, Shi'ites.
ADM. QUIGLEY: Our ability to preclude him from doing that is not perfect. But what we are able to do is to preclude him massing military forces. Now, whether that would be aircraft, armor, large formations of infantry, to move in a very large-scale military movement into either the south or the north, that we can see, that we can stop. There are other elements of that -- police, things of that nature -- that are not done in such a large organized way, that clearly, the no-fly zone -- coalition patrols over the no-fly zone do not have an impact.
Q: Do you have a bomb damage assessment from last week's raid? Do you have any way of assessing whether you hit anything?
ADM. QUIGLEY: I will just say that, on balance, we were very pleased with the results.
Q: I actually have a question going back to the DAB on the F- 22, if that's all right.
ADM. QUIGLEY: Sure.
Q: Could you tell us -- even if you can't tell us, if you don't have any feedback -- what are the range of decisions that the DAB can come up with in terms of what they're tasked to do? Can they decide go -- not go? What are the range of things that they are tasked to do?
ADM. QUIGLEY: They are not restricted in any way as to what their options can be. If Secretary Aldridge is presented with enough information in his own mind, and the members of the board, to come up with a clear understanding of where we are and are we ready to do to that next step, or do you have more questions that need to answered or more data that need to be gathered in order to make the decision in the first place, there's literally no restriction on the options that could come out from that. So going back to Rick's question, I'm not prepared today to describe what the actions of the board were.
Q: Another issue. Has the secretary sent over to the president the short list or his specific nominee for the next chairman of the Joint Chiefs? And if so, when can we expect an announcement?
ADM. QUIGLEY: I do not know. This is not something that the secretary has discussed with me. I don't expect him to. This is something that he continues to discuss with the president, to the best of my knowledge. And when the president is satisfied that he has enough information and comes to his decision, I'm sure he'll let us know.
Q: Do you know at all if anybody has been put out of the running or --
ADM. QUIGLEY: No, I don't. I have just not been a part of this. I don't anticipate being a part of this. I'm sorry, I do not.
Q: On the EP-3, apparently the Chinese have told the United States to stuff it with our check for $34,000. (Scattered laughter.) Do you have a response to that? What is your plan now? Do you expect the check to come back all torn up in an envelope? (Laughter.)
ADM. QUIGLEY: Well, we took a look at it and we came up with what we thought was a fair and reasonable amount of money for the services and the support that was rendered as part and parcel of the events following the accident. That offer remains on the table. We think, and we have said all along that we would take a look at this and try to come up with a figure that we felt was fair and reasonable. Clearly, the Chinese do not agree that that is a fair and reasonable figure, but we do, and that offer remains on the table. I think that's where we are at this point.
Q: Just to get back to the chairmanship thing, if you could clarify. If I understood the secretary's remarks last week correctly, it sounded as though the decision had been made, it was just a matter of the announcement. Is that not the case?
ADM. QUIGLEY: You were -- I will let his words speak for himself, because I was hearing those for the first time as well last week. I mean, this is a process, because of the sensitivity, I'm sure you can all appreciate, in choosing such an important position for the nation for the next several years, that he has played this one very close to the vest, not surprisingly, on this particular issue in my view.
But I was hearing those words for the first time too, Dale.
Q: I've got a couple of questions on Macedonia. How do you assess the situation on the ground? And two, do you preclude the U.S. sending peacekeeping forces in the second stage after the disarmament phase?
ADM. QUIGLEY: A second stage? I'm not familiar with a first- stage/ second-stage. I think what we have said is that we would be a part of a NATO force that would -- (coughs) -- excuse me, that would go into Macedonia after certain preconditions have been met. Now, the very first part of your question is what's my reaction. Certainly, everyone must be heartened at the signing of the agreement yesterday. But after having said that, violence remains. It followed immediately after the signing ceremony. It continues today.
I would be -- I would be very disappointed if the people of Macedonia, the vast majority of the people of Macedonia allowed the very violent minority, very small minority to derail this process. That would be very discouraging. We hope that that would not be the case. But by the same token, the NATO forces that will be put into place once those preconditions have been met, you've got to do this in the right way. You do have to have a lasting cease-fire, one that has endurance and will hold over a period of weeks, not hours, but weeks. There must be a very clear understanding under what conditions the NATO forces will move into Macedonia -- how will they be treated by the government of Macedonia? And all these are very serious questions that need to have very specific answers to them before NATO can move that force in.
We're all very aware of the sensitivity of the timing here. There is a moment that you want to move to make a difference, but you can also move too quickly. And if you do that and are premature in your movements, you're going to make matters worse instead of better, and that is no one's objective.
So we're watching very carefully. We continue to consult with the government, work very closely with our fellow nations in NATO, and to watch very carefully and try very hard to make the right judgment call as to if the conditions exist, we're prepared to move very quickly, but only if those conditions exist.
Q: Craig, how many Americans will be involved -- I mean, of 3,500, how many American troops, and what kind of troops?
ADM. QUIGLEY: We still don't have the final decisions on that, because we don't have the exact formulation of the NATO force writ large.
What we have said is that we, the United States, would provide support elements, logistics support, intelligence support, communications support, vehicular movement -- things of that sort.
But depending on the size of the force, depending on the units that individual nations contribute to the overall force, their -- let's just use trucks or helicopters as one example -- their requirements will differ depending on what they bring with them from their own nation. If a unit is coming with its trucks, let's say, then that's one element that we might not need to provide quite so much of. But if they aren't bringing trucks, then we would perhaps need to have more.
We've made it clear -- and we continue to talk with the other 18 nations in NATO -- that these are the types of support that we'll provide. We do anticipate using U.S. forces that are largely in the region. We have a very robust logistics, for instance, setup between Camp Able Sentry and Camp Bondsteel, and we envision most of the requirements probably being met by forces that are already there on the ground. But you have to have a little bit better definition of what sort of a force you're going to support before you can be clear on that.
We're confident that we can get the forces there, the types of support there, in very short order, once you finally settle on a finished composition of a force.
Q: So the forces would come from Bosnia and Kosovo and those in Macedonia?
ADM. QUIGLEY: That is our intention, that they would come largely from forces already in that region, as opposed to deploying some from the United States or some from Germany. There could be some small particular skills of individuals or small units that might come from elsewhere. But we think that that would be very small in number.
Q: That'll mean that there would be reductions in troops in those other places; you will not --
ADM. QUIGLEY: Say that again? I'm sorry.
Q: If you took troops out of, say, Kosovo, would you replace them in Kosovo, or would there would be fewer troops in Kosovo?
ADM. QUIGLEY: Well, you're only talking a few dozen miles. I mean, I think you can have it both ways. You can have your troops be available to accomplish both missions. You don't have to have two separate forces, I don't think.
Q: New subject?
ADM. QUIGLEY: Mm-hmm.
Q: The attack last fall on the USS Cole coincided with a period of increased violence and tension in Israel between Israelis and Palestinians. In light of the situation in Israel now, are U.S. forces in the CENTCOM AOR on any kind of heightened state of alert?
Are ships, for example, being able to pull into Haifa, et cetera?
ADM. QUIGLEY: Well, I think that the example -- you gave two different examples, I guess. In the CENTCOM area of responsibility, that's really the Arabian Gulf and the GCC nations and things of that sort; whereas Israel is in European Command, stuff like that.
I do not believe there have been any recent port visits to Haifa, as an example. And I think that within the Central Command, the area of responsibility, boy, that's something that we're certainly paying attention to every day. You will see it rise and fall over time. A few months ago, a couple of months ago, I think that you saw an across-the-board rise in an awareness of a higher threat to U.S. forces and U.S. citizens in general in the region. I think that's abated somewhat, but it's certainly nothing you're going to ever take for granted.
Q: Different subject -- back to the EP-3. The $30,000 that was offered to China, where is that money now? Last week I remember you saying something to the effect that it had been transferred already to --
ADM. QUIGLEY: Well, for starters, I never acknowledged a figure. And two people in the room have used two different figures today. So I just want to be clear on that, that I'm not being clear. (Laughter.)
The instrument has been transmitted to our embassy in Beijing, okay? And it's my understanding that our embassy officials met with Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs officials last night. And it's -- I'm going to assume that it's still with our embassy officials in Beijing.
Q: Next subject. Coming out of the Moscow talks, it appears the Russians are looking at a long negotiation period on the ABM Treaty talks. Is the secretary relooking the current BMDO program and testing plan, which we have been told will, within a couple of months, bump up against the constraints of the treaty?
ADM. QUIGLEY: No, I don't think there's any intention to change the testing plan or the testing program as we've laid it out over the months ahead. The secretary's thoughts were it's -- I don't think it's any surprise to him at all that 50 years of Cold War thinking does not change overnight. And the discussions and talks and exchanges of information that took place in Moscow over the last 30 hours or so were just the start of a process that's going to go on for some time to come.
I think the next step, you'll probably see Under Secretary Doug Feith probably engage again with his counterparts. And then end of next month, I believe, the NATO ministerials in Naples would be the next opportunity for Secretary Rumsfeld and Defense Minister Ivanov to get together again. And there'll be more in the future not yet scheduled. It's a discussion and it's a changing of a mindset that is not going to take place quickly.
Q: Second question follow-up. Has he briefed the president yet? And if not, will he fly to Texas to do so? What will be the vehicle for the briefing?
ADM. QUIGLEY: I do not know if he has yet or not, or will. I don't know.
ADM. QUIGLEY: Thank you.
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