Friday, August 17, 2001 - 10:45 a.m. EDT
Secretary Rumsfeld: Good morning. It's a distinguished group.
I thought what I would do is make a couple of comments, comments on two or three subjects, and then respond to questions.
I had an interesting meeting this week with a group of educators, I guess you'd call them, people who are deeply involved in military issues and military personnel issues and education issues, talking about a range of subjects including personnel systems and incentives and the kinds of people the force will need over the coming decade, recruiting issues. Interesting fact that a number of high schools don't seem to allow military recruiters, which is an unfortunate thing, as well as the Troops to Teachers program.
One observation that one of them made that struck me -- we all know it, but I think it's important to recognize -- is there's really an enormous change in our country, oh, since the '40s, '50s, '60s and '70s, and that is that there really is an absence of a military presence in almost every walk of life today, regardless of what aspect of everyday life we think of. The uniforms are very few. The presence is much less than it used to be. The number of people who have had that background and experience is, of course, much less. And it does have an effect, and it's a factor that needs to be taken into account.
On a separate subject, we have in the Defense Planning Guidance and in the Quadrennial Defense Review been thinking a good deal about this issue of the desirability of training like you fight, and fighting like you train. Interesting footnote in history is that the Kosovo air war, after 78 days, I think it was, ended with something around 80 percent of the headquarters task force staffed after it was over. In other words, the conflict started, and they stand up a standing joint task force, begin to pull people in who hadn't been connected with each other, who had not worked together, who had not functioned to any great extent, and the conflict was over, and they still had only just about reached 82 percent of their manning.
That is an issue which is something that has gotten our attention, in this sense: With the spread of advanced technologies and weapons, and with the growing power and lethality of weapons, one would think that it would be desirable to be arranged before the fact in a way that you could then manage your affairs and conduct yourself so that the president had options for decisions that he might be able to make in shorter time frames and with higher degrees of confidence.
And so we have been doing a good deal of discussion about standing joint task forces. One of the possibilities that we're considering is to have the Defense Planning Guidance suggest that the -- several of the regional combatant commanders give -- come in with proposals as to how they might designate some existing entity or fashion some new entity, but simultaneously eliminating some other entity, so that we don't just have addition instead of subtraction.
And then we would look at them and give some thought to it and conceivably then adopt one of the proposals and require that there be a degree of standardization and interoperability, so that the significant regional CINCs would have -- on an ongoing basis have designated a standing joint task force for the kinds of contingencies that are likely in that region, and that elements could be moved in and out of them without any difficulty, because they would have interoperability, they would have familiarity, and there would be a degree of standardization among them, rather than have these activities either not prearranged or be pre-arranged in a way that is distinctive for reach region, rather than common, so that we can use our forces the most flexibly.
That is something that we're thinking about. I've read a lot about force sizes, and it just struck me it would be useful to point out that there are things going on here, in terms of transformation, that are of real significance as to how you're arranged, that can have a much greater effect on war-fighting than some of the things that -- some of the more traditional things that seem to get fixed in people's minds.
Finally, I'd like to go back to a subject I've mentioned previously here once and then to the Congress on several occasions, and that is this two major regional conflict issue, and try to see if I can cast some additional light on it.
First, a few facts:
One is, we all know that it's not a strategy. It's a force- sizing construct.
Second, it was developed in the 1990s. It worked well for a number of years. It fit the circumstances of the world at that time reasonably well.
It has not been the case in recent years, for a variety of reasons. First of all, we have found ourselves in the past decade engaged in a very large number of smaller-scale contingencies. Second, the world has changed. And third, on my arrival, it was very clear to everyone I talked to that we did not have the forces sized to the force-sizing construct. That is to say that because of shortages of transport, shortages of troops, shortages of high-demand assets, we were -- (chuckling) -- the little secret of the whole thing was that we had the construct, but we didn't have the capabilities to fit them.
Now clearly that calls for someone to be attentive to it and ask the question, "Well, what do we do about that? Isn't that something that needs us -- some thinking and some thought?"
What we have done is we have given it some thought, in a very open way. I went to the Congress and said, "Look, here are the facts. It seems to me it's time for somebody in this department to be uncomfortable with the fact that we're parading around with the force- sizing construct without the forces to fit it and, therefore, a behavior pattern that is inappropriate to our circumstance."
I elevated the issue. I've talked to the president about it, as I've advised you. And it is something that is very close to our being able to understand what its implications might be. Let me put it that way.
At some point, obviously, when we think we do have a good understanding of its implications -- and it's not something that is done like that -- (snaps fingers) -- it's something that you have to go back down and fashion -- test it and look at scenarios and see how we feel about it, so that you can answer a question of the president. When you say you're recommending something to him, and he asks why and how will it work and has it been tested, you'll have those kinds of answers. And they don't come out of midair, unfortunately.
It would be wonderful if things did, but they don't.
What is this possible alternative force-sizing construct? It is not, as I've read in some press clippings, win-hold-win. That was, of course, World War II, where we fought in Europe, held in the Pacific, concluded in Europe and then prevailed in the Pacific. Nothing wrong with that, but it happens that what we're looking at is not that. Rather it is something like this:
It is to fulfill whatever responsibilities it is decided that we have to fulfill with respect to homeland defense. And as we all know, there're some complexities and some ambiguities there, legally as well as organizationally. Second, to meet our treaty commitments, to be sure. Third, to be able to win decisively a major conflict anywhere in the world on our terms. That means, if one thinks about it, concluding it on the basis that you may wish to go to capital, you may wish to occupy a country for some brief period, and you can do it under a very stressful circumstance; that is to say, the most stressful.
Second -- or not second, but fourth, is to be able to simultaneously repel and attack elsewhere in the world. Now -- and defeat aggression, on the assumption that if you were engaged in a major conflict, someone else might decide to do something within some reasonable period of time, in which case -- and feel that they could advantage themselves -- and you would need to have forces capable of repelling that. It would be at that stage that a president could decide which of the two conflicts he preferred to be the one to win decisively, and which would be the one that, conversely, he would simply repel and stop, as opposed to having the capabilities to go to capital on both.
Now, finally, it would be to size our forces so that we, in addition would be able to engage in a number, some number of lesser contingencies, smaller regional conflicts, noncombatant evacuations, the kinds of things we're doing in different places around the globe today.
Now, our thought is that that is kind of the mode we're in, and that therefore, it might make sense to reflect the reality that the nature of the world today is that we are engaged in a number of places in the world, we may very well have to be engaged in a number of places in the world, and we want to be able to do that. And so we've been testing that approach.
Both of the -- winning decisively on your terms, and repelling and defeating are versions of winning. They are modestly different because the one you select would be less stressful and less demanding of requirements, which, of course, is what we currently lack, is the ability to meet the requirements of the two major regional conflicts. We simply don't have those forces or those capabilities.
I must say that I am increasingly comfortable with this force-sizing construct. It is not something, until we finish this Quadrennial Defense Review and do the sensitivities, that I'm going to say that I think we have something sufficiently better than what we've currently used that I would recommend it to the president or the Congress or the country, but we are moving in that direction. And I think it's -- I regret that it does not have a bumper sticker for everyone, but it --
Q: (Off mike)
Secretary Rumsfeld: Pardon me?
Q: (You ought to do that ?).
Secretary Rumsfeld: (Laughs) -- but it does have an awful lot of thought behind it and it is, at least this far been in the process of being refined and developed and considered rather successfully, and we'll see how it all ends up.
And with that, I'll stop.
Q: Mr. Secretary, it's coming close to the time when you're going to have to make some tough decisions on transformation. Do you anticipate, given this scenario, do you anticipate cuts in U.S. forces, large or otherwise? And do you expect to let the military decide on those cuts, of course given constraints of budget and strategy?
Secretary Rumsfeld: Let me make a quick comment. I know I'm kind of unusually loquacious here. But transformation, people, when they see that word there's a tendency to think that you go from this to something different. There is a tendency to hear the word and think of a platform, a weapon system that is distinctly different. Both are wrong. Both are inappropriate characterizations of what I mean when I use the word "transformation."
When I use the word "transformation," I am thinking about outcomes and capabilities, and it may not involve a single change in a platform. It may be simply connecting a collection of platforms and capabilities in a way that creates a capability that could be characterized as transformed or transformational.
Second, the idea of transforming from this to that is unrealistic if you think of the size of the defense establishment and the weapon systems we have and the numbers of years, the investments in them and the number of years that they last. What you do when you begin a process of transformation is you make investments in research and development, you look at new ways to connect things so that the capability is different, and you change some modest fraction of your force, with the effect being transformational. Even though you know you may still end up with horses and buggies as a part of your force, the fact that you have changed some fraction of it or connected it differently may create something that could be characterized as transformed. And I think that that's important.
Now I'll answer Charlie's question, or try to. Will there be cuts? I don't know yet. We're close to having some sense of that, and the services very likely will be coming back with their thoughts. Let me see if I can explain the answer to the question of will you let the services decide.
This is a big organization. The services make lots of decisions. It would be foolhardy to try to micromanage from the top of this defense establishment every aspect of everything that's going on. The way it's working, and it appears to me that it will work, is, I suppose, slightly different from the prior Quadrennial Defense Review or Defense Planning Guidance. I think as Paul Wolfowitz mentioned, our planning guidance may be quite brief. It may be, you know, several dozen pages as opposed to several hundred.
What we will very likely do is issue a document which establishes priorities, imposes some requirements, and advises the services and the agencies to come back to us, having lived within those constraints or requirements or priorities, that this is important; don't come back to us with a budget or a proposal that ignores the importance of this activity that we believe to be important.
Now with respect to everything else, come back in with your suggestions. If you want to get a range this way, get a range that way, and we'll look at it. We'll have to look at what the services suggest.
Since you're going to a relatively brief document, and you're not going to tell them how to turn left, turn right, stand up, sit down, what you're going to do, rather, is to say, "Here are the things that we believe to be important in terms of taking care of the force, in terms of taking care of modernization to the extent you can, taking care of the transformation pieces that we believe are important" -- forcing them to balance those four risks, which we have talked about now for a number of weeks, and the priorities cause them to do that.
Then we say with the rest of it, "Come back in, and you tell us how you want to fit within those constraints. If you want to cut some forces or increase some forces, or change this or change that, do that. But whatever you do, come back in being attentive to those suggestions."
Now then the next step after that is when it falls to the Office of the Secretary of Defense and the Joint Chiefs to look at the totality of that and say, "Given their responses, the services' responses, how do we feel about that? Does it create a coherent whole" -- W-H-O-L-E, as opposed to H-O-L-E -- (chuckles) -- I had a little trouble in Russia. I said, as I businessman, I could put a plant in this state or in that state, or this country or that country, and they translated it -- "plant" into the word "geranium" -- (laughter) -- which I suppose was better than translating into a spy plant. (Laughter.)
(Chuckles.) But in any event -- but does it create a coherent whole in a way that we feel good about it, or do we have to do some tweaking and changing and recommending? And that's what the POM process is about, and the budget process.
When it's over, and we have -- we're able to go to the president late in the year with a budget, the good Lord willing, we'll have something that holds together rather well.
Q: Mr. Secretary, a couple of parochial questions here that are related -- related in that they're both military issues. One, Under Secretary Aldridge said that you in effect have chopped on the limited production of the F-22.
Have you made a comparable decision on the Joint Strike Fighter, regardless of who wins the contract, and if so, what will be the totality of that production?
The second question is --
Secretary Rumsfeld: No.
The second question is, have you and the president decided who the next chairman of the Joint Chiefs will be --
Secretary Rumsfeld: Yes.
Q: And it would be nice if you shared it with us, but if not, can you --
Secretary Rumsfeld: I will.
Secretary Rumsfeld: In good time. (Laughter.)
Q: Can you at least today tell us which service he's from?
Secretary Rumsfeld: No. (Laughter.) No, I shouldn't answer that way. Yes, I could; I will not. (Laughter.) It's the president's appointment, and we've discussed it and he's quite happy about it and he'll announce it in good time.
Q: Mr. Secretary, in your description of what you called the possible alternative to the current two-war approach, two-war strategy, whatever the terminology is, you described winning decisively in one and repelling in another. Why wouldn't you want --
Secretary Rumsfeld: And defeating.
Q: Okay. But why --
Secretary Rumsfeld: The problem is, if Paul says "repel" and I say "defeat" then someone says, "Ah, ha! There's a difference there."
Q: No, I'm not trying to distinguish between those two words.
Secretary Rumsfeld: Oh, okay.
Q: I'm trying to distinguish between winning decisively and something less, apparently. Why not win decisively in both? Why accept that?
Secretary Rumsfeld: That has been the construct that has been used for the past decade and it has brought us where we are. It has brought us to a point where we don't have the forces to do it; it has brought us to a point where because of the efforts to do it we have slighted modernization and took a prolonged procurement holiday; we have slighted, in my view, transformation; and we have slighted things that affect the quality of our force, and we can't afford to do that.
We've got to find a way -- all of those issues that you just cited in your question are operational risks. And if you try to do this and you're going to end up with a readiness that's too low and a higher risk than is acceptable if you keep defining the problem that way. And just look at where we are, we're in Kosovo, we're in Bosnia, we've got some folks in East Timor, we're training some people in Africa -- we're doing all of these other things.
Q: So you're saying the country cannot afford to have a policy in which they win decisively --
Secretary Rumsfeld: I'm saying that we are -- I am saying we can afford to have the ability to win two significant conflicts. With respect to one of them, we can do it on our terms; we can go all the way, if we want to. If you require that you be able to go all the way on the other one, the demands for forces force you to slight on other things, and that is what's been going on for five or 10 years.
We did not get here by accident. We got here because systematically decisions were made that the force-sizing construct took priority over people, it took priority over modernization, it took priority over transformation. And in my view, we are in a period, historical period, where we can get this back in balance to the benefit of the force, to the benefit of modernization, and to the benefit of transformation, and be functioning at a risk level that is perfectly acceptable.
Now let me just say it one more time so there is no ambiguity about what I said. The big distinction is on one situation you can -- that you decide which one you want, you can win decisively on your terms, meaning do anything you want --
Secretary Rumsfeld: -- anywhere in the world. And in the other situation, you can defeat, but you do not size to do anything you want, meaning go to capital, occupy, and simultaneously be able to do all of these lesser contingencies.
So what we are suggesting and what we're testing now is the idea of winning decisively on our terms anywhere in the world, being capable of defeating swiftly in another part of the world, and simultaneously being able to conduct a series of smaller-scale contingencies. That reduces the requirements substantially and gets you much closer to the force levels we have. And rather than pretending or living a lie, where you say this is our force-sizing construct, and by the way, I ought to mention it to you, we don't have the forces for it, which seems to me not a perfect way to arrange yourself, I am personally more comfortable, I think, depending on how these final sensitivities come out, with the latter.
Q: I'd like to follow up on that. You said this would all be an acceptable risk. So is there a new threat assessment that you've seen regarding North Korea and Iraq that tells you now, for the first time in a decade, it is an acceptable risk to do this policy?
What is your belief about what's going on in North Korea and Iraq that would allow you to take this road?
Secretary Rumsfeld: Sure. I understand the question. But I think the question misses my comments, and it's a useful thing to try to bring out.
The threat assessment is what it's been, and it changes from time to time, modestly. It ebbs and flows. That isn't the issue. The issue is, is government, is our country, is the Congress, are we comfortable with the idea that we don't have to be able to go to capitals in two near-simultaneous conflicts? Now, we didn't go to Iraq, Baghdad. You know, that decision was made during that conflict. We haven't occupied other countries. And so it is a different order of question. It's more -- less a risk and more a priority. Would you rather be sized and capable of doing a series of lesser contingencies and being able to win one anywhere on the face of the Earth on your terms decisively, and being able to defeat swiftly, but not -- the president can decide which one he wants to go to capital on. But the requirements, if you have two of those, is considerably greater than if you say one, and the other -- now, after that one's done, you could go back and do that, I suppose, but it would be a national judgment as to whether you wanted to do it.
And am I comfortable with that? I am. I think it's much more logical to me to have a force structure -- let me rephrase it. I think -- and I'm not there yet, but I'm close -- I am concerned that we not slight the force. I am concerned that we not slight the modernization. I am concerned that we not slight transformation. And if you ask me what am I willing to give up for that, am I willing to give up -- do I think I'm willing to give up the capability of occupying two countries in two major conflicts, as opposed to being able to do one and defeat swiftly the other, but not simultaneously being able to go to the second capital, which we haven't done anyway, the answer is, I think that's where I'm coming out.
Q: On Iraq, if I may. Within the last week, there have been two strikes to erode the Iraqi radar capabilities. Now Iraq, as we understand, always contended that the no-fly zones and no-drive zones are illegal and that there is no mandate from the United Nations Security Council for them.
Is the United States prepared to look into the no-fly zones within any new arrangement in the United Nations Security Council, new deal, or are they considered as essential as sending the observers in?
And my second question is, do you need another Desert Fox to erode the advancement in Iraqi capabilities -- radar capabilities?
Secretary Rumsfeld: The purpose of the flights, as we all know, is that coalition aircraft make those flights for the purpose of keeping track of what Saddam Hussein may or may not be doing with respect to his forces and his prior activities of attempting to do damage to the Shi'a in the South or to the Kurds in the North, or to Kuwait.
The flying is perfectly legal. It is clearly within the U.N. resolutions, the numbers of which I've forgotten. But there's no ambiguity about that. The lawyers are all -- it's one of those rare occasions where they all agree.
Q: Mr. Secretary, you were saying earlier the military is stretched thin. You were about to tick off we're in Africa, we're in Bosnia. U.S. forces now are soon to go to Macedonia. I wanted to know what concerns you might have about that.
And also the Egyptian delegation is in Washington, and as you know, they're requesting a U.S. force be sent there as a monitoring force. I wondered what your thoughts are about that.
Secretary Rumsfeld: The latter question is for Secretary Powell and the president.
The former question, with respect to Macedonia, is -- I'm glad you raised it, because we are not sending forces, technically, to Macedonia. We have agreed to participate in the activity, in the event it is to occur. And that decision has not been made.
And we have agreed to participate in the following ways: with some logistic support, some intelligence support, some medevac support, the availability of Camp Bondsteel in Kosovo for hospital care, if it proved to be needed, and finally the possible availability of U.S. forces along the -- in Kosovo along the border to serve as a collection point, in the event that the NATO force decides that they want some collection points along the Kosovo border.
We would -- the forces that would be used are forces that are already in Macedonia or Kosovo. They're either in Kosovo at Camp Bondsteel, or they're in Macedonia for the intelligence assistance and the logistic assistance. And the forces that would serve in a border pickup point in Kosovo at the border would be forces that are already patrolling the border. So we're not planning on sending additional forces.
Q: So what would you say to Americans worried that those who are there, even despite the limitations you're placing them under, might be drawn into some sort of hostilities?
Secretary Rumsfeld: Look, this is not a clean, neat, perfect world where everyone likes each other, and there's hostilities in dozens of places all across this globe, and that's dangerous. And that's what militaries do, is they put their lives at risk voluntarily -- and God bless them.
And the people that serve the United States of America in the armed forces currently in Macedonia are already at risk, and they are the same people that will be there in the event that the second half of the decision takes place; the first half having been decided, I believe, yesterday or the day before, to send in a modest, basically British assessment team and the beginnings of a headquarters staff. The second decision would be taken by the NAC, at that point where they decided that they had a -- the assessment team had reported how they would collect weapons and a political judgment was made that in fact the environment was sufficiently calm and benign that you could go in and do a collection of weapons.
Q: Mr. Secretary, can I follow up on that?
Secretary Rumsfeld: Sure.
Q: During the campaign, and when the administration first came into office, there was discussion that the U.S. would not be the world policeman, that there were concerns that our forces were spread too thin and that we were going to bring some of them home. But this morning you sound as if the administration and you have become resigned to the fact that American troops will remain on peacekeeping missions in the Balkans forever.
Secretary Rumsfeld: Then I have not spoken with the clarity that I aspire to. (Scattered laughter.)
Q: Will there be a quiz?
Secretary Rumsfeld: (Laughs.) "Forever" is a very long time. My theory -- and again, I'm treading into the president and the secretary of State's area here, and it's for them to outline U.S. policy in these areas. But my personal view is that if you take Bosnia just as an example -- and I could take any one you want -- when those forces went in, they said they'd be out in a year. They're not out in a year; it's been five-plus, give or take a year. But who counts?
Now, why is that? In my view it is because the civil side has not been developed at a pace that would allow those forces that went in to create a more stable situation to be extracted without reinjecting an instability into the Bosnia situation. Now, whose fault is that? Is that the troops' fault? No. Is it somebody's? Maybe. Maybe there hasn't been enough energy or enough money or enough effort put in to creating a stable civil side with police forces, and courts, and confidence-building measures that need to be taken so that you could begin -- correction -- so that you could have extracted those forces.
Now, they have been brought down fairly substantially. We brought down -- some had been brought down before this administration came in, some have been brought down since this administration came in. And there is an automatic six-month review in NATO, and more will be brought down.
My concern is that we, the armed forces, the Pentagon and the other militaries of the NATO countries that are participating, and the Partnership for Peace countries that are participating, do not have the responsibility for developing the civil side. And that's hard work, it's difficult work, and it costs some money and it takes some time. And it's, frankly, cheaper and easier to leave the troops in there, from the standpoint of the people on that side of the equation.
Now, my attitude about it is that I'm -- and as I say, this is for the president and the secretary of State. But my attitude is, if the United States armed forces can go into a situation, make a contribution -- and these are war-fighters, these aren't policemen and people who should be sitting there for 20 years doing something that somebody else could be doing. (Laughter.) That's an enormous distraction for us. It's a difficulty for us. It takes not just the troop that's there, it takes three to four, five times the troops -- the ones getting ready to go in, the ones coming out; the people have to go through training, they have to go for joint assignments, they have to go on leave. So it isn't just the number that's in there -- if you say you're going to put a thousand people someplace, it isn't a thousand, it's closer to 5,000. And you start putting a thousand here and a thousand there and you start adding up five thousands and you've got a lot of people awful fast.
Now, am I against U.S. forces engaging around the world? No. Is the president? No, he's obviously not. He's made the decisions that have created the situation that we're currently in. But he and I and Secretary Powell have raised in the NATO context and bilaterally, the importance of seeing that we know what we're doing. When we put some people in, we darn well ought to have every bit as good a plan as to how you're going to create an environment that enables them to come out without having injected an instability into that situation, because that's the last thing you want to do.
It just negates all the effort that you gave by putting them in, in the first place.
Q: Are you confident that this Macedonian operation will not become still one more open-ended commitment in the Balkans?
Secretary Rumsfeld: Well, first of all, we're not adding forces; they're -- forces that were going to be involved are already there.
Q: (Off mike) --
Secretary Rumsfeld: And the activity in fact is designed to try to reduce the threats to the forces that are already there, as well as create a more stable situation for the political powers, the coalition government that exists.
You know, it would be foolish for me to say am I confident of this or confident of that. That's a mixed-up part of the world. It's got a lot of difficulties. They've had a lot of difficulties all my entire lifetime, which is a long time. It seems longer every day. (Chuckles.)
Q: Mr. Secretary, just a brief follow-up on Iraq --
Staff: Charlie, let's go to -- (off mike) -- and then you, and that's got to be the last one.
Q: Speaking of the campaign and forces being stretched thin, during the campaign one of the often-repeated phrases was, "Help is on the way." Now there seems to be a lot of confusion, on the part of a lot of people in uniform and other people around the country, that the talk here seems to be more about cutting forces and trimming back programs, and possibly eliminating programs, reducing the size of the overall force. Is that part of "help"? Is that the help that was on the way? Has the help arrived, or is it still on the way?
Secretary Rumsfeld: Well, we've not been talking about cutting forces. We've been talking about balancing risks, and how that comes out is yet to be seen.
We have not been talking about cutting programs particularly. Some programs always get cut, and I'm sure they will.
But the -- what we have been in the process of doing is attempting to see that this place is run in a more efficient way and attempting to see that those risks are balanced and that we're better arranged going forward than we have been in the past.
With respect to help on the way, I mean, the president approved a budget that's up on the Hill, which was the largest increase since the mid-Reagan years, during the heyday of the buildup of some 18-plus billion dollars, the largest increase in what, 15-plus years.
And there's no doubt in my mind but there will be appropriate increases as we go forward in the coming forward -- I guess it's now called forward year defense plan or something; it used to be five-year --
Staff: Future-year --
Secretary Rumsfeld: Future-year? Good.
In the future.
So, you know, does any department ever get all they'd like? No. The appetite's enormous. But we can't -- you can't repair the neglect, the procurement holiday, the failure to address some of these force issues in five minutes or one year or even five years. It takes some time.
Q: What do you say to the people in uniform who are confused by this? I mean, this is the help that was on the way; it's just not what you thought it was going to look like?
Secretary Rumsfeld: I don't know that your question properly characterizes the people in uniform. First of all, I don't think there's a unified opinion on the part of the people in uniform. I know an awful lot of people in uniform who feel that it is time to see that this defense establishment runs on a more efficient and effective basis than it is and that we do try to turn waste into war-fighting capability and weapons. I know an awful lot of people in uniform who think that 18-plus billion dollars, the largest increase in 15 years, is not nothing.
And so I think it's a mischaracterization to think of some sort of a unified view in any large organization. I find an awful lot of different views among the military and among the civilians as well. And I must say I find that refreshing and helpful and constructive.
Q: So help has arrived?
Secretary Rumsfeld: Well, you keep wanting to push it in that direction --
Q: Well, no, I mean, it's -- honestly, it's something that --
Secretary Rumsfeld: -- and I keep wanting to use words that I think are appropriate to the situation. If you want to characterize the largest increase in 15 years as not helpful, someone could do that. If someone wants to characterize it as something less than this department would have liked or I would have liked, hell, I could do that. (Laughs.) But that's life. That's true of every department of government. It's been true in every administration.
Ms. Clarke: Charlie --
Secretary Rumsfeld: Yes, I --
Q: Regarding Iraq --
Staff: Let Tony finish up. Let Tony finish up.
Q: Oh, I'm sorry.
Q: Sir, I wanted you to square the circle on one -- your earlier remarks talked about a society that -- where the military is not a great presence at all.
Secretary Rumsfeld: Mm-hmm.
Q: Yet you've laid out a fairly theoretical, somewhat elliptical new construct for the way the U.S. will fight and the children of the people who really aren't exposed to the military are going to have to deal with.
Secretary Rumsfeld: Yeah.
Q: This is going to be a Saturday story tomorrow. Can you explain a little bit more clearly the differences between winning strategically on our terms and defeating the enemy? Because to the great unwashed, that might be a difference without a distinction.
Secretary Rumsfeld: Sure. I am relying on the people in this room to make my thoughts come out clearer than I'm capable of presenting them. (Laughter.) So don't let me down! I'm happy to go over it.
Q: (Don't be ?) nervous, Mr. Secretary.
Secretary Rumsfeld: (Laughs.)
Let's say that you had a two major regional conflict construct for force-sizing purposes, and that you defined it as being able to win two near-simultaneous conflicts. And then let's say that you decided to change that and add the words "on your own terms," which you then find an assumption creeping into the war plan that means that if you decide you wish to, you can go to the capital and you can then occupy the country.
Now, then let's say that you did the same thing with the second. You can imagine the requirements and the stress that would occur in terms of the force to meet those, which are somewhat different. And then let's say that you decided that you don't have the force for that, and that construct is, in fact, what has caused you to slight on modernization, slight on transformation, slight on force issues. And you're uncomfortable with that, so you want to get yourself back into whack, you want to get a better balance. So what you do is you say with respect to one of them -- not which one; that's an open question -- but at least with respect to one of them, that you don't require that of yourself because you do want to be capable of functioning in lesser contingencies, to the extent it's needed, to the extent you feel it contributes to a deterrent, to the extent you feel it is humanitarian in nature.
Now, that is about as well as I can explain it. And it is not win-hold-win, and it's not one or one-and-half or any of that other numerical facile bumper sticker kind of language, elevator talk, I say. It is just an accurate representation of what this construct that we're looking at sensitivities with respect to, is. And it is less stressful. The requirements are fewer and you -- and as far -- and if you ask yourself how do you feel about that, at least at the moment, until I see the rest of what I need to see, I'm not going to say for sure -- but at least at the moment, if you ask me, "Okay, Rumsfeld, would you be more comfortable doing a bit more with respect to the force, doing a bit more with respect to modernization, and doing a bit more with respect to transformation in exchange for not being able to have the most stressful situation with respect to both of two situations," my answer at the moment is I think so.
Q: Could I just ask just very briefly --
Ms. Clarke: Charlie?
Secretary Rumsfeld: She's not in charge, I am! (Laughter.)
(Cross talk and laughter.)
Q: Just very briefly on Iraq, on the recent raids on the three points in the South in Iraq, has the United States again, as it did in February, degraded Iraq's air defenses, including the fiber optic --
Q: That's also what my question actually is.
Q: -- including the fiber optic command and control center?
Q: Are you willing to do another Desert Fox, sir, to degrade these?
Secretary Rumsfeld: The answer is that the various strikes that have been occurring almost continuously over the past several years since Desert Fox have occurred as situations have evolved where the coalition forces could see the capabilities of the Iraqis being developed, being developed in different areas, being developed in ways that tended to channel flights that was dangerous, and the strikes then occurred when people were fired at. And they vary as to their success, but there's no question, if you look at the battle damage assessments, that they do, in fact, damage and take out radars, they do, in fact, periodically hit SA sites and artillery --
Q: And a rather large one recently, involving some 50 planes at three separate points. Did that do the same job that you did in February when you downgraded Iraqi --
Secretary Rumsfeld: I'd have to go back and calculate all that, the comparison. I don't think that's -- I think what the goal is the goal is to keep good awareness of what he's doing with respect to the threats he poses to both the people in the South, the people in the North, as well as Kuwait, and to do it in a manner where you are continuously seeing that you address the -- his air defenses in a way that you don't unduly put your pilots at risk, although they're all at risk.
Q: Thank you.
Q: Thank you, Mr. Secretary.