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DoD News Briefing - Victoria Clarke, ASD PA

Presenters: Victoria Clarke, ASD PA
September 05, 2001 2:00 PM EDT

Tuesday, September 4, 2001 2:00 p.m. EDT

Clarke: Welcome back. Welcome back to everyone. I have got a few readers here, a couple of observations, and then we'll get underway.

First, most of you know Secretary Rumsfeld will testify tomorrow on the fiscal year '02 budget before the Defense Subcommittee of the Senate Appropriations Committee. The hearing is scheduled to begin at 10:00 in the Senate Dirksen Building, Room 192.

The secretary of the Air Force, Dr. James Roche, will host a ceremony honoring the retirement of General Mike Ryan, and the appointment of General John Jumper, as chief of staff of the Air Force. That will take place at 9:00 a.m. on Thursday, September 6th at Andrews Air Force Base. [ Advisory ]

And continuing our series of media roundtables, Doug Feith, the under secretary of Defense for policy, will be here today at 4:30 to talk to you and answer some questions. And I was giving him his briefing this morning, and I said, "I'm going to avoid all the tough ones, and when you're down at 4:30 you can do that."

A couple of observations about what I can and I can't do from up here. As I've said to some of you, I am not going to be able to stand up here and disassemble the tail rotor of a helicopter for you. Nor will I in many ways be able to do the kind of job that Admiral Quigley has done so well for so long. His level of detail and his experience is a tremendous asset. And I would just say, personally, Admiral Quigley and the kind of professionalism and dedication he demonstrates every day is one of the reasons I love working at this place. So my hat's off to him.

And with that, I will tell you what my six-year-old son was talking about last night. We were getting ready for today and we were talking about the fact that today is his first day of first grade, which is a huge deal, and so we're talking about what his week was going to be like. And he said, "Well what are you doing this week?" And I said, "Well, as a matter of fact, tomorrow at about 1:30, 2:30 in the afternoon" -- and I tried to explain this process. And he just looks at me and he goes, "Wow! You better not mess up!" (Laughter.)

And with that very good counsel, I will take your questions very carefully.

Charlie?

Q: Torie, U.S. jets bombed air defense sites in southern Iraq for the fourth time in recent days, again today. Are these -- this is obviously an ongoing effort to degrade Iraq air defenses and to slow their aggressive attempts to shoot down a plane. Are these -- would you characterize these as pinprick attacks? And are they degrading Iraqi air defenses?

Clarke: Would I -- I'm sorry. I missed the first part --

Q: Would you characterize these as pinprick attacks, and are these -- are these efforts degrading Iraqi air defenses? It doesn't seem to be slowing down their attempts to shoot down aircraft.

Clarke: Well, I don't know how much I can help with you -- help you with -- on characterizations. But they are a continuing effort by Saddam Hussein to threaten coalition aircraft. The reason we're patrolling the no-fly zones is to make sure Saddam Hussein cannot threaten his neighbors, cannot impose aggression against his own people, as he has done. And he is the one and his people are the -- his folks are the ones who threatening the coalition aircraft. As long as they threaten coalition aircraft, we will respond.

Q: But these attacks don't seem to be slowing down their attempts to do it.

Clarke: Well, these strikes are an effort to degrade his systems.

Q: And --

Clarke: And the battle damage assessments over the last several strikes have shown we have been effective.

Yeah?

Q: Do the frequency of these attacks represent a new approach or some change in the way the administration is approaching this problem? The frequency of them --

Clarke: You know, I think the less information we provide about how and when and where we do this, or trying to characterize as one thing or another, is better. The less information we give Saddam Hussein, the better. So as we've said before, we will respond in a time and a manner and a place of our choosing. And again, if he was not threatening coalition aircraft, then these strikes wouldn't be occurring.

Q: Iraq has said that it's in a war with the United States and Great Britain. Would you -- do you consider what's been -- what's going on in Iraq now, the regular bombings that take place, as a war? And if not, if it's not a war, what would you call it?

Clarke: Again, I'll leave the characterizations and the labels up to others. Saddam Hussein has made it clear what his intent is. He's made it clear that he would like to shoot down coalition aircraft. We consider these things aggressive, and we'll respond appropriately.

Yes?

Q: New topic?

Clarke: Sure.

Q: Just a quick question about the business side of things. The GD proposed merger with Newport News Shipbuilding, as well as the counteroffer by Northrop Grumman, has been going on for some time now -- deliberations at the Justice Department and here in DOD. It's understood from some news stories that came out last week that there has been at least a tacit if not outright endorsement by DoD of the General Dynamics position in that. Can you comment on that? The department has put out some views that are counter to that recently, but I don't know if that's changed. Has in fact DoD endorsed the --

Clarke: What I can tell you is, the merger is still under review. We're working closely with the Department of Justice on it. Despite what you may have seen or read or heard, no decisions have been reached and no preliminary recommendations have been made.

Q: Torie, can you give us any kind of timetable on when this thing is going to be resolved? It has been dragging on for some time.

Clarke: Not in a position to say that right now. We're working hard on it, working with the Department of Justice, but not prepared to say at this time, give you a timeline on it right now.

Yes? Second row.

Q: The administration recently announced that a Chinese manufacturer was exporting missile parts and components to Pakistan. And I know that export controls are primarily under the purview of the State Department, but to the extent the Defense Department is involved in this, would you characterize this as part of the Chinese government's ongoing efforts to proliferate missile parts and components to other countries? And do you think this should have an impact on where satellites fall under export control, be it under Commerce or under the State Department's ITAR [International Traffic in Arms Regulations] regulations?

Clarke: You know, we've made it clear pretty consistently, along with the rest of the administration, that we consider the proliferation of missile technology a serious concern. I think as recently as Secretary Powell's last meetings with the Chinese, he talked about this. And after those meetings he said we have raised these issues with them, we have concerns, in some places they're doing better than others. The administration had made very clear what we would do if the agreement was violated. Further than that, I just direct you to the State Department for those answers.

Q: (Off mike) -- do it better.

Clarke: Well again, for more, I'd have to direct you to the State Department.

Q: Okay.

Q: A different topic. Can you describe in any way the current efforts of the United States to conduct research into biological weapons and what the purpose of that research might be, and whether it falls within the confines of the Chemical -- Biological Weapons Convention?

Clarke: Again, we've said pretty consistently that we're very concerned about the threat of offensive biological weapons, of the proliferation of materials and technology that could enhance the proliferation of chemical and biological warfare. And we are doing work in places. All of the work is consistent with U.S. treaty obligations. All of the work is thoroughly briefed and gone through a heavy consultation process, both interagency and the appropriate legal reviews and the appropriate congressional briefings.

Q: What is the purpose of that research?

Clarke: The purpose is to protect the men and women in uniform and the American people from what we see is a real and growing threat.

Q: Does this research involve creating any germs in the laboratory?

Clarke: There has been, about 1997, I think it was, and what you're talking about, is some reporting about developing a strain, a new strain of anthrax. In 1997 there was a journal called "Vaccine" which reported on a new or modified anthrax strain that the Russians may have been developing. We have a vaccine that works against most of the known -- all of the known anthrax strains. What we want to do is make sure we are prepared for any surprises, we're prepared for anything else that might happen that might be a threat. So about in the early part of this year, the DIA started to look into the feasibility, and doing all the legal consultations, doing all the appropriate interagency consultations to look into how we could develop that modified anthrax strain so we could test our vaccines against it and make sure we prevent against any surprises, and make sure we could protect the men and women in uniform from potential threats.

Q: Are you growing it?

Clarke: Right now there is no work going on on the modified anthrax strain. The director --

Q: Is it going to go forward?

Clarke: The director has made it very clear that he wants further interagency consultation work done -- that's with the DoD and other agencies; that he wants the legal reviews to continue; and further congressional briefings.

Q: Director of DIA?

Clarke: Yes.

Q: Well what work has been done prior? You say no work is being done now. Was this strain actually developed prior to today?

Clarke: In the United States? No.

Q: By the U.S. government --

Clarke: No.

Q: -- it wasn't?

Clarke: Right.

Q: Was it worked with? Did you get a hold of agent? Were there other bio-agents that were created for these programs?

Clarke: No.

Q: No bio-agent of any kind was created for these programs?

Clarke: For this particular program that we're talking about, which is this modified anthrax strain that was reported on in 1997, I believe it was, in this magazine "Vaccine," we have had consultations with the Russians about this, we have had cooperative efforts with the Russians on biological warfare in the past. But on this particular strain, no work has been done.

Q: And the U.S. had asked for a sample of the Russian and that was not provided; is that correct?

Clarke: To date, it has not been provided. And I've asked, I don't yet have the answer; I know as early as '97 we started talking to them about providing a strain so our folks could take a look at it and test the vaccine and see what we can do to prepare against those sorts of threats.

Q: The U.S. then didn't attempt to simulate that vaccine or create its own version of -- not of the vaccine, but of the agent, rather?

Clarke: No, that's what I was trying to say. Earlier this year, the DIA started to look into what it would take to get the legal approvals, to get the interagency coordination, to do the congressional briefings, to look into developing that strain so they could test vaccines and they could see what we have to do to make sure we're protected against it.

Q: That appears to be the path that you're now headed down, is doing that interagency process, making sure it is legal, and then going ahead and developing or growing this strain?

Clarke: Correct.

Q: That is? Okay.

And secondly, on the issue of making bomblets, which are some of the pieces of technology that other countries have done to dispense biological weapons, has the United States made these small bomblets for experimenting or any other reason?

Clarke: That comes under the Clear Vision program, which is a CIA project, so you should direct your questions over there.

Yes. Second row.

Q: In the -- you say the Russians haven't provided samples of this strain of anthrax. Have they provided notes or research or anything? How would we know that we're going to get the same strain that they came up with?

Clarke: You know, that we'll have to get back to you with some information. I just know there's been ongoing work with them in a cooperative nature on other elements when it comes to biological warfare. There's been a fair amount of communication lab to lab, if you will. But I don't know about all those aspects of -- [Update: the Department of Defense Cooperative Threat Reduction Program is funding a collaborative research project on anthrax monitoring with the State Research Center for Applied Microbiology in Obolensk, Russia. In August 2001 the State Research Center applied to the Russian Export Control Commission for a license to transfer the anthrax strain to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. The application is currently pending a decision of the Russian Export Control Commission, and the U.S. government will seek Russian approval of the export license.]

Q: To the best of your knowledge, has the United States developed other strains of biological warfare agents in an effort to study them, strains of basically banned biological agents?

Clarke: I'll have to take that question. [Update: no, we do not develop biological weapons within the DOD.]

Q: Do the Russians acknowledge that they have, in fact, produced this hybrid strain of anthrax?

Clarke: Not to my knowledge.

Yes.

Q: New subject?

Q: Can we please stick on this subject?

Clarke: I'm sorry. How about Pam, and then back to you?

Q: So far, what is the legal determination with regard to the Bio Weapons Convention? Does DIA think they're going to be able to push ahead with this with no problem?

Clarke: We're compliant.

Q: This -- right now you're compliant because you haven't done it yet. But if you do it, will --

Clarke: We're compliant, and the legal reviews that have been done to date indicate that the work would be compliant. The Biological Weapons Convention allows you to do work that is purely defensive in nature. It allows you to have small quantities of a known agent, limited quantities of an agent if you want to study it for the purpose of protecting people against that threat.

Q: And is -- does the United States consider what Russia did compliant with the Bio Weapons Convention?

Clarke: You know, we have, as I said at the start of this questioning, we have concerns about the spread of biological and chemical warfare-enabling technology whatever the source and whoever is engaged in those activities. We have raised these concerns about chemical and biological warfare with the Russians, and we will continue to do so.

Q: Victoria, in the New York Times article today, according to the Times, the Times and ABC News were given a tour of a germ warfare laboratory in Nevada. Can you explain what the purpose -- what that facility does and what the purpose of it is?

Clarke: The facility, the Battelle facility of one that looks at -- I'm sorry, it's not the Battelle facility, it's the DTRA facility. And they are looking at signatures -- and I'm clearly going to get beyond my level of knowledge here -- but looking at signatures which indicate biological activity. They're using commercially available equipment, using commercially available organisms.

Q: And did -- are there any germs or biological agents produced at that facility?

Clarke: You know, that -- I'm going to have to refer you to DTRA. But on this particular project that was referred to in the New York Times, again, they were using commercially available equipment and commercially available organisms to test again the signatures, which is your ability to -- the level of activity -- not the level, but the activities of organisms.

Q: Is that for detection purposes?

Clarke: I believe so.

Yes?

Q: What's the rationale for having kept this work a secret up to now?

Clarke: Which work are you referring to?

Q: The research that we've been talking about, these various projects --

Clarke: Well, the DIA, for instance, doing this work, is trying to protect us and protect the men and women in uniform against threats of chemical and biological warfare. There are certain countries that we know are trying to do very bad things out there. The less information we give them about it, the better. Intelligence activities tend to remain secret.

Q: This is going to sound a little cynical, but let me just ask, on behalf of the public, how can the American public be assured that as the United States government conducts this kind of research, which is aimed at protection, that in the process they don't -- they're not also at the same time developing some offensive capability or creating some new strain of dangerous bacterial agent?

Clarke: Well, for instance -- and I think we can provide you with a chronology of the activities that have to do with this modified anthrax strain -- the Jefferson project, as it's referred to. And you look at this -- there was a long litany of interagency coordination, legal reviews, congressional briefings, all of which are obviously to ensure the appropriate, you know, coordination. It's also to make sure that all the appropriate steps are taken to make sure we are compliant. This program's undergone serious, serious scrutiny by a number of people. We are compliant, and we will remain so. And the BWC does allow you to do these things, as Project Jefferson has done.

Q: Is it safe to say that -- as you said here, that the United States intends -- intends -- to go ahead and develop this strain of anthrax, unless something -- retain the interagency process, but you made pretty clear the United States feels that it would be legal, as of now, to do so, and you fully intend to do it?

Clarke: Yeah. And let me repeat, again, we take the threat of the spread of biological and chemical warfare very, very seriously. We have an obligation -- and it's an important obligation -- to make sure we protect, first and foremost, the men and women in uniform against those threats. There's absolutely an obligation and responsibility that we do so. So with all the appropriate legal reviews, with all the appropriate interagency coordination and congressional briefing, we plan to proceed.

Q: Just to be clear, we'd be talking about in this instance a minute quantity of bacterial agent, or how would you characterize how much of this anthrax variant should be produced?

Clarke: You know, the question I asked before I came down here, and gotten the answer back, was to actually define that a little more clearly. But the BWC does make clear "small, limited quantities" of a known agent. And I'll try to get a better definition of that for you.

Yes?

Q: Was the desire to maintain the confidentiality and details of these programs related in any way to the administration's decision not to participate in developing a verification and on-site inspection protocol for BWC?

Clarke: Absolutely not. I mean, remember, we are signatories to the Biological Weapons Convention. This administration has made clear one of its priorities is to work against the threat of biological warfare. That is one of our top priorities. Concerns with the protocol had to do, one, it couldn't really do what some said it might be able to do; two, the information that would be revealed about our biodefense capabilities, as well as confidential business information.

But I dare say almost every meeting of every high-level administration official over the last several months, as we've met with friends and allies on a variety of issues, this issue has been put on the table and said this is a concern; we want to do everything we can together around the world to reduce this threat.

Q: Nevertheless, the verification protocol would have allowed demand inspections by any party to the treaty. And had any party demanded inspection rights to these projects, the United States would have been obliged to provide those inspections.

Clarke: The protocol has lots of problems recognized by lots of people other than us. Foremost among them, it would make it very hard to do biodefense. It would make it very clear that some confidential commercial business information would be revealed. But again, I'd try to put the emphasis on what is really important, which is our commitment to the Biological Weapons Convention and the fact that we have made this issue and the priority of reducing the threat of chemical and biological warfare right front and center for this administration.

Q: Is it the intention of this administration to keep this kind of research as secret as the last administration did? Or is it the intention of this administration to be more forthcoming, to explain to the public what you are doing so there will be no misunderstandings about what the U.S. is doing behind closed doors?

Clarke: Let me clear up one thing and then come back.

No biological agents were produced, only simulants, as part of the research and the study in Nevada. So there were no biological agents used there, they were just simulants. I hope that clears that up.

And, I'm sorry, just do it one more time quickly.

Q: Is it the intention of this administration to continue the very extreme levels of secrecy surrounding all of these projects, which the administration says are benign and within the purview of the various conventions, or is it the intention of this administration, as has been indicated in a newspaper article today, to keep it even more secret than the previous administration?

Clarke: Well, I believe the intention will be to keep that information secret that we think by not doing so would have serious national security concerns. Giving those who have hostile intent information about what we can do to protect against the threats they might be carrying out against us is not a good thing.

Q: Does the revelation of these three projects threaten the United States?

Clarke: I feel pretty confident. You know, I've looked into this pretty hard for the last couple of days, and I feel pretty confident with the way this program is being run, the way it is being executed, the way it's being briefed throughout the interagency process and getting the appropriate legal consultations and doing the correct and appropriate congressional consultations, I feel confident that we're on a good path. And again, I go back to what I think is most important: the threat is real, it is growing, and it is the responsibility of the country, of the United States, the United States military and this administration to take steps to protect us against it.

Q: Let me try it again. Does the disclosure of these three projects threaten the United States? In other words, in the future, if the disclosure of this doesn't threaten the United States and letting the public know what you're doing doesn't threaten the United States, why not continue to follow that path in the months and years ahead? Or does this disclosure threaten the United States? Has it done harm?

Clarke: I don't think there is a level of detail that has been revealed that has done any harm to the program.

Q: So one might conclude then that it's okay to talk about this and other projects which are currently classified as secret or top secret. Or does the press have to rule it out?

Clarke: It's hard -- no, it's hard for me to make a blanket statement about all things going forward. But I will say this: if it's good and important that people know something about the level and the nature of the threat, absolutely. Is it good and important that people know what this administration is trying to do to protect them and their friends and colleagues and family members in uniform? Absolutely. But I just -- I can't help you on a blanket statement going forward.

Yes, sir.

Q: Another topic?

Q: One more.

Clarke: I'm sorry, one more.

Q: Just to pick up on the thread of Jack's question, do the scientists who are involved in this research, are they involved in any exchange programs with foreign counterparts, much like scientists at Los Alamos, where they might be susceptible to, you know, espionage or something like that? Do they come into contact with any of their counterparts overseas?

Clarke: There is cooperative work, yes.

Q: With which countries?

Clarke: You know, I'll have to take that question.

Q: But -- but their activities are monitored --

Clarke: (Inaudible due to cross talk) -- but they're -- yes, there are cooperative activities underway.

Q: And on the same subject, was the very existence of these programs classified as secret or top secret?

Clarke: What -- I'm sorry, what do you mean?

Q: Was the fact that there was work going on in this area classified as top secret? Was the name of these -- were the names of these projects classified? Were these things really kept so secret, or is it the details of what's going on in these projects that was categorized as secret or top secret?

Clarke: Well, I can speak to the Jefferson project, which has been going on since 1997. And the Jefferson project covers a variety of issues in terms of preventing surprise on biological and chemical warfare. They do the work such as we're talking about, or may do the work such as we're talking about on the modified anthrax strain. They study literature. They consult with others. The Jefferson project, for instance, is one that has been known. Now, the level of detail in some of these projects has not.

Q: So the existence of these -- of this project, at least, was not classified.

Clarke: The Jefferson project. That's correct.

Q: Right. But the details of the work that was going on under that project may have been classified.

Clarke: Yes.

Q: And you're not sure when it comes to the other projects.

Clarke: Right.

Q: Okay.

Clarke: If you want, we can get a more detailed list of the kinds of work that they do, because it's pretty extensive. And again, it's a broad range of work designed to prevent surprise and make sure we have the capabilities we need to protect us.

Yes, sir.

Q: Yes. Any update, Ms. Clarke, on NATO mission in Skopje for the disarmament of the Albanian extremists? And anything new on U.S. military involvement in that area?

Clarke: Well, they will start phase two. The parliament is meeting. The first phase was completed. NATO has reported they collected about a third of the weapons. And parliament is scheduled to meet. If that goes as planned, then phase two would start on the fifth, which is tomorrow.

Q: Collected a third of the weapons? How do they know that they're -- there are, like, millions of weapons out there --

Clarke: They collected about a -- a good catch. They're collected about a third of the weapons they intended to collect under part of Task Force Essential Harvest. And they said a number of about 3,300. And the U.S. involvement thus far is about 90 hours -- I think it was 90.4 hours -- of helicopter support.

Charlie.

Q: Another subject?

Clarke: Mm-hmm.

Q: Has the United States or does the United States intend to tell Chinese leaders that Washington has no opposition to the Chinese increasing the number of their nuclear warheads in order to gain support from the Chinese for missile defense?

Clarke: Absolutely not. You know, and --

Q: And -- and does --

Clarke: Absolutely not. The president's policy is to seek to reduce the number of nuclear weapons, offensive weapons around the world. He has made this one of the priorities of his administration. He wants to lessen the risk of nuclear war. He wants missile defense as one part of a broader deterrent strategy. In that context we have made clear, just as we've briefed our friends and allies and Russia, we will brief China on our plans for missile defense.

Q: But you do not intend to tell them that it's -- I mean, this building has said repeatedly that you expect the Chinese as a matter of course to increase the number of their warheads in modernizing their arsenal. But you don't intend to tell them that you have no qualms about that, you're not worried about that --

Clarke: Absolutely not. We are worried about it. We have made that clear before, and we'll make that clear going forward.

Q: Doesn't China have the right to build as many nuclear weapons as it wants?

Clarke: You know, I'm not going to speak for China. But increasing nuclear weapons is not a good way to enhance international stability and cooperation.

Q: If the Chinese --

Clarke: We have -- I'm sorry, go ahead.

Q: I'm sorry. If the Chinese say that they'd feel more comfortable if -- they say, "Sure, go ahead and build a national missile defense, or a missile defense system, but in order to make us feel more comfortable we're going to go ahead and build a few hundred more ICBMs."

Clarke: We've made clear our views on this, and we will do so again. This is not a matter of "If we do this, you can do that." We have made -- the president has made clear his desire to reduce nuclear weapons overall around the world. He has made clear his desire to use missile defense as one part of a broader deterrent strategy. He has made clear our intent to proceed with a missile defense program.

Yes?

Q: Yet some of those involved in forging this policy have written in the public literature that the whole point of doing away with -- one of the points of doing away with arms control agreements is to give the United States the latitude to build up, if it indeed deems it needs to do that, not just to reduce nuclear weapons.

Clarke: You know, I can't comment on what people -- some may have written or not written or said or not said. I can tell you what is the position of this administration and the position of this department.

Q: Just to be clear, what is the message to China regarding nuclear force levels and U.S. missile defense? Because I'm a little confused after reading some of the published reports recently.

Clarke: The position on nuclear weapons offensively is we want to reduce them. This president has made that clear repeatedly.

Our position on missile defense is that we intend to do an aggressive, robust research and development program with the intent to test and deploy a limited system that protects us, and our forces deployed abroad, and our friends and allies from the threat of missile attack from rogue nations or an accidental launch. And the only ones who should be worried about that or concerned about that are those who have less than the best of intent toward us.

Yes, ma'am?

Q: Do you have a specific plan on briefing the Chinese?

Clarke: You know, there are several meetings coming up over the next several weeks. I don't have details on all of them, but interagency meetings will be coming up, and again, I'd direct to you State on some of those. But I think in the days and weeks going forward, we'll have a little bit more detail about the kinds of meetings that are going to take place.

Q: But do you have some details on the Navy meeting in Guam?

Clarke: Yes. September 13th and 14th, I believe it is, the U.S. and China have agreed to hold the Military Maritime Consultative Agreement Meeting, and this is to look at ways to enhance safety when it comes to military both in the air and on the seas.

Q: This is as a result of the EP-3 incident?

Clarke: No, this is as a result of an agreement that Secretary Cohen made with his counterpart back in 2000, I believe it was. It's an important step in terms of the relationship, an important action to take, and consultations to have to try to prevent those sorts of accidents.

Q: And who will take part?

Clarke: Admiral Steven Smith, the director for Strategic Planning and Policy, J5, at the U.S. Pacific Command, will lead our delegation.

Q: Is that a symbol for more military exchange with China?

Clarke: I'm sorry?

Q: The beginning of a normalized military exchange with China?

Clarke: It's an important step in working past the EP-3 incident.

Q: Will the issue of reconnaissance flights, you know, arising from the EP-3 incident, be discussed at that meeting?

Clarke: You know, I will try to get you more detail on the consultations, on what will actually go on. But it is to look in the broadest sense at how do we make sure that we have the right safety measures, the right planning in place to try to prevent those sorts of accidents, to increase safety and security in international airspace and on the high seas. But I'll try to get you some more detail about what the conversations might cover. [Update: the objective of the meeting is to discuss principles of safe flight and navigation for military activities conducted on the high seas, in international airspace, and in exclusive economic zones. In addition, we will discuss ways to ensure the safety of ships and aircraft exercising the right of distressed entry.]

Yes?

Q: Secretary Rumsfeld, of course, has said that he intends to defend every nickel of the '02 amendment. I guess that effort will go into high gear this week. How would you regard an effort to shift some of the money in that amendment, let's just say, from missile defense research and development, for example, into improving strategic lift capability?

Clarke: Well, I think he's made it pretty clear and that the president has made it quite clear over the last couple of weeks -- the president has taken the opportunity in a few of his addresses to lay out his priorities, and he has put defense at the top of the list, and he too has said -- I'm paraphrasing -- we need every nickel of it -- how we have the dollars allocated is the result of a lot of hard work by the civilian leadership here, the military leadership, consultations with the Hill. And we think it represents a fairly good balance of the needs at this time.

So we think the package, as presented, is a very good approach, and we're going to work hard over the next several days and weeks to make sure people understand our case.

Yes?

Q: The -- Friday's ruling on the A-12 dispute involving the Navy, Boeing, and General Dynamics came as kind of a surprise, instead of a reversal from what previous courts have been saying about the case, and a very favorable ruling for the government. Do you have any comment on that? I know it's early days here --

Clarke: No, a very brief one. We're pleased with the court's decision to uphold what we did. It's premature -- until we've had a chance to take a look at it, premature to comment further than that, though.

Yes?

Q: Going back to the budget, you've talked about this being a very good balance. What will -- what would be the result of not just shifting within the defense budget, but a shifting of that money to non-defense spending -- what would that do in terms of all of the reviews that have been going on, the QDR, the defense planning guidance, the whole ball of wax?

Clarke: Well, I'd rather not speculate on that. I'd rather make sure we focus on what the secretary said, which is, we need every nickel, and we're going to be working very hard to make sure we get it.

Q: Thank you.

Clarke: Thanks, Charlie.

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