Friday, September 7, 2001
(Meeting with the editorial board of the Associated Press.)
Rumsfeld: All right, I don't have anything to say by way of opening, except hello. Welcome to the Pentagon. We're glad to see you.
Q: I've noticed that you've been on sort of a anti-bumper slogan campaign lately, but I think I detected one in your testimony the other day, on Wednesday --
Rumsfeld: Oh, Lord. I didn't mean to say anything quotable. (Laughter)
Q: Turning waste into weapons.
Q: How about something on that?
Q: You also mentioned that you were going to roll out some ideas here shortly on specific ways to actually save money in the Pentagon, which is quite an accomplishment, based on past history. But I was hoping you'd give us a couple of examples of what you're going to do in that area.
Rumsfeld: What I did when I came in is I asked the folks that were here about that subject matter, and it became pretty clear that it falls into two categories. One is the thing you can do on your own, internally if you will, just through decisionmaking in the Pentagon. Then there is another basket and that is the things that it takes somebody else to help you do, and it may be OMB, it may be the Office of Personnel Management, it may be an executive branch activity, or it could be the Congress.
Q: It was the former that I had in mind.
Rumsfeld: And we are, as people came on board I assigned that task to them and they have been working it through and we have developed a package of things that I've not seen in its totality at this point. But it involves a host of things.
For example, combining some military and civilian staffs in the services in some instances. The Army is interested in doing something like that, as I believe Secretary White may have already mentioned, although I doubt it.
Q: I don't think so.
Rumsfeld: He has not. Okay. He's working that through.
Another is the question of layering. Are there ways that we can reduce some layers? This is something that's been done in the private sector with considerable success, partly because over time things tend to get layered and worse. Just inevitably you always have to keep working at things.
The other reason that companies have been able to do it successfully, de-layer, is because of the changes in technologies. And the fact that people simply don't need... With all the advantages that technologies can bring, people are able to reduce some layers.
A third area is in the acquisition area. Pete Aldridge has a cluster of things he has packaged for this effort.
Another category is the kind of mindless, crude things that every institution does from time to time. Just across the board cuts of some percentage. In the case of the Pentagon you've got to be a bit careful about it. You have to try to do it in a way that reduces the tail and not the teeth. So you do it to headquarters staffs and things like that.
A second thing you have to be careful about is the fact that...
How am I looking Hillary? Pretty good?
Hillary: You're looking great. (Laughter)
Rumsfeld: Don't you take my bad side. (Laughter) It's both. (Laughter) You have to get me from behind.
The other thing you have to watch is this problem of civilian control, and you don't want to simply blindly reduce numbers in an organization where you have a thin veneer of civilian leadership in an institution and have it adversely affect that.
Another thing you have to be a bit careful about when you do it is there has been historically a certain centrifugal force in the department where the services tend to pull away if left to their own devices, and of course there's been a lot of effort, successfully, over the years to try to create a greater degree of [closeness] and you don't want to do something that contributes to that centrifugal force. So it's not an easy thing to do.
Most private organizations do it two ways. They do it crudely, when they're in duress. Necessity focuses the mind. And I would characterize us as being in duress. That is to say we have enormous needs for funds that are not being met that have been areas that have been neglected over the decade. And we need to find ways to move funds into those kinds of activities.
The other thing we have is a need to make sure that we earn the right to get additional funds from the American people and the Congress and you do that by demonstrating that you're trying to be respectful of the taxpayers' dollars.
Q: When you say you're looking at combining civilian and military staffs, are you looking at trying to reduce some duplication of effort that you see?
Rumsfeld: Sure. Absolutely.
Q: Can you give us some ideas of where that might be in evidence? Back to Secretary Aspen and others, they've stepped up and saluted and said yeah, the services need to cut and they've done that, and the civilian work force needs to be cut back too.
Rumsfeld: Absolutely. We're talking about civilians.
Q: But the numbers didn't match. What I'm saying is there have been severe cuts in uniformed versus not so many in the civilian.
Rumsfeld: That was years ago.
Rumsfeld: There were big drawdowns, and now it's been level for some time.
Q: That's right. So you're looking at --
Rumsfeld: That issue's a totally different issue. The force structure issue.
Rumsfeld: I'm not talking about that. I'm just talking about staff.
Q: You're talking about staff.
Q: Management or -- If you could elucidate.
Q: Your staff?
Rumsfeld: A lot of dead wood floating around here. (Laughter) -- on the radio... (Laughter)
Q: -- track marks. (Laughter)
Rumsfeld: The instance that I cited is one where the new secretary of the Army has, I believe, for two reasons decided that he wants to go through a process and he's doing it carefully. It's not some crude number crunch. He's working directly with the uniformed and civilian sides of the Office of the Secretary of the Army and attempting to determine in what ways they can make their total activity more effective and smaller.
The advantages of smaller, being smaller, are two-fold. One is to save some money. The second is to improve the efficiency of the place. To that extent you've got too many people touching too many pieces of paper. Everything is delayed, everything takes more time, frustration grows, and things tend to -- There's less opportunity for accountability. Everything's touching everything.
Here I am talking to a not-for-profit organization like -- (Laughter)
I hope it doesn't ruin the deal you've got. You don't have a bottom line, do you? You have a budget. That's all.
Q: Do you have any goals for people, a percentage type? Or any type of shrinkage, downsizing? What are you going to tell people how to correct their --
Rumsfeld: What you have to do, when you don't have time or the staff or the need to do it by a very carefully drawn out, over a long period of time analysis of responsibilities and tasks and all of that, and then if you're faced with the problem that even if you did that, you couldn't do it because we don't control our civilian force. It's controlled by the Office of Personnel Management.
You have various rules and requirements and specifications as to what you can do. Therefore about the only way you can do it is to be crude, and that's very likely what we'll do is come up with some percentage number for certain categories of activities.
Q: Can you --
Rumsfeld: We'll do it sometime next week.
Q: Can you give us an idea what you're looking at? With your business background you must be able to say all right, five percent --
Rumsfeld: Like you go into a dark alley and -- (Laughter)
Rumsfeld: No, what you do, and I don't want to announce this, and don't put it on the radio.
Q: We'd like you to announce it. (Laughter)
Rumsfeld: The way you do it is not complicated. You announce a cut, and then if somebody rolls back at you and makes a case that that raw number, percentage, doesn't fit their entity, your percentage is in the aggregate, not particularized to every single entity, and there may be some entities that have to grow.
But what it does is it forces people to do the examination that they otherwise would not do because they don't need to do it. Because money's free if you're in the government. There's no bottom line. You're not going to go broke.
Q: Single digits, double digits?
Rumsfeld: It's going to be a surprise.
Q: She doesn't like surprises.
Q: Every day when people open their newspaper, we want them to say, "What a surprise". (Laughter)
Q: -- strictly civilian, sir? Or mostly?
Rumsfeld: To the extent an office that combined both were cut, the leadership in the office would have to make a calculation as to what way that would fall. To what extent it would be military, to what extent it would be civilian. The military would go back to their business. The civilians would go somewhere else. If there were some other activity in the institution that was growing and they needed them, they would go there. Otherwise, they might go out.
Q: What kind of savings are you talking about?
Rumsfeld: Well --
Q: -- goal of savings?
Rumsfeld: I've got a goal. But you know you lay it up there and then everyone shoots at it. Guys like Burns, they ask you in the meeting, "Where do you stand on your goal of X billion dollars?" Every time I go down there. "Okay, Mr. Rumsfeld, where are you on your goals? Show me the $5 billion. Show me the -- "
Rumsfeld: Yeah, accountability. What the heck, the First Amendment makes it tough. (Laughter)
Q: I didn't hear a number.
Q: If you don't want to give us a number, how about characterize it, like a way, really big cut. (Laughter)
Rumsfeld: The problems we've got here, if you were in a private institution, one would think that a trained aide could end up saving something like 10 percent. I don't know if that's possible in this case.
First of all, you've got an untrained aide. (Laughter) Second, the difficulty is many times to do it here because of the fact that you don't control your workforce, you don't control the rules and requirements, the restrictions imposed by the Congress are just enormous numbers, and you can't just do something in an institution like that. So it obviously have to be something less than ten percent. And I'm not talking people, I'm talking dollars.
Q: There were some other reports in terms of the military services that you might ask them to cut 15 percent beginning in 2003. Is that part of the same process?
Rumsfeld: I was asked that yesterday or whenever I last went down to the press, and they said it was some percent in 2007, was the phraseology.
That came up while I was on vacation, and I have seen it in a piece of paper, and I have not addressed it. I suspect it would -- If it happens, it would be part of the Quadrennial Defense Review conclusion that would be part of the '03 budget build. And second, if it ends up being part of that, it very likely will be not because we would be telling them that, but because they would feel they needed to do that because of the fiscal constraints that we've put them under, and the Defense Planning Guidance we've put them under, that they need to do certain things. Then they go about and build their budget number. Therefore, if they want to do additional things, they'd better impose some savings on themselves.
Q: In addition to what you've already talked about, telling us about, right?
Rumsfeld: Yeah. What I'm talking about is something different, yeah.
Rumsfeld: Now wait a second. It's not really.
The thing I'll talk about next week will include some of those things that they're doing. My answer to the question about a number was different. That was a gross comment that overall, if you look at an institution in the private sector you'd say to yourself probably, unless it's had a terrific group of managers recently, you could probably get 10 percent out and the place would work better. In government that's not true. You could get it out and it would work better, but you can't get it out. (Laughter) That's because of the restrictions and the requirements and all the things that every time you turn around you're required to do this, that, and the other, and we've got something like 21,000 to 24,000 auditors. We've got five or six inspector generals. We've got five or six, three or four surgeon generals.
Q: -- how much money you spend.
Rumsfeld: Right. And we've got financial systems that aren't designed for financial information, but it's financial reporting to the Congress. So just to find out what you have and track it is enormously difficult.
Q: So what you're talking about is taking a good wash at telling the services -- I just want to be clear here. Each of the military services, take a look at your management structure, look for duplication, look at your civilian work force, and let's pare down. Is OSD in the same line there?
Rumsfeld: Oh, absolutely. All the components. OSD, all the defense agencies, every piece of this place ought to be doing that, will be doing that. Already is doing it.
Q: So you're not directing yourself strictly at the military services. You're talking about the whole ball of wax.
Rumsfeld: Oh, absolutely. No, no. You could not do that. What's good for the goose is good for the gander.
Q: Well the reason I brought this up in the first place is I think you've made it pretty clear recently that no defense budget in the near future is going to provide enough money to meet all the needs of the military, and that gap has to be closed on that, and the only thing you've got left to do to achieve that is to find some savings which prior secretaries have tried too.
Rumsfeld: Yep. And they've done it.
Q: Well, but you're talking about something bigger.
Rumsfeld: Some of them have done a darn good job at it. It is an endless responsibility of managers, of leaders, to keep working systems that inevitably have a tendency to try to become fat and slower and more layered. There isn't anything about big institutions that say that they are inherently efficient. They aren't. They tend to get less efficient over time. They keep adding new things they need to do, but there is no incentive whatsoever to stop doing things that you were doing previously that because you need to do new things are therefore less important than the things you're now starting.
In for-profit institutions you must do that. You simply cannot do it any other way. And in government -- The reason the private sector has to do that is that there's a penalty if you don't. You die. It ends. It's over. That really focuses the mind. That doesn't exist here. Therefore, there isn't anything that focuses the mind. Therefore it's a job that's never over. And there have been some very good things that have been done.
But take privatization of housing. There are some places where they've done a darn good job, and if you wanted to characterize that as a fraction, it's a small minority of the total, a small fraction of the total. That means we've got to do a lot better job for the remainder. And to the extent we do it, the effect of it inevitably means that we use far less of the taxpayers' dollars because you're using private sector dollars and leveraging them, and you're getting many multiples of the number of units you need.
Now there are one or two examples around where that's been done well. We need to see that we get it more broadly, in which case we free up dollars. We start working off that 192-year recapitalization rate with the fact that some enormous fraction of all of our houses -- 62 percent of our housing is substandard. It's just terrible.
Q: What about base closings? Can you realistically expect any savings long term from base closings? I know the administration has called for Congress to authorize another round, but there's just so much political opposition. Is that a battle that's really worth fighting at this point?
Rumsfeld: Well, you know, that is exactly what the press has been reporting. A, that there is a lot of opposition; and B, that there is no savings. That of course is what the opponents say.
The truth is that we just carried a vote in the Senate committee yesterday of 17-10 in favor of our base closing proposal.
Q: But that particular committee has always been sort of biased in favor of what the Pentagon wants and they supported it once before, too. Once you get beyond that committee, do you see that kind of support?
Rumsfeld: I would not be that dismissive of that vote. There are a number of those people who voted against it last time who voted for it this time -- including Senator Warner.
Q: He first announced that. He said, someone asked you, it may even have been me, whether you had any confidence that you could achieve this, and you said no, you have absolutely no confidence. Are you gaining confidence based on what you're hearing from the Hill that this could actually happen this time?
Rumsfeld: Let me answer the part about savings. The savings do not come in the first two or three or four years. There is no question about that. There is also no question that the savings do come.
If you can knock out 25 percent or 20 percent of your infrastructure and all the utility costs and all the people costs that are related to it, the operating costs, the repair costs, and all of that stuff, and you can consolidate your activities where you don't need 15 locations where you have these spare parts, you can do it with 12, the savings are substantial.
Can I prove what it is? No. But everyone who you talk to says that these previous base closings are currently saving something like $3 billion per round. There have been a number that have been successful, and I don't know what the total number is. But if we do this, it will certainly not benefit President Bush. He'll be gone. He'll take all the pain and all the political difficulty, and why would he do it? Well, he and I are doing it because it's the right thing to do. Do I know we'll be successful? No. Would I much prefer not to do it? Yes. I think it's a terrible way to spend your day.
Q: With the economy contracting, doesn't that make it even harder to sell closing bases which is the lifeblood of many communities?
Rumsfeld: Life's hard. Yeah. It might. But first of all, the economy's still growing. It's not in the dumps. And second, national security's darn important. We wouldn't have an economy if we didn't have peace and stability in the world. It is the armed forces of the United States and the contribution this country makes that underpins the world economy and that enables people that have jobs to get up and go about their days doing what they want to do. And we need those dollars for the security of the United States of America and I'm going to go after and try and get them. And I can't tell anyone, I'm not a genius, I can't tell you if I'm going to get it, whether we'll be successful. And I can't precisely tell you what the amount of money is. But I wouldn't feel like I --
Why the hell would I leave Illinois and Taos, New Mexico and come down here simply to sit around with my finger in my ear and not do what I think is in the best interest of the country. It seems to me that's the right thing to do. And the fact that there are people fussing about it in various spots around the world, it doesn't surprise me. They always have and they always will, and if I lived there I probably would too. Heck, President Bush fought against the base closing when he was governor of Texas.
Q: I guess the point of my question was though, that given the political resistance to base closing that's always out there and possibly more with the slow economy, since you have so many other battles to fight to get every dime, as you say, is it really worth the political capital to fight the base closings when you have so much else on your platter?
Rumsfeld: Well, there's no question but that that's a fair question, and there was a very thoughtful defense supporter in here the other day who made that case, and he writes about it periodically. And that's a calculation or a calibration someone has to make. I've made it. I wouldn't feel responsible by not trying to do it. And every single chief and the services want us to do it, believe it's the right thing to do. We need the money. The men and women who are living in 60 percent of the substandard housing need the money. I think that we've got some non-trivial probability of getting it. Possibility of getting it.
Q: Do you foresee the need to move into -- even potentially -- mothballing some bases?
Q: That's a great phrase.
Rumsfeld: We're going to look at everything. The cost of the environmental cleanup at a base is humongous frequently, as we're finding. From centuries ago, Civil War deposits still pop up from time to time.
We are anxious to get the Congress' cooperation to let us pickle some or close some, as they say.
Q: So you're talking about leaving the gates up.
Rumsfeld: We could. We could keep the property and not turn it over to anyone else and not have to clean it up and have it in reserve in the event you ultimately needed it and still save a bucket of money.
There are lots of things. Let me run the spectrum, if this is of interest.
Q: It is. That's not in your proposal though, is it, that you sent up to the Hill?
Rumsfeld: I think -- I have briefed that within the four corners of our proposal the following possibilities. A base closure where you turn it over to someone else; a base closure where you keep it and pickle it, just leave it there; a partial base closure where you turn partially over to someone else; a partial where you pickle part. (Laughter)
Q: Peter Piper.
Rumsfeld: It's late in the afternoon -- (Laughter)
Next is, you keep a base and take people out of high rent places like Crystal City and move them into those bases. Next you keep a base and lease part of the base, as opposed to selling it.
Q: Like the Brooks thing in Texas.
Rumsfeld: What we need to do is to say by golly, the taxpayers deserve to have us be respectful of their dollars. Why don't you all go out there, persuade the Congress to go along with you, and do it in a totally non-political way so that no one can take arguments, and that's what killed us the last time, it was politicized, I'm told, and that's why a lot of people voted against it, I mean argued against it that time. They felt that it had been politicized. We're not going to do that. And see if you can take a range of ways of doing it that are thoughtful and end up being successful, and try to do it in a way that is, with minimal travel on the community. Get into it, get it over with, and don't try to cut the dog's tail off one inch at a time hoping it hurts less.
Q: I was going to ask you about the political winds on the Hill, as far as whether this is going to come about...
Q: That was a non-trivial --
Q: Can we talk about missile defense for a minute?
Q: I was hoping you could describe what you see coming first at Fort Greely, how soon that would come, what will first make the Russians most nervous?
Rumsfeld: I don't think the Russians are even slightly nervous about what we're doing. We've briefed them extensively. They know what we're doing is research and development and testing. And I don't want to quote them or speak for them, they speak with many voices like most governments. Well, let me put it this way. If you were looking for something that was giving them concern across a range of issues, I doubt that it would be research, development and testing of missile defense.
The issue is when do you bump up against the treaty. That is of more concern to us than it is to anyone else. I don't want to be in a position where this country breaks a treaty or violates a treaty or is legitimately accused of violating a treaty. Therefore what we're doing is, when we came in we said look, no research and development and testing had really been done on things that would violate the treaty, because the prior administration liked the treaty. We like missile defense, and therefore a treaty that opposes missile defense is unhelpful to us, and we said we need to set it aside and get a new framework and put it behind us.
The things we're doing now, unfortunately the treaty's phraseology, or the language is such that there are some aspects of testing that can be a violation. Therefore, at some point coming along, one of our research and development and testing efforts is going to press against it, and we're going to have to stop it if we have not gotten out of the treaty and established some new arrangement.
Which one of those tests it will be, I don't know. It's not knowable because you don't know how successful they'll be. There are a couple of things next year that look like they could be problematic if we kept going with them and we had not gotten a new arrangement, or given notice on the treaty.
But some of the people in the Senate want us to assure them that we -- I think the language in the, the Senator Levin language is something like, in the event that we withdraw from the treaty and don't have a new arrangement, and anything we might do that would have violated the treaty were the treaty still in effect, that they would want us to go back and get the affirmative approval of the House and Senate. I think that's what the language says. I haven't read it, but something like that.
Needless to say, that's notably unhelpful to the president who's trying to make an arrangement with President Putin, and that kind of language in effect puts the advantage in the hands of the people we're dealing with, which is unfortunate. We certainly will try to defeat that language.
Q: Where do you think you'll be in this regard by the time President Putin comes to visit with President Bush in Texas?
Rumsfeld: Boy, that's tough to know. One of the Russian leaders the other day, I think he was a deputy something, maybe national security advisor, made the comment that it would take years to negotiate a new treaty or something like that. Of course it does if you're going to negotiate a new treaty. A long time.
That's not what we have in mind. We have in mind some sort of a new set of understandings where we would mutually withdraw and establish a new framework relationship between us, rather than a Cold War type treaty that required years of negotiation between two hostile states. It's something that would be more the kind of thing you'd do with a country that is not your enemy and establish a new relationship that's political, economic, and security.
So while his statement is not wrong, it is certainly -- It's right, if that's what you're trying to do, but certainly something other than that could be done between now and November. Whether or not it will be done --
Q: Like what?
Rumsfeld: Some joint statement or statement of principles or agreed framework or agreed understandings, an interim arrangement between two countries that they mutually agree this, that and the other thing. These lawyers have 50 million ways they can do those things.
Q: Isn't that part of the problem, though? They're talking one thing and you're talking something else. They're talking negotiations and a deal, and you're talking something else.
Rumsfeld: That's right. They basically are talking a new arrangement that's a continuum of the old, and we're talking about something that is probably distinct from a continuum from the old, and we've had lots of discussions and they've been good discussions. Secretary Powell had some good talks, and the president had some excellent talks with President Putin, and I've met with my counterpart a couple of times now. I guess I'm going to have another go at that.
Q: I was just going to ask you, do you know when?
Rumsfeld: I think I'm supposed to go to Naples sometime --
Voice: End of this month. 24th, 25th.
Rumsfeld: Somewhere in Europe they're going to have a mini-NATO ministerial meeting and we were going to talk at the margin on that again. Secretary Powell's going to have some meetings. I think Under Secretary Feith is going over today or tomorrow.
So there's all kinds of things going on, and after each meeting we all come out having a feeling that well, we've got a little better understanding of what the other person's perspective is.
But one of the things they're anxious to hear and keep saying they haven't heard is what's the number. And that is the nuclear posture --
Q: See, that's it.
Rumsfeld: I must be slow, but trying to sort through all this while I'm doing 85 million other things, it's taking me a little time. It's not a simple equation.
What we've got to do in the nuclear -- It's due the end of the year but we're going to certainly have enough we can talk about well before that. But what it requires is looking at our offensive nuclear weapons. In my view, both strategic as well as theater weapons. The totality of the nuclear force. And asking yourself the question, given the circumstances in the world, what is the lowest number that seems to make sense for the United States? And you have to take into consideration the fact that we don't test. We're observing the moratorium. That we need to have safety and reliability, therefore we have to be willing to invest in the capabilities to know that these terribly powerful and terribly dangerous weapons are in fact safe and reliable. The worst nightmare is to have the phone ring and have someone say gee, Mr. Secretary, this whole category of our nuclear forces are no longer safe or no longer reliable because they're old and tired and things like that happen when things are old and tired.
You have to look out and ask yourself about how other countries are getting arranged individually. How many, given the state of play with proliferation, how many countries conceivably are going to have these weapons looking out 5, 10, 15, 20 years?
You have to ask yourself what kinds of combinations of countries might you be dealing with? In every instance it's not a single country. You have to look at the issue of numbers of targets, conceivable targets that you might have to cope with. You have to look at the fact that an awful lot of people are tunneling all over the world now, and conventional capabilities are difficult unless you've got deep penetrators.
There's all kinds of problems that come up. So it isn't something that someone just says thumb in the pie, and pulls out a plus.
Q: Do you think you'll have it by the time you see Ivanov this month?
Q: Next month?
Rumsfeld: I see him next week, I think.
Rumsfeld: Oh is he? Good. (Laughter) I'm still not going to have it.
Q: He has a number, 1500.
Rumsfeld: Well, yeah. You've heard them talk about 1500 or 2000. The problem is proliferation. We're not helping other countries develop nuclear capabilities. Other countries are helping other countries develop nuclear capabilities. So you've got to make some assumptions as to what is the likely relationship between your country and the countries that are likely to have nuclear weapons prospectively?
Q: Can I ask you a question about transformation which --
Voice: One or two more.
Q: I don't want to get too deeply in this, but it's something I'm interested in.
When the president nominated you he said that one of your principal charges was to develop a transformation plan. A blueprint for a new military. We've been going through all these months of you thinking about this and working this through, and so far we haven't got it that I've seen.
What's taking so long? People are asking that question in town.
Rumsfeld: Well, I guess the president of the United States decided he wanted a lot of things when he asked me to come in. He wanted a review of defense strategy. He wanted to address certain immediate problems of morale and quality of life and pay and housing, which we've done. He wanted us to look at the force-sizing construct. He wanted us to look at a nuclear posture review. He wanted us to address the question of modernization, and as you properly point out, of transformation.
This is one of the largest institutions on the face of the earth. It is a complex one. And it is an enormously important one. You don't simply walk in and divine that everything was wrong and here's how you make everything right.
What you do is you show a proper respect for the importance of it and the fact that you want to get it right, and that it takes some time to do that, and you set about doing it.
The first thing you have to do to do it if you have a proper respect for your own limitations is you try to find people who can help you do it. And given the current situation, it takes months and months and months to get people on board.
We now have 33 people on board. The administration is well along in its first year. We had several months with no one on board. We now have the nucleus of a good team that's been working those problems very hard.
The second thing I'd say is that the meaning of the word transformation I think is interesting. Some people mean by that a new platform that's transformational, like a satellite was for the first time. Other people understand that that's one aspect of it, but it's the wrong way to look at it. The way you ought to look at it is effect and outcome, not what causes it.
It may very well be an entirely new platform like a satellite, or it may be simply five existing platforms that are suddenly linked together in a way that is novel that causes a transformational effect or outcome.
It is a lot easier to make a speech about transformation than it is to achieve it. We are in the process of achieving it. In some instances it's classified. It is in some instances research and development -- maybe 70 percent of which won't pay off. I used to be in the R&D business in the pharmaceutical field, and boy you were sure happy as the dickens if you ended up getting one product out of hundreds of millions of dollars of expenditures over years and years and years and years.
What you have to do is try things that haven't been tried before. That's how you -- You know what you're looking for and you end up developing a capability. Then you have to say what do I do with that capability? How can I use that capability in a way that's transformational, that increases lethality or capability in some way?
That is what we're doing, and it will be done.
Q: Are you frustrated at all by the slowness or the pace of it?
Rumsfeld: No. Goodness no.
Q: Also, Bush is going to be pushing next week on education with all of the Cabinet secretaries speaking out about [a crisis]. I just wonder if you feel like the White House may be leaving you with this hot potato and not giving you --
Rumsfeld: No, no, no, no, no. I am due to do a welcoming ceremony for some fine new people. Thank the good Lord. At 3:45 I'm supposed to see them. I'll be in in one minute, two minutes.
Voice: They are in your dining room, so if you'd like to go around and come in --
Q: We can do the interview while you're walking down the hall.
Rumsfeld: Not at all. I am a realist. I've been around a long time. And I recognize that this is one of the toughest jobs that exists, and I'm delighted to be here. It is important to do. We are making terrific progress.
The accomplishments that we've got going, done in some cases, going in others, have the prospect, I would submit, that in two, three, four, five years can have a significant effect on this institution.
Q: Have the services made the case to you that they can stay within the force structure numbers that they have --
Rumsfeld: I'm starting those meetings...
Q: -- and yet maybe, as you say, transform, reorganize, perhaps...
Rumsfeld: I'm having those meeting starting Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday where we do the first round with the services. They take the fiscal guidance, defense planning guidance, they take a quick, dirty look, come back up and say whoa, you're trying to put 15 pounds into a 10 pound sack, it ain't going to work, we'd like some relief on some of your guidance, and here's how we'd like to...
Q: But now that this war game that was discussed a little bit by you yesterday has taken place, has that alleviated your worries that you need to make deep force structure cuts?
Rumsfeld: No. What it does do is it -- First of all it was a first go. It will require a series of go's to test the variety of sensitivities. But what it did do was reassure everyone, and we all sat in this room, the military and civilian leadership hour after hour, day after day, week after week, in fashioning the defense strategy, in fashioning the defense planning guidance, and in fashioning the new force sizing construct. And when you do that, you know that you don't tear down what is unless you've got something better. Unless you're not very quick. We're respectful of what we had and knew what it did and knew what it didn't do, and it had big shortfalls. Serious shortfalls. Risks to what existed.
What we came up with is, now I believe one can say with a degree of assurance, clearly better.
Rumsfeld: It will require some additional sensitivity. But it does not necessarily flow that there aren't going to be some difficulties in getting everything -- In balancing the four risks that I've cited. The risk of the force and not taking care of the people, the risk of not modernizing and seeing that you've got the ability to deal with the near term threat, the risk of not transforming and not being able to deal with the longer term threats which are very real and growing. And always the things that are given up first, or you want to give up first, you want to deal with today. It's an awful lot easier to keep what you've got, take care of what you've got and do it, and not worry about tomorrow. That's a perfectly immature behavior pattern, and we all know that, right? Anyone have children here? (Laughter)
Q: Thank you very much.
Rumsfeld: You bet.
Rumsfeld: That's right. But by golly, that's how you get into the pickle we're in when we didn't deal with the infrastructure and we didn't modernize and let the airplanes age and let this happen. You just can't keep going on with that, and someone's got to clean it up. That's the hand we were dealt, and we're hard at it. Having a pretty good time.
Q: Thank you.
Rumsfeld: All right, folks. Good to see you all.