Mr. Bacon: Good afternoon.
There's an unusually boisterous group here, and I don't think it's the press. I think it's all these students from American University, so welcome.
I would also like to welcome a visitor from Nicaragua, Mr. Gilberto Wong who is the Secretary of Communications to the President of Nicaragua. Welcome to you as well.
One other announcement, which is that Dr. Bernard Rostker who is the Special Assistant for Gulf War Illnesses and his team are conducting another one of their outreach visits this week, this one to Marine Corps Base, Camp Lejeune and the Marine Corps Air Stations at Cherry Point and New River, N.C., to brief Marines and also the local chapter of the Disabled American Veterans on his latest findings on Persian Gulf War Illness as well as other issues that have come up during his research.
With that, I'll take your questions. Charlie?
Q: After saying that, I resent being called unboisterous. [Laughter]
- Is the Secretary concerned about the criticism of President Clinton in the Navy and Army Times? And does he plan on reminding the military on Article 88 of the UCMJ which forbids such criticism?
- A: First, the Secretary has traveled extensively in the last several weeks. Two weeks ago he visited soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines in Kuwait, in the Arabian Gulf aboard the USS ABRAHAM LINCOLN, at Prince Sultan Air Base in Saudi Arabia, and at Eskan Village in Saudi Arabia. He also spoke with some American troops in Oman. This issue is not on the minds of the soldiers he spoke to. The issues that are on their minds are pay; benefits, particularly retirement; quality of life; OPTEMPO; and particularly for the troops stationed abroad, when are we coming home. Those are the classic issues that are raised every time he talks to troops.
Yesterday he talked to troops at three installations in Mississippi, and I'd say that the same issues came up there -- pay, benefits, quality of life, operating tempo. They obviously didn't ask when are we coming home. Those are the issues that he encounters day in and day out when he gets out and talks to troops.
That's the answer to the first part of your question.
The second part of your question is that it's really -- he has not seen this as an issue of concern among the troops and it's not something that has been raised to him as an issue of concern.
- Q: The article by Major Shane Sellers that was in the Navy Times on October 19th, is that a clear violation of the ban against contemptuous words? And is he going to be subject to any discipline for that?
- A: As I've tried to point out, I think you're focusing on a drop of water out of the ocean. The concerns that affect most soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines are the ones that I've already enumerated, not the ones that you're focusing on. On that particular case, the Marines are reviewing that. They have not yet completed their review, and it will be up to them to decide whether or not his article or statements violated Article 88 of the Uniformed Code of Military Justice.
- Q: Major Sellers in the article refers to President Clinton as "an adulterous liar." If he can show that statement is true, would that make any difference?
- A: I think that the issue here is for the Marines to decide, and they're in the course of reviewing this -- I'm not a lawyer, I'm not a Marine, and I have no authority to administer the Uniformed Code of Military Justice. But I will say that the code is very clear on requiring respect for authority -- for civilian authority, for uniformed officer authority, and for NCO authority. Article 88, which is the one you've referred to, says "any commissioned officer who uses contemptuous words against the President, the Vice President, Congress, the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of the military department, the Secretary of Transportation, or Governor or legislature of any state, territory or commonwealth or possession in which he is on duty or present, shall be punished as a court-martial may direct."
Now that, clearly, was passed by Congress. Remember, the UCMJ is an act of Congress. It's not something that was passed by the military, it was passed by Congress. This was clearly passed in order to convey a sense of respect for civilian authority and for civilian control of the military.
There's another article, Article 89, that prohibits disrespect for a superior commissioned officer. That provision relates to, defines disrespect as abusive epithets or other contemptuous or denuncitory language.
There's also a third article, Article 91, that deals with insubordinate conduct towards warrant officers, non-commissioned officers, and petty officers, and that also proscribes words or phrases that treat these NCOs with contempt.
So there's a series of articles within the UCMJ all designed to preserve respect for authority. That's important, obviously, because it's fundamental to good order and discipline.
- Q: But with respect toward the Article 88 barring contemptuous words against the Commander-in-Chief, is truth a defense?
- A: As I say, I'm not a lawyer. This is up for the services to adjudicate on their own. Clearly they will have to decide what contempt means and apply those findings as appropriate.
- Q: Are men and women in uniform not allowed to express their personal opinion in an unofficial capacity?
- A: What we're dealing with here are, of course, articles or letters that have been written and published. I don't think there's anything in the UCMJ that bars the private expression to a spouse, for instance, of a feeling. But this provision, Article 88, was designed to deal with public expressions of disrespect.
- Q: Do I understand you to say that it's going to be up, or is in fact up to each service to decide on the definition of contempt or contemptuous, and whether truth can be contemptuous? Or is there a universal understanding under the code as to what that really means?
- A: I've found in dealing with matters of the law it's always tricky to assume anything is universal.
There are, of course, descriptions of this article within the Manual for Courts-Martial that give a little bit fuller explanation of what's at stake here, but the fact of the matter is, this is up to the commander to decide, as so much is in the Uniformed Code of Military Justice. That's precisely what's happening in the case of the Marine Corps major you mentioned. The Marines are reviewing that particular case. They will come up with a decision and proceed appropriately under the code.
- Q: So the Secretary sees no need to make a general statement in this matter?
- A: The Secretary believes that the code is clear. He understands that this Article 88 was designed to effect civilian control over the military, and he also sees it as one of a number of articles that is designed to maintain good order and discipline within the military.
- Q: Has any directive gone out to troops to tell them to watch what they say, to make sure they don't run afoul of this provision?
- A: No Department-wide directive has gone out, and, as I said, in the Secretary's personal experience in traveling around and talking to members of the military, this is not a major issue. This is not an issue that comes up to him with any frequency whatsoever. In fact I don't think that, with one possible exception, that it's ever been brought to his attention. Most of the issues brought to his attention are about pay, benefits and operating tempo.
Second, some services have on their own, or members of services, have issued reminders of what this rule provides. One that's been printed is a message that, I guess an e-mail message that the Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps, Gen. Dake, sent out to Marine Corps generals.
I've also been informed that an Air Force JAG officer, F.E. Warren, recently sent out an e-mail or had something published in the base newspaper which other Air Force officers thought was good, and that has been circulated throughout the Air Force informally through e-mails, but I haven't seen that myself.
I do not believe that there has been any authorized or service-wide Air Force announcement about this.
- Q: To follow, does the Secretary approve or condone or suggest there would be an across the board kind of a message like Gen. Terrance Dake e-mailed that no Marine should discuss the scandal and impeachment proceedings in public? Is this something that the Secretary condones?
- A: I want to repeat again that this has not been a major issue for the Secretary. I think any of you who have been out and traveled with the Secretary, if you went to the Gulf with him, if you'd been in Mississippi with us yesterday as some members of the press were, would not have heard questions about this. This is not what's on the mind of most troops.
The vast majority of troops are looking at much more tangible issues that affect their lives as soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines, and the welfare of their families. Those happen to be issues that President Clinton is addressing, that Secretary Cohen is addressing, and Gen. Shelton is addressing, and Congress is addressing as well.
As you know, we recently got an increase in the defense budget for readiness. There's widespread support for dealing with pay and benefit issues in the next budget, and I believe that will be done in some substantial way. Maybe not as substantially as everybody would like.
These are the issues that soldiers care about. These are the issues that are being addressed by people in the government from the President on down.
In terms of an overall guidance of the Department, I don't see any reason for that. People know that this -- in part thanks to members of the fourth estate -- know that Article 88 exists. Several services or members of the services have chosen to remind people in their services about Article 88, and other services may choose to do that. But this isn't something that I believe the Secretary of Defense believes he needs to weigh in on at this time.
- Q: Isn't it a little bit ironic that the military that exists in part to defend free speech is denied free speech in major political controversy?
- A: We have an all volunteer military. People know what the rules are when they join the military. The military has specific rules that are set up to protect good order and discipline, and this is not the first time we've seen that military rules may be slightly different from those in the rest of the society. No one is forced to abide by these rules. They can get out of the military and say anything they want. If they're in the military, there are rules that govern their behavior.
- Q: You say this isn't one of the pocketbook issues that's on the minds of most of the troops, but nevertheless, as the impeachment proceedings against the President continue, this is a topic of national debate. I just wondered if you could clarify, and if you can't, then I think it sort of illustrates the point, if you can clarify to what degree members of the military in private conversations can criticize the President, or are they limited in what they can say. Where is the line drawn in terms of when you cross the line -- something you can say in private and something that is contemptuous?
- A: This is something that commanders will decide on a case by case basis. I think commanders have shown in a variety of sensitive areas that they're perfectly well equipped to make those decisions, and they'll make the decisions in these cases should they arise.
- Q: Does anybody at the White House contact the Pentagon or anybody at DoD expressing any concern or trying to get some clarification about this...
- A: Quite the opposite. I noticed today that Joe Lockhart dealt with several questions on this and he referred them all to the Pentagon. I have not discussed this with Joe Lockhart and he hasn't discussed it with me.
- Q: You didn't even call him and thank him for deferring all those questions? [Laughter]
- A: I think that in this business we have to have sort of a NAFTA-type arrangement where we can each refer questions to each other without penalty. [Laughter]
- Q: Just to be really, on one of the points, clear on this, has Gen. Shelton issued or plan to issue any guidance to the Chiefs on this matter?
- A: Gen. Shelton has not issued any guidance to the Chiefs on this matter. I don't believe he's discussed it with them and I don't believe he has any plans to. I think the Chiefs, and I would include most military officers in this category, are well aware of what the rules are.
- Q: The activities in Kosovo. Can you give us any sense of whether Milosevic is meeting the requirements or has there been a more refined declaration given to him of units to move out of Kosovo?
- A: Gen. Clark is in Belgrade even as we speak talking to Yugoslav authorities on a technical basis about the steps that have to be taken to meet the terms of the United Nations Security Council resolution as well as the terms that NATO has set down.
I think we have not seen full compliance or anything close to it at this stage. The compliance picture is mixed. There are both positive and negative aspects to it.
I think, in general, from the standpoint of the Kosovar Albanians, the situation is much better today in Kosovo than it was two months ago. Generally the cease-fire is holding. There have been some scattered violations, but the type of major military action that we saw several months ago is not occurring.
Humanitarian aid is coming into the country and aid workers are there from non-governmental organizations and also from some official U.S. aid agencies as well as from the United Nations. So the flow of humanitarian aid has improved.
The most probably heartening response so far to the cease-fire is that internally displaced people are returning to their homes or returning to shelter. We had 50,000 people, maybe as high as 70,000 people by some estimates, who had been driven from their homes and were living outside in the hills, in the woods, trying to avoid attack. These people were obviously exposed to bad weather and living under terrible conditions and they were also outside the ambit of the aid workers, so they were not getting food and medical supplies.
We believe now that as many as half these people, approximately 30,000 of the 50,000 to 70,000 have returned to some sort of shelter. They may have returned to a partially bombed house that has only half a roof, but they're returning to places with some shelter, and more importantly, they're returning to communities where they can receive humanitarian aid and medical supplies much more easily than they could when they were in the mountaintops or in the woods. That is probably the most significant change for the better that's occurred in Kosovo since the agreement between Mr. Holbrooke and Mr. Milosevic.
We've seen some withdrawals -- some withdrawals of both the VJ and the MUP, but not nearly enough. Some roadblocks remain, although aid workers and NGOs claim that they have unfettered access during the day, and they don't tend to operate at night, but during the day they find they can move throughout the country, wherever they need to go to do their work. So that's an improvement. But there still needs to be more withdrawal by both the special police, the MUP, and the VJ, the Yugoslav army forces. And that's one of the issues that Gen. Clark is trying to clarify in Belgrade today.
- Q: Ken, that's not just one of the issues, but isn't that the key issue? You say you've not had compliance or anything close to it. You've said things are better, the aid workers are moving around, these people are back in their homes, but couldn't that change virtually instantly unless those troops are removed?
- A: One of the reasons that people are coming back to their homes is that they have more confidence that they're not going to be subject to attack by the Yugoslav army, the so-called VJ, or by the special interior police, the MUP. So the fact that they're willing to return to their homes is a sign of increased confidence and increased security that they feel on the ground in Kosovo.
I think there are a number of measures of success. Obviously a very important measure of success and a measure that's key to achieving irreversible gains, and those are lasting gains in the security situation, is more withdrawal, and we're insisting on more withdrawal. We haven't seen enough yet. We expect that there will be more. That's what Gen. Clark is working on today.
- Q: Could you give us any numbers in terms of...
- A: I'm afraid I can't right now. The numbers are pretty squishy. We'll obviously have more and better numbers as the air verification regime continues. U-2 flights have been happening fairly regularly. I think one day has been missed because of weather, but other than that, the U-2s been flying. We're working on the details for a more robust air verification regime that will involve more planes than just the U-2. And we'll be working on the mechanics of getting the OSCE monitors in as well. But that hasn't happened yet. That will be something that we'll do over the next week or so.
- Q: Are the Russians going to take part? You said it looked like they were...
- A: Certainly the Russians have volunteered troops... I won't say troops. They have volunteered personnel to participate in the OSCE, the Organization for Cooperation and Security in Europe force of monitors that's being put together. There's been some talk by the Russians and others that they could participate in the air regime and if they're prepared to do that, I'm sure that we will gladly welcome them into the NATO air monitoring regime.
- Q: There have been some reports in the last few days that some units who had been returned to their barracks had actually come back out in response to the assassination of several policemen over the weekend. Have you seen that? In other words, the situation is not only not getting better, it's getting worse in terms of more troops.
- A: First of all, the situation is better in that there is less killing and there is more humanitarian aid. That is the fundamental goal here. The fundamental goal is not to move troops out. That is a means to achieve the fundamental goal which is to stop the killing and to improve the provision of humanitarian aid so people can get back to their homes so they can be fed so they can survive the winter. That's what we're trying to achieve.
There have been some skirmishes. There's no doubt about that, and these are regrettable. They may have been caused by the UCK, they may have been caused by the Serbs. No matter who caused them, they shouldn't be causing them. Both sides should retreat, they should stop being violent, and they should try to concentrate on making living conditions better for the people in Kosovo, and that involves complete cessation and lasting cessation of military action.
- Q: Would you say, Ken, that the situation is better because Milosevic is complying at least to some extent?
- A: I would say it's better because there has been some compliance, and that is some withdrawal, but there has not been enough compliance yet. We expect full compliance, we have not yet seen full compliance. It's also better because humanitarian workers have returned with aid, and it's better because there's more confidence among the residents of Kosovo that they can return to their villages and their communities and not be attacked. Some of that reflects the fact that there's been a withdrawal of forces either out of Kosovo or from their deployed positions back to their garrisons, but we need to see more.
- Q: In the face of attacks by the UCK on the Serbs, on Serb forces, can the Serbs respond defensively? Can they take any defensive action?
- A: They have responded defensively. I think the answer here is to stop all military attacks by either side.
- Q: Given the fact that the Albanian rebels have pretty much rejected this deal because it doesn't offer total independence, and given reports that these latest cease-fire violations have been primarily at the hands of the Albanian rebels, how does NATO propose to keep the KLA, the Albanian rebels in check?
- A: First of all, I think at some point the Albanian rebels, the so-called Kosovar Liberation Army, called the UCK, has to realize that the people who pay the biggest price for their attacks are other Kosovar Albanians. They're the people who end up getting killed; they're the people who have ended up getting attacked.
The goal of this agreement is to stop the killing of Kosovar Albanians and to rebuild their communities and to allow them to live in peace and some modicum of prosperity.
In addition, it is crucially important to point out that the agreement provides for a political settlement, and the Yugoslavs, the Serb state, and the Yugoslav government have already proposed the basic framework for a political agreement that provides for elections and autonomy within Kosovo. This is a huge step forward. This reverses nine years of repression within Kosovo. So this is something that has to be developed, but the start is there. What the Kosovars get from honoring this agreement is one, freedom from being killed; and two, a move toward political autonomy, toward elections, and toward limited self government. That is the message that I think that the Kosovar leaders should be getting out to their people, but more importantly, it's the message that the Kosovar people should be getting to their leaders. If they don't want to be killed anymore they should tell their leaders to knock this stuff off, to abide by the agreement, and to work with the Serbs to try to work out a political arrangement that will allow them to return to the autonomous arrangement they had in 1989 and before.
- Q: Short of that, that message doesn't seem to have gotten through to everyone...
- A: Well, we're working on it.
- Q: I know you're working on it.
- A: We're meeting with representatives of Kosovar Albanians in the United States as well as in the Balkans. Ambassador Hill is going to have a series of meetings over the next couple of days. Gen. Clark is in Belgrade today delivering messages to both sides that they need to pull back and that they need to abide by the rules.
- Q: How many U-2 flights have there been, and have there been any other reconnaissance planes taking part in this NATO mission so far?
- A: So far there have only been the highly capable U-2 performing reconnaissance, and I believe there have been three flights in the last four days. One day we could not fly because of weather.
- Q: When you look at what compliance is with this agreement, what activity is supposed to [inaudible] deployments of the VJ and MUPs that are allowed to... that are pre-February, they're allowed to remain in Kosovo? What deployments and activities are they allowed to undertake and still be in compliance with the agreement?
- A: These are among the details that Gen. Clark is working out. This is the second set of talks in Belgrade to do that, and we'll have a clearer idea when he finishes these talks. I don't know when that will be.
- Q: At the moment, prior to this Clark meeting today, is there an understanding of what compliance is?
- A: Sure. The U.N. is very clear on what constitutes compliance. You can look at Security Council Resolution 1199 and see, but the most fundamental aspects are a cease-fire, withdrawal of forces that have been repressing civilians, the beginning of discussions to lead to a political solution, and the resumption of humanitarian aid and freedom of movement for refugees.
I think if you look at those four standards, we have made progress on every one of those standards. We have not made enough progress. There's still a lot to do. But compared to a month ago, there's been huge progress.
- Q: Do I understand you correctly, though, that Clark and Milosevic are talking now about what activities of the MUP and the VJ in Kosovo will be allowed to continue?
- A: They're holding a series of technical discussions that will make it clear to the Yugoslav government exactly what they must do to meet the standards of full compliance.
- Q: Can you bring us up to date on the QRF planning?
- A: The QRF planning is in the future.
- Q: There's no planning going on right now?
- A: Well there will be planning, but there has been very little QRF planning done at this stage. The first issue is to work on the composition of the OSCE force. That's being done. European countries including Russia and the United States and Canada have now, I think, volunteered 1,500 or more people to serve as OSCE monitors. The OSCE has a Director of that operation now, William Walker. They're just beginning to sit down and figure out what their requirements are, where they're going to deploy, where they're going to have their bases, etc.
- Q: How can you send those people in without having a QRF...
- A: They're not there yet, and it will take some time before they're there. But the NATO planning on the QRF, I think, will begin in earnest probably tomorrow.
- Q: Ken, I believe the criteria on the deadline last Friday was that major progress needed to be made toward compliance, withdrawal of the troops. What's the criteria for the new ten day deadline? Do they have to completely be in compliance with the orders to remove the troops? Or does major progress have to be made, or what?
- A: Well, it probably doesn't benefit you at all to dance around on words like "major" at this stage, but NATO will have to make a decision as to whether compliance has been adequate and that will be based in part on the talks that Gen. Clark is having in Belgrade today.
Clearly there has been, by some standards, major compliance already, but there has not been complete compliance, and that's the problem. The issue here is the degree of compliance that will make it difficult for the Serbs to reverse their cease-fire.
- Q: We've not seen compliance or anything close to it.
- A: We haven't.
- Q: It's been shown that the Serbians won't do anything unless you tell them exactly what they have to do and not let them off the hook. That's why they didn't comply by last Friday, and that's why apparently they will not comply in the ten days unless they're told that they have to have complete compliance.
- A: We've said complete compliance, and that's what Gen. Clark is there to talk to them about compliance. But there are many issues.
The primary issue here is that they have to withdraw troops that moved into Kosovo, that they moved into Kosovo -- both troops and special police that were moved into Kosovo early this year that they used to augment their troops there. They will have to remove those. They will still have troops and special police within Kosovo, but they will have to remove a fairly significant number of troops. They have started to do that. They've made more progress with the special police than they have with their army troops so far.
- Q: A new subject. Can you bring us up to date on the Iraqi, on aid to the Iraqi opposition and what that might be, and if the Administration will sign it; and there is some skepticism about whether or not it will work, and is that skepticism shared by the experts in this building?
- A: Skepticism? [Laughter] Well, first of all, I fully anticipate that the President will sign this bill, although that's probably more for the White House to say than for me, but my anticipation is that he will sign it.
Second, we, the Administration, agrees with Congress that a more active Iraqi opposition is desirable. In fact, this Administration has been working hard to encourage a more active Iraqi opposition.
As you probably recall last month, two Kurdish leaders, Massoud Barzani and Jalal Talabani met with Secretary Albright. It was their first meeting in over four years. They decided to try to work together to bury their differences so they can work as a more unified front. That's progress, but it may be slow progress.
The Administration has been looking at other ways to encourage opposition within Iraq. This new money and congressional resolution will give us more wherewithal to do that.
- Q: Further on Iraq, there's an article today saying that, Kofi Annan saying, and I quote, he "believes Iraq will never be fully disarmed and that U.N. weapons teams may have to avoid confrontational inspections in order to regain Baghdad's cooperation and determine the scope of Iraq's current arsenal." Is that a retreat? It sounds like a retreat.
- A: Well, I don't know the full context of the U.N. Secretary General's remarks. In the most obvious sense, of course, nothing in the U.N. Security Council Resolutions requires complete disarmament by Iraq. They are allowed to maintain infantry divisions and an air force and armor, etc., and some naval vessels. They're allowed to maintain conventional forces.
The U.N. Security Council Resolutions of most import are directed at their weapons of mass destruction programs. Right now the U.N. is insisting that it meet those demands.
I think everybody realizes that in a country as large as Iraq, where secrecy and deception are ways of life, that it's going to be difficult, absent thousands and thousands of inspectors all over the place to know with complete certainty that every single chemical warhead or biological warhead has been collected and destroyed. I think we can know with a fair degree of certainty that, generally, their weapons of mass destruction program has been suppressed.
Remember, the primary goal of the U.N. policies now is to protect Iraq's neighbors, to contain Iraq from attacking its neighbors in the region. Either through conventional forces or with weapons of mass destruction. I think that policy has worked.
The design of the policy, though, is to make sure that it can work into the future by eliminating their weapons of mass destruction capability.
- Q: But does the U.S. maintain a zero tolerance policy on the weapons of mass destruction?
- A: The issue is the U.N. here. It's the U.N. Security Council Resolution. As you know, this regime against the weapons of mass destruction remains in effect. There is discussion of how to review compliance with the regime. That discussion is going on today in the U.N.
Mr. Butler, Ambassador Butler, last week said there were still significant and substantial questions about its compliance, Iraq's compliance with -- particularly in the biological weapons front. I think that there is still a lot of work to be done by Iraq to comply with the U.N. Security Council mandates.
- Q: But Ken, is it realistic to think that by funding opposition groups that can result in an overthrow of Saddam Hussein's regime?
- A: I suppose it's more realistic to think that than by not funding them.
- Q: Will the Pentagon draw down weapons and other supplies and give them to this group?
- A: The President has discretion under this provision. I don't think any decisions have been made to do that at this stage, and before any plans are made to do that we'll have to review whether aid would meet our regional objectives and we'd probably want to talk to our allies in the region as well.
- Q: When the B-2s recently deployed to Guam, we were told that this was essentially an exercise. Now I read in Defense Daily that the commander of the unit said that this in fact wasn't an exercise, that some of his aircraft were on alert because of a real world situation. Can you clarify what the mission of the B-2s that went to Guam was?
- A: The mission of the B-2s in Guam was to send a powerful signal about our global reach and the indispensable force of air power to the United States.
- Q: Was it an exercise?
- A: Well, they weren't used in any military action, so I suppose in that sense it was an exercise.
- Q: Was it particularly aimed at any one country in particular, any country in particular?
- A: It was aimed at anybody who was watching.
- Q: Can you tell me, Congress maybe will finish up its work this week, and $8 to $9 billion supposedly for defense related activities, but of that only about $1.3 billion is readiness. Is the Pentagon happy with the distribution of that bundle of money?
- A: In short, yes.
First of all, I think the President promised $1 billion in additional money for readiness, and that's what the bill provides.
Another big chunk, twice as large, of that bill is the $1.9 billion for Bosnia. Of course, if we didn't get that money to pay for Bosnia and operations, we'd have to rob it from operations and maintenance which would have a direct and deleterious impact on our readiness.
There are other groups of money in there, $2 billion for intelligence; $1 billion for ballistic missile defense. These are all important programs. There's $358 million for embassy security [which] was put in there, also very important.
So I think this is a good program, but it's only a down payment on some of the expenditures we'll have to make in the future to deal with readiness problems, with quality of life problems, and with our efforts to have more equitable military compensation and benefits.
- Q: On ballistic missile defense, the Secretary, the Chairman, and I believe Gen. Lyles have all testified recently that they can't spend any more money on ballistic missile defense right now, at least not on THAAD, and that they just, the technology isn't there. More money won't help. Where are you going to spend the money?
- A: Well, the real aim of Congress here, I believe, is to position the Department to be able to fund a deployment decision for national missile defense if one is made in the year 2000. I'm sure that given the technological complexities and the demanding financial needs of both theater and national missile defense programs, that we will be able to spend this additional $1 billion.
It won't all go into THAAD. That is one where we have sort of reached a technological barrier for the time being, and I'm not sure that more money there would help. But there are other areas in which we could spend that money and will.
- Q: If it's supposed to be for deployment, then why are we...
- A: I think that the...
- Q: ...until the time comes to deploy?
- A: You'll have to ask Congress, but I believe that that was their purpose.
Press: Thank you.