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DoD News Briefing - Rear Adm. Craig R. Quigley, DASD PA

Presenters: Rear Adm. Craig R. Quigley, DASD PA
September 26, 2000 1:30 PM EDT

Quigley: Am I early? I mean, I could hold off a couple minutes.

Q: (Off mike.)

Quigley: I don't want to be late, and I don't want to be early. I like to be out here on time.

Q: (Off mike) -- Quigley time.

Quigley: That's right. (Laughs.) Quigley time.

Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. I have a couple announcements this afternoon.

Secretary Cohen will address the business community of Chicago on assuring American security in the 21st century at the Mid-America Club today at 2:00 p.m. our time, immediately following today's briefing. We will be piping the address back to the Pentagon. That can listened to on channel 13 from a television, or you're welcome to stay here in the briefing room, if you wish, as well.

Later today Secretary Cohen will then join Mayor Richard Daley and Chicago Cubs Vice President and Hall of Famer Earnie Banks to visit the Chicago Military Academy at Bronzeville. Secretary Cohen will speak to the student junior ROTC assembly at 4:00 our time on why to make the military service the right choice for the future. And both events are open to the media.

On Thursday Secretary Cohen will be traveling to Boston to speak at the Coast Guard Integrated Support Command, Pier Two, at an event honoring the Coast Guard and its support to the Department of Defense. This will be at 2:45. He joins Massachusetts Governor Paul Cellucci, Transportation Secretary Rodney Slater, and Admiral James Loy, Commandant of the Coast Guard. Further, he will participate in recognizing the extraordinary performance of 12 Coast Guardsmen. There'll be a media availability following the event.

And later that same day in Boston he will speak at the New England Council's annual dinner at the Westin Copley Hotel, where he will receive the public sector New Englander of the Year award from the New England Council. And this event is open to the media as well. And we'll have a press advisory on that later this afternoon.

As of this morning, the U.S. Olympic team has a total of 63 medals in the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney. Contributing to this count are Army Sergeant First Class James Todd Graves, who won the bronze medal in the skeet shooting event, and our military spouse that I mentioned last week, Nancy Johnson, wife of Staff Sergeant Kenneth Johnson, who won a gold medal -- the first gold medal, I believe -- in the women's 10 meter air rifle event. And that brings you up to speed on our contribution to America's Olympic team.

And just one last comment there to repeat, we will make sure that we're done here at 2:00 so that we can pipe in the secretary's speech remarks from Chicago as he will be starting promptly at 2:00, we're told.

And with that, I'll take your questions. Charlie.

Q: Craig, are the military chiefs prepared to outline the need for additional troops when they appear before the Armed Services Committees tomorrow?

Quigley: I am not privy to the contents of their testimony that they'll present tomorrow.

Bob?

Q: Anything happening in Iraq? Any developments --

Quigley: No, still fairly -- I mean, we continue to watch things very carefully, as we have for these past several weeks now. But so far the fact remains that we have seen nothing in the way of threatening, offensive-oriented movements of any Iraqi military forces.

So that's very reassuring. We'll continue to watch.

Q: What about defensive movements?

Quigley: There have been some defensive movements of forces in the near-vicinity of their home stations or home assignment areas. But we attribute this, in part, to the annual training that is going on at this time of year, as well as just defensive dispersals. But nothing in those movements, again, that can be translated into an offensive nature -- to move against a neighboring nation or the Kurds in the North or the Shi'as in the South.

Q: Have you seen them returning to barracks?

Quigley: A little, but very spotty reporting on that so far, John.

Q: Is there anything that can be done to stop these flights coming into Iraq? For instance, I think the French are planning a second flight, and the Jordanians are talking about sending a flight in; the Indians also have talked about that. I mean, that seems to be a growing trend there.

I know in the South, there's a maritime interdiction force that's used to stop ships that are trying to come in illegally.

Quigley: Well, I guess the -- one of those we have something to do with and the other we don't, Jim.

I'll speak to the maritime interdiction operations, which we clearly do have a role to play. I think the earlier flights that you mentioned in your question, I think are -- that really is a part of the political process and being worked through the United Nations. And we, the American military, have no role in those discussions, that I'm aware of.

The maritime interdiction operations in the Arabian Gulf, we do, as we've discussed many times before from the podium. And we remain an active partner in that process.

Q: On that note --

Quigley: Chris?

Q: -- with oil prices having been so high last week, have you seen an uptick in that kind of activity?

Quigley: No, we have not. As a matter of fact, the numbers of vessels that have been either diverted or ordered to a holding area -- one in the North, one in the South -- while further inspections and test results come back, have been quite low; five during the entire month of September.

We attribute that -- despite the near-record price of oil per barrel on the world market, we attribute that to the Iranian's government being more restrictive in the use of their territorial waters to allow smuggling to take place. And for that, we're very appreciative.

Jim?

Q: On Yugoslavia -- is there now an Amphibious Ready Group in the Adriatic? And, if not, are there plans for one to --

Quigley: There's an amphibious exercise going on in Croatia. I think it finishes Friday, I believe. I think it started last Friday, last Thursday. We put out a blue-topper on that, announcing it, I think, a couple of weeks ago.

But I think the duration -- I think it's over on Friday.

Q: I know that there is one ship from an amphibious ready group there as part of that exercise, but there are two other ships that it's my understanding are on their way to the Adriatic or in the Adriatic.

Quigley: Sorry, I don't have that tactical detail. I'm sorry. Maybe we should call the folks in Europe and see if we can find that out, but I don't have that.

Q: How about the George Washington? Is it headed that direction?

Quigley: George Washington and Abraham Lincoln have completed their turnover, and George Washington has departed the Arabian Gulf and is proceeding to enter the Mediterranean. She's still scheduled to be there the first part of October.

Q: I'm sorry; the George Washington is where, now?

Quigley: The George Washington has left the Arabian Gulf and is starting to come around the Arabian Peninsula and will enter the Mediterranean the first part of October.

Q: Well, is that en route home? I'm sorry.

Quigley: I'm sorry. Go ahead.

Q: Is that en route home?

Quigley: Eventually, yes. Yes.

Q: Could you go back to the question of the chiefs' testimony tomorrow on the Hill? You said you weren't privy to their testimony, but can you talk a little bit about the process by which the Pentagon will determine whether or not it needs an increase in end strength and an increase in budget levels? Is that the process that's ongoing now?

Quigley: That would largely be a part of the '02 budget process, but more importantly, I think, the QDR, the Quadrennial Defense Review. That would certainly be an issue for the chiefs to surface as part of the budget process, as part of the QDR process, and certainly an issue for the new administration and the new Congress to take up as they assume their positions early next year.

Q: Secretary Cohen said yesterday that the chiefs are free to say whatever they want when they go up to Congress. Are they free to ask for more troops, if they want, even though it hasn't gone through the QDR process?

Quigley: I think he's been pretty clear about what his feelings are in that regard. And he wants this to be a completely open exchange on the part of the service chiefs as well as the committee members taking the testimony and asking the questions on the Hill tomorrow, both in the Senate and the House.

Q: What's happened to his concerns that they would be rattling tin cups in this period where both candidates appear to be saying more and more for defense?

Quigley: He has made it very clear to them that this is a very partisan time, that it's a very partisan topic of readiness, but by the same token, it's not a topic that we can or should avoid. And if you're asked a question that is relevant to how many soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines are needed to do this, or what should the dollar figure be for that, they are free to provide the answers to the questions.

I think his concerns and indeed all of our concerns -- I'm sure the service chiefs share this -- is to become a part of the partisan debate on this topic. So you try real hard, John, to play it straight and play it down the middle.

Q: Just to clear, is the Pentagon right now undergoing any review or process to determine if any of the services need additional personnel?

Quigley: Hm. Not that I'm aware of, Jamie. No. But again, if it would be a part of the '02 budget process, that process wouldn't necessarily be visible at this early stage of the deliberations.

Q: Well, hasn't the Army chief and the Army secretary made statements in the past that the Army is too small?

Quigley: I'd have to go review the record. I'm sorry.

Q: Craig, on the budget, about a week and a half ago, the CBO [Congressional Budget Office] released its Defense report . And at the time I had asked you, you had just had the first cut at it. Has the department taken a longer -- a more in-depth look at the report? Do you agree with any of the conclusions about the potential shortfall in long-range spending?

Quigley: Well, I think Bill Lynn, the comptroller, his testimony last Thursday, I believe it was, up on the Hill -- I have a copy of his prepared remarks, as well as -- certainly a transcript, through Fed News and other services, would be available. I think that topic was addressed. But his testimony and the exchange in the question and answer period was largely similar to what I had mentioned before.

The Congressional Budget Office's work focused on costing out a replacement of existing systems on a one-for-one basis with their more modern replacement versions, if you will. And that simply is not on anybody's plan that we are aware of.

So without taking particular exception to the costing methodology used in the survey, I don't know. But the overall focus of a one-for-one replacement is simply not anybody's plan for the way ahead.

Q: All right. Can we return to Yugoslavia for just a moment? Is the Defense Department or the administration concerned about what has transpired since this election? There's apparently going to be another gigantic demonstration tomorrow, and so far no one knows exactly what's happened.

Quigley: Right. It's my understanding, John, that -- I think the official election results are to be announced either tomorrow or Thursday, I believe. I -- gosh, I think it's safe to say the whole world is watching to find out what the election results will be.

It's also hard to predict the reactions, both within former -- within the FRY, within other nations in the region. I think, at this point, we're just being very aware of the circumstances there, paying as close attention as we can, and we have confidence that the democratic process is the right way to go for the elections, and we hope that the process proves to be accurately reflective of the people that have voted.

Q: Have you seen any indications in Montenegro that there may be trouble there?

Quigley: No, we have not.

Q: A related question. So we currently have U.S. forces in a lot of places right around there -- Croatia, Bosnia, Macedonia, Kosovo, of course. Are they on any special status due to the uncertainty in --

Quigley: Well, we've not moved forces that are assigned to that region, but all of them are very much aware of what's going on. We have military forces in the region, plenty to do whatever we think could conceivably be called for. We're not sure what that would be. Maybe nothing. Nobody knows that. We try to pay as much attention and be as ready to respond in whatever direction it seems appropriate to do at the time, but I certainly don't want to leave you with the impression that there's military forces poised, ready to go do something. It's more of a watchful -- great interest, certainly -- but watchful and cautious stance right now.

Hunter?

Q: Can you unpack the George Washington battle group's composition for us?

Quigley: Let me take that. I don't have it with me here, but we can. [The battle group includes the aircraft carrier USS George Washington; Carrier Air Wing Seventeen; cruiser USS Normandy; destroyers USS Cole, USS Donald Cook, USS Caron and USS Briscoe; frigates USS Hawes and USS Simpson; combat support ship USS Supply; and submarines USS Albany and USS Pittsburgh.]

Jamie?

Q: Libya. Can you tell us whether or not there's any evidence that Libya has accepted delivery of Korean Nodong missiles?

Quigley: Nothing that I have heard publicly, and I'm not in a position to get into intelligence reporting on that, Jamie, I'm sorry.

Q: How about that Syria tested a new version of the Scud missile, in spite of the long-range --

Quigley: I don't think my answer today is different that what Secretary Cohen provided yesterday. And, again, same restrictions, I'm afraid, on any sort of intelligence monitoring that we might be doing.

Q: I keep going back to the CBO comment.

I know that -- I was there -- that the services had indicated that, yeah, the focus isn't exactly what they are planning for, but yet, with the exception of the Army, they agreed largely with the numbers that CBO had come up with. I mean, do you guys have any comment as far as the target and the numbers that they came up with --

Quigley: Dollar figures, you mean?

Q: Yes.

Quigley: No. I would let their own words speak for themselves. If the service representatives that were at that hearing felt those were accurate numbers, that's certainly their view. It's just that the numbers were tied to a force structure plan, but I don't think anybody is espousing that view.

Q: Thank you.

Quigley: You bet.

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