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DoD News Briefing - Mr. Kenneth H. Bacon, ASD PA

Presenters: Mr. Kenneth H. Bacon, ASD PA
December 14, 2000 2:30 PM EDT

Bacon: Let me start with several announcements.

First, the deputy secretary of Defense, Rudy de Leon, today signed a memo dealing with transition procedures. This basically designates the general counsel and the -- first of all, it designates Robert Tyrer, who's the secretary's chief of staff, to be the main coordinator for transition activities within the building and the main liaison with the new transition team. We expect we'll be contacted by a transition team relatively soon, but to the best of my knowledge we have not had a direct contact yet, as of several minutes ago.

Second, he will have people working with him, Bob Tyrer, including Phebe Novakovic, who is the special assistant to the secretary and deputy assistant, and Mary Gerwin, who's the assistant chief of staff to Secretary Cohen. It also points out that the executive secretary who works for Secretary Cohen will coordinate the transition books that will be presented to the new transition team, that the director of administration will serve as the single point of contact for administrative support. There will be a suite of offices made available to the transition team, and -- with phones, computers, et cetera when they arrive. And finally, the general counsel and the assistant secretary of defense for legislative affairs will be the single point of contact for preparing material for confirmation hearings.

So, you can get a copy of this memo at the end of the briefing from DDI. [The memo is on line at http://www.defenselink.mil/transcripts/2000/transition20001214.pdf ].

Second, tomorrow morning Secretary and Mrs. Cohen will leave for their final Christmas visit, pre-Christmas visit with troops. They will visit troops in Germany, in the Mediterranean, Bosnia, and Kosovo.

They are taking with them a large number of entertainers, who will participate in a USO-sponsored show. These include Carole King, Jewel, Ruth Pointer-Sayles, Shane Minor, Jon Carroll, as musicians; comedian Al Franken; several football Hall of Famers, Terry Bradshaw and Mike Singletary, and "Mr. Cubs," the great Ernie Banks, will be there, representing baseball; former senator and astronaut John Glenn will be there; film director Jerry Bruckheimer; two Medal of Honor recipients, Sammy Davis and Alfred Rascone; MTV VJ Ananda and the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders.

In addition, there's a fellow from AT&T going, who will present phone cards for about 40,000 soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines that they can use to call home. And Oracle Computers is donating 500 computers to the troops.

During the trip, the NFL -- "Fox NFL Saturday" and "NFL Sunday" will broadcast from the deck of the Harry S Truman, and the Letterman show will carry a satellite broadcast from Tuzla, linking soldiers in Tuzla to its audience in New York.

There's a bluetop with all those details, if you'd like to pursue them further. [The bluetop is on line at http://www.defenselink.mil/releases/2000/b12142000_bt743-00.html ].

Tomorrow, right here, at 9:00 a.m., Stan Soloway, the deputy undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition Reform, and the head of the Defense Logistics Agency, Rear Admiral Daniel Stone, will hold a briefing on the strategic supplier alliance, which is a new business-defense marriage to -- designed to provide better, smoother supply relationships, particularly for the provision of spare parts. [The advisory for this event is on line at http://www.defenselink.mil/advisories/2000/p12142000_p235-00.html ].

Finally, tomorrow is also the fifth anniversary of DefenseLINK photo. This is one example of how we've used the Internet to serve the public better. DefenseLINK offers -- there are 3,000 different news photos, which can be downloaded directly from the Internet. [ DefenseLINK news photos are on line at http://www.defenselink.mil/photos/ ].

And in fact, there have been more than 866,000 high-resolution photos downloaded in the last five years. And if we had provided all of those printouts, prints, and mailed them out to people, it would have cost close to $12,000, or the cost of approximately -- $12 million. Million dollars. I forgot I was at the Pentagon, temporarily. Close to $12 million, which is --

Q: (Off mike.)

Bacon: -- equals -- yes, that's more like it -- the cost of two M1 Abrams tanks or 10 Howitzers.

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

Q: Anything new, any update on the SecDef's MV-22 blue ribbon commission?

Bacon: No. We are still -- I hope that we will close out the commission today or tomorrow, but we haven't yet. We're still recruiting people for the commission. I think it will have three people on it. And I would anticipate that to be done relatively soon, but it isn't quite done.


Q: On transition, just to sort of try and remember how all that works, what -- these people who will come in on the transition team clearly don't have security clearances yet. How does that work? What restrictions are there on the levels of information they can have access to? And how quickly do things get moving on getting them clearances?

Bacon: Well, first of all, some may have security clearances because they may be working for defense contractors or think tanks. They may serve -- they may serve now or have served recently on various advisory boards that would require defense security clearances. So it's not necessarily the case that they don't have clearances.

For instance, the transition team that came here shortly after Thanksgiving in 1992, after President Clinton was elected, was comprised primarily of people from Hill staffs. Rudy de Leon was one. Bill Lynn, now the comptroller, was one, and Alice Maroni. So they all had security clearances. And to the extent that you had a transition team from the Hill, from Hill staffs, they could well have the clearances.

My anticipation is that many of them will have clearances. If not, I'm sure that there can be provisions made for giving them provisional clearances and dealing with that. But that has not been an impediment in the past, the speed of the transition.


Q: Ken, tomorrow the Army is shutting down the School of the Americas, and it's going to be replaced, then, by a new DoD institute. A protest group, School of the Americas Watch, says no change; it's going to be the same -- "new name, same shame" -- a reference to alleged human rights abuses. What is your comment on that?

Bacon: Well first, the School of the Americas has been a force for positive change in Latin America for a long time, and it has trained people in civilian control of the military. It does include human rights training, and it has for some time. So I don't accept their characterization of the School of the Americas.

Second, it will be replaced by the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation. That will open next month. It will incorporate a new curriculum. It will have a board of visitors that supervise its curriculum and its teaching. And I think it will continue the types of evolutionary changes that have taken place in the School of the Americas over the last several years.

I think that the School of the Americans frequently gets a bump rap; that it has actually done a good job of training people. And I know the new school will take up and improve that even more.

Q: Earlier this week, President Clinton issued an executive order to provide some military assistance for the U.N. mission in Sierra Leone. Specifically, what has he directed the Defense Department to do, as far as these services go, beyond the training and what not?

Bacon: It's basically training and some drawdowns, some used equipment, as I understand it. I think it comes to a total of -- this is from memory, but I think it's $20 million or $36 million -- I mean, it was in the -- I think it was in the White House directive yesterday or the day before. But it's primarily training, and there is some provision for drawdown equipment as well.

Q: What kind of equipment?

Bacon: It would be the type of equipment that -- communications equipment is one example. I believe we have been providing some communications equipment to the units we've been training in Nigeria. We also plan to train a Ghanaian unit and one other unit, as I recall. So that will happen next year -- maybe Senegalese, but I'm not positive about that. But it's mainly for the training, but for some equipment, and I think primarily communications. But we can get you a complete rundown on that.

Q: Thank you.

Bacon: You're welcome.

Q: (Off mike) -- Raytheon/Thomson-CSF venture to produce electronics for ground-based air defense?

Bacon: I don't know anything about that. We'll find out if we did. I mean, we may have, but I'm not aware of it. It doesn't mean we didn't. We'll find out.

Q: You'll take the question?

Bacon: Sure, we'll take the question. Okay. [Update: The Department of Defense views favorably the proposed Raytheon Thale Joint Venture. The Department supports appropriate pro-competitive, security enhancing industrial linkages between U.S. defense firms and defense firms in coalition countries. Industrial cooperation and technology sharing with our allies improve interoperability, enhance security, and foster competition in defense markets.]


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