Monday, August 16, 2004 1:44 p.m. EDT
STAFF: Well, thank you all for attending today. As most of you have seen, the president made an announcement today with respect to the global presence overseas. And we have a number of individuals here that will help you and give you some context to that announcement today and continue on with our discussions that we've had with you in this room over a long period of time with respect to this issue.
It is on background, so if you'd refer to the two individuals closest to me as senior military -- senior Defense officials, and of course senior military official, and on the end is our senior State Department official.
Q Why is this on background?
STAFF: This is on background because again this is part of the process briefings that we're trying to continue to provide for you with respect to giving you a better understanding of where the department is headed in this direction. And I think that the president made the announcement today and that's why we're keeping this one on background.
Q And the gentleman in the middle? What's your attribution today?
SR. MILITARY OFFICIAL: Senior military official.
STAFF: Okay? Very good. With that, I think we'll go ahead and get started.
SR. DEFENSE OFFICIAL: I think -- thanks to everybody here. Looks like we've got great attendance. I appreciate your time.
This is the third in a series of these. I think that's one of the things that I would emphasize here, that the process for thinking about the realignment of our global defense posture has been under way for quite a bit of time now; certainly had its roots in the 2001 QDR [Quadrennial Defense Review], the president mentioned it in his National Security Strategy of 2002, and we're now adding more detail as we go along. But this is something that we've had a good many discussions with you, and we'll have more in the future as there are more details that we want to touch on.
Two, one of the things I think it's important for these discussions of the people that are here today, particularly my colleague from the State Department, is that not only has this involved a long and important set of deliberations within the Department of Defense, but these have been deliberations in the interagency; and most importantly, these have involved extensive deliberations with our allies, and that we have been at work with this consulting with our allies for some time and we will continue those consultations with our allies as we move forward.
A third point is that there is a relationship, although they are separate efforts and each stands on is own merits, there is a relationship between what we're talking about in our global defense posture and our plans for realignment and closures of our domestic base structure. They are two sides of a coin, if you will. And it was -- it is important to have a very good sense of what we are going to do overseas before we can take decisions on what we would do here at home. And so we have viewed these, though separate processes, as very closely aligned. And my colleague here -- other colleague from the Defense Department can certainly speak about the relationship of those two pieces. But it's important for you to bear in mind.
A fourth point is, and the president made this point earlier today, is our focus has been strategic to be sure, but our focus has also been about our own people, and that one of the motivations for these proposals is to bring more predictability in the lives of our own forces and their families and so that they can plan and predict their lives better. And this is associated with a set of proposals that are being developed by the chiefs in each of the services on having longer tours at bases and more predictability in lives and so forth.
And these are proposals, again, that have been under way for a long time. It certainly predates the issues here with any near-term contingencies. These are proposals that go back to the very beginning of the administration; frankly, even before that -- how do we bring the right stability to the lives of our forces?
And the fifth and final point I would make is that the proposals that were captured in totality by the president this morning represents the best advice of the joint chiefs of staff and our combatant commanders. And they were not merely partners in this process; they were the authoritative voices in this process. The chiefs and the combatant commanders were really the source of the advice that was used by the secretary of Defense that he, in turn, took to the president. And this is advice that's been, again, developing for a long period of time, as we've said.
We've been here with you before a couple of times, and we've talked to many of you separately. But this has been something that's been under way, and as chiefs and the combatant commanders have developed these proposals, and as we've consulted with our allies, it's been an ongoing process in which we've had feedback, and that led to the set of decisions that the president announced today.
I think with that as a brief opening, we're open to your questions.
Q Wonder if we can ask you if you can get into any details at all on a break -- perhaps a breakdown, even if a general breakdown, on where the preponderance of these 60 (thousand) to 70,000 troops will come from. We suppose that most of them will be brought home, although we realize there will be shifts made. Where will the preponderance of these troops come from? And had you made any concrete decisions -- for instance, on moving heavy bombers and fighters to Guam, moving fighters to Turkey? Any firm decisions on the kinds of moves you will make to help make up for bringing the troops home?
SR. DEFENSE OFFICIAL: I'll take that. I think the first thing I would say is that our consultations with our allies are at different levels of maturity, and so I -- we're not going to be prepared to comment on every proposal. But I will talk about a couple of things.
When I was here last, what we did emphasize to you is that our focus in this endeavor has been on capabilities and not just numbers. And so I really want to start there. It is on the capabilities of the forces and what they represent. The president spoke of that today.
It is not a -- a significant portion of some of this number will come from Europe. Much of that will be embedded in the return of the two heavy divisions that are in Germany. But that's not the end of that story. And when we talked about capabilities and numbers, we also talk about moving capabilities forward. And yes, heavy divisions are going to return from Germany.
But also yes -- and very important to this -- is that we intend for -- it is our plan that Stryker Brigade go to Germany as well, that that is a capability -- that is, that it's embodied in the Stryker Brigade -- that is more relevant to the kind of challenges that we see in Europe and beyond than are the legacy forces that are there today. And so that's an illustration of what we have in mind. And there are significant numbers associated with the return of those --
Q One Stryker Brigade?
SR. DEFENSE OFFICIAL: Just one Stryker Brigade.
Q Would that be the preponderance of the ground force in Germany, the Stryker Brigade, once they -- (off mike)?
SR. DEFENSE OFFICIAL: You still have 5th Corps, which will be restructured. It will be made more deployable. It is being made more deployable. There are a number of operational combat elements that associated with that corps structure. And then there will be Stryker Brigade that will be associated with this. There will be training venues in Germany that are going to be very important and which rotational forces can move. And so there will still be a very substantial ground presence in Germany when this is done.
Q What are you looking at as -- this idea of the troops moving through the terrain has been discussed for quite some time. Could you give me just an idea of the numbers? A few thousand a year? Tens of thousands a year?
SR. DEFENSE OFFICIAL: I think one of the important parts -- and I'll defer to my colleague here -- is that associated with this proposal is also the focus on what we're calling global military force management. And that is to say that we're looking at how rotational forces generally will be allocated every year to go to different regions for training, for operations, for exercises, for security cooperation activities with allies, and so on; and that these -- depending upon the circumstances of which the combatant commanders have in mind, there maybe periods where there will be bigger numbers. This summer we watched a substantial deployment of our naval assets. I think at -- several days in the month of July, we had seven carrier battle groups deployed. The same can be true -- can and will be true of our ground forces, where they'll be in for training events.
But it is not -- what we're trying to do is break the mold that if Unit A is in a given location, Unit B has to arrive before Unit A can come home. This is there for purposes of training and exercising. And part of the value of that and part of the -- to be consistent with how we believe our force are going to operate is the process of deploying and the process of setting up and the process of going to infrastructure that is not as mature and developed as -- that's part of what we want to do, and that's also part of what our allies want to do with us. And so to say that we're always going to have a brigade or a battalion in some place is not consistent with the view that we're bringing to this whole proposal. It is that we need to be expeditionary in nature, that we need to go test these … our abilities, and that we need to do this with our allies. And I think our allies really seek to do that.
SR. MILITARY OFFICIAL: Yeah, I think you've stated it very accurately. You know, it's going to be dependent upon the circumstances and they are going to be evolving, and they will certainly evolve over the next decade as we roll this plan out. As things change based on the world situation, those numbers will go up and down. You know, to use the Navy's "presence with a purpose" idea or concept that they've rolled out, I think you're going to see more of that sort of thing happen on a global scale.
SR. DEFENSE OFFICIAL: And I think one ought to remember, as we ought not look just at Germany in the European theater, same way we should not just look at the European Theater, we really ought to look at these things globally. Remember in Europe we have added a battalion to the 173rd Brigade in Vicenza. We are going to round out that brigade with three battalions. You've got two F-16 squadrons in Aviano. The 173rd is part of the Southeast Task Force. That's a significant combat punch in that part of the world, which is now able to move quickly, because it is an airborne brigade, to areas further to the east.
So when you talk about Germany and net results, you really need to step back and look at the larger picture.
Q How about Guam and moving -- (inaudible) -- out of Turkey? Have any firm decisions been made on that yet?
SR. DEFENSE OFFICIAL: Well, with respect to Turkey, no firm decisions are made. You've got two F-16 squadrons in Spangdahlem. For the moment, that's where they're going to stay, notwithstanding continuing dialogue with the Turks on perhaps more flexible use, shall we say, of Incirlik.
Guam is an area where we already have moved considerable capability -- another third nuclear submarine. We've got rotational B-52s. I was at Whiteman Air Force Base this past week where, as you know, is the home of the B-2 -- the 509th, and the B-2s have been out there. I think you're going to see a -- with that real estate, and that's my area -- Anderson Air Force Base, for those of you who have visited it, is quite an installation in an advantageous part of the Pacific.
Q Can you discuss the role of the southern periphery of the former Soviet Union -- Central Asia, the Stans and the Caucasus -- how that fits into your broad view of repositioning? And since the government in Moscow still asserts a rather proprietary interest over its near abroad, what kinds of negotiations have you had with them? How have you sought to allay their fears? And what's been the response?
SR. STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: Perhaps I can say something about that, because it's -- you've asked a policy question. The political characterization of this realignment is not aimed at Russia, and experts in Russia will recognize that from the contours of the realignment. The administration has briefed its proposals in Moscow. The Secretary of Defense was in Russia yesterday discussing this, the day -- over the weekend. And at every opportunity, we will reinforce with our Russian friends that this global force posture realignment is aimed at the unpredictable threats and is a change from our security orientation of the past and should pose no threat to them.
In Central Asia, it's clear that we find ourselves today in the global war on terrorism where stabilization of Afghanistan is very important, and so it's understandable that we would have a military component to our engagement there. It's related to the ongoing war on terrorism. I don't think the U.S. views the countries of the Caucasus and others as being a southern periphery. We don't look at it through the lens of Russia; whether they do is for them to say. These are independent states and our posture and our engagement with them will be very practical and very transparent, and again, should pose no concern to Russians.
Q From the military --
Q To follow up on that --
Q Can you describe from the military standpoint some of the goals or objectives in that part of the world?
SR. MILITARY OFFICIAL: I think one of the things, you know, that we're going to do is try to engage more with governments out there -- you know, the mil to mil relationships. And that is something that will evolve, being driven an awful lot by the theater security cooperation plans that the theater commanders propose, and that will continue to evolve as we get further into it.
Q Can you speak directly to talk of putting U.S. troops in Poland and Romania and Uzbekistan?
SR. DEFENSE OFFICIAL: Yes. I think in all those cases and others, not specifically those, but others, it's not our goal to have a shift of our station forces to the east. We have relationships with these countries. Two of those three are our NATO allies. We're going to have ongoing training and exercises, we may have rotational deployments to those countries, but we're not going to be looking to station in big numbers to the east of the kind of forces that are in Germany today.
So if people were looking or thinking that -- for example, it's been said that we would take something like the size of the deployment and structure that we have at a place like Ramstein. I realize that's an Air Force facility. That's not going to be moving east.
What we are talking about are rotational deployments with our allies. In the case of Uzbekistan, we have cooperation with them today on the war on terrorism. And we have believed that the war on terrorism will be with us for a period of time. And the kind of cooperation that develops further with Uzbekistan and others in Central Asia really depends on those countries to the extent that they want to work with us. But we're not looking to take forces that are otherwise in Europe today and station them either in Eastern Europe or in Central Asia. That's not part of our plan.
Q Could you state about whether or not any of the 70,000 troops that are going to be brought back to the United States -- whether any of those units are going to be rolled up and eliminated? Whether this realignment of bases also includes a reduction in the overall end strength of particularly the Army.
SR. MILITARY OFFICIAL: No, it does not.
SR. DEFENSE OFFICIAL: Yeah. It's not our view that this will result in a force structure reduction in any of the services. That's not what this plan is about. This really is not just about reductions in place, but this is about out a realignment globally of our forces and capabilities. And that's been the focus. This is not a troop cut or a force structure reduction in the armed forces.
Q Where will these troops that are returning, where will they be going? How does this affect BRAC?
SR. DEFENSE OFFICIAL: That's an outstanding question.
Q And what's the time frame?
SR. DEFENSE OFFICIAL: And I'm going to defer to my colleague on that in a moment. But one of the reasons for the timing of this announcement and why it was important to be made now is that DOD is now in deliberations on base realignment and closure; and it's the BRAC process itself, the realignment element of base realignment and closures that will take the decision on where the returning forces will be located. And so we really -- and that's the only way to do this optimally.
I'll let you comment further.
SR. DEFENSE OFFICIAL: Remember it was August 2001 when the Secretary of Defense put into motion this global basing and presence realignment, strategic realignment. And it was done with some deliberate forethought, because at that time, as some of you will remember, we were in the process of negotiating with the Congress to get a 2005 BRAC round. The secretary's been very clear that the domestic BRAC shall be informed by the global basing and presence realignment.
The infrastructure steering group meets almost on a weekly basis, made up of the four vice chiefs and the three assistant service secretaries for I&E, myself and the undersecretary for Acquisition. And we are now using the decisions that have been arrived at by the president, by the secretary, with respect to what force structure returns to the U.S. to help analyze the best place to position them.
Remember also -- in answer to the question about force structure downsizing -- the chief of staff of the Army, Pete Schoomaker, has been very clear as to what he intends to do with the 10 active Army divisions: going from 33 brigades to 43 brigades and including five Stryker brigades.
BRAC process must take into consideration that increase in modularity, if you will, to the Army force structure. The Army today has 482,400 in authorized end strength. You ask for 30,000 more, again, we have to take that in consideration as you do your domestic BRAC analysis.
Q Early critics of this realignment -- and while it is vague at this point, as far as numbers, specific -- are pointing to this May 2004 Congressional Budget Office report which looked at this issue, saying that the cost-effectiveness of this realignment -- eventually you'd save $1 billion a year, but up front you have to invest $7 billion. They also came to the conclusion there would only be small improvements in the rapid reaction around the world, and there would be less predictability for soldiers and their families. How do you respond to that CBO [Congressional Budget Office] --
SR. DEFENSE OFFICIAL: I don't want to go into all the details of it, except to say that the assumptions that were used as the basis for that study are not the assumptions that we used in making the recommendations. So we're talking about two different proposals.
Q Could you talk about the rationale for the -- for moving troops out of Asia? I mean, it seems that you can make a case in Europe, but in Asia, South Korea is still facing a conventional army from North Korea. The China-Taiwan threat hasn't gone away. Why take troops out of Asia? And how are you reassuring Asia that the U.S. isn't sort of turning its back on them?
SR. STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: Perhaps you can get a Defense Department answer on deterrence and warfighting. From a -- you've asked it in a policy sense, which is, how are we reassuring our friends in Asia? And the fact is that there were officials from both State and Defense, who traveled through the Asian capitals in February of this year, and this was a logical question. And I think that the most important element of the answer has to do with the fact that in the 21st century, we no longer measure the strength of our warfighting or the strength of our commitment in strictly numerical terms, although admittedly that was the measuring stick in the past. We've had policies that literally numbered 100,000 troops in Pacific, 100,000 in Europe.
What recent history has taught us -- and the transformation process has fleshed out -- is that you can achieve far greater military success, irrespective of the numbers of military personnel involved; that the advances in technology and organization and warfighting and the military art have taken us to a new place.
So the message that we have given Asia is that the commitment is as strong as ever, and the warfighting capacity is stronger than ever. And again, I think experts in the Pacific theater will recognize that that is the case as they analyze our military posture. And, therefore, the significance of any repositioning of numbers -- and I would stress that they're not very dramatic in the Pacific theater -- when all is said and done is not a -- is not -- does not equate at all to U.S. commitment, which as I say is as strong -- stronger than ever.
Q What's the status of anything you'll be doing in Africa or in Australia? Is that something that you've nailed down in certain African countries or in Australia?
SR. STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: If I could split those questions.
In Australia particularly there have been a number of senior visits from both the State and Defense Departments, and quite a bit in the public realm as well, discussing Australia's role as a pillar of U.S. security in Asia. And while there will not be any permanent basing of U.S. forces in Australia, it appears very likely that Australia will welcome the opportunity to serve as an important location for training of a number of friendly forces, and that's a prospect that we welcome.
With respect to many other areas of the world, Africa being one of them, there is a process ongoing. What the president's announcement today essentially does is it starts a process of negotiation and intensive consultation so that the full dimensions of this realignment process can be worked out at the table with friendly countries around the world. So we have a lot of diplomacy and negotiation ahead of us.
Q Is there anything you're close to in Africa?
SR. DEFENSE OFFICIAL: If I can add to that just for a second. When we talked to you -- I don't recall if it was the last time or the time before that, we discussed nomenclature. We just -- when we talk about infrastructure, there are main operating bases; that is, permanently stationed forces with families. And then we talked about forward operating sites that are warm facilities, likely with equipment perhaps pre-positioned and support party, but not with permanently stationed troop, and we talked about -- troops. And then we talked about cooperative security locations. Those are more austere facilities for training, for exercises, for interactions. The work that we're thinking about in Africa really fall in the latter two categories, and really in the last of those, the more austere facilities for training and interactions, but not of stationing.
And I think it's important to bear that in mind worldwide, that much of what we're looking to do because of the new security conditions we see, because of the challenges of dealing with uncertainty, is to focus on those arrangements, either in austere or warm facilities. And it's not to set up large, new, permanent garrison structures. The thing we know from our experience of the last 15 years is that when we've been challenged, we've had to move to the fight. It isn't that we're fighting in place. And so we're taking those lessons, working with the combatant commanders and the chiefs, and saying if we have to move to different parts of the world, what would be the kind of arrangements we'd want to have in place? And that is a big, major portion of this endeavor to restructure our posture worldwide.
Q And what --
Q In terms of Asia, could you be just a bit more specific with the numbers? You've said that you're going to pull about 12,500 of the 37,000 out of South Korea, at least on a temporary basis. Will any of those be returned or could the number go lower? And of the about 40,000 in Japan, will you remove any of those?
SR. MILITARY OFFICIAL: Let me jump in here first of all and say that I think it's important to understand that these plans were developed by the combatant commanders in the particular regions that we're talking about, and they did that from an aspect of focusing on regional security as it applied to them.
I think it's more important than looking at 12,500 as a number in a particular country to look at entire regional capabilities. And when you look at the Pacific theater as a whole, those capabilities certainly increase, not only remain the same, but increase as we continue to transform the force and modernize. And part of what you're seeing is in the normal rotation perhaps having rotational forces go to replace particular units that we may have when we're talking about this reduction of forces, the 12,500 number.
So again, it's a regional security issue. It's one that is clearly developed and worked by the combatant commander in consultation with the joint chiefs forwarded as a package to the secretary. And they take a look at all this very holistically.
The other key part, I think, in the Pacific that is very important is that we -- ongoing consultations at this point, but we are looking at some restructure of the bases and facilities, facilities as much as bases, as to where our troops are located. And so you're going to see a consolidation of the troops further to the south, for example, in Korea, which makes them much more effective and a more credible fighting component than they have right now, where you're going to find that they're more vulnerable.
So again, I think it's important to get beyond the numbers and take a look at overall capability.
Q You've made all this very clear before about no reduction on commitment, no reduction, and in fact an increase in overall strength in the Pacific. Having said that, have you made any decision on whether or not the 40,000 in Japan will be reduced? And will you go even lower than the 12,000 you’re talking about pulling out of Korea?
SR. DEFENSE OFFICIAL: I think in both cases we're in very close and careful consultation with both Korea and Japan. I would rather not today go further than that. There will be a time where we'll come and talk to you more about those elements. We have a number of proposals that we're working on with the Japanese government right now that we think in the end strengthens our commitment to the defense of Japan, strengthens our presence in the region generally, and we're working with the Japanese government.
Q Can you just tell us whether that would be lower than the 40,000?
SR. DEFENSE OFFICIAL: I don't want to go into a number here today.
Q Do you anticipate that this plan will affect the requirement -- the military's requirement for strategic lift? And you had mentioned the Stryker brigade. Is there any concern that, for instance, the Stryker vehicle is too heavy to be transported on a C- 130? That's, at least, what GAO reported, that the Stryker is heavier than --
SR. DENFESE OFFICIAL: The first thing I would say is mobility is a very, very important part of the concept that underlies the decisions the president announced. One of the big considerations the combatant commanders and the joint chiefs looked at when they were developing these proposals is -- back to my statement on the assumption that we're not going to fight in place, we have to move to the fight. And so the thinking that underlies much of this is that forces need to either be along major transportation routes -- that is, air, rail and sea -- or can easily get to some of those major transportation hubs, because we think that they'll need to move. So that will put a premium on not only the strategic lift of our sealift assets and our airlift assets, but also the intratheater lift.
And we're looking at a number of proposals how to strengthen that over time. Certainly there are the C-130s that you referenced, but we're experimenting today with high-speed vessels in the Western Pacific and in Europe as well. And if you look inside the service programs over the next couple -- over the years to come, you will see a marriage here of strengthening/enhancing/developing the mobility posture of the forces, both in a strategic basis -- that is, moving from continent to continent across oceans -- but also on an intratheater basis, moving within regions. And this is all part and parcel of a much bigger concept of transformation that we've talked to you about before. But, yes, the mobility aspects are very important.
And Stryker doesn't only move by C-130. It can move by a lot of ways. And that's why -- I mean, I mention rail, air and sea when we think about how we can move. And all three are options, and we're looking at possibilities of how you get all those pieces together and so that you can have the optimal type of mobility for your forces and not just have to rely on a single mode.
Q Why is it better to have your ground forces back in the United States rather than forward deployed, where presumably they might be even closer to areas where there may be trouble?
SR. DEFENSE OFFICIAL: Well, without going into detailed operational plans, I think it is easy -- I'll leave it at that being forward deployed does not always mean optimally deployed. And in some cases and in fact in many cases, depending on getting from where to where you might actually be further away from a trouble spot when you're forward deployed than if you were in the United States. And so when you look at this from the standpoint of the world and not just of a region, and when you factor that forces anywhere in the world should be available to go where they are needed, our calculations are that in many instances heavy forces here in the United States can get to trouble spots in all regions faster than they can get to any particular trouble spot. I realize it's a long way, but it isn't always faster to get from Europe to other parts of the world. And if you had to go from Europe to Asia, for example, it's a lot longer. A lot longer.
SR. DEFENSE OFFICIAL: But it's also not just the tyranny of distance, remember. Deployability is a function of flexibility; that is to say, you can leave when you want to, how you want to, and go where you want to. That's not always the case if you're not in the United States.
Q So in other words, that has to do in part with getting rid of some of the political constraints on the use of forces that are deployed overseas?
SR. STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: I think that that may be a bit misleading, to conclude that that's what's behind this. There is a definite logistical logic behind the U.S. basing, as I've understood it, as explained by the DOD experts.
We intend to enjoy solidarity of views with our allies in Europe and in Asia for a long, long time to come. We intend to sit down with them and make sure that it's well understood that we view the world in -- on the major issues of threats to our common security interests, through the same set of values and the same eyes and the same mutual commitment as we've had in the past.
And so I would not want you to think that the positioning of forces is driven by political constraints. We intend very much to explore -- even as we talk about what's not going to be the same as before, the conversations we will have with these countries will have a lot to do with what we're going to do in the future together. It's about putting our forces side by side, putting our most advanced forces side by side, and essentially, while we undertake political transformation, make sure that our political understandings are contemporaneous with the military changes that are ongoing.
So we're building an alliance structure for the future here.
SR. DEFENSE OFFICIAL: I would just add to that, too, when we have talked to the allies about the nuts and bolts of this -- back to the premise of the question: Is it better to be forward? It's not always better to be forward. Our allies know that.
There are a lot of factors that are involved in that. It depends on the transportation route you take. It depends where the transportation assets are. The transportation assets that we own, the strategic transportation assets, the big major sealift and the long- range airlift capability, are all here in the United States.
It just happens to be you don't send empty vessels forward to go pick up something forward. You send full vessels forward. So it turns out -- and that when you -- the mechanics of are that in many ways it is better and faster to depart here from the United States. And when you account for the whole world that certainly is the truth -- that certainly is true.
Q On the training aspect of this, is it fair to say that while there will be fewer U.S. forces permanently stationed overseas, that the forces that are stationed here in the United States will likely have more training and other deployments outside CONUS [continental United States]?
SR. DEFENSE OFFICIAL: The forces today that are in CONUS already train overseas. That's part of what they -- that's part of the security cooperation that we have with allies, but it's also part of their training regimen, is to have that exposure. We will continue that.
We will do this in some of the traditional parts of the world, and we're doing it in -- and in different areas of the world. We're also training with different countries. We have new alliance -- relationships and obligations we've taken on. We'll be doing some of that type of training. There is a whole new mission set that the war on terrorism brings to us that involves some very different and fundamental kind of training.
So if you're looking to do a comparison of, say, you know, the training that we did five or 10 years ago to the training we're going to do five or 10 years from now, I think we're looking at some very different strategic circumstances. Yes, forces in the U.S. will train abroad, but forces in the U.S. today train abroad. Also, we have other forces to train here in the United States. I mean, this is something we do with our allies. So our allies are here and we also train with our allies abroad.
STAFF: We have time for two more -- one here and one back there, and then some of these gentlemen actually have a date over at the Foreign Press Center to do the same thing.
Q What's the timetable you're looking at starting this whole thing? I know it's a little early, but is there an estimated timetable you have? And is there any way we can get a basic numbers idea on what we're talking about here in terms of troop numbers? Just a very basic -- since we're kind of operating without numbers right now.
SR. DEFENSE OFFICIAL: First off, the president talked about the timing in his statement. We're looking to do this over the next 10 years. The forces that are coming home, do your own calculation -- that the decisions about those forces coming home will be done within the BRAC process -- BRAC process -- our recommendations go to the -- my colleague will correct --
SR. DEFENSE OFFICIAL: -- commission in -- no later than May 16th, 2005. The actual return of force structure, once the BRAC process had determined to where they return, you're looking at, as the president said, probably not beginning until fiscal '07 -- '07, '08, '09, '10. There may be some forces, smaller units, headquarters, flags that precede that major -- as referred to by my folks in uniform, "muscle moves" -- the major muscle moves won't happen until those years that I mentioned.
Q Will the heavy divisions in Germany begin coming out as early as next year, for example?
SR. DEFENSE OFFICIAL: Remember, we wouldn't move an entire division at one time.
Q No, but it begins coming out --
SR. DEFENSE OFFICIAL: It would not be until, the earliest, FY '06.
SR. DEFENSE OFFICIAL: Because we're using the BRAC process as the vehicle to come to a decision on what the best place for it to be here in the United States. So that --
SR. DEFENSE OFFICIAL: And again, this is part of a goal of having allies have time to prepare and accommodate -- they're going through their own restructuring plans, our allies are; to give our troops and their families time -- so these can be adjusted. This is why the announcement now, and this is so that there's time to lay in all the preparations that are necessary to do this in the right way.
STAFF: We're going to have to make this the last one, back here. Go ahead.
Q There are thousands of Defense Department civilians stationed in Europe, supporting the forces. What do you expect happens to them? Are they going to be downsized, laid off? Are they going to be offered the opportunity to come back to the U.S.? Is there a plan for them yet?
SR. DEFENSE OFFICIAL: Yes. The -- it is true that -- when you close or withdraw force structure from bases in Germany, for instance, will the same civilian and contractor force structure -- U.S. citizen contractor force structure -- be needed in the United States? To some extent yes, but there will be probably a -- yes, they will all come back to the U.S. if they would like, but there will probably be some reduction in the number of civilians on the payroll, contractors on the payroll by virtue of the fact that you'll be closing or removing U.S. force structure from up to arguably almost half the number of discrete installations, where we currently have force structure in Europe today.
Q So, there could be RIFs, reductions in forces, of Defense Department civilians as a result?
SR. DEFENSE OFFICIAL: It's not anticipated because there are -- there are jobs here in the U.S. where these -- this force structure is going to return to.
Q So they'll have priority to get those jobs if they come back?
Q Can we get just a broad number, the second part of his question?
SR. DEFENSE OFFICIAL: The president gave you a number earlier today.
SR. DEFENSE OFFICIAL: That is the broad number.
Q That is the broad number? There's no more specifics than that big picture?
Q It's also right that half the bases in Europe will be essentially shut down as a result of this?
SR. DEFENSE OFFICIAL: Many of the bases that we have -- most of them are in Germany, and many of the bases there are small, discreet, real literally acres as opposed to tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of acres. The largest footprint that we have in Germany is the Grafenwoehr/Vilseck/Hohenfels training complex, and that is where we believe the Stryker brigade will end up. But there are an awful lot of little small ones, as there are in the United States.
There are only 230 major U.S. military bases in the world, 202 of which are in the United States and its territories. But there are 5,458 -- (chuckles) -- distinct and discrete military installations around the world, and it wouldn't be a stretch to say that many of them are 100 acres or less. Again, a legacy from the Cold War, a legacy from post-1945. We don't need those little pieces of property anymore.
Q Five-thousand four-hundred and thirty-eight?
SR. DEFENSE OFFICIAL: Five-thousand four-hundred and fifty-eight.
SR. STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: Just to make sure you have that in context, you might look at what some other countries are doing to scale back and modernize their own forces. You've seen a number of announcements from other governments about consolidating installations, streamlining their own military forces. So there is a larger process at work here. The other thing you might look at for context is the number of forces that the U.S. took out, essentially, of presence in Europe after the Gulf War in '91, on a scale far larger than anything we're talking bout today. And the point needs to be made that the strength of our alliance with Europe was very much intact notwithstanding that larger reduction, and so it shall be with this one.
SR. DEFENSE OFFICIAL: If I could just add to the comment, one of the big important pieces of feedback we've had from our allies, in Europe and elsewhere, but particularly in Europe, is one of recognition that the kind of changes we're talking about are long overdue. They understood that. But two, and maybe -- and more importantly, I think, for you and for us, is a desire to coordinate our efforts as they're going through their own realignments, as they're going through their own changes, as they're going through their own transformation, to make sure that we do this together, and so that when it's done, that this has been done in a coordinated way. And so they've been very eager, our allies have been, in terms of being in a process of sharing information so that, as we are taking decisions and they are taking decisions, these are well linked and well knit together. And that's something that we're very committed to doing.
Q Realizing that this is driven by strategy and policy and not by money, necessarily, do you have any -- any estimate on how much you'll save, especially from bringing families home that you don't have to support overseas, et cetera? Is there any estimate at all what kind of money --
SR. DEFENSE OFFICIAL: The services are still crunching those numbers. And appreciate -- I hope you would appreciate the issues here of -- how much are we going to save on PCS, permanent change of station reductions, that in and of itself is a difficult figure to calculate because, remember, the foreign template, if you will, is now being laid on the domestic template. And the extent to which you reduce PCS, U.S. to overseas, overseas back to U.S., you also are going to -- if you rationalize, do BRAC correctly, you will reduce it within the United States and its territories. There was a question, and I think it's important to note, family stability -- notwithstanding we may have, as we do now, trainings, deployments -- family stability is an important issue with respect to recruitment and retention. And one of the important by-products, we believe, of both the overseas BRAC, if you will, and the domestic BRAC is by reducing family turmoil, increasing family stability.
Q How does it help --
STAFF: We really have to --
Q --- family stability if people are --
STAFF: Actually, we're really --
Q -- deployed overseas and can't bring their families with them, though? Just to follow on that.
STAFF: Excuse me. We are finished now. It is 2:30. Thank you for joining us today. We will continue to bring you updates as negotiations go forward and as more decisions are made. That's our commitment, to continuing to keep you informed on this subject.
Q Thank you.
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