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Secretary Rumsfeld Interview with Baltimore Sun

Presenter: Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld
December 28, 2001

Thursday, December 27, 2001

(Interview with Tom Bowman, Baltimore Sun. Also participating was Victoria Clarke, assistant secretary of Defense for public affairs.)

Bowman: First of all, just sort of an update as to how things are going. How many Taliban/al Qaeda do you have in hand at this point? The leadership.

Clarke: Forty-five.

Rumsfeld: It changes every day. Forty-five, look at that. You keep track, don't you?

Bowman: How many of those are leaders?

Rumsfeld: Gosh, I don't know. We're still working them over.

Bowman: But you do have some leaders of al Qaeda/Taliban?

Rumsfeld: Yeah, depending on the definition. We don't have the top ones, but --

Bowman: Did you get a sense -- there was a report that somewhere in Pakistan are some of the top leaders of the Taliban. Do you have any sense of that?

Rumsfeld: I've seen all those reports. You know. Who knows? Until you grab them you don't know. I just don't think it's even useful to speculate. There are some of them in the country, there are some of them we have, there are some out of the country, some of those are in Pakistan, some are undoubtedly in Iran.

Bowman: You're pretty sure some are in Iran?

Rumsfeld: I would guess so. It's a big long border, just like Pakistan.

Bowman: But any hard information --

Rumsfeld: And a history of having them use that as transit.

Bowman: But no hard information that any of the leaders are in Iran?

Rumsfeld: No.

Bowman: And bin Laden, there's a report that he may be in Pakistan, that's what the Afghan Defense Ministry is saying.

Rumsfeld: That's true. He may be. He may be dead, he may be in Afghanistan, he may be in lots of places --

Bowman: One of the three.

Rumsfeld: No, lots more than that. He could be anywhere.

Bowman: If he is dead, when would this search for him end? Is it indefinite? Would you have to go through the rubble at Tora Bora indefinitely to --

Rumsfeld: Oh, no. If he's not in Afghanistan, we'll find him wherever he is. His organization is not functioning smoothly in terms of new initiations. He's busy hiding and running.

Bowman: And no intelligence indicators of where he might be? Have you heard any word about him or some leaders --

Rumsfeld: You hear all kinds of things.

Bowman: Can you give me a sense of what you're hearing?

Rumsfeld: They disagree.

Bowman: But any sort of radio chatter that you had several weeks ago, is there any more of that or has that ended?

Rumsfeld: I don't want to talk about it. We know senior people have been running and hiding and letting other people get killed for weeks and weeks and weeks. They're very careful and very protective.

Bowman: There was an Afghan leader who said he thought the caves were pretty much searched. All the caves --

Rumsfeld: Not true. No. Could take much of January to finish it.

Bowman: And Marines, will they be used?

Rumsfeld: Whatever. We'll do whatever we have to.

Bowman: But that's been postponed?

Rumsfeld: It never was scheduled. That was just press reports.

What we've said, I said down there is exactly the truth. It has been, we will first use [Ali's] forces; and second, we'll use other Afghan forces if we don't have enough of Ali's and we need to change the pace of the job getting done; and third, if we decide it can be usefully done we'd increase the number of Americans -- there are already Americans involved, but we'll do whatever we need to do to get the thing done in an orderly way.

Bowman: So there's no sense that --

Rumsfeld: -- there was a big intention to put 500 Marines in and then a change of mind, that's all press jerking each other around.

Bowman: I think the question put to you was, are there troops searching the caves now and will hundreds more be sent. I think you said yes and yes.

Rumsfeld: And then I qualified the second yes, if my memory serves me correctly, there are U.S. military people -- not Marines. I said military people that are involved at the present time and they have been from the outset and they're working with the Afghan anti-Taliban forces. Second, to the extent we need additional people, we will add them. But we at the moment haven't.

Bowman: You mentioned last week finding intelligence in the caves that led to a ransom, perhaps --

Rumsfeld: -- intelligence in abandoned locations.

Bowman: Including the caves.

Rumsfeld: Well, yeah, we're looking for intelligence in there.

Bowman: What more have you found, if anything? Any intelligence that leads to arrests or --

Rumsfeld: Not that I've heard. I've not seen anything new that's come out of the caves.

Bowman: As far as searching with respect to chemical/biological weapons --

Rumsfeld: It's going forward.

Bowman: Any evidence yet of any chem/bio or nuclear material outside of just information, [paper] information?

Rumsfeld: We think there're about 48 sites, and I think we've worried our way through about 37 of them.

Bowman: Any evidence at all of chem/bio weapons? Outside of --

Rumsfeld: There was a report on radiation in one. It turned out to be depleted uranium warheads.

Bowman: You found depleted uranium warheads in the location?

Rumsfeld: In a location.

Bowman: But that was the only thing?

Rumsfeld: That is what led to, one of the things that led to the flurry about the possibility of radiation or nuclear capabilities in one of those sites. It was reported in the press about it. We checked it out, and at least with respect to that one site, it turned out to be depleted uranium.

Bowman: Small arms or warheads or --

Rumsfeld: Typical, I suppose, artillery.

Bowman: Do you have any sense of what capability they do or did have? Early on we got a briefing about a crude capability of chemical/biological. Do you have a better sense of exactly what they had, or you still think it was pretty crude?

Rumsfeld: I'd have to go back and check. I have seen so many things I don't know what's public and what isn't public. They obviously, as I've said, have relationships with countries that have chemical/biological programs. It's not a big reach to suspect -- we know they wanted them. To what extent they were developed -- another place that was a suspected location turned out to be a heroin lab. In fact more than one site.

Bowman: There was an editorial recently, I think in the New York Times, that unless you get the top al Qaeda and Taliban leaders, this will be an incomplete victory. Is that a fair assessment in your mind?

Rumsfeld: Oh, no. The problem is dealing with terrorism. Our goal is to stop these terrorist networks and stop the countries that are harboring terrorists. The way you do that is you go after the terrorists. We've said from the outset this wasn't about Usama bin Laden, it's about the problem of terrorism which involves dozens of countries, in various networks, many more than just simply al Qaeda. And to try to deal with the problem as aggressively as possible so they can't kill more innocent people. That's the task. The task is pretty well refined.

Bowman: I'd like to turn now to the Afghanistan campaign itself and looking back on it now --

Rumsfeld: Needless to say, we'd like to get the leaders, but as I've said a hundred times, if you handed me UBL today, there's still eight, ten, twelve people in al Qaeda alone that could operate that network. And would.

Bowman: You get the whole (inaudible) of the subsidiaries --

Rumsfeld: We've got to stop the whole thing. It's a very tough job.

Bowman: Now that we're getting clearly toward the end of the campaign in Afghanistan, certainly a lot has happened there, taking out the Taliban military and --

Rumsfeld: There are still pockets of these folks, there're still dangers there, there are lots of manned portable surface-to-air missiles.

Bowman: One of the things, besides bin Laden, whether he's in Pakistan or Tora Bora, dead or alive, what about Omar? There was talk that he had escaped west of Kandahar going up into the mountains. Do we have any sense of where he is?

Rumsfeld: We still think he's in the country. He's not a well-known, prominent world traveler.

Bowman: He's not as recognizable I guess maybe as bin Laden.

Rumsfeld: My assumption is that he is still in the country.

Bowman: Are the Pashtun tribes searching for him or U.S. military people searching for him?

Rumsfeld: You bet.

Bowman: Is it true that he took several hundred fighters and went west up into the mountains?

Rumsfeld: Don't know. I've seen all that stuff.

Bowman: But there's an active search for him.

Rumsfeld: You bet.

Bowman: Again, looking from the beginning of this, October 7th, what do you think are some of the key turning points in this campaign? Looking back on it --

Rumsfeld: I'd say September 11th was the beginning.

Bowman: But as far as the campaign in Afghanistan, what do you think has been the key points? Certainly early on before Mazar-e Sharif and Kabul fell, people were talking about a quagmire, a stalemate, and then things moved quickly.

Rumsfeld: Were you one of those quagmire people?

Bowman: Of course not. (Laughter) What do you think are the key turning points?

Rumsfeld: I think the first critical decision was to not treat this as an isolated act but to take it for what it was, which was a particularly vicious attack by one of the various terrorist networks that exist in the world. And to decide to go after the terrorists. I think the presidential decision -- we tend to start way past that, but that is a big decision -- to define it as a problem of terrorism in the world, global terrorism, and to decide to commit the country to deal with that problem and go after it. And in the process, to recognize the fact that the terrorists really can't exist unless they have countries that harbor them, and to equate the countries that harbor terrorists with the terrorists.

Bowman: Going after those that harbor them.

Rumsfeld: That was the critical turning point in the entire process.

Bowman: And at the micro level with Afghanistan, was it the Special Forces being sent in? Was that a real turning point, would you say? Sending those spotters in there to bring them in, the stikes.

Rumsfeld: I think the second critical decision was deciding that the mission needed to be defined and that people needed to join a coalition to deal with that particular mission, and that everybody need not be part of the same mission. Therefore, you should not let the coalition define the mission. Getting rid of that mentality, that if anyone decided they didn't want to do something, or they didn't want to bomb on Ramadan, or they didn't want this or that, that you don't keep dumbing down the mission to the point where everybody likes it and it's nothing, it's mush.

Bowman: Which is sort of what happened in Kosovo.

Rumsfeld: That's for historians. But we got that set right at the outset and that was a second critical decision.

The third critical decision was to, or a third critical decision was to bring into bear all of the elements of national power, and to not simply think you could do it with cruise missiles, but rather than you needed to bring diplomatic and economic and financial, law enforcement, covert activity as well as military activity. It's awfully hard for people to accept that that would work, but it was the breadth of that that caused pressure all across the world, and when you look at the intelligence that came from those law enforcement arrests, strapping them in for money by freezing accounts, the pressures diplomatically to not be a party to that. Those concepts are big and important and critical to all that followed. Everything else fits under those kinds of directional positions that the president took.

Bowman: Sort of the key buttresses.

Rumsfeld: Yeah, if you don't plant some standards down the road that people can track towards, and test decisions off. You get up in the morning; you've got a thousand things to decide. The public does, every department of government does, your coalition friends do, and we need to be able to test them against something. If you don't plan some standards down the road there's nothing to test them against. The result being that every act is random. You try to make each decision as best you can, but it's not rooted or connected to these other things.

So it was very important for leadership to provide those kinds of directions. Afghanistan you're interested in. Well, another decision there that was important was deciding you're not going to rule out anything. Instead of saying we're not going to use ground forces, we're not going to do this, we're not going to do that, we say we're going to go in and deal with this problem. The best way we can fashion, put pressure on those people, make life unpleasant for them, and we're going to do it in whatever ways, plural, seem to make the most sense.

Given the range of things we have to do in the world, obviously to the extent you can get other people engaged you're well ahead of the game. And getting the Afghans engaged, there had been trying to do that for ages and nothing had happened, they hadn't gotten anywhere. We had to find ways to provide incentives for them and enable them to do it. We fashioned a set of things that created incentives for them to move forward. And certainly one was --

Bowman: Incentives being money, arms, food --

Rumsfeld: Food, clothing and embedding people in their units.

Bowman: What role did that play, do you think? Did that really --

Rumsfeld: Critical, it was terribly important. It's dangerous, tough work, and it was critically important because it provided the kind of pinpoint accuracy for bombing and for resupplies that made a big difference.

Bowman: There are some people that suggest that --

Rumsfeld: I should reiterate the fact that you're doing a recap partly because of year-end and partly because you said well, it's almost over. I did not agree with that. The fact that I'm participating in a recap, I would not want any of your readers to go --

Bowman: I wouldn't assume that --

Rumsfeld: -- Afghanistan is finished and we've done our job and let's pack up and go away.

Bowman: No, you said repeatedly and Secretary Wolfowitz has said it could be months more there, and --

Rumsfeld: Yeah.

Bowman: But certainly there are key -- there is no more, the military --

Rumsfeld: Lots of Taliban are still around. Some in the country, some next door --

Bowman: True, but the government has fallen, certainly, and the new government --

Rumsfeld: That's true and that was one of our goals, to see that the Taliban government is heaved out.

Bowman: There are some that suggest that originally you sent General Franks' plan back, you wanted him to be more creative. There were several reports about that. Some people are saying that he wanted to send in maybe three divisions, some heavy U.S. ground forces. Is that true?

Rumsfeld: -- everything anyone reads about what I have said or thought or dealt with by way of General Franks has been wrong.

We work together very, very closely. It is an iterative process. We go back and forth. We may go back and forth twice a day. It is a very good relationship. It's a solid relationship. He's an outstanding combatant commander. He's doing a terrific job for the country and we're lucky to have him there.

Who knows who thinks of what, when, how, where, I'm not into that. We go back and forth all the time and he's in charge of seeing that the plans are implemented.

Bowman: Was there talk early on of sending in some serious ground troops?

Rumsfeld: We've looked at every conceivable thing in the world. It would be irresponsible not to consider it.

Bowman: What I'm trying to get at, there wasn't a proposal to send in huge amounts of ground troops --

Rumsfeld: I haven't --

Bowman: -- and it was sort of dismissed in favor of the Special Forces --

Rumsfeld: It would be a disservice to the subject to try to treat it in a cursory manner and try to extract out one piece that this, he said that or I said that or somebody said this or we thought about that and didn't do it. We thought about so many different things, considered that he did there, we did here. We talked about so many different things.

Bowman: Including massive numbers of ground troops, divisions being sent in?

Rumsfeld: I'm not going to get into specifics, but a responsible person in a situation like this thinks through a range of things that might be done. Considers them, accepts them, rejects them, modifies them, recalibrates them, holds them in reserve, and ultimately the CINC fashioned the plan that we have been implementing.

Bowman: Certainly everyone's reported that this Special Forces combination with surveillance (inaudible) and precision firepower really was -- and then the Afghan fighters on the ground, really provided a good framework for success here. But some people I talked to said that prior to the Mazar-e Sharif bombing, there was talk, maybe bubbled up to the deputy secretary level, of maybe sending in more serious numbers of ground troops before Mazar-e Sharif fell. Is that true? Was there a time before --

Rumsfeld: I can't remember. As I say, I've considered every conceivable thing, and everything we've decided to do we thought of what we would do it that didn't work, and what might be done to change it or strengthen it or improve it. We ended up with a plan, put it in place, and pushed it forward. And had always had things we could do in addition or instead of in reserve.

Bowman: What about the Russian involvement here? Can you talk about what if anything the Russians did here? There's some talk about them back in September talk about them sending materiel down to help in the fight. Any advisors or fighters of any kind? What role did they plan?

Rumsfeld: My recollection is that they have a lot of troops in Tajikistan and they have equipment for those troops in Tajikistan. My recollection is that before September 11th they may have provided some equipment for one or more of the Northern Alliance elements, but I don't know about that specifically. To my knowledge they have no advisors on the ground in Afghanistan subsequent to October 7th. They have cooperated with us; President Putin called with President Bush and has supported the effort in Afghanistan. All of them. They've provided overflight, landing, various types of things like that. They've provided intelligence.

Bowman: But outside of Tajikistan, nothing that you know of that, any materiel or --

Rumsfeld: No, not to my knowledge. They are now in there putting together a hospital, the minister of Defense told me. A medical facility in Kabul.

Bowman: I know the Defense Science Board is working on a lessons learned here, --

Rumsfeld: We're using the Defense Science Board mechanism, and there's actually a group of people under the board. They use subcommittees is what it is and there is one. We started it at my insistence and Tommy Franks' insistence.

Bowman: I'm sure they're going to be working on this for months, but I just wanted to ask you so far what you've seen work and not work here. You mentioned UAVs is something that was quite important here. What about purchasing more of those? What else do you see that's important here in lessons learned? Either material you should purchase here, may be different --

Rumsfeld: It is way too early. It's still going on. We wanted to get it started so we didn't lose important ideas or thoughts. We wanted to get it started in case there were feedback ideas that we could feed into this process while it's still continuing.

It's a mistake to take one thing out and talk about it because then it develops an importance that it may not merit when one does a thoughtful look.

Bowman: But you've mentioned --

Rumsfeld: You asked about UAVs. Sure. They've been helpful. They have enabled you to track with good loiter time activities on the ground, generally undetected, in that environment. And then in various ways provide intelligence information that enables you to attack something or know what you want to do about something whether it's in the air or on the ground.

By the same token, these are experimental birds. They don't have deicing so they crash from time to time. Only a few of them are armed.

Bowman: -- more of that in the future?

Rumsfeld: To the extent they're armed they tend to be armed with a warhead that's not --

Bowman: Like a 100 pound anti-tank --

Rumsfeld: They're not terribly good for any range of targets that you might find.

Bowman: But is that something you'd like to see --

Rumsfeld: And there's been problems with passing off the information, from a relatively slow-flying Predator to an incoming combat air support aircraft takes time to transmit information. So we've got a lot we've learned about how we can improve those systems, and of course they weren't designed as combat systems. They were experimental systems, both the Predator and the Global Hawk. Global Hawk we don't have any experience with --

Bowman: -- prototype.

Rumsfeld: -- relatively few times. Thus far, (inaudible).

Bowman: What about the role of Special Forces now and in the future? This is probably the most they've done in a conflict since Vietnam probably. Do you see a higher profile for Special Forces in the future, and there's some talk of embedding them with maybe 18th Airborne Corps? Do you see a great role for them?

Rumsfeld: If you look at the world and you say to yourself because of our very good armies, navies and air forces and the deterrent effect that they provide, both deterring people from attacking us with armies, navies or air forces, but also deterring them from even wanting them -- even wanting to invest in them. That means that the deterrent effect of our army, navy and air forces is very effective. That suggests that we will be faced with attacks that will be other than major army, navy, or air force attacks. Deterrence simply won't be effective.

To the extent that's true, it will be an asymmetrical kind of --

Bowman: Uh huh.

Rumsfeld: -- cruise missiles, terrorism, cyber attacks, what have you. That means that we're going to have problems in parts of the world that, as in the case of Afghanistan, are unusual. That is to say -- the al Qaeda was housed by the Taliban. The Taliban was harboring but not the al Qaeda. There's a distinction between them. And there are parts of many countries that aren't being governed. I wouldn't say they aren't governable, because I think most things are governable, but in this case they're currently not being governed. And parts of Afghanistan even today are not being governed, and there are parts of other countries that are not being governed. I can name without batting an eye, 15 or 20 places, portions of countries that are not currently under the control of a central government. That suggests that unconventional things will need to be done in concert with conventional capabilities.

Bowman: So perhaps a greater role for Special Forces down the road.

Rumsfeld: Certainly they have done an excellent job in the Afghan situation.

Bowman: Is there a need for more Special Forces? They have roughly 45,000. Is there a need to create more special operators or --

Rumsfeld: They come out, after a great deal of training they come out of regular forces. We've got a finite number of regular forces, and it is not something that happens overnight. You don't automatically -- unless you're willing to change the quality dramatically you don't say gee, I think I'd like 25 percent more of this. It's not like it's a production line.

Bowman: Two years to train --

Rumsfeld: That depends on the pool they came out of. If you're already using -- Let's say you get one out of 100 of a pool and if the pool is finite, it doesn't matter how many years it takes to train them. There's only so many you're going to get out of that pool. So there's two problems. One, the amount of time it takes to get them up to speed, but second, the fact that that's a pool that's finite.

Bowman: Talk a little bit about transformation. With the cost of this war and with base closing being put off at least a couple of years, is there going to be more pressure on you now to look for savings within the Pentagon? To push forward with transformation --

Rumsfeld: I have always felt a pressure to look for savings. I don't know that it would be more or less. I wouldn't --

Bowman: But you probably won't get a hell of a lot more money from Congress, isn't that true? You're going to have to look for some serious savings.

Rumsfeld: You ought to be looking for savings regardless of what you get from Congress, because it's the responsible thing to do, the taxpayers deserve that.

When you talk about transformation, if you go back to the first of this year, the 20th of January, 11 months ago, and think about it, we have fashioned a new strategy, a defense strategy for the United States of America. We have moved from a threat-based strategy to a capabilities-based strategy. That is a big thing to have done. And it is being fed into this process, all the different processes, and the services and the agencies and the tracks they go through this place. This is happening.

Secondly, we've got a new force sizing [strategy]. That's transformation. Instead of looking at Iraq and North Korea as the two major regional conflicts, we're looking at a range of things that would be used for force sizing.

Bowman: Somebody told me that there was a proposal several weeks back to cut 30,000 Army troops, active, Guard and Reserve, and it made it up to Secretary Wolfowitz's desk and was tabled there. Are you looking at those kinds of cuts?

Rumsfeld: Who knows whether that's true or not. We look at all kinds of things in the department, we always do. We have a responsibility to do that.

Bowman: But do you foresee that kind of force structure --

Rumsfeld: I don't foresee anything until I do it. I just keep asking people, pushing people, challenging people, testing ideas.

We've got a new nuclear posture within the United States. Reduction, strategic offensive weapons. If those three things alone are not transformation, I don't know what transformation is. Those are big things to have done in 11 months. They're enormous.

Bowman: One last thing. You've become something of a matinee idol --

Rumsfeld: Oh, come on.

Bowman: Parodied on Saturday Night Live, and people supposedly watching soap operas, they'd rather tune into the briefing.

Rumsfeld: Don't believe everything you read.

Bowman: Do you plan -- this is a serious question. Can you use this newfound publicity in pushing --

Rumsfeld: No, no.

Bowman: Let's face it, before the war you weren't held in very high regard in Congress and in some portions of the Pentagon.

Rumsfeld: That's the latest --

Bowman: No, that's true. If you talk to people they would say that somewhat openly. They didn't think highly of you because of the transformation effort. Can you use some of --

Rumsfeld: There was resistance in Congress to transformation, is a different way of phrasing it, the truth. And there still is. And there always will be. That's life. I didn't come here to sit around and tweak and calibrate modestly what's going on. I think things need to be done. The president gave a speech at the Citadel a year ago. He gave another one about a month ago. He gave us a charge to see that this department is moved as rapidly as possible into the 21st Century. That means it's going to take some cooperation from the Congress.

Bowman: Or break some eggs.

Rumsfeld: We now have a new defense strategy. We now have a new force-sizing construct. We have announced deep reductions over the coming decade in strategic offensive weapons. We have done a series of things that are going to be working their way through this system, and we're making terrific progress.

Bowman: And clearly Congress is going to be upset again when you do start talking about force cuts and weapon programs cuts.

Rumsfeld: Members of the House and the Senate represent their states and these things are made in states or the bases are located in states. And therefore, when someone complains or says gee, don't close this base or don't shut down this weapon system or increase this, and it doesn't happen, you've got to expect that they're going to represent their people and say something about it. And it is that that you're reflecting when you say not held in high regard and all of this stuff. This is the way this town works and we ought to expect it and we ought to understand it and we ought to -- there's nothing wrong with members of the House and Senate doing that, and there's also nothing wrong with the president of the United States deciding he wants to make some changes and see that this department's prepared to deal with the threats this country's going to face.

We were involved with homeland defense in the Quadrennial Defense Review before September 11th. Think of that.

Bowman: But clearly Congress --

Rumsfeld: Really, think about that. We were cautioning about the risks of surprise because of our openness as a society. And the fact that we would have little or no warning.

Now was that the right thing to be worrying about? You bet. Is it more right today? Yes. Ought we to stop because someone stands up and doesn't like it? No.

Bowman: My question is, Congress has already derailed the base closing, pushed it back two years. And there are a lot of --

Rumsfeld: Congress is dead set against base closing and they passed it the way we wanted two years later.

Now you can characterize that as a defeat, or you can characterize that as a victory, or you can characterize it exactly what it was. The president wanted base closings, I agreed, I went after it, we got it two years later than we wanted it.

Bowman: But looking at -- This is the last one.

The B-1 situation. They didn't want to move the B-1.

Rumsfeld: Is it going to happen?

Bowman: Tell me.

Rumsfeld: You bet. It's the right thing to do.

Bowman: My original question before was can you use your new-found popularity and publicity to maybe push forward on --

Rumsfeld: (inaudible)

Bowman: Or will it matter at all?

Rumsfeld: I'm not into popularity. These are substantive things, these are important things. What we need to do is to be persuasive -- First of all, we have to study the dickens out of it and be right because you don't want to be wrong when you're changing defense strategy. You don't want to be wrong when you're changing nuclear strategy. You want to be right. Then you've got to be persuasive and you've got to work with people over a period of time and try to turn this enormous institution in the direction that it needs to go.

Bowman: But my question is, can you use your new forum, I guess, to maybe push forward in transformation that maybe you couldn't have several months ago? Or does that matter?

Rumsfeld: All I try to do is do what's right, try to think through what makes sense, try to persuade people that that's the right thing to do. And if you look at what's happened in 11 months and try to find an 11-month period where there's been a new strategy and a new force sizing construct and a new nuclear approach and five or ten other things, a new space orientation, we've done four or five budgets in 11 months, we're going to get out of this supplemental process if we possibly can and put it on a basic proper management. And we did it with a confirmation process that ought to be deep-sixed. It doesn't work. It ended up with no people here month after month after month. It's got to be fixed for the next Administration. It's wrong to leave that process so a department like the defense establishment does not have leadership for the new Administration until the year is darn near over. It's not right for the country.

Bowman: Thanks a lot. I appreciate your time.

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