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Defense Department Background Briefing on Global Defense Posture

Presenters: Senior Defense Department and Senior State Department Official
November 25, 2003 4:05 PM EDT

(Participating were Senior Defense Department and Senior State Department Official.  Background briefings slides can be viewed at: http://www.defenselink.mil/news/Nov2003/g031125-D-6570C.html.)

 

            STAFF:  Well, thank you for joining us this afternoon.  As advertised, this is a briefing, a background briefing, that will discuss some of the concepts and the process with respect to where we're at in the global posture and the forces footprint.

 

            For today's purposes, we have two senior officials: one senior Defense official and one senior State Department official.  That's how you can refer to and attribute them in your stories.  And they'll talk to you for a few minutes and then we'll just open up for questions. Probably about 20 minutes or so.

 

            Q:  Can I ask why it needs to be on background and they can't be quoted on the record on this?

 

            STAFF:  Well, the secretary talked to you a little bit today on the record and the president's making a statement on this today, and we thought that this would be helpful to fill in some of the background for you.  So that's why we decided -- sometimes we do these on the record, sometimes we do it on background, and we decided today that this would be on background.

 

            So with that, let's get started.

 

            SR. ADMIN. OFFICIAL:  Hi.  Slide, please.

 

            Q:  Could you say which one of you is which, which is the State --

 

            SR. ADMIN. OFFICIAL:  DOD.

 

            A statement will be released by the president today that says that we are about to embark on a set of formal discussions with allies and partners and, importantly, with the Congress as well, on this whole issue of global posture.  It has its antecedents in the -- to the early parts of the administration.  And frankly, it has roots that even go back to that.  I mean, much of this is legacy issues that go to the end of the Cold War.

 

            As we begin those discussions abroad, we are going to do them, to begin with, at a thematic level, discuss what's changed and why do we think we need to approach posture in a different way.  And up here are many of the key ideas that will be embodied in those discussions. I'll just run through those quickly.

 

            My counterpart can -- you know, will fill in some details as well. 

 

            First is the notion of flexibility to deal with uncertainty.  One of the characteristics of our time is that we don't know where and when we will be threatened directly.  It is very difficult -- in fact, it is our view that prediction will only cause difficulty.  Hence, what we really need to do when we think about a global posture, that is both in the United States and overseas, is to have the flexibility to deal with challenges as they arise.  Certainly, September 11th, 2001 confirmed that here.  But there's much in terms of where defense planning has been going that would be suggestive of this direction.

 

            The second point, in our view, this is only done right if it is done with our allies and partners.  This is not something the United States can do alone.  What we seek to do as we look at examining our global defense posture is to help allies expand their own role; we seek to build new partnerships.  But we want to do this with them, and this is not something that we want to do separate from our partnerships.  In short, we view this as a way in which we can strengthen those relationships, make relationships viable for the long term, and really put us on a footing in which we are able to work with allies and partners to deal with the kind of security challenges that we face.  So, this is an overriding theme in how we're approaching this, and as we say, that is why the statement the president is going to make says this begins with consultations; it doesn't begin with a set of decisions on the part of the United States.

 

            The third point, when we say focus within and across regions, what we're really saying there is that the problems as we see them today are both global and regional.  And so as we look at our global defense posture, we need to look through both lenses:  What are those problems that run across regions, as well as those issues that are within regions, and how do we deal with them?  You can come to different answers, depending on how you look at the problem.

 

            And so our approach to this has been do it both ways.  And in the end, as we -- and this is the same way that we intend to engage with our allies and partners.  What are the global problems we see?  What are the regional problems?  How do we tailor our posture appropriately to deal with those sets of issues?

 

            In light of both global and regional problems, in light of the issue of expanding allied roles, and certainly in light of the issue of uncertainty, an overriding focus for us in DOD is to ensure that those capabilities around the world have a deployable quality to them, expeditionary, if you will.  It is -- the challenges, as we see, that face us will require speed in terms of our attention that we give to that.  Hence, as we look at the alignments that we have, the focus will be in ensuring that which is forward is also that which is rapidly deployable to deal with the circumstances as we see them.

 

            And then, finally, the real -- an important issue for us is to be measured in terms of capabilities and not just simply numbers.  There was a time when you could equate numbers of troops with capability. That today is no longer a satisfactory measure.  And so what we like to do is begin the discussion of our posture from the standpoint of what capabilities and what time and where, and from that, of course, there will always be some look at what does that mean in terms of numbers, in terms of numbers of installations, numbers of troops and so forth.  But the real debate about global posture ought to be a debate about capabilities first and not one in terms of simply measuring numbers.

 

            So these are some of the big themes that we're working on.  Even as we do this with inside Defense, there is a good deal of analysis still under way.  We felt and the administration feels it's important to engage consultations now.  Hence these can be serious and open consultations, and we can incorporate feedback from our allies and partners in that analysis process.

 

            And so we're beginning this now, even though we know that we don't have all the details pinned down of what we think we'd want to do, because we do want to factor that of allies.

 

            Why don't I turn it over to --

 

            Q:  Can I ask just one thing?  You said the new part of this is that you're now formally going to the allies for intense discussions on this.  Have any decisions been made yet on what allies you're going to start with?  Where -- could you name some names, some countries, possibly, where you want to begin discussions?

 

            SR. ADMIN. OFFICIAL:  Why don't I make a remark or two, if I may, to set the scene, and then we can address -- try to address your specific questions.

 

            I think what you've just heard reflects a great deal of lessons learned in the military realm, driven by the exigencies of recent challenges we faced going back whether the Gulf War or Kosovo, Afghanistan, Iraq -- there are a lot of lessons learned.  There are a lot of changes in the way forces operate.  

 

            At the same time, there have been, I would say, an equivalent number of changes in the way governments have to cooperate to achieve the same purposes.  Whereas the structures from which we've been operating and the arrangements from which we've been operating have a legacy that go back half a century, the tasks that the United States faced in recent years, in the last two years, took us in new directions geographically, and in terms of time lines, and in terms of the speed of international political coordination.  We needed base access rights.  We needed overflight rights.  We need coalition structures that could operate quickly and effectively.   And not only for the United States, but for many countries that responded to the security challenges in Afghanistan and Iraq most recently, the same kind of priority for economizing scarce resources and for meeting challenging timelines I think taught the same lesson to many governments.

 

            So, where we stand today with the comments by the secretary of Defense, and the statement to be issued by the president, is at the point where we are ready now to engage in a meaningful dialogue at the political level with many governments who have been -- who have an enormous stake in the international peace and security that we've all achieved together, and who are very much involved in the challenges that we are meeting in Afghanistan and in Iraq and elsewhere in the world. 

 

            And so it's very appropriate that, first of all, all of the agencies of foreign policy and national security are working as a team on this effort, which they are; but also that we engage our allies, our partners, our coalition partners, our security partners, at the political level because they, too, have a very strong stake, not only the resources that they provide, but the sovereignty issues that are engaged when they allow us on their soil and to overfly their airspace, the resources that they appropriate in their parliaments to pay host nation support or to fund their own forces.

 

            These are very important issues to those governments and to their people as well, and it's time now to share with them, I think, the fruits of a long and very impressive, if I may say, analytical effort within the defense establishment here in Washington and through the commands around the world, and to try to show the lessons that we think we've learned in terms of economy of force, speed of response, the logistics and the other aspects of transformation that are meaningful to those governments as well as to the United States.

 

            We intend to be -- we intend to engage a number of states in the very near future at senior levels.  There will be joint interagency teams performing these consultations.  And then we will listen carefully to what our friends and allies have to say.   They have a very -- very important stake in the architecture of international security.  And the reason that our forces can succeed outside our borders is in large part due to the political will and commitment of other governments, reflected in their parliaments and in their populations. 

 

            So we're keen to have these consultations.  We will then see what we've heard, and the principals will gather and take a look at our best planning ideas and concepts and meld that together with everything that we've heard from our security partners, and then we will see where that takes us in terms of high-level decisions.

 

            Q:  Since you've said these are going to be public discussions --

 

            SR. ADMIN. OFFICIAL:  I'm sorry?

 

            Q:  I believe you-all have said these are going to be public discussions.  Could you say what states you plan to begin with?  Could you name any of the states?

 

            SR. ADMIN. OFFICIAL:  We're not at the point where we can be specific about the details on the consultations.  That's not where we are today.

 

            Q:  Could you explain what your opening pitch is when you go in there, beyond this?  If I had a country with a base in it, I don't know what I would say to that.  What is it that you are going to ask for them to comment on?

 

            SR. ADMIN. OFFICIAL:  Well, I think that you've seen conceptually on this slide something that has very, very deep analytical roots. We were talking about several military campaigns, not only just the United States military activities, but those of many other countries. So they will readily understand what's behind a number of these points -- all of them, frankly.

 

            Q:   (Off mike) -- ask --

 

            SR. ADMIN. OFFICIAL:  That said, we will, I think, extend the logic of these lessons to some fairly self-evident points.  We are not waiting for war to arrive in certain regions where we massed forces decades ago, thinking that the war would be there.  We are not expecting to lose multiple dispersed bases in conflict in places where we don't think the conflict is likely to occur.  And so there's a certain logic that flows readily from this, and I frankly believe that many of our interlocutors, even at the political level, have figured this out and are ready for the discussions.

 

            Q:  What are you going to -- so you walk into a room, and you say, "We're thinking about our global posture.  What do you think about it?"

 

            SR. ADMIN. OFFICIAL:  I think the discussion begins with how our security circumstances have changed --

 

            Q:  Okay.

 

            SR. ADMIN. OFFICIAL:  -- and then to extend the logic of how those security circumstances have changed down to the level of what that means for the roles that we expect in terms of ourselves and what our allies expect of us, and then down, ultimately, to the level of forces and capabilities and their disposition.  But it really has to begin at that first level, which is, how have those security circumstances changed, and what does it mean in terms of the respective roles within the alliance itself?

 

            Q:  Can you answer the question?  What does it mean?

 

            SR. ADMIN. OFFICIAL:  That's part of what the set of consultations really are about and what that means, and then that's the dialogue that we really are hoping to undertake.

 

            Q:  I know that no decisions have been made, and you're consulting with our allies and your partners.  But in terms of your planning and the guidance that you're going into these discussions with, does that planning call for changes that will -- that are likely or that plan for concrete changes in where forces currently deployed in Iraq will return to?  In other words, the 1st Armored Division, Ramstein -- are there -- could these -- if things go according to the plan and the guidance that you're going to bring to your partners, is it possible, probable, likely that forces deployed in Iraq, any of them, will go back to a different place than they were -- (off mike)?

 

            SR. ADMIN. OFFICIAL:  I think it's probably too hard to say whether there would be any implications noticed by the forces currently in Iraq.  That's probably one that my colleague would be more likely to have a specific view on.

 

            But we're on a process here where once we have engaged, and once we have taken the conversation down to some notional specifics so that each government can see what our thoughts are and respond to those, we will be in a conversation at that point, at the conclusion of which, I think the U.S. government will then take some decisions and say we think we -- this is our -- this is where we think we want to go in terms of repositioning or economizing or restructuring our global presence.  And at that point, you would only then be able to point out what the implications might be for any specific unit.

 

            Q:  But you're not discounting the possibility that forces currently deployed in Iraq could return to --

 

            SR. ADMIN. OFFICIAL:  I think that the process I described is about the most honest way to lay it out.  And one really can't say today whether or not there would be a level of granularity soon that would have an impact on a specific unit.

 

            I don't know if my defense colleague would disagree with that.

 

            Q:  Can I just follow on that?  I mean, the 1st Armored Division is one of the ones that we mentioned here, and that's coming back in February.  There's no way that you're going to have -- they're not going back to Baumholder in February, is there?

 

            SR. ADMIN. OFFICIAL:  If I may, I described the legacy of the process.  It has very deep roots going back, I think, years and maybe decades.  And, frankly, it also has a forward path that probably stretches out over a number of years.  We're not talking about a matter of weeks here, we're talking about changing and realigning the global force posture.

 

            SR. ADMIN. OFFICIAL:  I mean, I think I heard -- the secretary talked about this earlier today when he said this is going to take a good deal of time to implement. 

 

            You know, the specific issues of forces that are involved in Iraq or elsewhere and to where they return, that's going to unfold as it unfolds, and it's going to unfold at a pace that, obviously, we need to consider as we're engaged in these discussions.  But it really is, is how these consultations, you know, are underway and where they go, you know, that timing is going to sort its own self out, I think, as my colleague says here. 

 

            You know, people that are in Iraq, their families are in places, they're going to go back to where their families are, and then we're going to make decisions of what happens from that point on.  But, we're doing this in a deliberate and a concerted way.  We're not trying to do it in a haphazard way.  And we are also trying to do it in a way -- and this is what we said up-front, and I think it's a very important message, is one that is -- that is responsive to the directions that our allies themselves see that it's important we go. That's why we're beginning in this formal set of consultations.

 

            We really are intent upon hearing the views of our allies and factoring those views in our own sets of decisions.

 

            Q:  We all basically know what the current global posture is. We know where the bulk of U.S. troops are overseas.  Can you at least say, when the process is over, how different will the map look? Without getting into specifics.  But will it look a lot different than it has in the past 50 years, or a little different?  And I know you haven't make specific decisions, but obviously the intent is to get out of this garrison-type structure that has been in place for years in parts of the world that maybe aren't as relevant to future threats. Can you talk about it in those terms?  How different will it look for the average American when it comes to U.S. troops overseas? 

 

            SR. ADMIN. OFFICIAL:  I think in one respect --

 

            Q:  Will we put fewer troops (inaudible)?

 

            SR. ADMIN. OFFICIAL:  Well, one respect, a difference -- you might see a difference -- it's hard to describe today because, again, the final disposition is subject to this whole process we've described, but when you look at the third tick, focusing within and across regions, the traditional sensibility about forces being solely dedicated to regional duty is something that we want to discuss. 

 

            And that's a result of two things: one, sort of the natural economy of force issue, but secondly, the fact that not only our forces, but our allies' and partners' forces have crossed regions that they probably never thought they would cross.  And they have combined in ways.  You've had Latin and European and Asian forces under CENTCOM command.  That is an unusual and new reality, one which is a very important reality to our partner governments as well as to the United States. 

 

            And so I think there's a lot to acknowledge that they will readily understand, and it has implications for how we define not just what we're not going to do the same way, but how we think we can do the missions that lie ahead better.

 

            Q:  Can you say whether part of this will be asking some countries who currently don't have permanent U.S. military presence to welcome one?

 

            SR. ADMIN. OFFICIAL:  Yes, I think that's fair to say.  (inaudible) not presence, access.

 

            Q:  Are you going to be -- you know, a lot of this is very, you know, good concepts, but also hard to get your hands around.  Are you going to go into this negotiation with an opening position?  You know, "This is where we're positioned in your country, and this is where our analysts have said -- this is what we'd like the end state to be"?

 

            SR. ADMIN. OFFICIAL:  I think we will have notional ideas, but I --

 

            Q:  And you'll present those?

 

            SR. ADMIN. OFFICIAL:  -- but I believe we realize that they are the product of military logic only, and not necessarily political and diplomatic logic.

 

            SR. ADMIN. OFFICIAL:  I mean, I would say, as well, on that that we don't view the set of consultations that we're talking about as being a one-time event.  And the question was asked earlier:  So how would this unfold?  I think it has to begin to unfold first in having clarity about what are those challenges that we're dealing with.  And then, in subsequent rounds of this discussion, then we can get into a lot more detail about, then, specifically what are the implications for that presence, and stationing, and facilities and installations in the specific countries.  But I think it has to begin first with the discussion about what are the challenges that we're dealing with right now.

 

            Q:  SACEUR [Supreme Allied Commander Europe] has already previewed some of this, I think -- maybe it falls under your purview.  They're talking about moving from large garrison European bases to smaller bases that can be staffed up at sort of a moment's notice, and used for training and then dissolve away to a skeleton staff, if even that.  Can you discuss that aspect of things, what that concept would look like?

 

            SR. ADMIN. OFFICIAL:  I think it's probably not -- we're not at the point where one could lay out the full dimension of what the notional ideas are.  That's something that will be discussed, I think, with our allies. 

 

            What you've referred to, if I could use the analogy of an elephant, you've sort of grasped two parts of the elephant but not necessarily the whole thing.  I don't know that there won't be large concentrations of forces that are home bases, or consolidated places where you benefit from greater logistical benefits of consolidation. 

 

            But the concept is how to achieve the kinds of transformational effects of speed and economy and coordination that were not possible in an earlier technological era.  And I would note, you see the State Department person saying this, this really is a concept that has diplomatic and political dimensions to it.  Transformation is very much a military concept, but it's also a political and diplomatic concept, and we're living it right now.

 

            Q:  From the DOD side, part of the discussions involve not just moving around where we're positioned globally as far as foreign countries, but repositioning our domestic things -- focus on the Pacific rather than focus on the Atlantic, maybe shifting some of the forces.  That affects our allies, obviously, but it's something that we could do independently.  Is that kind of thing part of this discussion?

 

            SR. ADMIN. OFFICIAL:  When we talk about global defense posture, we're talking about both overseas and at home.  Now, at home means that we have an opportunity in an upcoming round of base realignment and closure (BRAC) to think about the realignment of where our forces are. And so that would be our goal, is as we think about BRAC, to not only think about closure, but also think about the opportunities for realignment and how the decisions taken in that environment can support the broader themes that we've discussed here as well.

 

            Q:  But I think he's asking, are we asking the allies for their input on those kinds of discussions?  For example, we're already talking about moving some additional forces to Guam, some submarines being based there.  Would we be asking allies if they think that's a good idea, should we be doing more of that?  I mean, obviously, we can put whatever we want to in Guam.

 

            SR. ADMIN. OFFICIAL:  I would expect that we will be talking about more than country-specific concepts with countries.  I think they deserve to be brought into the larger picture of how we intend to achieve stability in different regions of the world.  They have a large stake in it, but they have a strategic sense of their own.  And I would expect those discussions to be in the realm of regional as well as country specific.

 

            SR. ADMIN. OFFICIAL:  Right.  And I would just simply add to that, when we say that the challenges that we see are regional and global, this is part of the dialogue that, in fact, we want to have with our allies.  And if we're going to extend the nature of how we deal with regional and global challenges, we also, then, need to extend the discussion of what that means in terms of the disposition of not only our forces, but our allied forces worldwide and what that means.  So, it's going to have to be a fairly broad set of discussions.

 

            Q:  Could I ask you -- not to belabor the point, but there is a lot of -- a great deal of uncertainty, obviously, among troops deployed in Iraq, and their families at bases in Germany and elsewhere, concerned that these changes could happen before they come back.  It's also the same concern for troops that are going to rotate into Iraq in January, February and March for the next year.

 

            You came close, but can you put that uncertainty to rest here?  Can you say that these changes are not going to happen before they get back, that they'll go back to where they came from, or is that unknown?

 

            SR. ADMIN. OFFICIAL:  I think that's an issue, really, the secretary of Defense and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff are going to have to answer.  And you know, they certainly, as they weigh these decisions, have the concern of the welfare of the individual service member in mind as they're doing that.

 

            Q:  I have a logistical question of how you're setting up these visits.  You mentioned interagency teams that are going to be meeting at the senior level with countries.  Are these all going to be bilateral, or would some of these meetings involve multiple allies at the same time?

 

            You said -- and the other point was you said very near future. We're  talking about before the end of the calendar year, or --

 

            SR. ADMIN. OFFICIAL:  I would not be surprised, but we're not quite there yet.  I mean, this set of senior-level statements begins a process that needs to start moving, and that's so we're --

 

            SR. ADMIN. OFFICIAL:  But I mean, you can look ahead at the calendar for what you see of the upcoming events and expect where those discussions are going to take place.  So I mean, it's not any surprise in terms of there is, you know, ministerial-level discussions that'll take place in NATO before the end of this year.  That'll be a forum to do some of that.  And --

 

            Q:  Have the discussions already started?  I mean, the president just came back from a meeting with a very close ally. (Inaudible) -- has already --

 

            SR. ADMIN. OFFICIAL:  I would I say that as a formal matter, no.

 

            SR. ADMIN. OFFICIAL:  Yeah.

 

            SR. ADMIN. OFFICIAL:  As an informal matter, there's probably been some previewing.

 

            SR. ADMIN. OFFICIAL:  I mean, the point of the statement today is to say this now begins that set of formal discussions.  I mean, it doesn't say that there's been nothing before this, as my colleague has said.

 

            SR. ADMIN. OFFICIAL:  I would like to make a comment also, not -- the question's been raised about the welfare and expectations of U.S. forces and their families.  There are also coalition forces and their families, and I think both deserve a consideration.  If this process that we're describing comes to pass in its full dimension, the chief beneficiaries ought to be the forces, not only of our country but of others.  This is intended to economize their expenditure of effort and time to achieve goals in the most efficient and coordinated manner possible.  And so there's a great deal of natural logic, if you will, that underlies this concept.  Not to do it would leave us stuck in patterns which are uneconomical and which cause deployments to drag on and which make it harder for us to sustain the maximum number of security missions.  I know that's DOD's business, but I believe there's a very strong -- that the forces themselves will see the -- immediately see the benefit of what's going on here.

 

            Q:  The focus on capabilities, not numbers -- this came up when there was discussion of -- in Korea about moving U.S. troops out of Korea.

 

            And General Myers and, I think, Rumsfeld talked about you don't need as many troops because the technological improvements and capabilities for a smaller force have advanced.  Can you flesh it out a little bit? I mean, does this imply less troops in places based on the notion of better networking, better precision weaponry, better radios?  You know what -- (off mike).

 

            SR. ADMIN. OFFICIAL:  Right.  I mean, let me -- I'll take it actually in some detail, because I think it is important.  One is, we seriously want this discussion with our allies to be first, as I said, at the level of capabilities, which is to say, what are those areas, be it in terms of technology, be it in terms of particular types of units or forces at that level that are needed in places in times within certain challenges?  If we begin the discussion simply on a set of troop numbers, which is to say that, you know, we will have an x number of troops in this region or in this country for a period of time, we might get it very, very wrong.  So the first way to address this is what are the right capabilities in the right places at the right time.  That's number one.

 

            Number two to what your question has -- and I think it is very important -- that is, part of the transformation that's been underway not just now but really for some time now would suggest that there are types of things that in the past we thought had to be forward because that was the only way to do it.  Well, technology gives you an opportunity now to do some functions in different ways.  There are a whole host of support functions, for example, that can be provided and done in whatever location.  It doesn't have to be in the United States, it could be abroad, but it can be done in one place and can become an icon on a screen.  It doesn't have to be a person that is standing there with the unit to report on that particular detail. 

 

            It strikes us that as we're looking at global posture in this area of efficiencies and economies, we owe it to ourselves to say what -- particularly in the realm of support functions -- what are those things that can be done in a different way that can relieve some of the burden on the troops themselves in terms of regular rotations, so that we can have the fighting -- the "tooth," if you will, of this -- in the forward places where it's needed.  And so it's an opportunity to take a real fresh look at this.

 

            Q:  Just in terms of logistics --

 

            SR. ADMIN. OFFICIAL:  There is a logistics piece to it.  But, you know, a lot of this is, if you can rely on networking capabilities and you can use, you know, electronic vehicles to transmit information as opposed to have to have a courier bring it by hand, and you can do this not only, you know, across miles but, frankly, across continents and across oceans, you know, it's a very different look at what you're able to do in terms of what you think you have forward and what's relevant, then, to the security challenges of those partners as we look to where they'll be positioned.

 

            Q:  (Off mike) -- they could be possibly reduced in some areas of the world based on technological improvements in communications, logistics, transportation.

 

            SR. ADMIN. OFFICIAL:  Right.  And then, you know, there are places where, you know, that can -- or the pressures, local conditions, and so forth.  And so that's what we want to engage with in terms of the allies:  What is it that we can draw on, and that they can do as well?  I mean, are there similar types of support functions that allies can provide to us?  And so this really is a two-way street as we look at it.

 

            Q:  The economy of the forces, some of the places where troops have been for a long time, like South Korea, there's a fairly sizable element of burden-sharing where the countries themselves sort of bear some of the costs of having them there.  Assuming -- and I know you haven't made a decision -- but assuming that that structure changes dramatically, how do you take that into account, if you set up new bases somewhere else?

 

            SR. ADMIN. OFFICIAL:  Well, let's see how this comes out.  I don't want to paint too radical a picture.  All of our allies who permit the hosting or the transit of U.S. forces are bearing a burden. Sometimes it's a financial burden, a large financial burden or a small one; sometimes it is a psychological or a political burden.  In every case, there's an act of political will that's very meaningful to us, and it counts a lot.  And so we don't overlook that at all.  I think that you'll find that that weighs quite heavily in the consultations that we'll be having.  We appreciate -- we look at this not just in terms of what the United States does for other countries, but in terms of what we are doing in collaboration, and particularly at a time when there is such international collaboration in the prime missions that we're conducting in Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as the Pacific Rim security that you referred to. 

 

            So, I think there's a great respect for the role of other countries, a great respect for the opinion of their populations, reflected through their parliaments as well as their elected leaders. And we intend to pay full attention through a very vigorous and open consultative process. 

 

            And we also believe that there will be quite a bit of responsiveness to the concepts that we're talking about.  They are not immune to the logic of what we're saying.  I think in many ways you've seen, for example, how the NATO alliance has already changed its own structure, and it has the command for transformation.  These are not unknown -- these are not alien concepts to our prime allies.

 

            They've had to conduct expeditionary operations now for a year or two, and many of the same lessons are emerging through their defense and foreign policy channels.  And so I think we'll have a meeting of the minds, and I expect these discussions to be -- to go quite well, actually.

 

            Q:  As you present these notional ideas about where different forces ought to be reconfigured, et cetera, how much are you going to involve the Congress here in that?  And is it going to be the -- are they -- is the Congress going to be consulted as you take these ideas forward?

 

            SR. ADMIN. OFFICIAL:  Yeah.  Yeah, this is a splendid question, because this is one that is going to be a partnership not only with our allies but the Congress itself.  In the same way that we need a very extensive dialogue with our allies in terms of where we want to go on these issues, we also need a very extensive partnership with the Congress in terms of the directions that we think this -- these changes that should come -- where they ought to go.  It's -- you know, it's with the Congress's support that we're going to be able to do this in terms of the financial support.

 

            In terms of representing the totality of a national commitment, as my colleague has said, this has been a set of interactions within the executive branch of government that's had widespread support. There has been some dialogue with the Congress.  There will be an extensive amount of additional dialogue.  It's the only way that we'll do this right.  It's the only way.

 

            Q:  The secretary talked about cables going to allies.  Can you say whether those have gone out?  I mean, has there been an official communication that we are about to do this?

 

            SR. ADMIN. OFFICIAL:  The messages that we're sending out are merely to bring attention to the announcement the president is expected to make, and we are hopeful that the whole notion of beginning this dialogue will find favor around the world.

 

            Q:  Can you say whom you sent it to?

 

            SR. ADMIN. OFFICIAL:  There are more than one, and so it's quite confusing.  But no, these are just predictable statecraft.  There's no -- there's nothing too fancy about it.

 

            There was a gentleman who didn't get his question in back there.

 

            Q:  Yeah.  I have a sort of specific question, but could you give me some image as to how we do change the role of U.S.-Japan security treaty?  And also, in summer, Mr. Rodman, assistant secretary, told Congress that adjustment of U.S. forces in Japan would be a minor change.  And does it still remain the same?

 

            SR. ADMIN. OFFICIAL:  Well, I certainly don't want to give the impression different than what Assistant Secretary Rodman had to say. There's been, as you know, a long-standing dialogue between the United States and Japan, and our Japanese allies can rest assured that that remains authoritative.

 

            Q:  Would it be unfair if you guys saw a headline after this, "U.S. Planning Major Shake-up in World Posture"?  Would that be inaccurate?

 

            SR. ADMIN. OFFICIAL:  I think "shake-up" is an interesting way to describe what's actually been --

 

            Q:  How about the "major" part?

 

            SR. ADMIN. OFFICIAL:  This is a --

 

            SR. ADMIN. OFFICIAL:  But this is the point of the dialogue, is how major, you know, do our allies really want this to be.  I think that what we're about to embark on is ambitious.  I think what we're about to embark on, as my colleague has said, has its antecedents that go back a decade or more.   This isn't something that just has its roots in the last year or two. 

 

            Q:  Something related to the Cold War.

 

            SR. ADMIN. OFFICIAL:  Yes.  It's dealing with legacies of the Cold War that was some unfinished business, if you will, in some instances.  In other instances, it's dealing with this host of new challenges that are before us.  And so if you look at the mix of that and you look at the dialogue that we're about to embark on, it could be substantial.  But to call it a major shake-up would somehow suggest that this is a surprise or that this is something we would impose; and I don't think it is either.

 

            Q:  But if the consensus among the allies was, "Hey, we think you guys have got it about right, right now," the United States would say that's unsatisfactory; right?  I mean, if the allies were to come back and say, "Oh, we think y'all are in pretty good shape right now, don't change much."

 

            SR. ADMIN. OFFICIAL:  Well, I wouldn't want to prejudge the process.  Let's see what they have to -- let's let them speak for themselves, and then let's see what the national security leadership thinks after they've taken full account of what everyone has to say. 

 

            I think the word "major" is probably to an overstatement when you look at the fact that we've just had two significant overseas campaigns that have been launched that don't look like anything you've seen before in terms of the way forces operate, the way coalitions operate.  For us not to undertake to ask the big question, "Are we doing all of this right?" with so many resources involved and so many equities involved, not only American, but international equities, I think would be an even bigger shame. 

 

            And I give credit to our leadership that they've taken on the management challenge of asking the question, "Are we doing all of this in its totality as well as we possibly can?  Are we learning the lessons that emanate from these recent activities?"  And it's a very big management task to look at overseas force posture, alliance participation in that, how future challenges will be met differently than they are today, and then look at the domestic structure that you raised as well.  That's a very big and ambitious question, and I give credit to the leadership here for having the gumption to take on an issue that big.  We're trying to -- it involves political and diplomatic as well as military equities and a lot of international equities as well.  So we're going to carry this out in its full dimension.

 

            STAFF:  Thanks.  That's all we have time for.

 

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