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DoD News Briefing - Rear Admiral Craig Quigley, DASD PA

Presenters: Rear Admiral Craig Quigley, DASD PA
November 16, 1999 2:00 PM EDT

Admiral Quigley: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. I have just a couple announcements for you this afternoon. Then I'll take questions.

I wanted to bring you up to date first, I guess, on Secretary Cohen's trip. Today he is in Santiago, Chile, where he is finishing up a trip to Brazil, Argentina, and Chile, an area known as the Southern Cone. Twenty years ago these countries were ruled by military dictators, but since then, they've become thriving democracies with free-market economies.

This morning the secretary met with Chilean President Frei, and following his meeting with President Frei, Secretary Cohen then met with Minister of Defense Perez Yoma, during which the secretary signed an agreement to improve environmental cooperation between our two militaries. The secretary also reaffirmed U.S. willingness to help Chile's defense modernization program.

This evening Secretary Cohen hosts a reception in Santiago and then departs tomorrow for London, England. In London the secretary will be the guest speaker at the Global Crossing annual dinner, to be held November 18th at Claridge's Hotel. Global Crossing is comprised of approximately 250 senior British government and industry leaders.

Also, I thought it might be helpful to bring you up to date on the government support for Saturday's earthquake in Turkey. On Saturday the Air Force sent a C-5 aircraft to Istanbul, carrying a 67-member search and rescue team from Fairfax, Virginia, here locally, and eight people from the U.S. Aid Disaster Assistance Response Team. The teams moved on to Duzce, the epicenter of the quake, early Sunday.

And also on Sunday the 39th Airlift Wing at Incirlik Air Base near Adana, Turkey, dispatched a nine-member initial humanitarian assessment survey team, composed of command and control, medical assessment, contracting, and logistics support personnel. And they were augmented today with additional civil engineers, medical, disaster preparedness, and support personnel.

And as you've heard the president indicate, we'll continue to do all we can to help.

And finally, I want to welcome 35 students from Indiana University to today's briefing. They are currently assigned to various Washington, D.C., agencies, including two here at the Pentagon. Mr. Charles Bookwalter (sp) and Ms. Samantha Carne (sp) currently work in Army Public Affairs. And welcome to you all. I hope you are enjoying your stay.

With that, I'll take your questions.

Charlie?

Q: Craig, has the administration -- the Pentagon, the White House, the president, Secretary Cohen, whoever -- offered Puerto Rico a deal under which the residents of Vieques would vote on whether they want to keep that range open, for several years, while a new site is found?

Admiral Quigley: Well -- Vieques was discussed in a Thursday meeting, last Thursday, between the president and Secretary Cohen, but I will not characterize their discussions. And I certainly won't characterize any discussions that the president has had with Governor Rossello of Puerto Rico.

Q: So you don't know for that matter whether or not the Puerto Ricans have been offered any kind of a deal under which Vieques would vote on whether or not to keep that range open?

Admiral Quigley: Again, I am not going to get into any of the discussions between the president and the governor.

Q: Well, can you tell us, Admiral, is the position of the building that a referendum would be an acceptable way to work this out? There have been reports that the Navy found this an acceptable approach.

Admiral Quigley: We have a process, Dale, that we are only part way through. We have the Rush Panel report. Secretary Cohen is considering that report and has yet to send his formal recommendations to the president in that regard.

Now, there have been discussions, as I mentioned, last Thursday, between the president and the secretary, but no formal recommendations have gone forward from the secretary to the president. So that is the process that we are committed to following.

Yes?

Q: How does that process then jive with the need to give advanced warning of any December maneuvers off of Vieques?

Admiral Quigley: I would not consider the two mutually exclusive at all.

Q: Well, is it possible that you would give a notice to Vieques -- in the event that something can be worked out, you'd go ahead and give them notice to cover yourselves?

Admiral Quigley: We have said that we are going to try to continue the dialogue with the Puerto Rican government and Puerto Rican leadership in this regard. And that is, Undersecretary DeLeon met here on the 1st of November with the governor's chief of staff. The president, as you know, spoke with the governor on the telephone over the weekend. And that dialogue will continue.

The process, as I indicated though, is not mutually exclusive. We are going to try to do both and still stay within the guidelines, as stipulated by the 1983 MOU, give advance notification if that's where the dialogue takes us.

Q: When will the dialogue continue?

Admiral Quigley: I won't put a timetable on it. This is a very delicate process involving interests from a variety of parties. And I think everyone is continuing that dialogue in good faith and giving their best efforts in that regard.

Q: What --

Admiral Quigley: Please have a seat.

Q: What is the current schedule of the Eisenhower then? When is it scheduled to leave Norfolk --

Admiral Quigley: The Eisenhower Battle Group is scheduled to deploy in February.

Q: Well, I understand, but when is it supposed to leave Norfolk and head down for training?

Admiral Quigley: I don't have the departure date from Hampton Roads, Charlie. I am sorry. But she is supposed to be, in the early December time frame, using the range. That is the current schedule.

Q: Would you take that question?

Admiral Quigley: Date of departure from Norfolk? Yes, I will.

Q: When it starts to head down, gets everything straightened out.

Q: Does the Navy have any fallback, if there is no resumption of training at Vieques, in terms of training for the Eisenhower?

Admiral Quigley: Well, you'd have to make some hard choices in that regard. And we're going to try to do this in a sequential manner and try to continue with a dialogue with the government of Puerto Rico, and hopefully that that will lead to a successful agreement that will allow us to then make the next logical decision. So we're kind of taking this one step at a time.

Q: There have been reports that if there is no live-fire training there that that would result in a C-4 readiness rating for the Eisenhower. Is that --

Admiral Quigley: Clearly, you'd have an impact without the use of the live-fire training. That is acknowledged to be a very important part of a battle group's training, an amphibious ready group's training. I don't know what the specific mechanics are of going into a readiness rating; a variety of factors go into that.

Jamie?

Q: New subject? Given that the United States is backing the U.N. resolution that could result in lifting sanctions against Iraq, assuming that Iraq allows inspectors to return and do their job, how would that affect the current campaign that's going on in the no-fly zones? Would this be tied to any sort of requirement to de-escalate the tension in the no-fly zones? Are these issues linked at all or --

Admiral Quigley: Well, as you know, the drafting of that is still a work in progress. But as we speak, I don't think there's any language in there calling for some sort of -- I don't think the issue of either the Northern no-fly zone or Southern no-fly zone are addressed in the draft as it stands.

Q: In other words, would the Pentagon support lifting sanctions if it didn't include a requirement for Iraq to stop attempting to shoot down U.S. planes?

Admiral Quigley: Well, I think you're talking about slightly different aspects here. I mean, there's no authorization in place today for the Iraqis to fire at coalition aircraft. So that's -- (laughter) -- there is also an agreement to a cease-fire at the end of the Gulf War, and clearly that's in violation of that as well.

Q: Right, but at the end of --

Admiral Quigley: But you're talking here about a sanctions issue as opposed to the firing on the coalition aircraft.

Q: Well, at the end of December, Saddam Hussein did say that he was now going to begin targeting planes enforcing the no-fly zone, and he's carried that out. There have been more than a thousand bombs dropped. And my question, I think, is perfectly logical, which is, can you proceed with a resolution that could end up in sanctions relief while he's still progressively challenging the enforcement and trying to shoot down U.S. pilots?

Admiral Quigley: Well, I think you can because they're really very different issues. You've got many different U.N. Security Council resolutions in place now, subsequent to the end of the Gulf War. The government of Iraq is in compliance with some and not in compliance with others. Like I said before, it's never been okay to fire on coalition aircraft. But this is all about a sanctions regime and how the government of Iraq can -- the steps it must take to follow through in having those sanctions lifted. So, really two different issues, I guess.

Q: Just to follow up on a slightly different aspect, last week a spokesman at the podium said that there have been a number of close calls in the no-fly zone. Have there been any additional close calls since then? And can you provide any additional details on the previous incidents? How close were these close calls? Based on what were they determined to be close calls?

Admiral Quigley: No, there have not been any additional ones, to the first part of your question. And I'll have to take the second part.

Q: Do you have a way to describe for us how thorough you feel inspections need to be of Iraq if an inspections regime is reinstituted? Does it have to have the same kind of mechanisms that UNSCOM did, as far as the Pentagon is concerned, to get the kind of information that would make the military feel sanguine about what Saddam Hussein is doing?

Admiral Quigley: Well, those are negotiations, John, that this building does not involve itself. We care very much about the end product, of course, but we're not the negotiators in that regard. We, like other aspects of this government and many other nations around the world, want Saddam Hussein to comply with existing agreements that he made many years ago, some of which he has kept up with, others he has not. So the more that this process is transparent and understood by all, the more comfortable the Defense Department would be in that regard. But as I'm mentioned before, it's a work in progress and -- but anything in that direction would be something that we would support.

Q: But Craig, you say these are two separate issues. Let me see if I can recap this. What you're saying is that the United States would be willing to let a lifting of the sanctions go through if Iraq agrees to the inspectors' return and other things. But at the same time, that you would continue to attack Iraqi air defenses if they threaten allied aircraft. Is that what you're saying?

Admiral Quigley: On the first part, I don't agree with the way that you phrased that, Charlie. This -- the Department of Defense is not negotiating this. This is coming under the U.N.'s auspices and the United States government's representatives in that body, and that is not the Pentagon. So this is still a work in progress, but I see it as two different issues.

The question originally asked was, Is there some stipulation to stop -- or a demand being made to stop -- attacks against coalition aircraft? I don't know -- I don't think that's in there at this point, but that's never been an acceptable thing to do. This effort is about a process by which the government of Iraq can move to eliminate those sanctions as opposed to the second issue, and I see them as two different things.

Q: But the Pentagon would not then demand that Iraq agree to stop threatening these aircraft as part of any agreement to lift the sanctions? The Pentagon itself would not demand that?

Admiral Quigley: Again, this is a process in which we do not have the lead. There's a variety of parts of the United States government that go towards this process, but it is very much a work in progress.

Q: Well, you don't have to lead --

Admiral Quigley: I can't go --

Q: But you do have a say. I mean --

Admiral Quigley: We would make our feelings known within the process that that Security Council resolution was being voted on within the U.N.Security Council.

Q: Well, we're just asking what those feelings would be regarding whether or not there needs to be a demand to stop targeting --

Admiral Quigley: I'm not going to get into the intergovernmental conversations that would take place as we move towards that goal.

Q: Another topic?

Q: No, let's not --

Admiral Quigley: (Inaudible) -- Bill?

Q: How much of the U.S. presence in the region is devoted to enforcing the sanctions and therefore could be withdrawn if the sanctions were lifted?

Admiral Quigley: I can't give you a good answer. I'll have to take that question and give that some thought. It would be fairly comprehensive, if you take a look at the forces in Northern Watch, Southern Watch, and the maritime intercept operations. I'm not sure I can get you an exact answer, but we'll try.

Q: But Northern Watch --

Q: Can I follow up on that?

Q: Excuse me. The Northern Watch aircraft are not -- and in fact the Southern Watch aircraft are not enforcing the sanctions, are they?

Admiral Quigley: No, the no-fly zones. I misunderstood your question. Let's have that again, please.

Q: Well, I'm thinking in terms of the maritime presence and the fact that the ships there are enforcing the sanctions, aren't they?

Admiral Quigley: The maritime intercept operations are helping to enforce the sanctions, yes. The flights over Northern Watch and Southern Watch, over Northern Iraq and Southern Iraq, are to stop Saddam from killing his own people.

Q: I understand that. I'm wondering how much of the presence, though, could be scaled back if there were to be no sanctions? How much of your effort is devoted to keeping the flow of commerce?

Admiral Quigley: I will take that and we'll give you the best answer we can.

Q: On the same subject? But the Pentagon has not expressed concern to the White House or to the State Department that sanctions would be lifted while there is an Iraqi government bounty out on U.S. pilots and they're trying every day to shoot planes down? The Pentagon surely has been asked for input on this subject; yes?

Admiral Quigley: We have made our inputs known, but I am not going to be specific about the intergovernmental conversations in that regard.

Q: Now, back to an article last week in the Washington Times, Admiral Blair was interviewed and asked about the missile threat from North Korea specifically, and the threat that posed to U.S. assets -- Japan, Okinawa, South Korea specifically. And he said that a THAAD-type system, an anti-ballistic missile system ,was needed immediately. Does the Pentagon go along with that particular point of view, or how would you react to it?

Admiral Quigley: I did not read Admiral Blair's comments specifically, but as you're very much aware, there are a variety of programs that the Pentagon has ongoing for area and theater and national missile defense research and development. So I would say that -- do we think that the ability to defend specific pieces of real estate from missile attack is a good capability to have? Yes, absolutely. There are technological challenges in that regard. There's budgetary challenges in that regard. But I think our own research and development efforts would tell you that we think that's an important mission area.

Yes.

Q: But that's not something that can be done now, obviously, as the new systems are still being tested. I take it that that is something down the road as far as deployment is concerned.

Admiral Quigley: None of the systems have been fielded, as you know -- okay? -- of those three categories that I mentioned. And I can't speak for Admiral Blair as to how -- was that a euphemism he was using, was he being specific. I don't know. You'll have to ask his folks in that regard.

Q: The reporting says that he was saying now needed to --

Admiral Quigley: I won't -- (inaudible) --

Q: -- cover our assets currently, is what he was saying, sir. It also said that the Chinese had over 600 missiles deployed that could be used against Taiwan, Taiwan being very vulnerable to missile attack. Have you any comment about that?

Admiral Quigley: No. I won't add to that. But I do think that, all three of those areas, we have research and development, extensive research and development in all three of those capabilities, and I think that says that the Department of Defense thinks that all of those programs are important, or we would certainly not be spending money on any of them.

Q: Craig?

Admiral Quigley: Yes?

Q: There are reports coming out of South Korea by the South Korean media accusing the United States and the South Korean government as having been involved in a cover-up over the years over the South Koreans using defoliants along the DMZ with U.S. advisement. Did we indeed advise on any use of defoliants in the '60s along the DMZ?

Admiral Quigley: Yes. There was use of several defoliants along the DMZ. And it's been a while ago. And our research into the records in this regard are spotty, but this coincides with a period of time in which the South Korean military was engaged in an extensive clearing process. There was quite a bit of vegetation along the Demilitarized Zone, and this was a method that was considered to relieve some of that dense vegetation.

Historically, this was also a time where there was quite a bit of -- we're talking about late 1960s now. Tensions were very high on the Korean peninsula, with a lot of -- what am I trying to say -- movement down into the South from the North. And dense vegetation and foliage at the Demilitarized Zone would hide those movements up until the very last second.

Q: (Inaudible) -- Agent Orange in any of this?

Admiral Quigley: Yes. Yes.

Q: And have we been engaged in some sort of a cover-up, which is not -- (inaudible) --

Admiral Quigley: Well, I certainly wouldn't describe it that way. I mean, that's been 30 years ago. The records are clear that that was a decision made by the South Korean government and military at that time. I think is was fairly short-lived. For financial reasons is what the records show.

But there was use of defoliants for that purpose, as best we can discern. This was again provided to the South Korean military, and they did the application.

Q: Once -- after a few years passed -- I mean, and we discovered the problems with Agent Orange and so forth, did we share those findings with the South Koreans, who had troops up there, who had been involved in the defoliation and maybe had been --

Admiral Quigley: I don't know. Let's see if we can find an answer to that.

Q: Admiral Quigley?

Admiral Quigley: Barbara?

Q: Going back to Iraq for a minute -- two questions.

As a means of, if nothing else, voicing support for U.S. pilots, can the Pentagon possibly envision supporting lifting sanctions as long as Iraq has a bounty on the head of U.S. pilots?

Admiral Quigley: I think I'll give you the same answer I gave Chris -- (pause) -- yes. (Laughter.)

Q: Well, then I can't follow up with a different question? (Laughter.)

Admiral Quigley: I can -- (inaudible) -- (laughter) --

Q: Well, I'd like you to repeat the answer because I don't understand it.

Admiral Quigley: There is discussion ongoing within the government of the United States. We are one of those organizations that are discussing that. I will not characterize the intergovernmental conversations that are taking place in that regard.

Q: You don't have a point of view?

Q: Well, I don't --

Admiral Quigley: I don't deal in "points of view."

Q: -- okay.

Admiral Quigley: I deal in factual presentations, where we are trying to accomplish a very difficult diplomatic objective through the forum of the United Nations. The government of the United States is a large organization with many voices that need to be heard. Ours is one of them.

Q: May I follow up with --

Admiral Quigley: We take that importantly. And we'll provide that voice as part of that overall process.

Q: Two Iraq follow-up questions: What is your current position at the moment about the fact that Iraq has a continued bounty on the head of U.S. pilots?

Admiral Quigley: We would like it to stop immediately.

Q: And my other question is, why is it so important -- or is it -- why is it important to get the inspections regime reinstated at this point? In other words, what progress, if any, have you seen the Iraqis make in the last year in reinstituting their WMD program or rebuilding the facilities that we struck during Desert Fox? What have they reconstituted?

Admiral Quigley: I'm not so sure that it's so much "reconstitute" as just our visibility -- our knowledge of the current state of play is much less thorough if you don't have an inspections regime in place on the ground in Iraq. You can only learn so much by other means. And the more we know, the more transparent and complete our knowledge in that regard, the more comfortable we will feel. And if you take some of that away, we feel less comfortable.

Q: Would the U.S. then want to see some sort of regime in perpetuity, so it would always know what Iraq is up to?

Admiral Quigley: Again, these are part of the ongoing negotiations for that within the United Nations.

Yes?

Q: Is Kurt Campbell leaving on Thursday, as scheduled? And how many --

Admiral Quigley: Yes, Kurt Campbell is leaving on Thursday. A small party -- I think five or six people -- from here and from the U.S. Pacific Command, headed to China. It will be short visit. He gets there Friday night, I believe. They stay Saturday and then (he) starts to return Sunday morning.

Q: And who will he meet with?

Admiral Quigley: Who -- a variety of -- the purpose of the trip -- let me start there, Charlie. The purpose of the trip is to start a dialogue on scheduling and content of the mil-to-mil program for calendar year 2000, between the United States and China. And he will meet with a variety of Chinese military officials to discuss those aspects of, you know, the mil-to-mil program for next year.

Yes?

Q: Going back to the South Korean subject, did you receive any request from the Korean government to identify the allegations of spraying Agent Orange? It can be discussed on -- at -- (inaudible) -- next week, between your government and Korea?

Admiral Quigley: Well, there's nothing that's classified about this whole application, and we've been -- we've tried to have been very open about that, if you see -- the use of Agent Orange and other defoliants during the Vietnam War. I don't know if the Koreans asked us about that. But this was something -- again, our record search on this is not perfect because of the age involved here, from 30 years ago, and a lot of those records are not held locally by U.S. Forces Korea and other agencies.

But from discussions with both the Koreans and our own records, there was widespread knowledge of this involving the U.S. secretary of State and comparable officials within the Korean government that this was something that was a good effort to remove or to at least thin that vegetation along the demilitarized zone. So I think it's an issue of going back into the record books and the history of some of these actions, and it is perhaps not something that was all that evident as a major event at the time. But now we're going back and trying to reconstruct what happened, we're reasonably clear as to the details of the provision of those defoliants to the Korean military, and the application along the DMZ, why that was done, why it was stopped. We're reasonably clear that we've got that part right.

Q: We provided the materials and they did the actual --

Admiral Quigley: The application, yes.

Q: Why was it done and why was it stopped?

Admiral Quigley: The reason that we think it was stopped was one of finances on the part of the Koreans. And it was done as an effective means of thinning the vegetation and foliage along the demilitarized zone to provide -- it was part of an ongoing clearing effort along the demilitarized zone to provide better visibility for any movement South by North Koreans.

Q: So the Koreans paid for the defoliants?

Admiral Quigley: Yes.

Yes?

Q: Sir, two questions. One, how was this applied? Was it applied by aerial spraying a la Vietnam?

Admiral Quigley: No, it was applied by hand.

Q: Are you aware of --

Admiral Quigley: Hand-sprayers, I should say. Sorry, go ahead.

Q: Are you aware of any cases of illness that are blamed on those activities?

Admiral Quigley: None that we are aware of, although the Korean military and the Korean government would certainly probably have better records in that regard than we.

But this was -- an issue of flying aircraft along the demilitarized zone was not something that we could do, so the application was done by hand-sprayers using South Korean military.

Q: Are the Koreans seeking reparation?

Admiral Quigley: Not that I'm aware of, no.

Q: What's the issue?

Admiral Quigley: I'm not sure. I think -- (laughter). Honestly, that's my honest answer. I think this is something that happened a long time ago that wasn't a very notable event at the time, that has now been rediscovered as an event that happened. As in so many things that happened in our history 10, 20, 50 years ago, it may not have been a very noticeable or high-profile event at the time. With the passage of time, it becomes one. I think this was not widely known up until recently because it was an issue that just had fallen off people's scopes for a long period of time, and now it's back.

Q: So we're --

Admiral Quigley: We're still trying to -- like I said, our record search on this is not perfect. We're trying to improve it. We think we've got a pretty good idea, but there are gaps.

Q: Do we know about the quantity of the agent we used?

Admiral Quigley: No, I don't.

Q: Why did you do the record search? Did Korea ask for it?

Admiral Quigley: Well, when this became an issue, we started to look around in our own records and --

Q: When did it become an issue?

Admiral Quigley: It appeared, I believe, first in the South Korean media, and I want to say a week or two ago -- recently. I'll put it that way, Pam. And just said, hey, let's take a look at this. And we are doing what we can to find those records, if we can, and kind of recreate the sequence of events during that time.

Q: It was self-initiated? Korea didn't ask you to do it?

Admiral Quigley: Not that I'm aware of, no.

Jamie?

Q: Admiral, do you know what countries the Agent Orange was used in, besides Vietnam and Korea?

Admiral Quigley: No, I don't. I'm not sure -- well, I would see what I could do on that, but I don't know if we would have a comprehensive record of that. But we'll see what we can do.

Q: Is the U.S. concerned about the development in South Korea of longer-range missile test program?

Admiral Quigley: Well, there's been two stories in the last couple of three days on Korean missile systems. And on the longer-range one, John, I just have nothing for you in that regard. It involves intelligence issues about which I just won't go into from here.

Q: No, I'm not asking you if they're developing one, I'm asking you if you are concerned that they may be developing one. (Scattered laughter.)

Admiral Quigley: We have a very good relationship with the South Korean military and the South Korean government. We work very closely together on a variety of programs.

Q: And you expect them to tell you the truth on the programs that we work cooperatively with them on?

Admiral Quigley: I think that both nations have -- certainly have a right to develop programs of their own. On programs that are developed jointly between the nations, what we see, on a practical matter, is a great deal of sharing of information back and forth on those programs.

Jamie?

Q: Regarding the recovery operations for Egypt Air 990 --

Admiral Quigley: Yeah?

Q: -- given the fact that the discovery of the cockpit voice recorders appears at least to have provided some significant information about what may have happened, is there any consideration being given at this point to ceasing recovery operations because of the depth of water, the danger that it would be required to recover any wreckage of the plane?

Admiral Quigley: Yeah, I have certainly seen those reports, Jamie.

But as we speak, the National Transportation and (sic) Safety Board has not said to us, "We no longer need the Defense Department's assets." Should they do that, of course; but we are working closely with them at their request. And so far, they have not said to us that that's no longer needed.

Q: Well, just to turn it around, have they asked you though, specifically, to prepare to go ahead to recover wreckage, or are you sort of in a holding pattern, waiting to hear what the next instructions will be?

Admiral Quigley: I guess I'd use the latter description. You have got another -- well, several days, it looks like, of really crummy weather. So you have got the assets that are there -- the recovery assets, the salvage assets are returning to port to ride out this bad weather.

If the NTSB comes to such a decision in the next several days, of course we are right there, and we'll work very closely with them. But they have made no such call yet, to the best of our knowledge.

Q: A follow-up?

Admiral Quigley: Yeah.

Q: Admiral, do you know or does the DOD know, yet, about whether they will be trying to recover the bodies of the victims of that flight? We haven't heard anything about that for some time. Do you know?

Admiral Quigley: Well again, this is something that -- as the NTSB has said, the early efforts were to get both of the black boxes -- so-called black boxes. And we are going to work very closely with the NTSB in the days ahead, to try to satisfy their needs.

Q: But you don't really know?

Admiral Quigley: Don't really know. We'll try -- our priorities will be their priorities.

Q: A quick question about the Welch report on the National Missile Defense.

Admiral Quigley: Mm-hmm. (In agreement.)

Q: It's been portrayed in media accounts as a -- sort of a cataloguing of a program in serious disarray; inadequate testing, shortages in hardware and management problems. This is one year after it was accused of being "rushing to failure." Is that an accurate reading of the report, from the Pentagon's standpoint? And what lessons have you taken away from this document?

Admiral Quigley: No, I don't think it's an accurate reading at all. We have said that this has been a very high-risk, technologically challenging program from the very beginning. We say that today. I think the Welch panel's work, we'll say that as well. And by the way, for those of you who have not had a chance to see it, it is on the Ballistic Missile Defense Office's web page, if you wish to take a read. I think it's about 40 pages long.

But this is something that we fully recognize the technological challenges involved here, but we're also very heartened by our recent successes in this regard -- the early October intercept. We believe that we are on track with the next flight test scheduled for January so that our goal is to provide a series of data and definitive test results so that a decision can be made, not earlier than next summer, on a deployment readiness review. We think we'll be ready for that.

We have always said that that is event-driven, not calendar-driven, and I think that there's much in the Welch panel work that verifies and validates a lot of that. But the program is a high-risk one. We've said that from the beginning. But we're pretty happy with where it's going right now.

Q: Were there any management shortfalls laid out in the report that were new to the Pentagon, in terms of things that they discovered, you just hadn't seen for one reason or another?

Admiral Quigley: Not -- not that I recall, but again, keep in mind this was something we asked for, okay? The program manager, due to the extensive expertise in General Welch's panel -- this was asked for specifically, and we welcome their thoughts and comments on the program.

Q: Craig, are you confident that the decision will not have to be made later than next summer because of problems with the program?

Admiral Quigley: I can't guarantee that, Charlie. That's nothing that anybody can stand here and guarantee. It is going to be test results-driven and if the program continues to develop well, then we're confident that that decision can be made not earlier, however, than the summer of 2000. But I -- boy, I just can't predict how the test program's going to go in the months ahead. It really is results-driven, not calendar-driven.

Q: So you can't rule out a delay of weeks, months, years?

Admiral Quigley: I can't rule anything in or out. It's really going to depend on what we learn and see from our testing program in the months ahead. We've got a test program that has a schedule attached to it, that will support that schedule. We'll see -- and we're confident that it's a logical, analytical approach to a very challenging engineering feat. And if that happens on that schedule, everything builds -- that that will work.

Yeah?

Q: Admiral, do you have any formal process for reviewing the report's recommendations and either adopting them, rejecting them, or -- because BMDO is not compelled to accept any of the recommendations, nor is the Pentagon --

Admiral Quigley: Well, I think BMDO put out their reaction to some of the panel's recommendations and findings late last week, Friday, I believe. And so I -- and I don't have a copy of that with me, but I have read it in the last couple of days. And I think that would answer some of your question right there. You would see recommendation and their reaction to that.

Q: But they're not really compelled to adopt of any of those?

Admiral Quigley: No, it's recommendations. The panel is -- expertise -- their expertise is sought, and they make recommendations. And then an independent evaluation and assessment of their recommendations is done, and we move on from there.

Jamie?

Q: Admiral, the Army apparently has another case in which a general is going to be demoted and forced to retire because of allegations of sexual misconduct. This comes on the heels of another case involving the -- of allegations involving the sergeant major of the Army in Europe. Have these incidents come to the attention of the secretary of Defense? And is he concerned about whether the Army is headed in the right direction?

Admiral Quigley: Certainly. On -- every one of these incidents is something that every person in the chain of command in the Defense Department takes very seriously. This is not a small thing, ever. And they're treated with -- every investigation is -- takes its time to be thorough and complete and get it right, and we'll try to do the right thing at the completion of every one of those.

Q: Are you aware of whether this case was handled any differently from the case of General Hale, who was allowed to retire before the charges were fully investigated? Were the criteria developed as a result of that case applied in this one, do you know?

Admiral Quigley: I don't know that. For that I'd have to steer you to the Army.

Q: And do you know when the Army made its final determination that this major general was going to be busted two grades?

Admiral Quigley: I don't have the specifics. I know the Army intends to make a release on that later on this afternoon, John; but I don't have that in front of me here.

Q: Can you provide anything in the way of detail regarding that case, or is the resolution --

Admiral Quigley: No, I don't have that, Chris, I'm sorry, other than I do know the Army is planning to make that release later on today.

Q: Craig, last week the New York Times on Thursday had a story talking about how Secretary Cohen complained to Israel about the potential sale to China of something called the Phalon air surveillance system, aerial surveillance system. We haven't had a briefing since then. Can you give us any guidance in terms of whether the Pentagon is engaged in an ongoing review of that potential sale?

Admiral Quigley: No. I have nothing on that. I will see what I can find on that.

Q: Will you take the question?

Admiral Quigley: Mm-hm. (Affirmative.)

Q: Thank you.

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