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Secretary Rumsfeld Remarks at the U.S./Korean Business Council Luncheon

Presenter: Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld
September 23, 2003
 Moderator:  It's an honor for us to have U.S. Secretary of Defense Don Rumsfeld with us this morning and I want to thank him for taking time out of his very busy schedule to share some thoughts with us about U.S. Korean security relationship and the two countries cooperation in addressing the North Korea situation.

 

            The tension on the peninsula is not only of grave concern from a security standpoint but also from an economic standpoint as we discussed.  The uncertainty about North Korea behavior is directly felt in the stock markets investments levels and economic growth forecast.  Secretary Rumsfeld is at the center of discussion about U.S. military footprint in Korea and how the two countries can most effective provide deterrence as they modernize and reorganize their forces to meet 21st Century needs.

 

            We look forward to hearing from him about how these efforts are proceeding and his perception of the U.S. role in Korea.  Secretary also is responsible for directing the activities of the Defense Department on the war on terrorism, which Korea has been an important ally.  Secretary Rumsfeld has a long and distinguished career, he was sworn in as the 21st Secretary of Defense on January 20th, 2001, before assuming his present post he also had served as the thirteenth Secretary of Defense, White House Chief of Staff, U.S. Ambassador to NATO, U.S. Congressman and the CEO of two Future 500 companies.

 

            Please join me in welcoming the U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld.

 

            Rumsfeld:  Thank you, thank you very much.

 

            Thank you Hank for that introduction, we certainly appreciate your taking on this important responsibility it's important to our countries relationship for sure.

 

            Mr. Joe, ladies and gentleman.  I must say that during my time in business, I was in the pharmaceutical business and we had relationships with the Republic of Korea. I was in the electronics business and we had relationships with the Republic of Korea, so I understand a bit of what this group is about and how important it is.

 

            This October the United States and the Republic of Korea celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the treaty that has really changed the course of history for the better.  Out of the devastation of that war in which both of our countries invested substantial blood and treasure, the Republic of Korea has not only survived but it has prospered and it is an impressive accomplishment.  Today I guess it's probably the 12th largest economy, a thriving democracy and unqualified success.

 

            Americans I should add are proud of the role that we have played in the success and we're certainly committed to Korea's continued security and prosperity and make no mistake those two words are inextricably linked, you cannot have prosperity without security, it simply doesn't happen there has to be an environment that's hospitable to investment, enterprise and without security that doesn't happen.

 

            I understand that before I arrived you had some discussion about the situation with North Korea - last evening, good so you're current on that.  So rather than focus on that what I will do is to comment on the current state of our military cooperation, which is very important to us as well as to Korea.

 

            What we're doing to strengthen deterrence on the Korean Peninsula and what we see in the period ahead.  Last December the ROK Defense Minister - Minister Joon and I met to initiate a process to examine the structure of the alliance and to make recommendations as to how we might improve and strengthen that for future generation.  President Bush met with President No last May to discuss the best way to accomplish our goals and I had the pleasure of meeting with Minister Lee's successor Minister Cho Young Gil in Washington last July.

 

            Together we've undertaken an important joint review of our military posture with eye towards how best to take advantage of the new technologies and capabilities and strengthen our deterrence for the 21st Century security environment.   Change is always hard, it's hard when you try to change a business, it's hard when you try to change a government bureaucracy, it's hard when you try to make adjustments in a relationship like this, so I think it's worth some time to discuss it and make sure everyone is on the same wave length.

 

            We have discussed transforming our combined forces, which is both a necessity but it's also an opportunity to modernize the alliance and adapt it to the changing security requirements of region and world and let there be know doubt we are in a new security environment.  This is a different period than the preceding period when our relationship was fashioned and put in place.  We've pledged to work together to employ new technologies and capabilities to transition to a more capable and sustainable U.S. military presence on the peninsula.

 

            This includes expanding the role of ROK Defense Forces in defense of the peninsula, relocating the U.S. Garrison at Yongsan and consolidating U.S. Forces around several key hubs.  While the size and shape of the U.S. footprint in the world and the region may evolve and in deed it will evolve not just in Northeast Asia but in Europe and elsewhere across the globe we're addressing this subject in an important way.  There certainly would be no change at all in our commitment to the defense of South Korea and just let there be no doubt about that.  Our goal is to reinforce deterrence and to position the alliance for the period ahead.

 

            We've undertaken similar steps with respect to NATO, we have adjusted Command structure there just as we've made significant changes in our U.S. Command structure and all of these things are a reflection of the fact that the 21st Century security environment is so notably different.  And by taking advantage of new technologies and capabilities now battle tested in the global war on terrorism we've improved ability to counter North Korea's advantages.  And by improving the force structure of both our countries we can reduce unnecessary burdens on both sides and invest in these improved capabilities.

 

            I also want to say that we do appreciate Korea's assistance in Afghanistan and in Iraq, it certainly demonstrates the spirit of the Korean people, they know well the value of democracy and the importance of victory over aggression and tyranny.  Like the people of Iraq and Afghanistan the people of Korea had to rebuild from war and from devastation and today you're Republic provides and excellent example of what Iraq and Afghanistan conceivable could become with patience and perseverance.

 

            We appreciate the positive role that Korea is able to play in the global security arena and the professionalism and the capabilities of Korea's Armed Forces.  As discussions between our two governments move forward we will work out the details of our new force structure arrangements for the peninsula and will incorporate new capabilities in Korea as they become available.

 

            Over the next 4 years the United States has plans to make a substantial investment in the alliance, strengthening more than 150 of our various military capabilities.  And we've been assured that Korea will compliment those investments with improved capabilities of their own, these parallel investments demonstrates not only the partnership between our two countries but also our determination to do what's necessary to ensure deterrence, security and stability on the peninsula.

 

            For 50 years the forces of the United States and in Korea have stood shoulder to shoulder in defense of peace and freedom.  We're proud of that and during those 5 decades of friendship Korea has prospered politically and economically.

 

            On my roundtable in my office I have a glass top and under that glass top is a photograph of the Korean peninsula, it's taken from a satellite at night, maybe some of you have seen it.  There are practically no lights in the North of DMZ except in Pyongyang, south of the DMZ just an energy and vitality and as represented by that electricity.  What a difference between freedom and oppression, in one the light of liberty out shines everything and in the other the darkness of the dictatorship is so obvious even from so many miles in outer space.

 

            The armistice that stopped the spread of communism in Korea was I suppose one of the first victories of the Cold War if one thinks about it, a Cold War against communism that latest most of my adult lifetime.  Throughout that long struggle many doubted that we would ever live to see the day when communism would fall but it did, it has fallen everywhere except for a few lonely outposts which in a sense crumbling by their own hands.  While the situation in North Korea sometimes looks bleak, I'm convinced that one-day freedom will come to the people of the North and light up that oppressed land with hope and with promise.

 

            When President Bush visited the DMZ in February of last year he talked about Americas vision for all the Korean people.  He said that we see a peninsula that one-day is united in commerce and in cooperation, not divided by barbed wire or fear.  Korean grandparents spending their final years with those they love, Korean children thriving not starving while an Army is fed.  Stability built on the reconciliation of it's two halves but until that day we have to continue to do what we must do, we have to build on the strong relationship between our two countries, we have to continue to strengthen security and promote peace and prosperity and we have to hope to see the people of the North brought in to the light of liberty at some point in the future.

 

            You have a critical role, Korea does in that vision, as I said when I started without security there isn't prosperity and so we have to see that the deterrent is strong, that our commitment is well understood and that our cooperative relationship is as healthy as it can be and to be healthy it simply has to evolve and change to fit this 21st Century.

 

            So I thank all of you for what you do for your respective countries and for peace in the world and I'd be delighted to respond to questions on that subject or other subjects.

 

            Q:  (Inaudible)?

 

            Rumsfeld:  I'm already happy.

 

            We are delighted with the assistance that Korea has provided and there have been some discussions it's for every other country to decide, we've got some 40 countries helping in Iraq.  One of things that amuses me - in fact I shouldn't say amuses, it kind of rankles in my head, I keep seeing on television where critics say, why does the United States go it alone in Iraq?  We're not going it alone we've got over 40 countries involved in Iraq, we've got 2 international divisions involved in Iraq, we've got all kinds of additional countries assisting in various medical assistance field hospitals and what have you and yet over and over and over again someone says why do you go it alone?   We're not going it alone we've got a very large international coalition, one country of which is Korea and as far as I can see it's up to Korea to decide the way that makes the most sense from the their standpoint to be of assistance and we appreciate it.

 

            I think that your question reflected one of the problems we face - the first part of your question.  You talked about numbers of troops.  It's understandable because people have tended to measure capability by numbers of things, people, troops, ships, guns, tanks and planes and what have you.  If had learned anything in the 21st Century that the important thing is capability, we could use one precision-guided ammunition in Afghanistan or Iraq and it would have taken 10 to approximate the lethality of that one weapon.  So the number of bombs or the number of weapons becomes less important than the capability and what we're doing we have revised our approach here and for our own military and with our relationships in NATO to a capabilities based strategy and we are focusing on those.  We're trying to get our Combatant Commanders to think not about saying I need a Division for this or an aircraft carrier for that, but to describe the capability they need and what they need to do by way of putting power on a target and have the supply system provide that, it may come from the Army, it may come from the Navy, it may come from the Air Force, it may be people, it may be things and so what we're doing is we're not approaching it as to how many soldiers for example Korean or U.S. will be involved we're approaching from the standpoint of what are the capabilities that we need to assure that we have the ability to deter North Korea from making a mistake and precipitating a crisis.

 

            And second, what kind of capabilities do we need to swiftly defeat any effort of that type and it's capabilities as opposed to number of things.  The short answer to your question - the first part of your question is, the studies are currently underway, we're talking about the things we can do by adding capabilities and what it will result in by way of numbers of things is something that will fall out but what I do know of certain knowledge is the capabilities will be strengthened because that is what we now know how to do.

 

            Questions.

 

            Q:  (Inaudible)?

 

            Rumsfeld:  I don't know that I quite agree with the top of the world idea, the reality is we do face terrorist threats we've seen that here in this city in New York and Pennsylvania on September 11th.  And you can't defend against terrorist in every place at every moment against every technique, the only way you can deal with terrorists is to recognize that because they have the advantage and you must go find them, these networks and deal with them.

 

            That task is an important one if we're going to protect innocent men, women and children from being killed 3,000 as we saw in September 11th.  It does require us to re-think how we're organizing and training and equipping, if you think about it most of the militaries of the world organized, trained and equipped to fight big Armies, big Navies and big Air Forces and that seems not to be the task at the moment.  We are able for example in the case of Iraq we were able to do that with something in the neighborhood of 100 plus thousand troops, not the 500,000 it took to extract Iraq from Kuwait 10 years ago, 5 times roughly just to move them out not even to deal with the whole country.  In Afghanistan it was you know 10, 12 thousand not large numbers and that's a reflection of the fact that how dramatically things have changed in terms of capabilities.

 

            You're right you do have to rearrange yourself we have been consistently strengthening for example our Special Operations Forces because of the distinctive tasks they can perform that tend not to be performed by the conventional Army, Navy and Air Forces.  We do have to rebalance our active and reserve force so that we have more people who do civil affairs and military police type functions and we're in the process of doing that at the present time.

 

            Our military was not designed to go out and find individual people like Saddam Hussein or Osama bin Laden or Mullah Omar that isn't what they did, that's what the FBI did or that's what the police did or that's what organizations like that did and even they have trouble and I don't know about your country but in the case of United States we've had people who have been on the FBI Most Wanted List for decades, it's just very hard to find a single human being.  So what we have to is to put pressure on the networks, put pressure on their money, make it hard for them to raise money, make it hard for them to recruit, make it hard to retain people, make it difficult to move across countries borders and transfer money and suppress their activity even if it's very difficult to find individuals but we are reshaping our military to fit more into this different environment.

 

            Questions.  Yes.

 

            Q:  (Inaudible)?

 

            Rumsfeld:  Break it into two pieces.  One the lessons from the military piece of it are extensive, we've learned a lot we did something quite unusual, we put oh I don't know 50 to 100 people at various times directly in every level of the military campaign and they're task was not to contribute to the campaign but to analyze what was taking place and what can we learn.  I received an hour and half briefing on it a couple months ago, I then scheduled a 5 hour briefing on it and then I scheduled another 1 1/2 and I've since briefed the President on it.  It is fascinating because it's one of the first times there's ever been that extensive an analysis of lessons learned in a timely fashion and there are a good many important lessons that will benefit how we organize, how we exercise, how we train, how we equip, and just one example, most wars had been fought by Armies, Navies, and Air Forces in a way that they simply de-conflicted from each other, they stayed out of each other's way.  In this one we came as close I believe as ever in history to having a truly joint war fighting capability between all of our services and the United States and our Coalition partners and the leveraging affect of that was significant, in other words the capability, the power, the lethality of what we were able to do, the precision of what we were able to do was vastly greater than the numbers involved going back to the question about how many troops or how many planes or how many ships and what have you.  Jointness created a capability that's instinctive different from previous war fights.

 

            Full stop on that and go to the post-war activity.  We started planning for the post-war period well last year the National Security Council did a whole series of analysis and preparations, the interagency process did.  At some point the Department of Defense was asked to take the lead on it and we appointed General Jay Garner and he and his team began that process, they went to Kuwait before the war even was over and were prepared to move in.  They had a plan Jerry Bremer has taken that plan and elaborated on it, it is a good plan and it is a whole series of pieces involving how to deal with oil, how to deal with water, how to deal with the humanitarian crisis, what to do about internally displaced people, what do you do about this, that and the other thing.  They have proceeded and they're doing very, very well by any ones standard if you go back and look at history in Germany or history in Japan or history with Kosovo or Bosnia or even Afghanistan the plan that's being implemented in Iraq is well ahead of anyone else in history and it is working, Jerry Bremer is doing a superb job, General Abizaid and General Sanchez are doing a superb job and this business that have critics saying there's no plan is utter nonsense, it's just not factually correct, there is a plan Jerry Bremer has given it to all of those people who keep saying there's no plan and anyone whose looked at the history and compares it will see that the Cabinet was appointed in a fraction of the time that it took in Germany, a governing council was appointed in a fraction of the time it took in Germany, the establishment of a court system, the electricity and water situation, all the universities are open, all the schools are open in the country, people in a bulk of the country are behaving in a relatively normal way. 

 

            The central section in Baghdad we've got problems and people are getting shot and killed and the reason for that is Saddam Hussein let loose something like 100,000 to 150,000 prisoners in his prisons and they're out there, they're bad people and they're criminals and if you turn loose 110,000 criminal in California which is about the same size as Iraq you'd have a problem and that's a problem.  Second we've got the remnants of the Ba'athist Party - the Saddam Hussein crowd that was benefited by his dictatorship and they still want to have a role in the thing so they're in there paying people to kill and shoot not only Americans and Coalition people but also individuals who are cooperating with the Coalition.  This is not unusual this happened in Germany after World War II, groups called the Werewolves were out shooting and attempting to stop people - Germans from cooperating with the allied forces at time.

 

            My impression is that our folks are doing a good job, it's going to be tough, they'll still be people killed and wounded which is always just a heart breaker and yet the third group that we have deal with are foreign fighters, these are terrorist coming in from other countries and we scooped up I don't know we probably got over 200 that we picked up so far and it's tough to know even how many more there may be if they range somewhere between 500 and 1,500 additional ones that we got to go out, track down and find.  But it is a tough business, it's a dangerous business but the - 90% of the people in that country are living in areas where they're being governed by local councils, city councils, village and town councils, that's unheard of - that is unheard of, we've gone from zero to 56,000 Iraqis assisting in the security of that country, that is the Army, the border patrol, the site protection people, the civil defense people, the local police.  We had none, the Army just disintegrated, they blended into the countryside and quit after our folks fought from the south up to just short of Baghdad, they disappeared so there wasn't any Army that you could work with so we've gone from zero to 56,000 plus another 14,000 are currently are recruited and in training for one of those 4 security functions.  So amazing progress has been made.

 

            Staff:  Thank you Mr. Secretary.

 

            Rumsfeld:  Thank you.

 

            {Applause}

 

            Voice:  We all are very grateful that you took your time out to talk to us from your extremely busy scheduled.  As you mentioned (inaudible) on the support of the U.S. Army stationed in Korea so we are all so grateful.  Thank you very much.

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