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Assistant Secretary Hall Media Roundtable

Presenters: Thomas F. Hall, ASD Reserve Affairs
November 19, 2002 9:30 AM EDT

STAFF: Good morning. This morning I have the distinct privilege to introduce to you Mr. Thomas F. Hall. This is just another part of our series so that you'll have the opportunity to meet some of our senior leadership.

Mr. Hall was sworn in as the fourth assistant secretary of Defense for reserve affairs on October 9th of this year. He takes over this role as the secretary's principal adviser on reserve affairs after serving nearly 34 years of continuous active duty in the United States Navy and retiring as a two-start rear admiral.

The purpose of today's meeting is really not to generate news, although everything is on the record, but please feel free to ask whatever you like.

And I'll turn it over to you, Mr. Hall.

Hall: Thank you very much. It's good to see all of you.

Happy to be here in the job. Been here five weeks, but really come to the job with a broader background than just the five weeks, doing 34 years of active service in the Navy and in the past 10 years dealing with Reserve affairs, first from four years of commanding the Naval Reserve, from '92 to '96, and then working in a Reserve association. So for the past 10 years of my life, I've been dealing with Reserve affairs, working with the great young men and women that are in our Guard and Reserve, which, as most of you know, is about 46 percent of our military.

So it's a great honor to come and to try to continue to make a difference in the lives of those young men and women that have elected to continue their service to our country in the Guard and Reserve.

And with that, we need to talk about what you want to talk about rather than what I would like to, so I open it up to any questions.

Yes?

Q: Sir, the reports that Secretary Rumsfeld would like some of the critical skills missions being performed by the Reserve components transferred into the active components; just what is the status of that, and what's your take on all that? And what critical skills are we looking at here, sir?

Hall: Well, the secretary has asked all of us to look at the broad range of initiatives that we might have to transform our armed services, and certainly the Guard and Reserve are part of that transformation, and asked us to look at what missions might be better placed in one component or another.

And let me tell you, just leading up to the answer, where I was last weekend, out with all of the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve state chairs, 50 of them, four from the territories. And I spent all weekend in St. Louis with them. And each and every one of them came to me with sort of the same question along the lines that you had and the same concerns. And they were representing the employers of the country. They're representing the families. And when their reservists that work for an employer is mobilized the first time, it's probably okay; when they're mobilized the second time, it might be okay; when they're mobilized the third time in three years running, this causes a particular problem for both the reservist, their family and the employers. And the concern is, what are we going to do? How is that going to be balanced?

And I think it's a manifestation of the fact that perhaps in -- for all the right reasons, over the past 10 years -- in fact, since we've had the total force policy -- we've looked at what missions we might place in the Guard and Reserve to save money, ones that might not be needed as much. But you know, 9/11 changed that. And when you have, let us say, civil affairs or military protection, military policemen, a large amount of them in the Reserve or Guard -- and it appears that in today's world, in the future world, they're going to be the kinds of people that are needed each year -- then you need to look at balancing, because you might need to move some of those two, just as an example. But I don't see any large-scale movement of active to Reserve, both ways. It's a rebalancing.

But the major focus is to make sure that those guardsmen and their families -- that we don't have a recruiting and retention problem in the future, because we want young men and women to continue serving their nation in the Guard and Reserve.

So that is our concern in looking at it. No decisions have been made. We're looking at it in the aspect of what we can move either way, in a very balanced way, in a transformational way.

Yes, ma'am?

Q: What are some of the challenges that you're facing in taking this position at a time when the Guard and Reserve are being activated at rates we haven't seen since the Gulf War?

Hall: Well, it's a wonderful challenge, and one of the reasons that I took the job to try to make a difference in the issues that I've spent a lot of time looking at.

And here is the real challenge. It's not necessarily the numbers of people that we have. It's not necessarily the units. The guiding principle for all of us should be that we have the right Reservist with the right equipment, the right training, at the right place, at the right time, to help make a difference in any conflict leading up to crisis. And at the same time, we worry about those reservists and guardsmen from cradle to grave. And I define "cradle" as when they join. "Grave" is all the way through and into retirement. If we take care of that and if we worry about that, then the numbers aren't as important as the aspect of taking care of them. And that's really my major -- in answer to your question, my major thing that I'm looking at, my major challenge is, how do I do that? How do I get that right reservist with that right equipment and the right training?

So that's what I'm looking at as a challenge. It's very easy to say, if you say it quite fast. But if you stop and think about it just for a moment, that's a very delicate balance.

I don't think we have major problems in that area. I think our planners over the past 10 years have done a good job, but we need to balance around the edges. That's the message I'm getting, and that's what I'm looking at. And along those lines, I've developed a priority list of top 10 things, which we can get to you if you'd like, of the things that I'm going to be looking at over the next few months of my term.

Q: This is really more than 10 years, going back to the Gulf War, of the Reserve components being used in a way that 20 years ago who would have thought, and I think many people have been surprised and most impressed with the fidelity of not only the members themselves but the employers and the support.

Do you see any leading indicators of the type of problem that you described anecdotally? I mean, are they segments of specialties within the Reserve component community where the problems we all expected to see 10 years ago are in fact starting to show up, or there's leading indicators that geez, this is what we've really got to get to right now? Anything, like, anyway you can subdivide the general problem?

Hall: Well, since I'm a little older, as you can see from my gray hair, I go back to that time frame from actually 1963 and through the '70s, when we had the total force concept by Melvin Laird, and also that Creighton Abrams said we should always use our Guard and Reserve to go to war. So we took those as principles in the '70s. And I came along in the '90s, and I went to see about 60,000 reservists that work for me in 300 sites along the way in my four years. And I asked them those kinds of questions; of what are the factors impinged on you? What are the warning signs? Are we going to have recruiting and retention problems because of this use of individual specialties?

Now, the facts will say much to -- well, not much to our surprise, but to the surprise of some, that after Desert Storm and Desert Shield, we're going to have a whole-scale exodus of our guardsmen and our reservists; because they were called up, they hadn't really bought into this, they didn't think they were going to buy into it, but in fact, we were wrong. And in the Naval Reserves that I commanded, the recruiting and retention continued along, we generally met our goals, and what I can tell you is for the past year that you might already know is that the -- both the active and Reserve met their retention and their recruiting goals. So, so far some of the fears, while we need to worry about them, have not been founded, in fact, in seeing a large exodus either way.

That isn't to say that if we're going to have a war on terrorism that goes on for 10 or 20 or 30 years, and our president has certainly said that; it is a new world, and it is different. And those force protection, civil affairs, and those others, which today will probably be called more and more, it's a little bit different than the time frame that you're talking about, and I'm worried about that.

And we've got to watch those indicators, and it's sort of like flying that I did for 34 years. If you're coming down to an altitude, you don't start your level off when you reach the altitude. You have to start beforehand or you'll go right through it, and you'll discover you have the problems when you're through your level-off altitude, so you have to start ahead of time. I hope that answers your question along those lines.

Yes, sir?

Q: Can you tell us where you are in your planning for a major mobilization, an additional mobilization in preparation for a possible conflict in Iraq?

Hall: Well, no decisions have been made to go to Iraq; no decisions have been made for mobilizations for that. Where I am and in the process is looking at and following what the president has said. This is a long-term war; this is not a short-term one. We have to look at such things as replacing the young men and women that we have on active duty today. So that's my focus. We have about 51,000 people that are still on active duty in the war on terrorism. As we go into the second year, we need to look at replacing them to ensure that unless people want to be a volunteer, they don't go into the second year, although we will have to do some limited amount.

So my focus right now is worrying about the long term; replacing the people who have been on duty for an active -- for a year and into the second year. And then, at the same time, preparing for any contingencies that we're called upon -- Iraq or anywhere else. But the decision has not been made. So we are merely preparing, along with the active duty, on the Reserve side to meet any contingency.

Q: Well, I understand that no decision has been made, but what I'm asking is, where are you in the planning? Is there a list of units that's already been drawn up, some people have been already told that they're likely to be called up or in fact will be called up? Or is there any preliminary action been taken?

Hall: There are no preliminary lists, and those kinds of things for release. We're continuing to look at all the contingencies and continue to prepare. But there are no such lists that I have to give to you.

Yes, sir?

Q: You say no decisions have been made. But people we talk with in this building say, for example, that Army numbers look about 117,000, 178,000 Guard and Reserve call-up, should the decision be made to go into Iraq. Does that sound about right?

Hall: Well, the answer is that the decision has not been made, and we're looking at a full range of options, and the numbers will fall out where they do. And again, I don't focus as much on numbers -- and I know it would be nice if we could provide those numbers. What I worry about is, again, that we have those right Reservists and the right skills, and be that 1,000, 10,000 or 100,000, that is my focus on the full range of options. So we just -- we do not have those kind of numbers to give to you.

Q: Will you at least allow that we're looking at significant call-ups?

Hall: Well, we'll look at the necessary call-ups to meet whatever contingency. Since we have made no decision to go into Iraq, if the decision were never have to go, the numbers might be quite small. So it's just premature to look at that.

Q: Let me just ask you one other thing. Are you concerned that you might have to call up the same people that you called up after 9/11, people who may have gone back to their homes and jobs two months ago, you'd be turning around in maybe one or two months to say it's time to come back again?

Hall: I'm certainly concerned about that. And the earlier question is what I consider a major challenge. If we have those people that are always going to be called up each time, then that's going to impact on recruiting and retention, and we might have to rebalance by moving those people over to the active side and moving some people the other way.

So yes, that's a major issue and concern because those young men and women have lives; they have civilian jobs. And you know where it's the biggest problem, is not for very large companies, it's for people that have a practice, or small businessman where he only employs three people and you take two of them. And in St. Louis, that's what -- they came up to me and they said it's not for a huge company along the way, it's for wee companies that have only a few employees, and also a practice -- a doctor or a lawyer. Many of them came up and said, "You know, if you take off a year from your practice as a doctor, all of your patients will go to someone else."

So you hit upon, and that's a key concern and worry of mine.

I'll come back over here. You've had one question. We want to get the one over here.

Q: What kind of a time line are we talking about, if an order does come to mobilize, until you are mobilized?

Hall: Well, certainly we have as a policy, and what we try to do is always give a 30-day notification, if we can, to employers and to the young men and women, to allow them to get their personal affairs together. So all I can say at this point is we try to give as much notification. We have a policy which is 30 days. Naturally, if we had a crisis, we could go below that.

But we've learned that the longer we can give -- and another message employers told me: "It's not as much that we don't want the person to go if they're a school teacher, it's that we've got to replace them. If you can tell me two months or three months ahead, I can get another teacher in there. What is the real problem -- when you tell me that you're going to take my teacher in two days and I have to get another teacher in the school room."

So I think that's what they're focusing on. We try for 30 days or more; try for as much time as we can.

Yes?

Q: With the increasing reliance on Reservists, particularly for the Afghan operation, there's been discussion of improving the compensation package for Reservists. And one of the initiatives that many of them are most interested in is reducing the retirement age from 60, when it starts now, to something like 55. There have been some pieces of legislation to that effect on Capitol Hill. But I think I also heard Secretary Rumsfeld say that the trend of lowering retirement ages with people aging -- living longer lives doesn't make sense to him.

Has that been ruled out by the Pentagon or is that still being looked at?

Hall: Well, I certainly would concur with the secretary on that. (Chuckles.)

But let me not make light and answer the question, because I've thought a lot about this. And you will note on my top 10 issues that I have, which we can provide to you, pay and compensation is right in there, in a broader sense.

I've thought a lot about the 55 retirement, and here's how I see it, for right or wrong. In fact, one of the issues that we want -- and it's also the same thing in the civilian world -- is to keep people longer. People are healthier. They're very productive. And most companies would not want between 50 and 60 or 55 and 60 to get rid of people, because they're very productive, at the top of their game. They're right where you need them. So you don't want to encourage them, necessarily, to retire. So the trend in America, in the armed forces as well as civilian world, is to keep people longer.

And the real issue with looking at 55 or 50 or 52 is annuitizing the retirement fund and have you set aside the money for that. We plan for retirement at 60 or 62, on the active side. We set aside retirement funds. Much like Social Security, the fund is there. If you suddenly on day one say the issue is now 55, some of the figures -- and these might not be exactly, but there are about 92,000 reservists between that 55 and 60, of which is there is over 50,000 that are immediately available to receive the retirement -- how much is that going to cost? I've seen figures up to $200 million, escalating in the out years. So where would that money come from? Would it come out of, in fact, other entitlements and benefits and equipment out of the Defense Department budget? And so while you're helping one group, you might be disadvantaging another.

So it's an issue of money, but it's also an issue of balancing, because what I certainly wanted when I commanded the Reserve, and what others -- is to keep the people in those very productive years. So how we do that -- that debate will continue within Congress. And I think the real answer is, we're looking at to see how we can pay for it and is it the right thing to do.

Q: Can I just follow up?

Hall: Certainly.

Q: It really doesn't make any difference -- these people, whether they are working actively at 55 to 60, it makes no difference for this issue, because we're talking about whether they're just going to get their annuities or not get their annuities. They're not in the force. They're gray-area retirees. So you're looking at the issue, but do you already embrace the secretary's position, which seemed to be that it's too expensive and why have people retire at 55 versus 60?

Hall: Well, I endorse the position that it's probably going to be expensive, and that we'd like to keep the people longer, between 55 and 60.

Q: Sir, one of the problems with the mobilization of your reservists in the war on terror is that a lot of the folks that you're doing for force protection come out of the local law enforcement community. So you're kind of -- it's kind of a "robbing Peter to pay Paul" situation. You're taking the cops from small-town police stations, you know, to send them overseas. Has that become a particular problem? Are you getting complaints from the mayors and those folks that you're taking away, you know, their policemen? And is there a solution to that?

Hall: I think that's going to be a very major issue for the Department of Homeland Security, for the assistant secretary of Defense for homeland security if that is approved, and which it would -- has been and the person in there to look at that very question because, you know, an individual told me the other day -- and I had not heard it this way -- that up until 9/11, in the sense of a football, we've been playing away games; we're now playing home games. We've been used to structuring our forces throughout the time to think it's going to be an away game; now it is a home game. And in that home game you have the very people -- not just the law enforcement, but you have the fire people, you have all of the emergency techs, you have ambulance drivers. You have all the same people that are critical within communities that might also be guardsmen and reservists.

So within the context of homeland security, we have got to take a real hard look at that to see the percentage of people that are dual tasked to make sure that in communities, for instance, in the sheriff's department that has only three people in it, and if two of the people are in the Guard, then that leaves that community in extremis. And whether those people would be exempt or whether they ought to be in another status or you ought to structure them a different way is something we've got to look at because that message is coming across loud and clear to me from America that that is one of their major concerns in those communities. And I discussed that with those employers in St. Louis.

Yes, sir?

Q: The president has said many times that should it become necessary to take military action in Iraq, we need to be ready to go. In terms of that 30-day notification, does that become a problem? I mean, do you just have to automatically add 30 days to the time the president makes a decision to the time that you have a total force mobilization? You also mentioned that you could shorten that. And would this be a crisis situation?

Hall: I think the true answer is zero to 30 days. I think that's a true answer because we try to have it as a goal but the real answer could be zero because in a crisis or when the nation or the president needs the forces, the answer might be zero days. But what makes a lot of sense other than immediate crisis or a bolt out of the blue are the people that we have to replace on a continuing basis, because this war on terrorism is going to go on for many, many years. We might have other crises, be it Iraq, but we are going to have people involved for many years. And when we need to replace them, we ought to be able to plan ahead and say six months from now and give them as much notification. So that's what we're working on in that area. But I think don't think in anyone's mind is anything except that if it has to be zero and we call them up and say "Report tomorrow," we will do that.

Sir?

Q: On civil affairs, obviously there's a fair amount going on in Afghanistan, and the Afghans would certainly like a lot more. If there is a war in Iraq, civil affairs would obviously be a large part of that. Many of the countries that we are involved with in fighting terrorism certainly would like more civil affairs work from the U.S.

We're told that the military can fight a two-front war. How much civil affairs can you handle simultaneously?

Hall: Probably the answer is we don't have enough civil affairs in both the active and Reserve side. And here is the problem; the people that are experts in civil affairs, in either nation- building or policing functions, are people that do a lot of that in their private life, and they're the ones that join the Reserve. Thus, it made good reason to structure a large amount of that within the Reserve because you could draw from the civilian communities people that have those skills. To structure a large amount on active duty, it's harder because you don't have the skill sets to draw from.

But my personal view is we probably don't have enough in either the active and Reserve. So moving it wholescale over to the active, or moving it either way might not be the answer. We probably need to grow and figure out a way to get more people with the civil affairs expertise on both the active and Reserve side.

Q: How are you doing in retaining and attracting those kind of highly skilled people?

Hall: So far, those kind of people have not left in great numbers. And so far, even though they've been activated a number of times, the retention goals have been made. But, you know, as I said, how about the second activation, how about the third, and how about the fourth, and how about the next 10 years? And I think that's something we really have to watch. So far, the experience has not revealed that they have left in wholescale numbers.

Q: Well, what about attracting them? Are you attracting them at the rate you'd like?

Hall: They're meeting their -- they're meeting their retention -- or recruiting goals, as far as I know, in the Army. We certainly can check on that to see if there are any shortfalls there. But I believe we've been able to man those groups presently. And we can check on that for you.

Yes, sir?

Q: You mentioned the 51,000 people called up right now. Barring any actions in Iraq, do you expect that number to stay steady, or will it be gradually decreasing over the next year?

Hall: Well, it's been gradually decreasing. You know, the maximum number was almost 100,000 -- 90-some (thousand), and it's come down. I think the real answer to that is what is the steady state requirements of a world going to look like? And is the world we live in today going to be one with rogue nations and the kinds of people that continue to put pressure upon us, or will we finally win, to a degree, the war on terrorism and be able to reduce those numbers. They have been coming down, I watch them all the time; just in my time here they've probably come down about 10,000. I think they will reach a steady state, which is a steady state defined on the nature of the world to meet the continued threat. I don't know what that steady state is, but that glide slope in now what, 14 months from 9/11, has gone from about 100,000 to 51,000.

Yes?

Q: Has training become an issue with the increased mobilizations? I know particularly in the Reserve components, commanders never have enough time with their soldiers or service members; they never have enough money to train. So then you add the burden of more mobilizations, how is that impacting on the training level across the Reserve components?

Hall: Well, we've got to be a lot more innovative. And when I took over the Naval Reserve, I used to go to the drill deck, and people would be reading manuals on the drill deck during their time. And my question is, why aren't we using distance learning? Why aren't we using simulators? Why aren't we using new kinds of techniques to get the training there quicker? And I think we're going to have to be more innovative in our training; training is always an issue.

And the way we can do that is to figure out how on drills and normal periods we do the kinds of training that people will need either on a daily basis or in mobilization. And I think in many cases, we've done training which we thought was important, but it wasn't necessarily pointing towards them being ready when we need to call them. So all of the services are taking a look at their training matrixes; what is required, how can they use more distance learning and more techniques to cut down any training timelines. Because you obviously don't want to call somebody up and have to spend a year training them; that's way outside the boundaries. So I sense that all services are looking at ways to cut that timeline down, get the training done during normal kinds of drills and necessary skill sets to make the Reserves and guardsmen ready to go.

Yes, sir?

Q: You said you wanted to give people as much time as possible, and so forth, and maybe for some of the cops and the teachers 30 days might not be enough. Why wouldn't you go to some of the units you think you may call up now and say, listen, no decision's been made but, you know, you may be called; there's a high likelihood you would be called? I would assume you must have some general sense of which units you would be calling up. Why not go in a little early on and say, again, no decision's been made, but you maybe should be prepared, so everyone can sort of get their lives in order, or the principal can think about contingency plans, or the mayor for the cops, and so forth.

Hall: That can be done, but it's kind of a trade-off, and I throw this over to you, that if --

Q: (Off mike.)

Hall: -- it can be done. And if you elect to do that, then are you giving potential enemies and others advance information of what you're going to do? Are you also unnecessarily alerting people that they might be mobilized, and will they take actions, although you tell them not to -- "Don't sell your house, don't quit your day job, don't do this" -- and then it turns out that they aren't called up. In order to do it correctly, you need to know the nature of the conflict, perhaps when it's going to occur and what the crisis is going to be. It's a very delicate balance.

And let me tell you what -- my ideas and what we need to do. We need to move that time line of notification as far out as we can. And if that involves saying to them, "You might be the kind of unit," giving them advance notice, but at the same time not creating in their lives things that they do -- and we have had people quit their job, sell their house and say, "I was told, and I never was called up." And so it's a very delicate process.

If I were a reservist, I certainly would want to know as long ahead as I could that I were perhaps going to be mobilized. So it's balancing between those two ends.

Q: Is that something you're considering?

Hall: Well, I certainly will look at that and see how we could do that within the parameters that I told you of not unnecessarily notifying people, giving away advance plans. It's something that we are looking at.

Q: You know, the enemy might be alerted by the fact that CENTCOM is moving headquarters to the region --

Hall: Yes.

Q: -- 5th Corps moving headquarters down, ships moving from the East Coast to elsewhere and --

Hall: Sure. It's something we're looking at.

I want to make sure that I've -- I'll come back to everybody here and I'll stay a while -- but to get everyone who hasn't had a question.

Q: Can you tell us what percentage of the reservists who aren't already deployed have received some protection or vaccinations against anthrax, given that it's a six-shot series that takes some time to do?

Hall: I can't tell you that. We'll try to get that for -- I don't have those figures, and I don't have those percentages [The Department of Defense policy is to immunize military personnel, Emergency-Essential DoD civilians and contractor personnel, assigned to or deployed for more than 15 days in higher threat areas whose performance is essential for certain mission critical capabilities.].

Q: But that's part of this whole lead time approach --

Hall: Right.

Q: -- where you don't want to deploy people to theater who might not be fully inoculated, right?

Hall: That's -- and again, I don't have those figures, and I can't give them to you if I don't have them. We'll try to do that now.

Q: Okay. Thank you.

Hall: Let me see. Yes, sir?

Q: Of the 51,000 that are now called up, how many of them are in their second year? And what's been the reaction of those folks who are in their second year?

Hall: I think the figure's about 4,000 [figure is fluid and constantly changing. The goal of the secretary is to ensure the most prudent and judicious use of our Reserve Forces]. We can --

Q: Of all 4,000 --

Hall: We can refine that a little bit for you. And what we tried to do is make as many volunteers as we could.

Now the problem with volunteers is, obviously, you would like to have that. But if you need a unit, and you get volunteers from five units to make up one unit, then you've sort of hurt the readiness of those five units. So while "volunteers" sounds very good and we endorse it and we want to, you have to look at unit structure and your ability to perform. So in many cases the people that volunteer might not be the ones you want to.

But I think we've been very successful. The percentages of involuntary have been very small. We can get you those exact numbers. But that's sort of the scale that it's on. So I think it's a success story.

And the other thing that I have as a real guiding principle, and I'd like to tell you -- and I've asked people to do this and it sounds very good -- but we should never have one more reservist on active duty than we need, but we should not have one less. And, you know, that's really honing it down, but that's the principle I've put out, certainly, to my staff and everyone, let's hone in on that because on either way, we don't need to have an insatiable appetite for reservists and have more, but we don't need to have less than we have to to do the job, be militarily ready and not hazard those reservists. So I'm trying to get that narrowed down to about that one person that is one less or one more than we need.

Yes?

Q: Sir, are there some of the Reserve components that you would like to see more heavily engaged or more involved, to perhaps spread the load and take some of the pressure off those components who have been traditionally busy for the last 10 or so years?

Hall: Well, I mentioned to you civil affairs and MPs and those kinds of people are the ones that come to mind that we're looking at that are heavily involved that we have to take and rebalancing. Is that what you're asking?

Q: No, sir. I'm talking about perhaps are there things that -- I'll get killed for this, but are there things that the Navy or the Marine Reserves could do that the National Guard has been traditionally doing? Are you looking at that right now?

Hall: That's a very good question because I think in this entire equation, what we've got to look at is the jointness. And, you know, we've had jointness for a long time, and Goldwater-Nichols has sort of formalized a lot of that. And we talk about that a lot on the active duty side. But the question I have is, are we as joint on the Reserve and Guard side? Can the Reserve and Guard support each other in a joint sense? Can they help each other with their missions? And are we truly as joint on that side as we hope to be on the active side? And the answer is probably no, we're not.

So I think we should look at such things as continental air defense and on strip alert. Is that strictly an Air Force Guard mission, or are there naval aircraft that could do that, Marine aircraft? We need to look at it in a very joint sense, and that's one example of our continental air defense; do we have forces that could, from all services, participate in that and help relieve tempo? So that would be something that is a question to ask. I'm not saying we would do that, but I agree with you, and it's a matter of jointness and helping each other out.

Yes, sir?

Q: I guess to tag a little to that question, in light of after 9/11 deployments and call-ups and domestic use of troops, what do you see happening -- what did you learn from that? What do you see happening different, if there are additional call-ups for that kind of thing, for internal protection, with the Northern Command coming on, do you see anything differently? Do you see reacting differently?

Hall: I was not here for that whole time, so I'm talking on five weeks experience. So there are people that could probably answer that better. And I think the answer is that -- is one of the reasons Northern Command was created, as a command that could look at homeland defense, could participate with other foreign agents -- with other agencies, from the FBI to federal agents, see how we integrate the DOD portion. Because you know, it's not just the DOD mission, we have all of the other agencies that are responsible, and the DOD plays a part in that as someone determines.

So I think the Northern Command, as a major task, will be looking at the kinds of DOD requirements that are in homeland defense, that are embedded into that; how are they best provided, how does that communications occur, and how is that coordinated with all of the other agencies that play in that process. So I would say as we examine that -- the IOC, the Initial Operating Capability, of Northern Command was 1 October, and as they develop further into their mission, I think that will be a major thing they will take a look at.

Yes, sir?

Q: We've been getting the bi-weekly [weekly]Blue Tops about the number of Guard and Reserve, the kind of people called up. My recollection is that that's a rolling number; in other words, the total number involved over the whole 14, 15 months, is larger than whatever the peak number was -- 80-something (thousand).

Hall: Yes.

Q: Do you happen to know what the total number of folks that for some period of time have been activated during that -- this --

Hall: Well, you'd have to use all the ones that were replaced, and I don't have that. What I gave was the maximum number of about 90 (thousand), and then what we have today. But we could certainly get the numbers because as they're replaced, you ultimately get a total. And I don't know what that would be; it would be interesting. We can get you that [to date, since September 14, 2001, approximately 130,000 reservists have been mobilized in support of the partial mobilization].

Q: What is the range of reservists that you're now looking at that could shift over back into active duty?

Hall: We haven't really looked at that. And it's an issue of not numbers, it's an issue of missions, and that's what we really need to focus on: What mission areas are -- perhaps could be better placed in active or in Guard? And then with mission numbers -- because, you know, sometimes there's a vital mission, but it only has a very few people in it. Mortuary Affairs -- we hope we never have to use Mortuary Affairs. We have most of those within the Guard and Reserve, and it's a very small number, but it is an entire mission area, and the question would be, would you have more of that in the active -- and it's an area that you never want to have to use -- but it's a mission area with small numbers. Now in some cases, the mission area could have rather large numbers. So I think we have to look at that question and then see how many numbers are in involved once the mission --

Q: What are the mission areas you're looking at? Civil affairs, for instance?

Hall: You know, I've looked at the civil affairs, looking at -- and we will look at force protection issues of Military Police. And actually, the real answer, is look -- and the secretary's challenged us to look at all mission areas. Look at everything the active does, look at the Reserve, ask the question: Is it properly in balance, or out of balance? And nothing is really off-limits. And he's challenged us to look at the full range of missions.

Q: Has he given you a deadline to get back to him on that?

Hall: Oh, it's continuing to be a work in progress, and an aggressive one.

Q: Are you looking at trading missions between the active and the reserves, or changing actual force mixes, you know, between the numbers of active duty, about 1.4 million, and the numbers of reservists?

Hall: Both. Both looking at -- in both ends of it. And I think that's the way we have to analytically and with metrics look at it in both areas.

Q: So it could in fact be an increase in the number of active forces and a decrease in the number of reserves, or vice versa, depending on Congress?

Hall: Well, in my view, if it were the right thing to do, it added value and made sense, we ought to do it. But we shouldn't do change for change's sake. And that's the criteria I place on those type of decisions, and that's my personal metric that when I look at something.

Other questions?

Q: We should give you a chance to run through your 10 priorities. You've mentioned them, and we've never asked about them.

Hall: We can provide you those. We covered most of them. Their pay, and their training, and their equipment, and their facilities, their mission areas and we can go right down those. And you've actually asked me about most of them. And they're no surprise, because those are what people are interested in; what our young guardsmen and reservists certainly are interested in from me while I --

Any other questions? I'll just perhaps close, and -- yes?

Q: There's always been a kind of running debate about the whole issue of the so-called combat divisions within the National Guard. And I'm wondering, do you have a view on whether these are still realistic to keep these? You know, they cost a lot of money to maintain. Or, are you looking at -- is that part of your overall review of -- (off mike).

Hall: That's been a long-term issue, as you know as you've covered it, and what I can tell you is the Army and the Army Guard are looking at that very issue right now to look at combat support, armor and those other things to see if that's in balance. So that has been underway for many years, it's a very active part of this and it will be an active part of this process as they look at it.

Any other final ones?

Q: Thank you.

Hall: I'd like to have one more, and then I --

Q: Getting back to the anthrax issue; how much have you been hurt by the refusal of particularly Guard and Reserve pilots to take the anthrax vaccine? How much did that decrease the number of pilots? And do you see that problem coming up again, should you have to go to Iraq?

Hall: We have not been hurt by that, to my knowledge. And what I would tell you is I certainly consider -- I'm a pilot. Flew for 30 years. I consider the policies that the government has for that to be very sound, have been looked into thoroughly. And if I were asked today as a pilot, I would take the anthrax without any hesitation whatsoever. So I'm confident that we're developing the right policies. I don't think we have been hurt by that, and we'll see how that develops.

Q: The number of how many pilots refused to take it?

Hall: We can get you those numbers. I don't have that because, again, that has not come up during my five weeks. [Data from the Defense Manpower Data Center (DMDC) shows pilot separations before beginning the AVIP in 1998 are similar to the rates during the time period questioned]. Occurred before my time.

Well, thank you very much. I'll just tell you we have a strong Guard and Reserve. The people I talk to out there, not a single one of those reservists does it for the money, and the Guard. I never found one of them. They like the paycheck like we all do and you do, but they're doing it because they want to serve their country. And I'm proud to be back with them.

And thank you all very much. And I look forward to further sessions. Good questions, and questions that are on my mind and yours. Thank you very much.