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Transcript : DoD News Briefing : Captain Mike Doubleday, DATSD PA

Presenters: Captain Mike Doubleday, DATSD PA
February 08, 1996 2:00 PM EDT

Thursday, February 8, 1996 - 2:00 p.m.

Captain Doubleday: Good afternoon.

I have no announcements to make this afternoon, so I'll try and answer any questions you may have.

Q: I think the White House said the Pentagon study on B-2 munitions, on bomber munitions, is going to be expanded now to possibly include platforms, expanding platforms, so that there is a possibility that eventually down the road they could be built to...

A: That is basically what we have. I think the key point here is that this study, which is a follow-on study to the earlier one that was conducted by Dr. Kaminski on heavy bombers, is presently underway. The phase we're in at this point is to evaluate the different combinations and quantities of deep attack capabilities to ensure we have the most cost effective and operationally sound force. What we hope to come up with in this process is first, to develop models and metrics and use them to measure and compare the operational effectiveness of deep strike packages, the cost effectiveness of various weapon mixes, and do kind of a force inventory analysis. Then once that is completed, the Defense Science Board looks at all of that, does a check on the processes and the procedures and the analysis that has been followed up to that point. Then what we will do at that point is to take into consideration some of the concerns expressed by Congress so that we look at the mix of precision munitions, reduced vulnerability provided by standoff weapons, the increasingly timely intelligence that we're able to provide to the operational forces, advanced command and control. And as we put all that together, to come up with essentially the most effective program that we can.

This kind of analysis, I should point out, is nothing new. This kind of analysis goes into the formulation of any program you put together. What we're doing here is attempting to put together the most effective programs out to the year 2014, and that will focus on three different time frames -- 1998, 2006, and 2014.

Q: Just to follow up briefly, you've used terms like models and metrics, analysis mix, precision emissions, standoff weapons, command and control. I guess what I'm asking you to say is, the Pentagon has said before you didn't need more long range bombers. What you needed to do is improve the capability of those bombers with weapons like better cruise missiles, that kind of thing. What you're going to do now in expanding this study is go back and revisit the possibility of advanced weapons, including perhaps more bombers.

A: That's correct. Take a look at the bomber force, the shorter range tactical aircraft, and the munitions that we now have in our inventory and that we project to have in our inventory at those three different time frames, and put together the most effective program that we possibly can develop, based on this analysis that will be put together in the first part of the study.

Q: Based on past statements here at the Pentagon, the Pentagon needed no more than 20 of the B-2 bombers. How would you characterize official reaction here to the fact that the White House left the door open today to a possibility of contravening or overturning that position?

A: I think the reaction here is that we always want to look at the most cost effective mix of platforms and munitions, and we had already undertaken an analysis which would lead to a formulation of the most effective program, and certainly this is not contrary to that thinking.

Q: Can you tell us who will head up this expanded analysis?

A: The analysis is actually being done by the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Technology, Dr. Paul Kaminski. Also, the Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Right now Admiral Owens. On the first of March, you know Admiral Owens will be relieved by General Ralston, so he will be a part of this study as it proceeds over the course of the next year.

Q: What was the cost of the previous study that concluded that no additional B-2s were needed, and how much more will the new study cost now that it's been expanded to look at some new areas?

A: I can't give you a projection of the new study, but I can tell you that the previous study, and actually there have been a number of studies. I'll highlight two of those. The first one was the congressionally mandated FY95 Heavy Bomber Study which cost $3.5 million. Then there was a subsequent study called the Heavy Bomber Industrial Capabilities Study which was completed for about a million dollars. Congress had appropriated $5 million, so they came in slightly under budget on those.

Q: Within a dollar or two or a nickel or quarter or such, how much of that $493 million will be earmarked for California? Any idea?

A: I cannot at this point project that for you.

Q: Can you tell us what that money specifically will buy? The White House said it would go to modification, upgrades, components. What specifically in sort of layman's terms will be done to the existing B-2s to make them better?

A: I can't really at this point lay out for you exactly how the money is going to be spent, except to say that what we intend to do, of course, is to make this force of 20 bombers the most effective force that it can be, and that includes upgrading the entire force to the Block 30 configuration, which is essentially the most effective standard of that B-2 aircraft.

Q: What does the Block 30 do that the previous ones didn't? Better targeting, better...

A: It has a range of more effective capabilities and other... Frankly, I cannot get into too much detail on exactly what is going to be done here, primarily because some aspects of it are classified. As you know, it's a stealthy aircraft. Let me just leave it to say it will be the most effective long range bomber that it can possibly be.

Q: When will the study end?

A: We don't anticipate that the study will be completed until the early part of 1997.

Q: That doesn't change the plan that you all were going to upgrade all of them to Block 30 anyway, right?

A: This enables us, because I think if you heard the discussions that just preceded this brief by Bob Bell, he indicated that essentially what had happened here recently there was a cap taken off of what the $493 million could be spent on. This just enables that to occur more rapidly.

Q: My point is, [they] said they were going to be upgraded to Block 30 as of yesterday. This doesn't change that, does it?

A: I will have to check for you on that. My understanding is that yes, indeed, they all were going to be upgraded, but I can't tell you the time frame in which that was going to occur.

Q: Does this study include examining tradeoffs between the bombers and the aircraft carrier fleet?

A: Yes, but it's just not bombers and aircraft carrier fleet, it's the whole range. It's the business of looking at aircraft carriers and the mix of aircraft carriers, bombers, shorter range tactical aircraft, cruise missiles, all of the weapons platforms and munitions that we have at our disposal.

Q: Is it possible that while the study could say buy more B-2s, it could also say buy more carriers?

A: We are not, at this point, predicting what the outcome of the study would be. But the whole range of possibilities is open.

Q: Wasn't all this considered at one point or another during the two previous bomber studies? Wasn't the entire package looked at when you're looking at the need for long range bombers?

A: I'm not sure I understand your question.

Q: During the bomber study didn't they also take into account the...

A: They didn't take into account tactical aircraft in the earlier studies.

Q: They didn't...

A: It was strictly a heavy bomber study.

Q: None of this was even considered during the course of those studies?

A: None of what was considered?

Q: The role of aircraft carriers and tactical fighters and cruise missiles.

A: The earlier study was strictly focused on heavy bombers. It was not the kind of analysis that we're undertaking in this study, which is essentially to look at the total mix and to see what tradeoffs might be possible because of, as I mentioned before, increased capabilities of munitions, the precision of the munitions, and factoring in the aspect of better intelligence and better command and control.

Q: As of today, is it still the position of the Pentagon that it needs no more than 20 B-2 bombers?

A: It is the position not only of the Pentagon, but of the Administration that 20 of the B-2s is the right number.

Q: You don't need any more.

Q: Why not stop the ongoing study now to include study of the bombers...

A: Because first we want to develop the models and the metrics. This is essentially a procedural part of the study that will be validated by the Defense Science Board, and then we will proceed to do the kind of tradeoff analysis that will come in the second part of the study.

Q: On the same subject, if you're undertaking such a comprehensive study of all of these platforms, do you think, does the Pentagon think, or how can you avoid thinking, that maybe it's now time for another bottom-up review? This essentially opens the door to that. How can it not?

A: We're not proposing to do another bottom-up review. What we're looking at here is just the types of weapons that we have, the types of munitions that we have, the platforms to deliver the munitions, and how we can most effectively build a program which meets our defense needs at those three gates.

Q: When you say build a program, what I don't understand is, are you talking... What would the recommendations exactly be? Would they not be numbers of platforms, numbers of munitions, size of the program? What are the types of recommendations that will be in the study in terms of the categories?

A: Say that one more time.

Q: If you're going to look at types of weapons, types of munitions, and types of platforms, are you also seeking recommendations on the numbers that you should buy of weapons, munitions and platforms? Or are you strictly looking at doctrine?

A: No, I think we'll get into the correct mix, which would include some indication of the numbers that we should have.

Q: Is that not a bottom-up review?

A: I don't consider it a bottom-up review. We're looking specifically at this mix of long range bombers, of tactical aircraft, of the munitions that those platforms can deliver. I don't believe that we consider this a bottom-up review.

Q: Will you specifically seek a number of how many aircraft carriers you think the United States should have? Will that be one of the recommendations you want to see?

A: I don't think necessarily that we're going to come up with a revised number of aircraft carriers. Is that what you're asking?

Q: The current number. Are you looking...

A: The study will certainly get into looking at aircraft carriers and the tactical aircraft that fly off those carriers. Will it change numbers? Unknown at this point.

Q: Nobody over at the White House was concerned enough to ask, but does this in any way -- they might have on background but not on the record. Does this in any way affect or is it designed to affect the election in California or jobs? Given that Grumman is based in California. Is this in any way connected to the election in California? This study.

A: I think if you look at when the outcome of the study is going to be delivered, I don't see how you can come to the conclusion that it will affect votes out there.

Q: Except that no final decision has been made on whether you'll have more B-2 bombers. You say don't want any more than 20 B-2 bombers, but you're studying the possibility of having more.

A: We are studying the most cost effective mix of platforms and munitions for our programs in the out-years.

Q: Which includes the possibility of more B-2 bombers.

A: The thing about it is, Charlie, I want to emphasize that this study was already underway, and that this kind of analysis precedes any kind of program that you put together on what your weapons and munitions programs are going to look like.

Q: Is leaving open the door to more B-2 bombers, leaving the door open to more B-2 bombers in any way connected with the election or votes -- jobs in California?

A: I cannot answer your question. All I can do is point out that the decision on this, that the report will not come in until early 1997.

Q: Change of subject?

A: Yeah.

Q: This may sound like a little bit of a mini-speech, but bear with me. The prelude is necessary.

It's been almost a week now since Sergeant First Class Donald Dugan was killed in Bosnia, and earlier this week we were told by some of your people that we would have the finished report and a decision on the cause of his death and on the circumstances within 24 to 36 hours. That was two days ago. We can understand the Army wanting to put a good face on what now seems to be an unforgivable, if you would not say unnecessary accident and/or lack of judgment, but speaking for myself, I really don't need to know his service record, his medals and how bright he is. What I do need to know, and I need to know it now because it's long overdue, is what killed him. It's not helpful to say it's a massive head wound.

If he was, in fact, a victim of a mine disaster, he becomes the first American fatality in IFOR, and we need to know that. We'd also like to know what he was doing so far away from where he was supposed to be, and we understand that we may never know that. The military is going ahead with this lengthy investigation, but in the mean time, would you please take the question of what specifically killed First Sergeant Dugan so we can go on with the story.

A: Ivan, the answer to the question that you have just asked, what specifically killed Sergeant Dugan, will be revealed in the investigation, which is going on. While I certainly understand your frustration with not getting a rapid answer to that question, I think that the overall goal of the investigation is to not only make that determination, but to determine all of the circumstances that surrounded this tragedy, and to build a set of lessons learned which can inform the people in IFOR in a way that will enable them to avoid this kind of accident in the future.

Q: With all due respect, the lessons learned have nothing to do with us covering the story. A couple of sagacious reporters with a good reputation who cover this building have reported, and I believe quite accurately, that Sergeant Dugan died while tinkering with a mine, and they also found in the autopsy a pair of [portable pliers] lodged in his brain. The Army must know, or the military must know at this point what killed this sergeant. Why can't you just tell us what you know, and do the rest of the investigation later? All of that nonsense about cleaning up the Army and making it a better place to work, that's fine, but it's for the Army, not for us. We need to know what killed him.

A: I say again that the answer to that question will come in the investigation report. I can't predict for you when that will be completed.

Q: Doesn't it smack of a cover-up, the longer this thing goes on?

A: No. I think what it smacks of is a desire to be very thorough in putting together this report, and I think that we also have to consider that family members, who of course are very anxious to find out details of this kind of an accident, need to receive the most accurate information that they possibly can. Sometimes accuracy just takes time.

Q: Do you know what killed him and you just don't know how it killed him, and you're waiting to announce what killed him until you find out how...

A: I personally do not know what killed him. I do know there is an investigation that is ongoing there in Tuzla. We certainly talk to those folks every day. As soon as they know the outcome of the investigation, they will let us know. And you also.

Q: Do they know what killed him, they just don't know how it killed him?

A: Again, I just don't know the answer to that question.

Q: This order by General Mladic to stop contact with IFOR and to suspend the Joint Military Commission activities, what's Secretary Perry's response to that, and...

A: I think everybody in this building and everybody in this city believes that the entities who signed the Dayton peace accords need to adhere to those accords. That the accord outlines the most effective way that we can bring peace to Bosnia, and we certainly need the participation of all parties in order to do that effectively. I know that we feel very strongly that there must be a consideration given to the War Crimes Tribunal, that the individuals who signed the Dayton Peace Accords have also signed up to cooperate with the War Crimes Tribunal, but they have also committed to working with IFOR and working with the commission in order to bring about peace in that area, and that's the only hope that they have to do that.

Q: Do you see their reluctance to work with NATO the start of unraveling of the Dayton accords?

A: No, I don't see this as the start of unraveling. I know that there are going to be some rocks in the road as we go down this process. It's not going to be a smooth process throughout the entire year, but I know that the IFOR commander, and certainly people in this building and in the State Department and over in the White House are anxious to see all the parties participate to the full extent so that we can maintain the peace accord and bring it to its full measure of peace.

Q: Can you tell us if there have been any acts of resistance -- either active or passive -- by the Bosnian Serbs to express their displeasure? Are they blocking any supply routes? Are they impeding freedom of movement or in any way not complying with any other terms of the Dayton accord?

A: I am certainly not aware of any that have occurred in the U.S. Sector which is the one that I'm most familiar with. In fact there has been Bosnian Serb participation in the commission, in the most recent commission meetings which have occurred in that sector.

Q: The London Guardian last week reported that in 1994 during the siege of Bihac that General Sir Michael Rose withheld information from NATO forces, the effect of which was to prevent application of NATO actions against the Serbians, and led to the fall of Bihac. I was wondering whether you have any comment as to whether this report is true, whatever report is in the Guard. This is based on an allegation that this comes from U.S. intelligence monitoring of communications between General Rose and SAS spotter units that were doing target spotting, and whose information was withheld from NATO aircraft that were scheduled to bomb.

A: I have not seen that report so I'm not going to have any comment on it at this point.

Q: Didn't Secretary Perry say in a speech yesterday that UN commanders withheld the authority for NATO airstrikes, making them ineffective? Didn't he say that in public remarks yesterday?

A: I was at that event, and I don't believe that I heard that.

Q: You can check the transcript on that.

Q: I believe he did say that.

A: I don't believe I heard that in those remarks.

Q: Taiwan. The Chinese Vice Foreign Minister, Mr. Li Zhaoxing, yesterday in a rare response to a question, said that he had heard nothing at all of any military exercises that might be planned coincidental of the elections in Taiwan, any kind of intimidations or anything like that. He had no knowledge of it, one. My question on that particular issue is, does the Pentagon still believe that there are some plans being made by the PLA for intimidation militarily in that period of elections?

A: First of all, we do have indications that the Chinese are planning some kind of military exercises. This is not unusual. This is the normal period of time that they conduct such exercises, so it is not at all surprising.

With regard to what the intentions of those exercises are, I think we have to be a little more guarded. So I'm not sure that we would go as far as you have in what we tie those exercises to, although we do recognize that there are elections coming up in Taiwan, and that there may be some activity associated with those elections.

Q: That could be coercive to the Taiwanese?

A: Excuse me?

Q: Some activities by the PLA that might be coercive or intimidating to the Taiwanese.

A: That certainly would send some kind of a signal to the Taiwanese.

Q: The second part of my question, there are those around town and those in this building that say that the Untied States could not react in time to prevent a successful occupation by the PLA of Taiwan, especially in view of the necessity in the Taiwan Relations Act that the United States government go to the Congress for consultation. Does the DoD believe that this consultation would so delay a response so that the U.S. couldn't defend Taiwan?

A: Let me first of all remind everybody that we don't see the prospect of military confrontation between China and Taiwan in the foreseeable future. We're certainly monitoring the situation there, but we just don't see that. We're concerned about military maneuvering that the Chinese are doing, and may be doing in an effort to influence the upcoming elections in Taiwan. We're concerned about the military buildup that's going on in China today. But we don't see it yet as a threat.

Q: But do you believe that the U.S. could successfully defend Taiwan under, let's say, the circumstance of a surprise invasion?

A: In the earlier section where I talked about our increased abilities with regard to intelligence and command and control and what role that may play in our upcoming analysis and study. I would just like to remind you that we do have certain capabilities in that regard. I think that we have a good idea of what is going on in that part of the world, and we have an ability to foresee the kinds of threats that may cause us to take certain actions, without saying exactly what those actions might be.

Q: You said you had indications that the Chinese were planning to conduct some kind of military exercises.

A: Yes.

Q: Does that come from China or from intelligence?

A: I'm not going to tell you the source, but we do have some indications of what it is by reports and from various sources. Let me leave it at that.

Q: Can you tell us whether the Chinese have indicated that...

A: The Chinese have not talked about exercises, to my knowledge.

Q: Would you agree to take my colleague's question about the Guardian report? Especially in light of the fact that in my notes, at 10:48:53 a.m. Eastern Standard Time yesterday, Perry said in a speech that the UN command withheld authority for airstrikes and that as a result, the Serbs "overplayed their hand."

A: I think that's a little different from the way I heard the question, but...

Q: The question was about a specific report in the Guardian that alleged that Michael Rose, the commander at the time, withheld specific information. Since Perry made an on the record comment that would seem to generally support that, I'm asking you to take the question about whether or not there's anything to the report...

A: Without committing that we will have an answer, I will see what we can come up with for you on that.

Q: Can I ask what the U.S. military is doing to aid the search and recovery efforts from the airliner that crashed in the Caribbean?

A: I do have something on that. You know, of course, the Coast Guard resumed rescue operations at first light this morning. To my knowledge, there are no reports of survivors. There are three Coast Guard cutters, an HC-130 and two helos that are on-scene. The Coast Guard cutter JEFFERSON ISLAND reports that many of the bodies recovered have had their identification and money removed by small local boats who have flocked to the area, even before the rescue forces arrived.

The Navy has been asked by the National Transportation Safety Board to retreive the black box which was aboard the 757. So the Naval Sea Systems Command, Supervisor of Diving and Salvage, will conduct the operation using some devices that he has at his disposal to try and get to a depth of, I think in excess of 4,000 feet, where hopefully with the help of some recovery equipment that they have, that they'll be able to get to that black box.

I would refer you to the Navy for more details on this operation. I think they had a briefing a little earlier today, and I'm sure that the folks down on the Navy News Desk can give you a lot more detail.

Q: Can you tell us... The Washington Post reported today that the Clinton Administration was considering $100 million in arms and equipment for the Bosnian government forces. Can you give us any idea what kind of stuff you're looking at there?

A: The kinds of equipment? I can't at this point, because at this point we're at a very preliminary stage in this process. I think you know there's been a group set up over at the State Department which is involved in the issue of equipping and training. This is an issue that the U.S. indicated early on that it would take a leadership role in. What has occurred at this point is that they have provided, they have asked the Department of Defense to look at defense stockpiles that might prove to be useful in this effort. So we here at the Department have gone to the Army to ask them to take a look at their inventory and to see what kinds of equipment might be made available which would have minimum impact on their Army operations.

Q: You're talking about surplus?

A: This would be surplus items primarily, and it would come through drawdown authority, so we're not talking about any kind of expenditures of money. We're talking about existing equipment which might be declared surplus.

Q: Is this more in the area of arms or more in the area of other equipment such as uniforms, boots, other kinds of...

A: It covers the whole gamut.

Q: Have you been given a $100 million guideline in order to bean count?

A: No. The $100 million comes from the, it's a State Department bill. I think it's called the Foreign Operations Bill, which essentially authorizes $100 million for this effort, but it certainly doesn't indicate necessarily a target that is going to exist in connection with this thing.

Press: Thank you.

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