Captain Doubleday: Good afternoon.
Ken Bacon is presently in Rome, I can report, along with the Secretary. They've had a very full day in Bosnia, starting out actually at Aviano and then flying to Bosnia for a visit with the troops there. The Secretary actually got an opportunity to promote some people; have lunch with the troops; to have his picture taken with lots of troops; to hear General Meigs give a rundown on the operation and some of the activities that are going on, as well as get a kind of a historical perspective as they overflew some of the areas. So, it was a very full day.
Let me just start with a report that there are two releases for you today from the Air Forces in Europe announcing the end of Operation ASSURED LIFT. This was the operation to move West African peacekeeping forces from Ghana to Liberia. The operation ended earlier this week, and the last of our aircraft will return to their home bases in Europe later in the week. The operation lasted 17 days and included 49 air missions flown by five U.S. aircraft. They moved 1,160 troops and 452 short tons of cargo at a cost of $3.2 million. I would encourage you to pick up the releases that are available in the DDI room.
With that, I'll try and answer your questions.
Q: I wanted to ask you a question about this missile test today out at White Sands. I understand that Paul Kaminski had said a couple of weeks ago, if there were additional failures in that series of intercept flights, the THAAD program might be, the objective of having a system fielded by the year 2004 might be pushed back or the program might be restructured in some way. Are you now contemplating changing that program?
A: I think it's too early to tell. This was a test that took place this morning at White Sands, and it was the fourth intercept attempt. The intercept was not achieved. What we're doing now with officials from the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization and the Army, they're looking at data from the test to determine either the cause, or causes, for the malfunction, and then they'll put together a report. Based on what they find, there will have to be some kind of a determination made about the test program and the schedule for that program. So, I think it's too early at this point to really forecast what will occur as a result of this test today.
Q: What about qualitatively? Is this a blow to the program at this point?
A: It certainly is not a result we had hoped for. This is a very important program to us, and one that we have a lot of interest in pursuing and keeping on track. But, as I say, they're going to have to do some analysis before they can really make a determination as to what the next step will be.
Q: Does that include when the next flight test would be, if there would be another one?
A: The present schedule shows the next test in June of 1997, but I think it's too early at this point to determine exactly what the schedule will be and whether that June test will be affected by this.
Q: Do you know how much it missed by?
A: I don't have any details at this point. I believe the folks at BMDO are putting together the data, with an eye toward perhaps having some kind of a get-together with those of you who are interested some time next week to kind of go over what they know at that point and give you a read-out on it.
Q: Do you know what we've spent on THAAD so far?
A: I know that the FY98 budget request is $560.6 million. The total amount appropriated for THAAD development since its inception, which was in 1990, is $2.46 billion.
Q: To date?
A: To date. That's appropriated to date.
Q: Have you ruled out yet that the failure was caused by the target, not the missile?
A: I don't think they have enough information at this point to judge that. As I say, they're taking a look at the data and as soon as they can put something together, they'll provide a read-out for you.
Q: What were the results of the previous failures? Was there a continuity in all the other test failures in the same problem area, or ...
A: I'll give you a rundown: the first one was a booster separation malfunction, the second one was a command and control malfunction, and the third one was a "Seeker" malfunction -- that is, the eye of the intercept malfunction.
Q: It doesn't sound like a real successful program.
Q: The talks with the Koreans yesterday, the announcement that there will be no joint military exercises between the United States and South Korea ...
A: Just let me stop you right there. That is not what was announced. It had to do with TEAM SPIRIT, which is one of many exercises we do with the South Koreans. But, the TEAM SPIRIT exercise, indeed, was canceled for this year.
Q: So that's a periodic military exercise.
A: That's an exercise that has been going on for many years. In fact, it began in 1976. It continued until 1991. It was last held in 1993.
Q: It's been reported that there will be some confidence- building measures initiated between the armies that are posed across the DMZ, I guess that would include the U.S. Army, South Korea, and the North Korean Army. Can you elaborate on that? Confidence-building measures?
A: No, I can't. In fact, I'm not sure exactly what you're referring to there. I do know that, at this point, the next step in the process ... And by the way, these meetings up there in New York were for the purpose of ensuring that the North Koreans were aware of the process and the reasons for having this proposal, which was suggested last year to have four-way talks between the North Koreans, South Koreans, Chinese, and United States. There will be, as I understand it, a meeting on Friday, a bilateral meeting, for the purpose of discussing bilateral issues -- including repatriation of remains, which is a process that we have going on.
Q: Understood. I take it then there is no time frame on the response of the North Koreans to the four-party proposal?
A: No, they indicated ... The meeting took place yesterday, and as I understand it, it ran for the better part of a day, and the North Koreans indicated that they needed to consult with their government and would get back to the other parties, but gave no timetable for that.
Q: The bilateral meeting you mentioned, that's between the United States and North Korea?
A: That's correct. That's where the remains are.
Q: Do you know where the meeting will be held?
A: It's up there in New York. It is a variety of bilateral issues, but that is one example of the kinds of things that we discuss with the North Koreans.
Q: There was a press conference about two hours ago up on Capitol Hill where Congressman Joe Kennedy was addressing the issue of Project X and the training manuals in Latin America. He says that the most recent Inspector General's report on that whole issue is a "blatant whitewash of the truth," and he says that the military has missed the boat on a couple of factual things and suggests that they go back and do it again. Do you have any comment on his criticisms of the IG report, or do you not comprehend what his criticisms are?
A: Well, you've not provided me enough information there really to go on. What the latest IG report dealt with was a review of the actions taken by the Department in 1992. I would just remind everybody that it was in the 1991-1992 timeframe that we uncovered the fact that there was some objectionable material, which had been used in some training publications -- a small number of training publications -- and action was taken immediately to get rid of that objectionable material; and to set up a process by which, when these courses are going to be conducted, that they are reviewed by authorities here in Washington, specifically, the ASD for C3I [Assistant Secretary of Defense for Command, Control, Communication, and Intelligence]. The latest IG look had to do with whether that action was appropriate, and whether there needed to be any kind of individual responsibility assigned to those activities back in the 1980s, primarily, during which time those training manuals were constructed.
The end result of that was, one: the determination was made that there was not an intent to disregard the guidance, which was in effect at the time in connection with those training manuals; that it was kind of a compounding of errors which had occurred over a long period of time. And, secondly, that a memorandum, which had been disseminated in 1992, should be, in effect, updated and reissued by the ASD for C3I with the force of a directive. Right now, that action is being taken so that the ASD for C3I can present the new directive to the Deputy Secretary of Defense and we can go out with this directive, which will, in effect, have the force of a full DoD directive worldwide for our military units.
Q: He [Kennedy] maintains that prior to the general discovery that there was objectionable material; that there were a number of individual instructors at the School of Americas -- who pointed out that there was material in the training guides that they were using, for various Latin American military officials, that talked about torture and various other things that they found objectionable -- raised it to their superior officers, and were told to keep their mouths shut and to continue teaching the material.
So, while the Pentagon is saying this wasn't discovered until '91, '92, Kennedy is making the allegation that it was out there, and a number of instructors were concerned about it, and when they tried to raise this to their superiors, they were told to be quiet. He is calling for accountability, whereas the Defense Department IG is saying there is no need for accountability.
A: At this point I really am a little uneasy about commenting on exactly what he said since I'm not sure what it is that he's referring to. I can tell you that certainly nobody in the Department now endorses in any way the materials that were being used, back in 1991 and before, in an incorrect manner. I do want to point out, however, that the portion of this material, if you put it up against the total amount of material that was being used, is a very, very small portion. The number of objectionable passages were probably around two dozen in three training manuals out of 300 that were being used by the school. And, certainly, it is inappropriate and objectionable that it took that long to get rid of all of the materials from the files and the documentation that was being used to set up these courses. But the actions that were taken earlier in this decade to get rid of the materials and to make sure that the system was set up, whereby they would not be used again, was certainly appropriate.
Q: The training materials ended up being used far more widely than just in the School of the Americas. It was used throughout Latin America, with military training teams, apparently, as part of Project X ...
A: We don't know the extent to which the materials were actually used by individual countries down there. What we know is that the materials were disseminated upon request to the embassies, the attaches, the military groups that were operating in the area at the time, and they were used for the purpose of instructing military units in those countries with the materials in the manuals.
As I say, the manuals had about two dozen objectionable passages amongst the three that were in existence and were found to contain this material. This was a small fraction of the total number of manuals that were used by the school at that time.
Q: But you have no idea how widely disseminated the material was that had comments about extorting, infiltrating, torturing opposition groups in the countries. You have no idea how widespread the United States disseminated that information?
A: I don't believe we have a good feel of how widely it was disseminated and how widely it was used. I do know that steps were taken to retrieve the material and to ensure that the governments involved realized that the material was objectionable and should not be used.
Q: But if you don't know how widely it was disseminated, how can you retrieve the material?
A: You go to the embassies which had control of the material and ask that they take steps to retrieve it.
Q: So you do know each of the countries that ...
A: Oh, yes, we know the countries to which the materials were sent. But, then, whether materials after that were copied - - all this material was in the Spanish language and that was part of the problem. I don't have a list of the countries now, but you could get the information. It's contained in all of the investigations that have been done over the last 20 years on this subject.
Q: What about the material which -- apparently, from Project X -- made it into the Pacific region as well?
A: I think it came from the Pacific region. That's where it started. This was a Vietnam-era kind of philosophy that flew into other areas where we were doing this foreign intelligence training program.
Q: According to wire reports from Reuters the day before yesterday, the Mexican ... And I'm asking, "Is the Department of Defense aware of this?" The [Mexican] Secretary of Defense, Senor Cervantes, had been accused of covering and protecting the Ariano Felix Cartel, that's the Tijuana mob. Is the Department aware of those allegations?
A: I am not aware of those allegations, and I really would not want to comment on it. It's not for me to comment on that one.
Q: Would it be wise to follow up ... Does this Department deal with Mr. Cervantes directly?
A: I'm not aware of those allegations.
Q: Can I return to the training manual thing one more second? As far as you are concerned, at the Defense Department there's been a review, there's been an IG review, and this issue is closed as far as you're concerned? Or ...
A: As far as we're concerned at this point the issue has been reviewed by the DoD-IG. Steps have been taken to put into effect a system which would prevent this kind of thing from happening in the future. Steps were taken back in the early- 1990s to get rid of the material, to withdraw it from circulation, to destroy objectionable materials. The only remaining action that I am aware of that needs to be done is the dissemination of the directive -- which is being redrafted and updated at this point, which was originally disseminated in 1992.
Q: What does that directive say? I'm sorry, you said it before, what does the directive say?
A: The directive calls on, any time there is going to be instruction given to foreign nationals on intelligence matters, that the instruction material be reviewed by the ASD for C3I.
Q: Do you have anything on the IG report on the Vietnamese handling of MIA/POW funds?
A: No. I have absolutely nothing on it.
Q: Albania? Is the Defense Department making any preparations for the possible evacuation of U.S. citizens, or embassy personnel, if the situation deteriorates further there?
A: I just want to remind you that, yesterday, the Secretary indicated that we were concerned with events that have been occurring there and were watching it very closely, but at this point we've not received any request for any kind of military involvement in that situation. We do, however, have a large number of ships that are operating in the Adriatic and in the Ionian, and some of those ships are amphibious ships with helicopters, so, we're certainly in a good position to help if it became necessary. But, at this point, I think based on some news reporting that I've seen, it appears that there have been some talks that have gone on between opposition leaders and the government, where they have reached some kind of an agreement which may, if it proves correct, resolve the situation.
Q: Have any warnings gone out to U.S. citizens or to embassy personnel?
A: I'm not aware of whether there has been any kind of warning from the State Department. I do know there are Americans. They're primarily operating in the northern part, primarily living and working in the northern part of Albania. Most of the unrest and violence has been occurring in the southern part of the country.
Q: Have you anything about what General Ralston said yesterday about the possibility of cutting one of the new fighter plane programs?
A: I think the only thing I would say on that is that the issue of TacAir is certainly one of the issues that's going to be addressed by the Quadrennial Defense Review. Until that review is completed, I don't think we will know exactly what the outcome is going to be.
Q: To follow that, then, GAO suggested yesterday that, I think there's a milestone decision on the F/A-18 coming up at the end of this month. GAO suggested that be delayed until after the QDR is complete. Does the Department have plans to do that?
A: We'll have to see if we can find out for you. I'm not aware of what our action will be on that one.
Q: What's the status of the Record report? When are we going to hear about that?
A: There is no timetable on that. It's still in the hands of the Air Force. Once they have completed the work there, they'll pass it to the Department, and at the appropriate time we'll make known to you what the results are.
Q: The Secretary hasn't put any pressure on anybody saying, "I want this done by such and such date," nothing like that?
Q: Our U.S. forces in Saudi Arabia continue to be on high alert for terrorism. I understand the commanding general warned, sent notices that possible terrorist attacks were coming daily in Saudi Arabia. Do you know anything about the status on ...
A: All I can tell you on that is that U.S. forces all over the world are alert to various threats to their safety and take actions that are appropriate to protect themselves.
Q: As Mr. Freeh of the FBI stated early this week, I believe -- or last week -- that cooperation still wasn't full with the Saudis. It was very slow to come, sort of sharing evidence and the like. Is the Department of Defense satisfied with the Saudis being forthcoming?
A: That whole investigation is being handled by the FBI and you really need to talk to them on that subject.
Press: Thank you.