DOD News Briefing with Secretary Gates and Adm. Mullen from the Pentagon
SEC. GATES: Good morning. I'd like to start with a few comments about what is at the top of everyone's mind right now, the tragic situation in Haiti.
Shortly after the devastating earthquake on Tuesday, the president directed that the full resources of the U.S. government be mobilized to save lives and ease the suffering of the victims. I've told the military and civilian leadership of the Department of Defense that this urgent mission represents the highest priority for U.S. military assets in this hemisphere. I'll be monitoring the progress of our operations closely.
Wednesday I told General Fraser at Southern Command that he should not hesitate to ask for whatever resources he needs, and we will do everything possible to provide those resources.
The Haitian people and those who are rushing to their assistance will be uppermost in our thoughts and prayers in the hours and days ahead. And after my opening statement, Admiral Mullen will describe the extensive military relief efforts we have undertaken.
Let me now turn to the reason I originally scheduled this press conference. As you know, after the shooting at Fort Hood last November, I asked former Army Secretary Togo West and former Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Vern Clark to conduct an independent review of the department's policies, programs and procedures for identifying and responding to internal threats.
I should note that it pertains solely to the Defense Department and does not address other executive branch agencies. The review was completed on time and delivered to me this week.
As expected, Secretary West and Admiral Clark conducted a serious, thorough assessment. And I thank them for taking on this difficult task. First of all, because it remains an active investigation, criminal investigation, I can't address the specifics of the Major Hasan case at this time.
The report does include accountability recommendations involving Army personnel responsible for supervising Major Hasan. And I have forwarded those recommendations to Secretary of the Army John McHugh and directed him to take appropriate action.
Considering the scope of this report, it will take some time to assess all the relevant policies. That said, I do have some immediate thoughts on the review's findings.
The report concludes that the initial response at Fort Hood, to the incident, was prompt and effective. Leaders had anticipated mass- casualty events in their emergency-response plans and exercises. And base personnel were prepared to take appropriate and decisive actions to secure the situation.
The first responders deserve recognition for the efforts that prevented an awful situation from becoming even worse. However the report raises serious questions about the degree to which the entire Department of Defense is prepared for similar incidents in the future especially multiple, simultaneous incidents.
It also reveals shortcomings in the way the Department is prepared to defend against threats posed by external influences operating on members of our military community.
It is clear that as a department, we have not done enough to adapt to the evolving domestic internal security threat to American troops and military facilities that has emerged over the past decade.
In this area, excuse me, as in so many others, this department is burdened by 20th-century processes and attitudes mostly rooted in the Cold War. Our counterintelligence procedures are mostly designed to combat an external threat such as a foreign intelligence service.
Likewise, our force-protection procedures are set up to investigate and adjudicate criminal conduct, such as domestic abuse and gang activities.
In particular, the review concluded that DOD force-protection programs are not properly focused on internal threats such as workplace violence and self-radicalization. The problem is compounded in the absence of a clear understanding of what motivates a person to become radicalized and commit violent acts.
For example, the current definition for prohibited activities is incomplete and does not provide adequate guidance for commanders and supervisors to act on potential threats to security. Current policies on prohibited activities provide neither the authority nor the tools for commanders and supervisors to intervene when DOD personnel at risk of personal -- of potential violence make contact or establish relationships with persons or entities that promote self- radicalization. We need to refine our understanding of what these behavioral signals are and how they progress.
At the same time, there is no well integrated means to gather, evaluate and disseminate the wide range of behavioral indicators that could help our commanders better anticipate an internal threat. Defense personnel-management systems are generally organized to withhold and compartmentalize troubling information about individuals, as opposed to sharing it with the people and leaders who need to know.
Among other significant findings and recommendations, the report also says there is no senior DOD official responsible for integrating force-protection policies throughout the department. And individual installations can react to attack, but the department does not have a coherent approach or integrated command-and-control system to deal with internal threats.
As a next step, I'm directing the assistant secretary of Defense for Homeland -- Defense, Dr. Paul Stockton, to conduct an expeditious assessment of the review's findings and recommendations in order to implement them as quickly as appropriate. As this will involve a number of department organizations and functions, this effort will include a broad range of Defense offices, departments and commands.
My view is there are a number of actions we must take soon to fix this problem, and I am setting a goal of accomplishing this by March. Other actions will require more fundamental institutional changes over a longer period of time, and my goal is to accomplish these changes, or at least have them under way, by June.
Secretary West and Admiral Clark will provide a more detailed briefing later today, and the copies of their report will be available at that time. We are not passing them out right now because we're up on the Hill briefing the Congress.
A final thought: I would ask all commanders and leaders at every level to make an effort to look beyond their day-to-day tasks and be attuned to personnel who may be at risk or pose a danger. One of the core functions of leadership is assessing the performance and fitness of people honestly and openly. Failure to do so, or kicking the problem to the next unit or the next installation, may lead to damaging if not devastating consequences.
As I said back in November, there is nothing any of us can say to ease the pain of the wounded, the families of the fallen and the members of the Fort Hood community affected by this incident. It is our obligation to the victims of the attack, and to the men and women who have put their lives on the line to serve their country, to do everything in our power to prevent similar tragedies from occurring in the future.
ADM. MULLEN: Thank you, Secretary Gates, and good morning, everyone. Before we begin to discuss the findings from the Fort Hood commission, I want to mention that our thoughts and condolences are with our neighbors to the south, to all of the citizens of Haiti and those who have been struck by this very significant tragedy, as well as the thousands of families across the world who are eagerly awaiting word about their loved ones. As the president has commented yesterday, the losses suffered in Haiti are nothing less than devastating.
The United States and countries around the globe are mobilizing every available element of our national capacity. Coalition Army and Naval forces, disaster response teams, portable hospitals, canine search-and-rescue teams and relief and medical supplies are streaming in from multiple compassionate nations.
In this crisis, the needs of Haiti are seemingly boundless. What the military's best able to provide is security, search-and-rescue capabilities, portable water, medical facilities.
The destroyer Higgins is on station for search and rescue, and support.
Several Coast Guard cutters with their helicopters are also in the vicinity, and providing similar support.
This morning, the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson arrived, outfitted with 19 helicopters, 51 hospital beds, three operating rooms, hundreds of thousands of gallons of water per day production capability, and a significant capacity to deliver disaster-relief supplies.
A company from the 82nd Airborne Division is on the ground to assist in security and also distribution of meeting those needs. And the rest of the brigade will be on the ground by the end of the weekend.
Within the next week, those assets will be augmented by two more small helicopter-carrying naval vessels, the USS Normandy and the USS Underwood. And the USS Bataan, with capabilities similar to those of Carl Vinson, will be accompanied by two other ships in her amphibious ready group, USS Fort McHenry and USS Carter Hall, and the Marines of the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit. The hospital ship Comfort, with hundreds of medical professionals and the vital medical support, should be off the Haitian coast by the end of next week.
While these assets tend to the immediate material and medical needs of the people of Haiti, these ships, aircraft and troops also deliver hope, although it seems that supplies and security cannot come quickly enough. And I echo the president's promise to the people of Haiti that you will not be forsaken, and you will not be forgotten. We're doing everything we possibly can. Soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen across America and military forces from across the globe stand with you.
Thank you very much.
Q Could I ask both of you to address this? How many U.S. forces do you expect ultimately to go to Haiti? And are you concerned that such a large U.S. military presence either looks like an occupying force or overtaxes the military that's already stretched thin?
SEC. GATES: Well, let me start, and then ask the admiral.
First of all, this is a whole-of-government effort by the United States, and also an international effort. The primary security force on the island is the United Nations force. There are about 7,000 U.N. forces, and about an additional 2,000 police.
And so they will have the primary security responsibility.
I think that the -- we are clearly in a position to do more than others, partly from our proximity and partly from our capabilities. And the key here will be coordinating this entire effort.
And I would say that from the U.S. standpoint, I feel that the coordination -- among State, AID, Homeland Security and the Coast Guard and ourselves -- has proceeded very well.
The ambassador is directing this effort and coordinating it. But there are also incident management teams on scene from other agencies, as well as our own joint task force.
So I think that we won't be seen as -- I think that if we -- particularly given the role that we will have in delivering food and water and medical help to people, my guess is, the reaction will be one of relief at seeing Americans providing this kind of help.
But there will be a lot of other people there as well. The Brazilians have a significant presence and are doing a lot themselves. So I don't think it will -- I think that what's really important here is getting the help to the people as quickly as possible.
ADM. MULLEN: I think more than anything else, we'll -- we will be the face of a relief force. We've got -- I think we'll have about 1,000 soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines ashore today.
As you -- as you hear the numbers increase to some nine (thousand) to 10,000 by Monday, many of them will be offshore in the ships certainly providing this critical support as well and very focused on the medical needs, the food needs the water needs.
And right now, I mean, literally as we speak, the Vinson and the company from the 82nd Airborne who got there last night are focusing on delivering water, you know, from the helicopters offshore to the people of Haiti.
So we know we've got significant requirements.
The logistics piece of this in the near term and in the -- in the longer term is also critical. We're very focused on that. We need to get the port open. It's severely damaged. But right now it is principally to support the search-and-rescue effort as well as focused on the immediate food, water and medical needs. And the force will continue to grow to support that over time, working with these many other countries.
Q I wonder if you could assess the search-and-rescue teams. The day after the earthquake, General Fraser told us that just three teams were on their way, one from Virginia, one from California, one from Florida. And he said there were no teams resident in the military.
But then last night Northern Command said that they had search- and-rescue teams that they were willing to send. And I'm just wondering, you know, do you think that was enough the day after, just three teams being sent down? And was there a failure there not to send more more rapidly?
SEC. GATES: Well, first, I think that there are -- there were four teams there by last night. We are in the process of transporting, I think, six more teams. And, you know, the -- we think that the -- we think that there is -- we need to take advantage of the strengths that different elements of our government have, and to tell you the truth, the best search and rescue, we have the search-and- rescue capability obviously in the military. But the best search-and- rescue teams, particularly in situations like this for natural disasters, are resident in our communities. And these teams have traveled all over the world in the past to provide relief. And we -- and we've supported them, and also coordinated through FEMA.
So I think that, you know, we've -- part of it is, can we get them there? How fast can we get them there? And can we support them? And I think that we're doing that as well as we can.
ADM. MULLEN: I just talked to General Keen, literally about -- I guess about an hour ago, who spoke so highly of what they do and their skill set. And these additional six teams are coming in literally, again, as we speak. And I'm comfortable, certainly at this point, that they're -- resident teams throughout the country, and certainly supported by FEMA and prioritized in terms of need, is the right way to approach this.
Q Any sense when those search teams will arrive?
ADM. MULLEN: There's another one going in this morning, my -- the first of those six is going in this morning, and as soon thereafter as we can get the other five teams in line.
Q Mr. Secretary, did you look at the possibility of airdrops? That seems to be a unique military capability, both of dropping in rescue teams and dropping in relief supplies. And if you did look at it, and you're obviously not using it, why not?
ADM. MULLEN: We talked about that early, David, more along the lines of in particular the 82nd; you know, whether that would be the right way to go. And we made an early decision that we didn't -- we didn't need to do that. We haven't -- in terms of the other kinds of supplies, the water capability, for instance, we haven't -- we're looking at, you know, getting the support that we've got there today to meet that need. But we haven't -- at least I haven't seen any extensive review of that capability at this point.
Q I don't understand why you didn't -- you decided you didn't need to do that.
ADM. MULLEN: It was one -- as we spun up for this, it just -- it wasn't one we considered, in terms of the overall situation, in terms of the ability to receive it, and understanding actually what we really had on the ground at that particular point in time.
Q What's the overall assessment right now of the security situation on the ground? And is the basic assessment -- the anticipation that it will continue to deteriorate as the days go on?
And then also, do you have any kind of a sense yet of the scope of casualties that they're looking at there?
SEC. GATES: There is some scavenging as people are trying to find food and water, but our understanding -- and the admiral probably has more up to date from having just talked to General Keen, but that the security situation remains okay.
The -- the concern is as people -- the key is to get the food and the water in there as quickly as possible so that people don't, in their desperation, turn to violence or lead to the security situation deteriorating.
And that's why there's such a high priority now in getting food and water in to people. But at this point, other than some scavenging and minor looting, our understanding is, the security situation is pretty good.
ADM. MULLEN: That's what General Keen has reported both yesterday morning and this morning.
Certainly we're all concerned, as the secretary said, about heading that off because of the need for food and water and medical. And so we're very focused on that.
Q (Off mike.) Casualties, of the number of casualties at all?
ADM. MULLEN: No.
SEC. GATES: I don't think we have anything beyond the estimates that you've seen from the Red Cross.
Q Thank you for taking my question. I'd like to go back to Fort Hood.
Given what we know now about the American cleric in Yemen, do we believe that Fort Hood was a terrorist attack?
SEC. GATES: Well, I'm -- this case is being prosecuted in the -- under the Uniform Code of Military Justice. That case could end up on my desk ultimately -- for that reason -- as chain of command. And for that reason, I'm not going to have anything to say about the case in particular.
Q Secretary Gates, about the review, the Fort Hood review, could you tell -- talk a little bit more about the information sharing within the Department of Defense that you want to see post-Fort Hood?
I mean, what kinds of information about potential internal extremist threats has not been shared and should be shared in the future? And what is your assessment of how great this sort of internal extremist threat is?
SEC. GATES: Well, first of all, we don't -- we don't have any reason to think that it is a significant threat. But clearly one is too many.
I think -- I have to be careful what I say here again because of the case. But I think that what is -- what -- what Admiral Clark and Secretary West concluded was that -- that what gets reported in the formal personnel -- officer evaluations often does not pick up personal behavioral issues.
And sometimes there's a reluctance to address those kinds of issues and also, if observed at one post, to pass along those concerns or behavioral issues to the next post.
And so one of the things that clearly we have to look at is how can we more comprehensively evaluate our people, but also ensure that relevant information gets forwarded from one post to the other.
Q On Fort Hood, in your terms of reference, you asked specifically for the review to assess Army policies and procedures on retention and promotion as it applied to, quote, "the alleged perpetrator," implying here whether they -- he should have been promoted or not, given the red flags. What did the review conclude? And should he have been promoted to major, given the charter that you asked them to review?
SEC. GATES: Well, again, I'm not going to get into the specifics of the case. But obviously, the -- these are the questions that I have referred to the secretary of the Army to address, in terms of individual accountability.
Q But would this -- (off mike) -- a definitive answer in the report on whether the process is failed or not, or they simply raise questions for further review?
SEC. GATES: They simply say that this should be pursued by the secretary of the Army.
Q Back to Haiti, if I could. Is it too early to say if anyone in this department has begun to guess what the cost in this early phase will be for the Department of Defense? And more specifically, the USNS Comfort, leaving roughly five days after this happened, in previous natural disasters where it was considered, that number of five days was mentioned as well. Has there ever been a review in the Department of Defense about whether or not it's possible to decrease the amount of time between the incidence of a natural disaster and when our two big hospital ships are able to set sail and start responding?
ADM. MULLEN: I think the number five days is tied, basically, to her status, as it is Mercy out in San Diego; which is she's in a cold- iron status, completely shut down from an engineering standpoint. The ship is manned by reserves. They're not typically on the ship certainly the full crew. And in fact, the five days -- we're actually working ahead of that timeline right now to accelerate that and get her out there as rapidly as possible.
To the question of whether there's ever been a review of that, I honestly don't know one way or another.
We're content -- I mean, I have been content with how they have been both manned and used in the past. Obviously, this is a -- this is a crisis that was a bolt out of the blue, if you will. And in that regard, the response time, I think, for having no idea this was going to occur, has really been remarkable.
In all these things we'll learn lessons, and if -- and some of that is readiness clearly tied to something like this. But certainly, after this point, I'm comfortable that we've got that cycle about right.
Q Do you think there's a cost?
SEC. GATES: I would say fundamentally we have no idea at this point.
Q Recognizing fast is never fast enough in the face of such devastation, are you confident, Mr. Secretary, that the American government's response is fast enough? The DOD portion seemed to be focused on assessments early on, and General Honore seems to think that the government can do better.
SEC. GATES: Well, I would say I've watched these things for a long time. I don't know how the government could -- this government could have responded faster or more comprehensively than it -- than it has. There are just some certain facts of life that affect how -- how quickly you can do some of these things. The collapse of the infrastructure in Haiti, the small size of the airport, the time it takes a ship to get from point A to point B, those are all just facts of life.
And -- you know, and just for example, to the point of the air drops, the -- it seems to me that, without having any structure on the ground in terms of distribution, that an air drop is simply going to lead to riots as people try and go after that stuff. So without any structure for distribution or to provide security when things become available, then it seems to me that's a formula for contributing to chaos rather than -- rather than preventing it.
So I think that, you know, we are dealing with a sovereign country. The Haitians are still in charge of air traffic control at this point. And so there are just some limitations that we have to deal with that are part of the real world.
And I frankly think it would have been very tough for any part of the American government to respond more quickly. I think State and AID have done -- A-I-D -- have done -- have done a terrific job.
Q On -- do either -- do you anticipate sending any more ground forces to Haiti than the 5,000 that are there right -- that will be there by the end of the weekend?
ADM. MULLEN: Right now, I mean, we're certainly poised to do that, and it's really going to be based on what General Fraser at SOUTHCOM and clearly General Keen think they need with respect to the mission. And we're in the -- given the number of people, General Keen included, who's now being supported, we're really very much still in the assessment mode with much better situational awareness, I expect, on what's actually going on there over the next 24 hours in terms of what the specific needs will be. So I think it's just too early to answer that question.
SEC. GATES: Somebody asked about stress on the force earlier. I would say that we always have a ready brigade available for deployment -- that is this brigade of the 82nd Airborne.
Q Can I still do a follow, though, on another topic, on "don't ask, don't tell?" Are either of you planning to testify to the Senate Armed Services Committee? I know Senator Levin has asked that you testify on the issue. And what is the status right now of conversations in the building on repealing the -- repealing the law?
SEC. GATES: Senator Levin has indicated an interest in having a hearing. We're discussing the timing of it with the committee. When that hearing is scheduled, both the chairman and I will testify. We are having continuing conversations inside the building about implementing the president's intent.
Q Sir, when you spoke about the distribution network of supplies in Haiti, the last couple days, as the supplies continued to mount at the airport, they're not getting to -- out beyond the planes to the population. At what point do you think that system's going -- actually going to be eased so that as the supplies flow in, they will flow outbound to the people who have need of them most?
SEC. GATES: Well, I'd invite the admiral to comment, but I would say the arrival of the Vinson with these 19 helicopters is absolutely critical at the beginning, that distribution process.
We hear conflicting reports frankly about whether the -- how many of the roads are open and can be used or -- and those that are clogged and you can't -- can't get through at all.
So I think here in the first -- first few days at least, the helicopters are going to be central to this.
ADM. MULLEN: And we know that absolutely that is a critical need that we're very focused on. We're looking at additional ports, whether we can get smaller vessels into additional ports and distribute from there as well.
I just think a lot of that will become much clearer on what the requirements are and what it's going to take, to get that done over the next 24 to 48 hours.
Q Who determines what goes where on the NGO side? Or is that something --
ADM. MULLEN: Actually the focus of our government effort is to do exactly that, to prioritize what goes in and then what gets distributed. And that's a combination of the lead -- USAID lead agency here, in our government, to tie to the same agency on the ground there. And then they'll make the distribution decisions specifically.
Q Mr. Secretary, is there a plan yet for refugees? Are you considering taking any of the thousands of the homeless of the island? Is Gitmo being considered -- there was some talk about that -- or any other U.S. resources in the region?
ADM. MULLEN: There's -- there's a lot of actually, you know, longer-term planning going on across a host of issues.
We haven't seen any need for specific -- certainly don't see movement in that direction at this particular point in time. But we recognize, you know, there are lots of possibilities in many areas, not just that.
And so there are always contingency plans that we're looking at.
Q This is for both of you.
Understanding that the assessment is still going on, is there any consideration at all on how -- this is going also back to Elisabeth's question -- on how these 5,000 are really going to be used -- the Marines and the Army?
Is there talk about putting them within the neighborhoods for policing at all as well too? A lot of the news coming out this morning was, population kind of starting into a low boil. And you know, where's the help? Where's the aid?
Is there any consideration on almost rushing these troops out, to just kind of calm things down within neighborhoods and also kind of clear these roads and help with distribution?
But is there going to be a policing action with these U.S. forces?
ADM. MULLEN: Obviously this is for General Keen, who's the joint task force commander down there, to certainly both decide on the American side but also integrate with the Brazilians who lead this effort, for the U.N., and the -- and the 9,000 security troops, between soldiers and police, that are already there.
And so we're integrating with that effort.
We certainly understand that concern. What the secretary said early is getting the relief help out there, which is what we're focused on right now. And we're going to -- at least the initial intent is to strategically place some of our soldiers so that they can help with that relief distribution. And then obviously we're all focused on the security piece, as well. We very much hope to stay -- to be and stay ahead of that, but recognize that there are possibilities that we need to plan for.
Q Mr. Secretary, could I ask a question. One of the 21st century assets that you have now to deal with these kind of situations are unmanned aerial vehicles. And I'm just curious. Are they being used in Haiti? Are they making any significant kind of contribution to helping with security or finding victims or finding places to deliver relief?
SEC. GATES: I think the primary reconnaissance vehicles that -- platforms that we've been using down there are P-3s.
ADM. MULLEN: We have initially gotten that. Obviously, we're also using other assets in space to do this. But we've also-- there was a request for a Global Hawk specifically. I just can't tell you whether it's started operations. So, certainly the intent is, where it can help, we're going to use that as we move forward.
Q Mr. Secretary, under what conditions can you say that the U.S. humanitarian relief mission to Haiti has been accomplished? And how long will it take to accomplish the results?
SEC. GATES: Will it take to accomplish what?
Q The results.
SEC. GATES: Well, I would say we are at the very beginning of the effort. This is -- it looks to me like a fairly long-term undertaking for the international community, and the United States as part of that and as a principal player. The length of time that our Navy ships will be deployed down there to provide assistance, the length of time that we will have thousands of troops in that -- in Haiti or offshore I think, frankly, is impossible to predict right now.
Q Mr. Secretary, back to Fort Hood. You said earlier that you feel the department hasn't done enough to counter external threats in the influence on the force or the department. And you said that commanders don't have the tools to try to keep an eye on -- or to ward off prohibited activities or the influence of prohibited activities on the force. What sort of tools would you give commanders in order to -- and Admiral Mullen, if you can address this as well -- to -- in order to try to counter those threats or to kind of keep an eye on the force, if you will, to try to -- to try to counter those threats?
SEC. GATES: Well, I -- let me mention two, and then -- and then I'd like the admiral to comment.
One tool is to -- is for us to take advantage of research and efforts that have been taken by a number of different entities in terms of behaviors and indicators of potential problems and -- with respect to violence in the workplace and potential for self- radicalization. So identifying those indicators and having those in the hands of commanders is one thing.
The other goes back to the answer I gave to an earlier question, and that is information, having commanders have available to them more comprehensive information on individuals, particularly if there have been behavioral issues that have been noted at -- under previous assignments.
So those are -- those are two of the tools that we certainly are talking about.
ADM. MULLEN: Where I go with this is, commanders have responsibility and authority right now, resident; have for a long time -- and accountability, quite frankly, for their people and understanding them.
I think the issue of self-radicalization is one that we have really got to focus on, because it -- there is -- there is clearly more and more of that going on. And how much of that we have in the military is something that we ought to really understand.
And then the other piece is -- it would be tools that would help us -- and policies, quite frankly -- that would help us better share information. Not that we need a new policy to transfer information from one post to another, but an active focus on that on the part of leadership.
Q So that would then -- would that translate to, for instance, a more intrusive -- a kind of pejorative word, but, you know, a greater ability to look at what people are communicating privately with their --
ADM. MULLEN: I don't -- I'm -- I don't -- I mean, I wouldn't get into that specific area, per se. But I think certainly commanders have more than adequate room and authority right now to really understand what their people are doing. And there are typically indicators of this -- not perfect, but there are indicators of behaviors that oftentimes are known at the junior level, you know, in the unit at the squad level. And so how do we -- how do we make sure that when we see indicators we're doing all we can? And that's key.
One other -- one other comment I'd like to make, just switching to Haiti, because I haven't mentioned it, is -- and this is in terms of response time -- the Coast Guard was magnificent from day one. First, they were medevacking people literally within the first 24 hours. And I want to give them a great deal of credit for their response capability as well. It hasn't all just been the military and out of this department.
Q I would like you to clarify one thing on Haiti. I understood you to say 9(,000) to 10,000 U.S. forces there by Monday.
ADM. MULLEN: Right.
Q Is that the figure that you -- that you think we are poised to increase?
ADM. MULLEN: We will -- it looks -- we will have about that. But that is not 10,000 forces ashore, because the bulk of those will be on ships. So I think we have to be careful about that, specifically. And it looks like between 9(,000) and 10,000, with the arrival of the Marines and the three ships that are associated with that.
Q And then that could rise from there?
ADM. MULLEN: It could.
SEC. GATES: Last question.
Q Mr. Secretary, you've made reference to the collapse of the infrastructure in Haiti several times already. And it also seems to be that the apparatus of the state itself has largely disappeared. Looking at it over the medium term, what kind of capabilities and assistance is this department prepared to give to help the state actually get back -- to help Haiti get back on its feet?
SEC. GATES: Well, this will be principally the responsibility, I assume, of the United Nations, and from the standpoint of the United States government. The lead role will be played by our ambassador, the State Department and AID, and our efforts will be in support of them.
Thank you all.
Q Do you have enough helicopters?
SEC. GATES: Never.
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