United States Department of Defense United States Department of Defense

News Transcript

Press Operations Bookmark and Share


DoD News Briefing, March 1, 1999, Regarding Defense Reform

Presenter: Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen & Deputy Secretary of Defense John Hamre
March 01, 1999 11:00 AM EDT

Subject: Defense Reform Initiative

Secretary Cohen: Good morning.

In recent months America's armed forces have demonstrated their precision in Operation DESERT FOX, they have patrolled the dangerous skies over Iraq, and they have prepared for strikes in the Balkans. Our forces excel in every mission to shape and respond to world events, even after major reductions in spending and size and reorganizations in structure that have occurred since the Cold War.

However, the size of the Defense Department, whose mission is to support the men and women in uniform, has not reduced, restructured, or pursued innovations to the same extent. As a result, we risk having a world class military being encumbered by a proportionately larger yet less efficient support infrastructure.

To rectify this imbalance and to realize savings to help prepare our forces for the 21st Century, the Department is pursuing a long-term defense reform initiative, the so-called DRI, to fundamentally reorient the way in which we operate our support structure.

When we launched the DRI back in November of 1997, we identified four pillars of reform, and we have made progress in each.

Reengineering by adopting the best business practices in everything we do, from the way that we contract to how we buy products to how we pay for travel.

Consolidating and streamlining organizations, for example, by reducing the military's services headquarters staff by ten percent and the Office of Secretary of Defense by a third.

Competing more functions with the private sector than ever before.

And eliminating excess infrastructure.

And let me note that President Clinton's proposal for the first sustained increase in defense spending in some 15 years should not and will not be used as an excuse to avoid more reform or reductions in infrastructure. On the contrary, now more than ever, our ability to both secure the necessary funding for our men and women in uniform and sustain efforts to prepare them for future missions hinge on our ability to build the most efficient, effective support structure possible.

Therefore, we have not only aggressively pursued our DRI initiatives, we have significantly expanded our efforts in other areas.

This more comprehensive reform effort includes building an acquisition system that provides our forces with 21st Century technology in the most affordable and efficient fashion possible; building a rapid, highly flexible and precise logistics system to support the rapid, overwhelming and precise fire power demanded by future missions; harnessing the information technology required by both our business operations in the supply lines and our warfighters on the front lines; and enhancing protection of the American homeland against growing threats of weapons of mass destruction and the means to deliver them. This includes preparing a national missile defense program, and helping communities and cities prepare for possible chemical or biological attacks on U.S. soil.

Varied though they are, these initiatives are in fact grounded in a common principle -- to better prepare this Department for the new challenges for the new century.

In the past an update of these reforms would have been presented to you in a paper-intensive, and I suspect difficult to obtain, paper report. So in keeping with our desire to move the Department toward an electronic and paperless environment, I decided that our first status report on defense reform should be available solely in an electronic format. A CD report is easy to use; it is widely available and included on our DoD Web site DefenseLINK.

I'd like to highlight just three of the over 40 segments in this report.

In adopting the best business practices, we are empowering our people to make the vast majority of official purchases using a special credit card rather than wasting time and money writing a paper contract. The following excerpt not only demonstrates that use of the card is growing rapidly, it underscores a very crucial point about reform effort. We're actually tracking our performance and measuring our progress.

If we could have the first presentation.

"Before the Department of Defense implemented the purchase card, buying supplies and purchases valued under $2,500 was labor' and paper-intensive and often required numerous approvals. Once approval and funding were obtained, the request was forwarded to the purchasing office. This decentralized and inefficient process could take weeks, even months, before employees received the items they needed.

"As the performance score card for purchase card shows, in 1996 DoD was using the purchase card to buy over 50 percent of their purchases valued at $2,500 and below. This left approximately three million requests still streaming into the purchasing office.

"Today more than 86 percent of purchases valued below $2,500 are being purchased with the card. Over 160,000 defense employees are using the commercial credit card process to get the items they need quickly.

"Currently the services are among the largest users of the purchase card.

"By the year 2000, DoD will be obtaining over 90 percent of their low-cost purchases with the purchase card. For more information on DoD's purchase card program check out the Defense Reform Initiative Web site."

I mentioned that the Department is competing more jobs with the private sector than ever before. The following excerpt will illustrate the enormous savings from this effort.

"In an era of changing security interests, the benefits of competition are not a luxury but a necessity in order to reallocate funding to meet the needs of the warfighter.

"The Office of Management and Budget's Circular A-76 and its supplemental handbook detail procedures for determining whether commercial activities should be performed within the Department of Defense by another federal agency or by the private sector.

"In November 1997 we announced a goal to compete 150,000 positions between fiscal year 1997 and fiscal year 2003 under the A-76 process. We are committed to exceeding our original objective.

"The fiscal year 2000 budget provides for the competition of nearly 229,000 positions between fiscal year 1997 and fiscal year 2005.

"The performance score card for competitive sourcing shows that in fiscal year 1997 the number of positions competed under the A-76 process was just over 26,000. In fiscal year 1998 over 32,000 positions were competed. From fiscal year 1997 through fiscal year 2005 nearly 170,000 positions will be competed resulting in a cumulative total of 229,000 positions competed.

"The DoD expects this process will save approximately $11.2 billion from fiscal year 1997 to fiscal year 2005. These savings will be reallocated to other defense priorities including force modernization."

I also mentioned that we're eliminating excess infrastructure and the following excerpt makes it clear why we're fighting for two more rounds of BRAC or Base Realignment and Closure this year.

"Base Realignment and Closure, known as BRAC, is our single most important reform initiative, both because it is needed to shrink our infrastructure to match our 21st Century needs and because it promises the greatest savings.

"As a result of the first four rounds of BRAC, the Department of Defense will save $14.5 billion by 2001, with recurring savings of about $5.7 billion each year thereafter. This money is critical to higher priority programs such as modernization and military readiness.

"In the President's fiscal year 2000 budget request, two additional rounds of base closings are requested from Congress.

"Because every community surrounding a military base is affected by its closing, DoD works to minimize the impact and turn the bases over to communities for use by dynamic, growth-oriented private enterprises that benefit the community.

"Since Fort Devens, Massachusetts, closed in March of 1996, about 2,000 jobs have been created at the Devens Commerce Center located at the former base. Nationwide, 60 percent of the civilian jobs lost from base closings have been replaced. The number of new jobs grows every year, leading in many communities to far more jobs than DoD previously provided."

This last screen that you saw tells only part of the story of the BRAC process. Communities that prepared early for life after BRAC and seized federal assistance fared even better. Thanks to $6 million in federal support in a dynamic reuse plan, a year after closure the former Chanute Air Force Base in Illinois now boasts $1.2 million in annual revenue and over 1,300 new jobs.

The former England Air Force Base in Alexandria, Louisiana, worked with the Air Force to find financing and to cut red tape to bring businesses in that now employ more people than the air base did itself.

Moreover, a recent GAO study confirmed that incomes in 63 percent of the communities that experienced base closure have actually grown faster than the national average.

Our experience with BRAC confirms that defense reform is indeed helping to build a new Defense Department for a new century.

At this point I'd like Dr. Hamre just to step forward and give you a few additional points about the CD report, and some of the initiatives that we have under the umbrella of the DRI.

Dr. Hamre: The first rule of thumb when you're a Deputy is you don't take anything from your boss, so I'm going to be very brief to illustrate.

This is not a video. It's the implication it might be like that. Would you go to the primary screen, the main menu screen?

There are four basic categories to this CD-ROM, and each one of these has data behind it. Let's go to the Elements section. This is where the meat of the report is located. As you can see, there are these nine categories. The Secretary just pulled selectively three of them. Let's pull up the first one with the business practices.

There are ten screens. Take number six. This is the one that's dealing with the commercial travel system which the Secretary has spoken of before.

I simply refer to this so that you get some sense of what this tool is like. It's interactive; it's got some explanations. Most important is there's real data showing progress to date.

When the Secretary asked us to do this, he said I don't want just airy fairy stuff. I want real tracking of progress that you're trying to make, and we've tried to highlight that in this report.

Can we go to the menu on the Web site, please? What's also included here, and I want to just show you, is we're able to reference back to the Web homepage for our Defense Reform Initiative. This gives ongoing, real time updating of the Defense Reform activities. We won't go through any of it here, but it's a chance for you to see what it is that's been going on. There's a detailed description and narrative that goes with each of it, and I wanted to reference it to you.

In every case we're trying to give you both an idea about what we have accomplished to date as well as the new things that we're trying in defense reform.

The Secretary said this year--he said we really need to institutionalize this so that we're reforming the support structure on an ongoing basis. That's why you're seeing a larger, more comprehensive program this year than just the four elements last year.

Secretary Cohen: John, thank you very much. You don't have to worry about stepping on my toes up here on this issue.

The DRI has already begun to fundamentally reorient the missions and the methods of doing business, but also I think it's had a deep impact on altering mindsets as well. We remind ourselves day in and day out, every person in this Department has a personal obligation to really commit himself and herself to the DRI goals. This applies individually and collectively. We have to recognize our personal responsibility to make this new system work.

We have one of the world's largest organizations. We want to turn it into a truly world class supporter of our men and women in uniform, and we believe we're on the right track to do that.

Dr. Hamre and I would be happy to answer any questions you might have about this report. Once again, everything we have talked about today is on this CD-ROM.

Q: Mr. Secretary, just a brief question, if I could, since Kosovo and Iraq seem to be on the front burner right now.

Secretary Cohen: Does anybody want to talk about... (Laughter)

Q: Yes, we do. You, Mr. Secretary, according to you all, amassed more than nearly 5,000 troops on the border of Kosovo. They are increasing police presence there; they don't seem to be paying any attention to NATO and American warnings about possible attacks. Are Washington and the alliance helpless here?

Secretary Cohen: Washington and the alliance are not helpless. What we have tried to do is to persuade the Kosovars and those who represent the Kosovo people, as well as the Serbs, that the proposal that was offered in Rambouillet was a good proposal for all parties concerned. They should seize this opportunity to have a peaceful resolution of the issue. And it's up to them to go back and persuade their citizens and their leaders to support this.

One of the great dangers is that during this two-to three-week interim period, tensions could rise, you could have more attacks on one side or the other, and you could have a flare-up of the conflict. So we're hoping that reason will prevail, but it really is up to the parties to make a determination that they must seize the opportunity for peace as opposed to conflict.

Q: What will happen if these thousands of Serb troops move into Kosovo in defiance of warnings and agreements that have been made not to do that?

Secretary Cohen: We've indicated to Mr. Milosevic that the ACTORD remains in effect, and to the extent that his forces launch any attack against innocent people, he is going to face action by NATO itself. NATO countries are committed to making sure that he does not violate the agreement that was signed up to last fall.

Q: Did the United States, as Iraq has claimed, bomb a communications center or some sort of control facility that resulted in cutting off the flow of Gulf oil to Turkey used in the Oil for Food program?

Secretary Cohen: We responded to attacks upon our aircraft by targeting those facilities that allowed the Iraqi forces to place our pilots in jeopardy. We did in fact target a communications facility which may or may not have interrupted the flow of oil temporarily going into Turkey. But we believe the target itself was one that was used for communication purposes to their military.

I might point out, contrary to the Iraqi claims about this jeopardizing the Oil for Food program, that the United Nations itself has pointed out that there are some $275 million in food and medicine and supplies which are stored in Iraqi warehouses that are not being distributed to the people, to the Iraqi people. That is the responsibility and obligation that falls squarely on the shoulders of Saddam Hussein.

Q: Mr. Secretary, it does appear now more than a month after DESERT FOX that the United States is engaged in a low level war with Iraq, an air war. Why are you not releasing the gun camera video from systems that you have released before? Are you trying to downplay the magnitude of what the United States is doing in...

Secretary Cohen: The United States is simply doing what it has been doing since the Persian Gulf conflict. It is enforcing the no-fly zones. We will continue to enforce the no-fly zones both in the north and the south. And to the extent that Saddam Hussein targets our pilots, those facilities and the ability to put our pilots in jeopardy are going to be targeted.

With respect to providing information, frankly, I don't have any intention of providing Saddam Hussein with any information that would increase his ability to do that which he seeks to do. He has a bounty on our pilots at this point. I don't want to give any information to him that would help him achieve his goal of attacking successfully our pilots as they're carrying out their responsibilities.

Q: Secretary Cohen, this is the day that the international treaty banning anti-personnel landmines is going into effect. Will you say just a few words about why the United States is not a party to that treaty?

Secretary Cohen: As I have pointed out on past occasions, the United States is the leading country in the world who has committed more resources and more time and effort to the demining effort globally than any other country, and perhaps a combination of countries in this effort.

We made it very clear, and the President made it very clear, that we could not sign the Ottawa Convention or the Treaty by virtue of the fact that there was no exemption or exception for protecting our forces in Korea. That was the principle reason that the President could not put our forces and would not put our forces in jeopardy. But we continue to lead the effort, the demining effort. Our mines, as such, are not those that pose a threat to innocent people. But nonetheless, we're still continuing that effort on a global basis. And we will continue to work to find alternatives to our current system that we have in Korea, but we are not going to place our forces in jeopardy by virtue of this particular treaty,

Q: Are you making any progress in finding alternatives?

Secretary Cohen: Well, it's an ongoing effort. This is not an easy problem to resolve, but we have some time to do that and we're committing resources to doing that.

Q: Mr. Cohen, how can there be a permissive environment in Kosovo that would allow the peaceful, amicable introduction of NATO troops if there is first, it is necessary that there should be a coercive action against Serbia from the air? How can that work?

Secretary Cohen: We indicated before, we don't intend to serve as an air force for the KLA or the UCK. They must persuade their people and their leadership to accept the peace proposal that they've been negotiating for the past several weeks in France. Absent that, we are not going to try to coerce either party or any of the parties into an agreement.

What we have indicated is if the Serbs, by virtue of their heavy armor and their artillery, start to engage in massive assault upon innocent villagers, that would constitute a violation of the agreement that was negotiated with Richard Holbrooke back in the fall, and that would prompt an attack by the NATO forces. Certainly the ACTORD remains in effect. Secretary General Solana has indicated that he is prepared to issue that, execute that order, after consulting with all of the parties. So that remains in effect, so it's a caution to the Serb forces, but also we have to indicate that there must be a signing up to this agreement on the part of the Kosovars as well.

Q: If NATO bombs them, then permissive introduction of NATO troops is negated, is that correct?

Secretary Cohen: NATO is not going to get involved, again, in a coercive environment. It has to be a permissive one.

Q: What about...

Q: Mr. Secretary, are you making any additions or subtractions to the air power that was sent to Europe in anticipation of possible airstrikes there?

Secretary Cohen: Not at this time. We have held up some of the forces that would be going there. They're on a very short notification should they be required to go there for a peace implementation force. But no major changes.

Q: Mr. Secretary, how long can this low-intensity war with Iraq continue at its present state?

And the second question, how much did it cost to produce that CD-ROM on DRI, compared to just a good, old fashioned paper report?

Secretary Cohen: I'll allow Deputy Secretary Hamre to give you the costs of this CD-ROM. I think that as we're moving into the digital age, we will find that this will produce, again, a change in mindset that will be well worth whatever cost is involved in producing this particular disc.

How long can the enforcement of the no-fly zones continue to take place? They will take place as long as Saddam Hussein refuses to comply with the U.N. resolutions. There's only one person responsible for whatever is taking place in Iraq today, and that is Saddam Hussein's refusal to comply with the U.N. Security Council resolutions.

If there is full compliance, then there will be an end to the enforcement of the no-fly zones and enforcement of the sanctions. Until such time as he agrees to fully comply, then we're going to continue to enforce the obligations.

Q: Mr. Secretary, a few weeks ago there was an expansion of the rules of engagement over Iraq, and even since then we now see that pilots are sort of walking up the ladder of targets. First they were the air defense systems themselves. Last week we saw a command and control bunker hit. Over the weekend we saw an airstrike headquarters hit.

Have the rules of engagement been expanded still again? Or have pilots been instructed to go after more strategic targets?

Secretary Cohen: The pilots have been given greater flexibility to attack those systems which place them in jeopardy. They are not simply going to respond to a AAA site or to a SAM site. They can go after command and control, communications centers as well, that allow Saddam Hussein to try to target them and put them in jeopardy. So they have some flexibility, and they will continue to have that flexibility.

Q: Has there been a turning up of that flexibility?

Secretary Cohen: There's been a turning up on the part of Saddam Hussein to try to bring down those pilots. We are going to do everything in our power to prevent that from taking place. So far we've been very successful. We hope that success will continue.

Q: Could I ask one more on the landmines, please? While the U.S. maintains a landmine defense on the DMZ between North and South Korea, doesn't the United States also continue to produce and retain the right to use other kinds of landmines in other battlefield conditions? And why not just agree to ban the use of those new so-called smart mines?

Secretary Cohen: As a matter of fact, the United States does have so-called smart mines that are laid down that self-destruct. For example, the mines that we use, or I should say the munitions that we use, can self-destruct within a period of either four hours, 48 hours, or 14 days. Contrary to all of those -- most of those, I should say -- that have signed up to the Ottawa Convention, many of these other countries have landmines which do pose a threat for months and years to innocent civilians who might come across them.

The United States is in the process of destroying all of those with the exception of Korea itself.

As far as the future, the President has indicated we are going to give up even those self-destruct mechanisms which we have by the year 2003. To the extent that we use the so-called combined munition or anti-tank munition, that will continue until such time as we find an alternative to that, and that's what we're doing research and development on right now.

But other countries, by the way, are still allowed to have anti-tank munitions which are non-self-destruct. So we, in fact, have a system which poses no threat to innocent civilians whereas those who have signed up to the Ottawa Convention have systems which are not self-destruct. So there's a great irony involved in all of this.

But we are committed to trying to find alternatives not only to the systems that we have on the Korean Peninsula, the DMZ, but also in terms of the so-called combined munitions. So we think that we're in the lead and play a leadership role in finding ways to resolve this very difficult issue.

Q: Mr. Secretary, have you got a figure overall for how much has been saved by the DRI since November of '97?

Secretary Cohen: We've tried to point out those key areas where we believe the savings have been achieved and will be achieved in the future. On the competition, the more positions that we compete, this will result in real savings. As we pointed out on the chart, it should result in $11.5 billion over that period of time. We have factored that in in terms of planning for our budget as we've already counted those savings in terms of planning our budget in future years.

In addition to that, the base closure we have calculated will save some $20 billion cumulatively, two more rounds, and roughly $3 billion on an annual basis. So those are savings that we have calculated.

The others really pertain to greater efficiency and productivity on the part of the work force and we have not put any kind of a price tag on that.

Q: Mr. Secretary, you're talking about streamlining your organization inside the building. I'd like to ask you about some streamlining outside the building.

Specifically, can you tell us how much room you see for further consolidation in naval shipbuilding and your view on the proposal by General Dynamics to acquire Newport...

Secretary Cohen: I really haven't had an opportunity as far as the merger proposal by General Dynamics. This is something I hope to have a briefing on prior to my departure this week, but I expect to get a briefing in about ten days, and at that time I'll be in a position to make some kind of an analysis based on the recommendation coming from my staff.

Obviously, we're weighing what the proposal might do in the way of producing greater efficiency, but we also have to be concerned about whether there are any anti-competitive aspects to such a proposal. But I hope to have some kind of a recommendation submitted to me in several weeks.

Q: Mr. Secretary, because your spokesman has had to recuse himself on the Linda Tripp issue, perhaps we can get some guidance from you on her future employment with the Department, what position, how long, fired, not fired, any of those.

Secretary Cohen: Frankly, I have not focused upon that matter at this time, and I expect it will be handled within the personnel channels.

Q: So you will not be the person who makes a decision on the...

Secretary Cohen: Other personnel ...[cough]... I usually defer to the people who are in charge of personnel, but I have not involved myself at all in that.

Q: Mr. Secretary, you've talked about measuring progress, baselining, measuring. If I'm a U.S. company, one of your big defense contractors, or one of these commercial companies you'd like to have do business with DoD, what are some of the fair benchmarks they should be judging you against in terms of whether it streamlines their relationships with DoD, whether it's easier to get contract information, things like that?

Secretary Cohen: What we have done is we have tried to set up a very strong liaison relationship with key defense industries to show them that in fact we're taking down barriers that have existed in the past to make it easier for mid-sized firms and small firms to have access to databases so they can in fact key into what we are requesting in the way of supplies and services. So we have made a conscious effort to bring as many contractors in the country into the acquisition process as possible. We meet with corporations and heads of companies on a regular basis to find out what they are doing in the way of becoming more efficient and staying ahead of the technology curve and see whether or not we can integrate that into our own system. So we do this on a regular basis.

Q: You were at Microsoft a week and a half ago. Did they give you any good ideas that you may fold into the DRI?

Secretary Cohen: We did have some of our staff members stay at Microsoft after I left to go to Alaska to learn what they were doing in terms of new ideas in technology, but I have not had a chance to get briefed up on that just yet.

Q: Mr. Secretary, a moment ago you spoke of the irony involved in the landmine issue, but can you understand since the United States has refused to sign this treaty why it makes the U.S., the U.S. military and the Pentagon such an easy target for the critics?

Secretary Cohen: I understand how easy it is to simplify this issue, but I would like to point out that we are the country that virtually everyone calls upon to come to their aid.

You would take note, for example, that when it comes to helping to solve the issue in Kosovo, it is the United States that must participate, or else it can't get resolved.

We are the country that has to maintain a presence in the Persian Gulf area so that every other country can take some satisfaction that there is stability and a supply of energy going out so they can maintain a level of prosperity.

We are the country who has 37,000 of our men and women deployed on the Korean Peninsula so that we can help stabilize that region so conflict doesn't break out and present great instability to that entire region, which would have an impact on all of the economies of those countries who have signed up to this treaty.

So it may be a problem as far as the presentation, but I think once the people understand that we have our men and women forward deployed in numbers that far exceed any other country or perhaps any combination of those countries, and we are committed to protecting their lives under all circumstances if at all possible, then I think making the case for why we need to have this exemption for our forces in Korea and why we have been the leaders as far as technology is concerned to protect innocent lives from these munitions, then I think it may take a little bit longer than is necessary for some to understand, but the case is there to be made and we intend to make it.

That's why the President made the decision that he did. We strongly support that effort and we will continue to do so.

Press: Thank you.

Q: Can we ask Dr. Hamre a quick question?

Dr. Hamre: The cost is about $8 a CD. That's what it would cost us to do on the average. We put out 2,000 of them.

Mr. Houley: It was about $220,000 in the production, but having made that investment, additional CDs are very, very low cost.

Dr. Hamre: Our preferred method, of course, is using the Internet. But the problem is Internet's a pull system, so how do you put in front... Every one of our flag officers, general officers will be getting this; Members of Congress are getting it; CEOs are getting it. We're trying to use this as a primary method to say, to Tony's question, yes, we want industry to be doing business with us.

There's a section on how to do paper-free contracting and what we offer in that area. So we see this as a primary communication tool, both inside the building as well as to our interested communities that work with us.

Q: Dr. Hamre, there have been a number of reports--I want to ask a Y2K question.

There have been several reports suggesting that the Pentagon perhaps isn't really as ready as it says on the Y2K issue, that there have been serious problems in some systems.

Can you just bring us up to date on how confident you are that you'll actually be ready by the year 2000?

Dr. Hamre: Sure. We meet on a monthly basis, and I'm talking about senior levels. I'm talking about the Vice Chief of Staff level. They meet with me.

A year ago I was enormously apprehensive, and frankly just as recently as November very apprehensive. We have about 83 percent of our systems fixed today. Fixed and tested. We will make that about 93 percent by the end of March. We will be at 100 percent by basically October. That's fixed and tested, and tested from one end of the system to the other.

So we'll take a finance system, a payroll system, and we'll say can a payroll clerk get it into the system, will DFAS process it, will it get to the Federal Reserve, will they transfer it on the wire, will the banks move it right down to an individual bank? And we're testing that leg, that segment, and that's just one of probably 200 tests that are going on.

Secretary Cohen: Strategic systems, you might comment...

Dr. Hamre: Strategic command and control systems have been tested already. We've done extensive testing on our early warning system out at NORAD and the fixes work. So I'm very confident that it's going to work, and I'm confident that everybody in the building knows it's the Secretary's highest priority. We will not fail.

Q: Secretary Cohen, are you confident you can reassure the United States and the rest of the world that the Pentagon's not going to have any Y2K problems?

Secretary Cohen: We are confident that we have addressed--we are addressing the issue, and we will have it fully addressed by an appropriate time.

Our concern has been our integration with other countries, of course, making sure that all of the NATO countries who are tied into our defense structure for NATO operations also are Y2K compliant. We have raised this in each and every forum that we can. So we're confident that we're also dealing with our allies on this issue.

You may also be aware that we are working with the Russians to satisfy ourselves mutually that we have an early warning type of a sharing of information so that there is no misconception and no difficulties that might come about at the end of this year.

So we're working the problem very hard. We're encouraged about where we are today compared to last year. We got a very low mark last year, but I believe the President's representative on this would put us somewhere in the B category as opposed to the D category last year, so we've made tremendous progress under the leadership of Dr. Hamre.

Dr. Hamre: But it isn't graded. This is pass/fail, and we're not going to fail. (Laughter)

Press: Thank you.

Additional Links

Stay Connected