SENATOR WARNER: We've just completed our annual posture hearing and I credit the Secretary, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs and the Chief of Staff of the Army for providing this committee with I think a very encouraging assessment of the present and future prospects for the men and women of the armed forces.
I anticipate that the Congress will in large measure give strong support to this President's budget and that the needs of the armed forces will be met financially and in every other way because this country stands four-square behind the men and women of the armed forces and their families.
SECRETARY RUMSFELD: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
We were pleased to be here today and have an opportunity to present what we believe is a sound budget, a sensible budget that will enable the Department of Defense and the men and women in the armed services to properly protect and defend this country.
SENATOR WARNER: Chairman?
GENERAL PACE: Thank you, sir.
We just had a year of extraordinary cooperation and coordination between the senior civilian leadership of the department and the military leadership of the department. It has produced a budget that I believe will allow us to prosecute the war on terrorism, to accelerate our transformation, to enhance our joint warfighting, and to take care of the quality of life of our troops and their families. We appreciate very much this opportunity.
SENATOR WARNER: We'll take a few questions.
PRESS: Mr. Secretary, to my knowledge we haven't heard you react to the 13 prisoners who escaped from the Yemeni prison. What's your reaction to that?
SECRETARY RUMSFELD: It is a serious problem. They were individuals who were deeply involved in al-Qaida activities and directly connected to the attack on the USS Cole and the death of the Sailors that were aboard that ship.
PRESS: What do you know about a report that intel, Yemeni intel, the agency was involved some how --
SECRETARY RUMSFELD: I have nothing I can say about that.
PRESS: Is there any interest in introducing legislation that would be the equivalent of the Goldwater/Nichols across [inaudible]?
SENATOR WARNER: Thank you for asking that question because I was here and took a very active role in the legislation Goldwater/Nichols. Yesterday I had the opportunity to discuss it with our new Chairman of the Joint Chiefs. I'll be discussing it with the Secretary.
I think it should be a joint decision by the Congress and the Executive Branch but I do believe there are areas in which certain clarification and update could be helpful.
Do you have a view on that, Mr. Secretary?
SECRETARY RUMSFELD: I do, Mr. Chairman. General Pace said it well today in the hearing. It is something that, the interagency process is something that we would benefit from if we could find ways to improve it and strengthen it. I know that people in all the departments and agencies recognize the importance of having it function in a way that all elements of national power can be brought to bear in this struggle, and we are thinking about it internally and I think it's useful and helpful for you and the Congress to be thinking about it.
SENATOR WARNER: Thank you.
Thank you very much.
SECRETARY RUMSFELD: Thank you, folks.