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DoD News Briefing - Rear Admiral Craig Quigley, DASD PA

Presenters: Rear Admiral Craig Quigley, DASD PA
February 08, 2001 1:30 PM EDT

Thursday, February 8, 2001-1:30 p.m. EST

Quigley: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. I have no announcements today, but I'm prepared to take your questions.


Q: You going to raise Defense spending or aren't you? (Laughter.)

Quigley: Could you be a little bit more direct in your question?

The issue -- or the question, if I could rephrase it, if I could be so bold, is about the Defense budget, I take it, right?

Q: Right.

Quigley: To the best of my knowledge, the president has not yet submitted his 2002 budget to the Congress. We expect that in the next several weeks or so. But I will leave that for him to announce.

Q: Can I follow up on that?

Q: Well, is it not true that the Defense secretary told the Joint Chiefs of Staff and other military leaders not to look for any major increases in Defense spending --

Quigley: I've heard those --

Q: -- until the study's complete.

Quigley: I have read those stories swirling around the building for the last couple of days, but I'm not going to characterize the secretary's conversations a couple of nights ago with the service chiefs and the unified commanders.

Q: Does the secretary still stand by the remarks he made, then, in his confirmation hearings, that he felt Defense spending needs to be increased?

Quigley: I think you can look from the actions that are -- will be near-term, Barbara, in the months to come, in the not-too-many months to come that says that he is absolutely of that mind. And let me explain what that means.

He has been tasked by the president to conduct a review of the Defense program of the United States. He will pursue that tasking vigorously in the weeks and months to come. He's not yet put a timetable for completion on that because he can't. He doesn't know how long it's going to take him. But he knows there's a sense of urgency here. This could have a direct impact on the 2002 budget, and will certainly have an impact on the QDR as we approach the late fall workings and preparation of the '03 budget to be submitted next January-February.

He is going to take an honest, analytical look and provide the answers to the president that he had directed him to do. He is going to take the information resulting from that review, will present that to the president as it matures and comes to completion. They will discuss the findings of those reviews. The president will decide.

And if he sees fit, there could be an opportunity there to make an amendment to the '02 budget as it is being worked by the Congress. If the president does not feel that that's the appropriate course of action to take, then he'll do that. But Secretary Rumsfeld is looking here to providing the sorts of comprehensive analytical answers that the president has tasked him to provide. And, as you've heard the president say, this is something that he feels very strongly about.

Q: Can you give us an example to what the topics are more specifically that would be looked at, the broad categories of topics?

Quigley: Well, we expect the formal tasking from the president to come just in the next couple of days. But in a general sense I think you're looking at quality of life -- which the president and Secretary Rumsfeld are absolutely in agreement that that is critical. The best equipment in the world doesn't mean much without the people to run it. And that's both recruiting, it's retention, it's the quality of life writ large. There's a variety of issues that go under that very short phrase. But those are very, very important and must be at the top of anyone's list.

But then you have to take a look at the strategy, the acquisition policy, the strategy that goes with why are we going to have these systems? -- and you kind of work backwards. What is it the United States military needs to do? And then, if you start there, then what sorts of systems does the United States military need to operate to carry out those sorts of missions? So it's quality of life, it's strategy, it's acquisition policy. And if there's additional details, I'm sure the president will make those clear --

Q: Can I follow up to that one?

Quigley: George?

Q: Same subject?

Quigley: Mm-hmm.

Q: Right now, does the Department of Defense have any emergency -- and I underscore the word "emergency" -- funding needs?

Quigley: There are some bills, and "fact of life" bills that will probably need to be paid in the months ahead that right now as part of fiscal '01 we're not quite sure how we're going to pay for those. Maybe it's a reprogramming. Maybe it will be appropriate for Secretary Rumsfeld to go back to the president in the months ahead and say, "Mr. President, I do think we need a supplemental." The president clearly has left that door open and says, "You tell me what you need and we'll talk." So that is the way ahead, George, as I see it for the next several months while we're still in fiscal '01.

Q: Just so I understand, you mentioned a few bills to pay, but beyond that, you know, like pay and the medical costs, which have gone off the chart a little bit, is there any immediate emergency need for up to $10 billion right now for this fiscal '01 year?

Quigley: I think that the president and the secretary have been pretty clear as to their support for a very strong military. But the president's been equally clear about his desire for a good, thorough comprehensive look at what the needs are before we start investing in the future. He has left the door open for a supplemental in '01, as you've heard folks say the last a few days. Secretary Rumsfeld will take a look at the data that are available to him in the weeks and months to come and will approach the president as he sees best fit, based with the facts that he is looking at in data, in consultations with the service chiefs, with the chairman, a variety of inputs.

Q: I get the message there's no immediate emergency need for extra funding.

Quigley: I think that is the secretary's view.

Q: Craig, when will the 2002 budget go up? And as I understand what Ari said yesterday, that will only include -- the only difference between the Clinton budget and the budget that's going up initially will be for a pay raise and housing allowances. Is that not right?

Quigley: Well, I think I'll let his words stand. But I think as far as a time line goes, I would expect it in the next several weeks, although I've not heard a firm date on that.

Q: Just a quick follow-up on that, is anyone in OSD looking at the possibility of finding up to a billion dollars more in pay within the budget that the last administration proposed, by reprogramming, by moving some things around? Is that an option?

Quigley: Say that again?

Q: What the White House said yesterday is that, regardless of the strategic review, that the president is committed to put in an extra billion dollars for military pay. And what I'm wondering, is there some consideration of moving things around in the '02 budget that the last administration prepared, in order to find that extra billion dollars without increasing the overall budget?

Quigley: I think I'll let the machinations of the 2002 budget wait until the president releases it.

Q: Craig, how is the secretary going to approach this question, or this component, of a strategic review of what kind of military do we need to have to meet the kinds of threats that are really out there? Is he going to rely -- has he given any indication -- is he going to rely strictly on the views of the chiefs? Has he selected some outside panelists that he wants to have with him, or does he have his own concepts?

Quigley: One thing that has been real clear to me in the first two and a half weeks, I guess, of my knowing Secretary Rumsfeld and working closely with him is the incredible diversity of views of individuals that he draws upon, both from his prior service in the government, his years spent since in the world of business, and different types of businesses. And he thinks that is a great -- a great strength and an asset, and he picks up the phone and calls a variety of people to get inputs.

I think you will see a similar construct, Alex, in the individuals that he will ask to help him accomplish the review on these military issues that the president has tasked him to carry out, so that there is a variety of voices heard from a variety of backgrounds.

I mean, he has some very strong views on these topics himself. So this is not going to be a process where he sits back and waits for these small groups to come to him with a finished product. He is going to be a part of the ongoing formulation process from the get-go because he has some very strong views.

He also has a sense of urgency here. This needs to be both thorough and fairly quick. So you don't have the luxury here of lots of amounts of time. You have -- fiscal '02 will start on the 1st of October, this fall.

In the months between some weeks from now, when the president submits his budget to the Congress, and the 1st of October, when fiscal 2002 starts, you need go complete your analysis, you need to present that to the president, you -- and assuming he agrees with the analysis, then that needs to be converted into legislation somehow, gotten to the Congress in a timely enough manner that they can do something with it as part of the overall 2002 process before the start of the year comes and now you're up against the stops.

So it's timing, it's diversity of backgrounds and inputs into the process, but it's very much a process that he will be a part of, in all of its subsets, from the very beginning.

Q: Craig, you said earlier that you didn't see any dire emergencies with the different services. But all the services tell us that if there is not a supplemental, there will be a train wreck in each of the services before the end of the fiscal year. They simply don't have enough money to continue their flying hours, their steaming hours, without radical changes of direction.

Is the secretary aware of the perspective that is being put out by the services? And is -- I mean, you say there's a sense of urgency, but there is also apparently a strong sense from the White House that they would like to resist a supplemental.

Quigley: I think Secretary -- he has indeed been briefed by the services, by the unified commanders, by the chairmen, on the financial situation facing the military as we are roughly halfway through fiscal year '01. And he has said that he's going to watch this very, very carefully in the weeks and months ahead. And if -- he will present to the president the facts as he sees them. And if he feels that there is indeed a need for a supplemental to get us through fiscal '01 in certain particular areas of the defense budget, he will present that and make his best case to the president.

The president will then decide, and we'll go from there.

But it's something that he wants to watch. He knows he needs to watch it very carefully, and there is also a sense of timing here, as well, in '01 as in '02, that this is going on right now. You've got to monitor it carefully, you've got to be right on top of things from a scheduling and execution perspective, and get to the president quickly with the facts as you see them.

Q: Well, can I follow that, Admiral?

Quigley: Sure, go ahead, Dale.

Q: You've used words like "watch" and "monitor". And I think all of us have the sense that while this review is underway, the situation daily gets worse without a supplemental. That's certainly the feedback we're getting from the services. If all the secretary is doing is watching and monitoring, in a few months, when the review comes out, the accounts that are already, we're being told, are overspent, will be overspent all the more.

Is he giving the services any direction right now: Slow down, boys, because you might not get any more money.

Quigley: No. But there's a distinction in the two parts here. And I know they're parallel tracks, but they are different. And the reviews that he will undertake for the president, of the defense strategy, acquisition and what have you, this is in preparation not for '01 -- okay? -- but these are influencing events in the '02 budget and out, and use parts, as you can, for the Quadrennial Defense Review that will be the profound impact on the '03 budget, as well.

But the '01, this is the year we're spending that money; this is being spent right now. This is the real time-critical element of the three; kind of a near term, mid term and long term, if you will. He's going to watch it very carefully, he's going to make the recommendations to the president, he's going to get inputs from individuals in the services and the Joint Staff, as he needs to, and make his decision.

Q: But in the meantime, he has not given any direction to any of the services to slow their spending down?

Quigley: Not that I'm aware of, Dale, no.


Q: Does he not believe the services when they say they need more money? Why does he need to watch? Why doesn't he just say, "Okay, here you go."

Quigley: I think he wants to come to his own conclusions on that.

Q: And can you give us a sense of -- when the chiefs were up on the Hill they were -- last month, they were talking about the things that they wanted. Could you differentiate between how much of the things that they wanted and how much that they need; how much was "wish list" and how much is real need?

Quigley: No, I don't think I can.


Q: Well, to follow Dale's question, then a short question. I think that one of the problems is that a number of us have seen, as you no doubt have seen, a very specific laundry list of what the chiefs, through their representatives, call "emergency needs", which was presented to the Senate Armed Services Committee staff on January 10th.

So, it's like, hey, we need this right away. And then in answer to Pam's question she says, well, you know -- and Dale's question, just going to let it get worse. That's one part of the problem. In other words, the standing of the January 10th submissions to the Senate Armed Services are very detailed, and they don't seem to have impressed the secretary. That's one thing that hits us.

The second thing is, since he's going to send up, according to the administration, the President -- President Clinton's 2002 budget -- that's been announced, that they're going to not tinker with that, they're going to send it up at the $310 billion level -- does that mean that the Joint Chiefs have signed off on that $310 billion budget, so you don't have to get their endorsement a second time?

Quigley: Well, on the second part, let me be real simple: the content of the 2002 budget is the prerogative of the president, period. And what its number will be and how it is parsed within its overall total is his prerogative. I -- I don't --

Q: My question is really did the chiefs sign off on the inherited budget, which your administration is going to be the one that presents it to Congress?

Quigley: I don't know.


Q: The president is going to be visiting some military bases next week. What bases is he visiting? Is Rumsfeld going to be going with him? And what will the secretary be telling the troops, you know, concerning this hang-up with the budget?

Quigley: Presidential travel will not be announced from this podium. That will be done from the White House. If he -- if and when he chooses to visit some military installations, you can probably be confident that the secretary will travel with him. But I'll let the president's travel plans be announced from the White House.

Q: Is he planning to do any of his own traveling to bases to visit with our troops or explain --

Quigley: None are yet scheduled, no.

Q: I'm sorry?

Quigley: None are yet scheduled, no.

Yes. John. I'm sorry.

Q: Can you help me with one other of the -- sort of the major program things. Earlier this week you said that the F-22 program, which is coming up on a milestone decision, is probably going to have to hold a little bit on that milestone decision. And you said other programs as well. Does that include the DDD-21? They have a decision coming up roughly the same time frame as the F-22. You think it is likely that that program is going to have to just wait a little bit for answers before they move ahead?

Quigley: I don't think he's received briefs on that, John. I don't know.


Q: Craig, do you have any comment on this report that was issued today --

Quigley: Could I just go back to that just a second? You all are very desirous of complete clarity -- (laughter) -- on two processes that are not clear at this point. I'm trying to be as clear as I can be, but there are not very many absolutes and definitives running around out there. The president has very clearly said that he is not going to submit a near-term supplemental to the Congress for '01 but reserves the right to do so in the future. And in the '02 budget, that has not yet been submitted to the Congress. So you're asking for clarity on two issues that are not yet resolved. And I can't help you achieve the clarity you seek on either of those. I'm sorry.

Q: Well, without asking you the questions, we're not going to see what has progressed over the last two days.

Quigley: Well, I just -- I'd like to be responsive from here as much as I can, as often as I can. But in these two areas, I know I'm not being as clear as you want me to be, but I can't be any more. These are works in progress.

Q: During the election campaign, President Bush was fairly clear that he was planning to, quote-unquote, "rebuild" the military. His own words, and Secretary Cheney's words, "Help is on the way." Now we're hearing from the White House and hearing from the Pentagon that the supplemental appropriation, which maybe you could tell us the last time they didn't get a supplemental appropriation to pay for things like peacekeeping and other -- you know, oil prices and other things that have come up during the year. Now we're told, we're hearing from you that there will be no supplemental appropriation submitted.

Quigley: I said no such thing, nor has the White House.

Q: You said there are no plans now and you reserve the right in the future.

Quigley: Right. That's different than what you just said.

Q: Well, the difference, there will be no money coming if there is no appropriation submitted. Is that not correct? I guess the bottom line is here, is how does what you're saying now from the podium square with what President Bush said before he was elected?

Quigley: This is a work in progress on both the '01 and the '02 budgets.

There has been no budget submitted to this Congress by this president. Wait and see what's in the budget.

Q: But members of the national --

Quigley: I don't know how to do it any other way since there's been no document submitted yet.

Q: Can I ask --

Quigley: I realize there's been a hundred stories in the last two or three days on this topic. But there's been no budget submitted to the Congress.

Q: Could I ask a follow-up to this question? Are things not as bad as Candidate Bush said at the time about the military?

Quigley: I'm not in a position to address such a question as that. (Laughter.)


Q: Let me just take one more stab at the supplemental for clarity sake.

The services are telling us -- the Navy and the Air Force -- that if they don't get the supplemental, they'll have to stop flying. Presumably they're not just telling us, they're telling the secretary and others.

What is the secretary saying to them? Is he saying, "Try to find the money within your own budgets today"? Is he saying, "Help might be on the way later this year"? What is he saying when they say, "We might have to stop flying"?

Quigley: He's saying, let's take a close look, keeping in mind it's February, okay? We're five months into a 12-month fiscal year. Let's take a close look. Let's keep talking. Let's stay in touch. And we'll do the right thing when we get to the point where we need to.

Q: Is he saying, "Find the money elsewhere in your budget"? Is he suggesting that yet?

Quigley: I don't believe so, no.


Quigley: Sir, when does this whole thing get crucial about needing a supplemental? In years past you always sent the last quarter by April. By the end of April they needed money so that they wouldn't have to start canceling training and events in the last quarter. Is that about the right time again?

Quigley: Historically that's been true, but no two years are exactly alike. You end up having different tempos of operation from year to year, different needs from year to year. So it's not a -- it's not strictly a calendar approach. You could have some near term needs or you could have some needs that appear earlier in the year, and some could be put off until, you know, the last couple of months of a fiscal year. But it's very different each and every year.

Barbara, I'm sorry, I --

Q: No, it's okay. I guess I'm still confused too. I mean, in the campaign, the president and the vice president said, as Jamie pointed out, "Help's on the way. The military is under funded. It's under resourced." Now what appears, to me at least, is this building is forgoing every opportunity to clearly and concisely say, "Yes, help is on the way. There will be -- the military is under funded and under resourced." You seem to now be saying, well, we'll have a look at it.

Is it a question that is simply -- I mean, after all this time and it just needs another look? Or is there a fundamental rethinking of what was said during the campaign?

Quigley: Well, I think the way that you put it is -- "We'll just take another look at it," is too casual in the manner that Secretary Rumsfeld is looking at this. He's very much aware that we are in the year of fiscal '01. We are spending the money on this. He's going to keep an eye on it. He is going to keep his finger on the pulse of what's going on in spending execution as we move into the final seven months of fiscal year '01 and do whatever he thinks needs to be done to make sure that the U.S. military stays as ready as it can be.

But he needs to be in compliance with the president's wishes as well where he has left the door open for the supplemental if that's what needs to be done, as well as undertake this comprehensive review of where America's military needs to be.

Q: And you see a way to square that with, again, his own testimony in his confirmation hearings, which was not "I'm going to keep an eye on it," but was, "Yes, the military needs more money."

Quigley: I don't think that he has changed his overall view in that regard. But he wants to have the analytical rigor applied, so that he can speak with clarity when he approaches the president and says, "Here's what I have found, Mr. President, and here is the analysis that backs this up. And here's my recommended course of action." Then they will discus this, discuss it with the Congress, of course, and the president will decide what he wishes to do from there.

Q: I know you don't want to quote his conversation with the chiefs, but can you characterize just in a general way what he said to the chiefs or what his message to the chiefs is with respect to this?

Quigley: I'm just not going to do that. I'm just not going to do that.

Tony --

Q: On that earlier point -- go ahead.

Quigley: Tony?

Q: Let me -- in another approach to this, the White House has been hinting that the $310 billion '02 budget, while its top line will remain the same, they're going reallocate dollars within that to reflect Bush's priorities. Did Rumsfeld at all echo that sentiment that there will be a reallocation of the same top line?

Quigley: Echo that to -- ?

Q: To the CINCs at Fort McNair.

Quigley: Same answer.

Q: You can't give any --

Q: On the --

Quigley: George?

Q: Does the secretary feel in any way rolled by the White House? (Laughter.)

Quigley: No. No. For the last quarter of a century, Secretary Rumsfeld has been in the world of business. And there is a lot of improvements that can be made in the way that the Pentagon does business, that he feels very strongly about.

If you make a case to a person who has spent 25 years -- the last 25 years in the world of business that you need to have a plan before you make spending recommendations and acquisition recommendations for the future, you will get a vigorous head nod of agreement. That's where his head is on this topic.


Q: Has the secretary, since taking over, issued any specific instruction to the various components of the Defense Department that would effectively say all spending is frozen at any level?

Quigley: No. No, he has not. He said, "Stay in touch. We need to keep communicating here, so that I have a full understanding of the status of funding in all -- all -- elements of the military as we proceed down the road in '01."

Q: And he --

Quigley: But there's been no freeze or whatever term you used -- no, he has not done that.

Q: All right. Has he been advised by the chiefs of the service -- the service chiefs that they will not be able to carry out certain planned programs, projects, without additional funding?

Quigley: I don't know that he's received that level of detail. I don't know.

Q: Are they holding up the QDR in any way so they can put this on in sync with that, or is the QDR process ongoing?

Quigley: Huh. Kind of both, I guess, is the answer to the question. As you know, the services and the Joint Staff have offices that have been up and running now for a couple of months, I believe, at least, as they have prepared to do the preparatory work, the basic, fundamental analysis, the data gathering, the presentation of data, upon which you can then build and prepare the actual QDR that will be such an instrumental part of the '03 budget.

But it's a process that, I mentioned you have the near-, the mid- and the longer-term. It is the longer-term, the longest term, of the three elements that needs to go on. So as the review proceeds and you have answers derived from your review efforts, you drop those into the QDR process as that process continues down the road.

So, has it started in full vigor, after two and a half weeks? No, it has not, but it will soon. But its fundamental impact will be on the '03 budget, and out from there.


Q: Craig, I have a personnel question. Pete Aldrich's name has been floated in the Washington Post and some other pubs as the leading candidate to be the new acquisition director. How close is any decision being made to that? Is it a couple of weeks or days away?

Quigley: I can't really put a time frame on it, I'm sorry. But I know that this is a topic of great interest to Secretary Rumsfeld and the folks that are helping to vet potential candidates for all of the senior positions here in the Department of Defense. But I can't put a time frame on it for you, Tony, nor give you a hint as to who's on the list or who isn't on the list or anything of that sort. But it is a topic that has really got his attention.

He very much wants to get a team in place as quickly as he can, and yet there is a process you've got to follow that is -- that takes a while for each and every person, you've got to find people that have the skills, whose judgment he respects, that have the willingness to serve, that can pass muster in the vetting process. So this is not an insignificant process, unfortunately, it takes a while. It's for the greater good when you're all done with it, but it is frustrating to a certain extent up front, when it takes a while.


Q: You mentioned recruitment and retention and the like in this broad review. What about increasing end-strength, though? Is that front burner, back burner, or not even in the kitchen?

Quigley: I would say that there is no topic that is not fair game. If Secretary Rumsfeld feels that there is an element that needs to be explored, I can't believe he wouldn't pursue that. But I don't know that that particular issue has been an element, at least in the early going of this. I would imagine that this would, or certainly could, change over time, where you might think, "I need to take a look at this," and once you -- once you get into the details and take a look at the numbers, maybe it was different than you thought, and maybe that takes you in a different direction. And he'll be quick to adjust, if that's what the case may be.

I just haven't heard that as a specific element that could be addressed.


Q: Craig, back to the Italian Parliament for a second. I didn't quite get my question in before.

Quigley: I'm sorry, I didn't --

Q: They issued a report today in which -- looking into the accident back in '98 when the Marine jet crashed into the gondola cable that killed 20 people.

Quigley: Oh, the gondola.

Q: And one of their conclusions was that the two men, the Marines, who were acquitted of manslaughter should have been convicted and that they're criminal. And that responsibility for the accident should have been signed to higher people -- people higher in the chain of command. Do you have any comment on that?

Quigley: I haven't seen the report. I don't remember the details or the specifics in '98, but I remember there was quite a lengthy process for the aviators here in the United States. But I haven't seen the report, so -- I'm sorry. I haven't seen it, so I'd have to start there, Bob.

Q: Another topic?

Quigley: Jamie?

Q: Perhaps a report, I don't know if you've seen it or not, but an Egyptian newspaper is reporting that Pakistan's military leader, General Pervez Musharraf, is suggesting that Osama bin Laden be tried in a third country, following the example of the recent trial in Lockerbie. Is that something that the United States would favor? Does it think it's a practical eventuality or --

Quigley: I don't think that's probably an issue for the Defense Department to get into, Jamie. I would imagine it would be something that the Justice Department, maybe State, but not us, I'm afraid.


Q: I have one other budget question. Last night, Senator Warner and nine to 10 GOP members of the Senate Armed Services Committee wrote a letter to the president urging not only a supplemental, but to continue the strategic review. A, what is the Pentagon's reaction to the letter? And B, did Senator Warner, et al, call Rumsfeld ahead of time to get his input whether they should send such a document?

Quigley: I think I'll let that process proceed without any comment from here. It was a letter from the writers to the recipient, and we'll let those people work that out.

Q: Thank you.


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