Q: We're on the record, as we always are. Welcome, Mr. Secretary.
We've got a short amount of time, about an hour, and we've got lots of questions so please, please, please don't burden your questions and keep them short.
I wanted to ask you, Mr. Secretary, about your time. I don't suppose you'll tell us what the actual time, maybe you will, but I wonder if you could tell us how you have shifted money within the budget, money that you have to focus on certain things that are important to you. Is it a real increase in spending? A real increase, as you proposed last year. And I guess third, in this budget cycle do you anticipate another problem with tactical air, the budgeting for tactical air like you had last year with the F-22.
A: Is that something about a MIRV question?
Q: I learned it from these guys.
A: Let me begin by talking a little bit about what my objectives have been and how this budget reflects that.
Going back to the QDR, those goals that we set out for ourselves in terms of making sure that we had readiness maintained and that we shifted some of the priorities back up to procurement levels that had been identified for some years now that were underfunded.
When I first took over three years ago the procurement level was down around $43 billion. This year we will hit the $60 billion mark, which has been a goal of mine since I took this office over. So there will be $60 billion roughly in the budget to achieve some of our procurement goals.
Quality of life issues... Just to be a little more detailed on the procurement aspect of it. We had a number of lessons learned from Kosovo in terms of what we needed. That report will be filed about the same time that I testify on the budget before I go before the [Armed] Services Committee of the Senate and the House in about a week or ten days, about ten days time. We'll give a final report on lessons learned.
But some of the items that we have allocated resources to would be additional JSTARS, the Hawk UAV, a squadron of electronic warfare aircraft -- EA-6Bs, and of course increase in our JDAMs. So those were some of the lessons learned in terms of what we needed to really focus on this revolution in military affairs and taking advantage of the kind of technology that was going to be necessary not only for the present, but for the future.
An area that has been of prime concern to me has been the quality of life issues. Last year, we talked about this before, but in terms of the pay raise, the change in pay table reform, and the retirement benefits. All of that I think has had a beneficial impact in terms of morale.
When I go to visit the troops in the field, they point to the fact that, I was out a month or so ago and some of you were with me, I reenlisted some 12 sailors aboard a ship. I asked specifically why, and they said pay raise and retirement. They said you're listening to us in terms of what we need. So that has been a positive development as far as quality of life is concerned.
The two areas that I have wanted to focus on as I went down through the list were pay and retirement, but the other two were housing and health care.
The housing, you saw the announcement that I made when I was out at Camp Pendleton. That has to do with the basic allowance for housing. Frankly, I was not aware at the time that there was such a disparity in terms of off-base cost. It was averaging about 18.8, almost 19 percent out of pocket. So if you don't have housing on base, you go off base, you're going to come up with 19 percent out of your own pocket to pay for that. The law actually requires 15 percent as far as a servicemember is concerned.
So we put the money in this particular budget to eliminate that. The 2001 budget it will go down to 15 percent from the 19 where it is, and then over a five year period it will go down to zero so there will be no out of pocket cost. That also I think will have a major impact on quality of life and also on morale for the forces.
In addition, health care has been a consistent complaint that we are now trying to address in a fairly comprehensive way. TriCare has been plagued with problems in terms of the contracting. We need to streamline it to make it as universal in application as possible in the sense that as you go from one area, you go into a new area, you have to start the process all over again, which is very complicated. We're trying to make it as seamless as possible so when you sign up can pretty much expect the same kind of benefits wherever you go, as opposed to having different area arrangements in terms of a contract. So we're going to try to streamline that to make it more seamless.
In addition, we're going to try to put better business practices on the part of medical facilities so that they can take advantage of the techniques and technology that the private sector has so that a doctor can in fact not simply take one person at a time and not deal with the buildup of needs or treatment, but be able to treat three people within a given time and have the assistance of either certified nurses, but to have better business practices.
Then we're also looking into how we can make the TriCare Prime more equitable. Here we propose, one of the benefits, we have proposed to eliminate co-pay for those who are in the TriCare Prime program so that when they have to go off base for treatment they don't have to come up with the co-pay out of their pocket. That will also be a major improvement.
The other area, and we'll have more to say on the health care as we flesh that out in the next couple of weeks.
The other area that has been of concern to me is the recruitment and retention. There have been some improvements made on the retention side and certainly in the Army, some of the Navy, the Marines are doing well as always. The Air Force still has problems both in recruitment and retention. That will be a major challenge for us.
Several years ago my wife and I went up to New York to visit with the advertising agency to find out why it seemed to be so expensive. I would only see a big ad on a Super Bowl game once a year or once or twice a year. That, to me, was not the way in which you capture the attention of the pool of people you're trying to attract.
So that started a process where we went back and examined how we go out and really target those individuals with the correct kind of advertising and the multiple types of advertising that has to take place. We last year also met with sort of a bipartisan commission [that did] an analysis of our advertising techniques and campaigns and found them wanting. We were not taking advantage of e-mail, cable, other types of techniques of going after the pool of people we were looking for.
Another recommendation that came from that commission was to get more influencers involved in the recruitment process. That meant getting some celebrities. I have tried, both Janet and myself have tried over the last year to really talk to top people both in film and television and sports, and we're finding that we're getting good receptivity for that.
As you know during the Christmas tour, some of you came on that tour, but we had Terry Bradshaw, Mike Singletary. I do talk now personally to almost more than a dozen individual celebrity types who have agreed to do PSAs for us. So if we can get the sports figures and some of the stars to do public announcements and talk about our military, that can have an impact as well.
That's just an overview of trying to focus on recruitment and retention, falling behind health care, housing and procurement. All of that is on the upswing.
Q: Mr. Secretary, France now has stated that NATO has approved that [EuroCorps] take over [command] headquarters for the operation in Kosovo. I assume that's true. NATO still has to announce it.
How does the United States feel about that? Do you have reservations about whether they will be able to do it, and whether they should do it?
A: We have taken the position, I've talked to General Clark about this, and we have no objection to EuroCorps taking over the KFOR mission provided that the quality of leadership and competence measures up to the task. That's what is happening now and I think every NATO member wants the same thing.
Secondly, we want to make sure that if EuroCorps does in fact take this mission over as far as the KFOR and operations are concerned, that it not diminish or make a difference to Bosnia or in any way lessen the level of (inaudible) zero sum game that we don't want to see take place. But I've talked to General Clark and he feels satisfied that given the command of the individuals involved, the background, the capability, the management (inaudible).
Q: Has NATO approved this?
A: I don't know the answer to that, if there's been a formal approvement.
Q: Can you answer Bob's F-22 question before we press on?
I do not anticipate the kind of difficulties we had last year with the F-22. I think there was still strong support for developing this technology. It is in fact going to help bridge the gap between where we are today and where we hope to be as far as the development of the Joint Strike Fighter as well. That was one of the plans, and again, going back to the QDR, it's a look at how we make this transition using the F-18E/F models -- we cut that almost in half in terms of the buy. Keeping it there, nonetheless, to go back up to its original buy if the Joint Strike Fighter didn't come in at a reasonable cost or if there were any kind of major problems with it. So I was trying to balance, use the F-18E/F to make sure that we had some leverage on the Joint Strike Fighter. In the mean time the technology that's being developed for the F-22 would also play a key role for the technology of the Joint Strike Fighter. So it was a balanced approach on the tactical air which I believe still enjoys strong support.
Q: Are you concerned at all about the decline in testing? The Air Force wants to [reduce] testing down to about 3500 hours.
A: No, I'm not concerned about that. I talked to General Ryan about this, and he is still pretty excited about the tests to date.
Q: Mr. Secretary, I wanted to ask you about national missile defense. In light of the outcome of the intercept test last week, I guess it was, are you considering or do you think you might consider pushing back the time table of the decision making this summer? And how confident are you that this is on the right track and the right time table?
A: I think the technology is certainly proving to be on the right track. The miss that was involved was not by much. And if you think about the technology involved in trying to hit these two speeding bullets, colliding with each other, is a remarkable display. They were coming in at about 100 feet, or less than the distance or perhaps from home base to second plate. So it was not much of a miss. There were some mechanical aspects that I'm not in a position yet to talk about, the analysis hasn't been completed yet. But it was a mechanical or engineering type problem rather than a science one. So the science is there, and I believe that the problems that accounted for that miss, near miss, will be corrected in the future.
So I've made no judgment in terms of whether or not it should be delayed. We've got one more major test coming up and then we'll see where we are at that time.
The President has said consistently, and I have supported his decision on this, to say let me look at all the facts, let me see where the technology is, let's look at the cost, let's also take into account the opinions of our NATO friends, discussions with the Russians and others, and then make a determination as to whether or not we should go forward. He won't make that decision until sometime this summer.
Obviously the next test will ...[cough]...
Q: As you know, Puerto Rican officials have rejected another proposal for the resumption of bombing on Vieques. While talks are ongoing, there are many people in the building, particularly in the Navy, that have great doubts as to whether there will ever be any more bombing on Vieques.
If there is no more bombing on Vieques, would you favor curtailing operations at Rosie Roads?
A: First, I don't think we should make that judgment just yet that there will be no further activity on Vieques. As you point out, discussions are ongoing today, as a matter of fact, with the Service Secretaries meeting with the Chiefs, both in the Navy and Marines, to discuss the latest state of negotiations with the Puerto Rican Governor and others. So I think we should not preclude the possibility that we could in fact resume operations there. If we don't then I'll reserve judgment as to where we go, what we do.
Q: Does the Navy proposal say that if there's no more bombing there that operations on Rosie Roads should be curtailed?
A: The Navy has made it very clear, and it's something that I support, that we need to have, that live fire training remains important to our readiness and we have to have that, and this was a proposal that we made. I regret that it was rejected the way it was by Puerto Rico. But again, negotiations are still underway. We should have some kind of resolution in the next few weeks and then I can answer your question.
Q: But the proposal that was sent down to Puerto Rican officials said...
A: I understand.
Q: Do you support that curtailment of operation, should it close?
A: When a decision is made as to whether or not we can resume at some time, I'll make that decision.
Q: Are you going to try to close bases again this year?
A: This, you know.
Q: Are you going to propose it again?
Q: And realistically speaking, you've been trying this and trying this, and it's like the Boston Celtics now, it's not going... (Laughter)
A: Actually, yes. I do have a proposal for two more rounds roughly in 2003, 2005. I've allocated money in the budget for that.
Can we achieve it this year? I don't know. But I continue to say this is an issue that they will have to wrestle with in the coming year. Those members on the committees that have jurisdiction over this will have choice. They can say they can continue to carry the excess infrastructure and see either readiness accounts or O&M accounts or procurement accounts suffer; or be forced to raise the top line even further to carry the excess infrastructure.
But I will continue to point out, these are the choices. There's a big wave coming in terms of what we have to procure, and the way to help pay for that is to eliminate excess overhead.
So it may, I've talked to the Senator Lott about it in terms of trying to perhaps work with him and others in the Senate to see if we can't formulate some method whereby we could have a base closure process.
Q: What was the response?
A: He and I are going to try to get together and see if we can come up with some kind of a formulation that might enjoy some support.
Q: The military operational people that I have talked to have expressed a lot of concern with the shape of electronic warfare and the ISR fleet. I know you mentioned (inaudible) EA-6Bs and JOINTSTARS, but beyond that, that's a fairly short term fix. Beyond that you'd be putting more money into those. Do you see long term ...[cough]...?
A: I think it's clear when we talk about the revolution in military affairs that we're going to need more of these capabilities as far as electronic warfare capabilities, space-based intelligence gathering instruments. That's going to be the future for us. So we'll put more money in future years into that type of acquisition.
Q: Can you quantify that at all? They're talking about a crisis condition in EW in particular, that being associated with the loss of the F-117 and other problems that have occurred operationally.
A: I can't quantify it at this point. I will perhaps during the budget [proposal].
Q: You expect to see more airframes physically? Enough money to buy more airframes?
A: I indicated we're buying additional JSTARS. We're going to put more money into the Global Hawk and other sensitive ISR instruments.
Q: On Taiwan arms sales, General Xiong was in town, and I was told that he said that if the U.S. sold advanced weapons to Taiwan that China's response would not be just rhetoric. On the other hand, Admiral Blair has said the Chinese missile buildup across from Taiwan justifies selling them missile defenses. I think you said 500-600 missiles, (inaudible) this does not balance. The Administration right now is debating this issue. Where do you stand on the issue of providing new and advanced weapons to Taiwan?
A: I think that your sources in terms of what Lieutenant General Xiong said to me were not quite accurate. It was not that kind of formulation. He did indicate the sale of certain types of defense equipment to Taiwan would not be met with great enthusiasm on the part of China. But I also pointed out to him in the course of the discussions that the way to reduce the need for Taiwan to have upgraded defense capabilities was to reduce the threat, and I reiterated our One China Policy communiques and also our commitment to the Taiwan Relations Act. Whether or not Taiwan will need to have upgraded defense capability will depend upon the security environment. The security environment depends upon much of what the Chinese do. So there is a way to resolve this in terms of lowering the rhetoric, lowering the confrontational aspects which still remain high today. But much will depend upon what takes place with the elections, how the Chinese act and respond to the Taiwanese position (inaudible). But there was no such "if this happens we will do the following". That was not the [thrust] of the discussion.
Q: How about the issue of selling them advanced weapons? Right now there's [no] balance according to Admiral Blair.
A: I have not had a recommendation come in from Admiral Blair to me at this point, and I'll have to reserve judgment on it.
Q: I can't believe that anybody in this dour group hasn't yet asked you who are the 12 celebrities? I hope I can get into the bonus.
But my real question is --
A: Christy Brinkley is not on the list at this point.
Q: She's already done her service.
A: In fact she wants to come back and to the others. One thing I can tell you is I did spend some time out in Los Angeles with NFL Fox Sunday. We're now trying to work out an arrangement where they will do a broadcast of NFL games from one of our carriers next, just before Christmas, in order to have millions of people who will see them operating on board a carrier or land base, if necessary, to again have them demonstrate what the military... Anyway, getting off of your question.
Q: Going back to the QDR, a number of the QDR decisions have basically been rescinded in the last couple of months. There was the Army Reserve Component [that got cut], the submarine cut to 50 seems to appear to have been rescinded with the new study, and it sounds like there's going to be more Joint Stars, I think 13 from (inaudible) and there might be others.
So what did the QDR miss? It anticipated smaller scale contingencies, but what is essentially different from those QDR levels and how do would you sort of persuade (inaudible) imposing discipline on this process if you keep rescinding the big decisions you made three years ago?
A: The QDR was never meant to be some sort of rosetta stone. The analysis was we need to have a shape, respond, prepare, and to build in flexibility. I don't know of any Secretary of Defense or any Cabinet member, any CEO who would say because I made a recommendation three years ago and find circumstances have changed, that you shouldn't change accordingly. Flexibility is necessarily a part of our process. You try to anticipate and lay out a blueprint or game plan but you ought to be able to call some audibles, to stay with the football analogy, and that's what we're doing. We look at the current state of affairs in the field. In years that we've had greater OpTempo, PersTempo in terms of contingency operations, then we ought to take a look and defer a bit on the number for the Reserves, and that's what we did.
So it's a dynamic situation which you can make adjustments, but fundamentally we're on the same path that the QDR laid out. So we make minor adjustments and shift either money from procurement into readiness, if that's what it requires, and we can perhaps cut back on O&M operations for the procurement. That's all part of the process. It was never meant to be this is going to be exactly how it's done no matter what the circumstances are.
Q: Mr. Secretary in the same vein, the Defense Science Board recently said the Pentagon's doing a good job of talking the talk but not walking the walk on transforming the military for the rest of the anticipated and knowns for the next 20 to 30 years. What's it going to take to blast the services out of their Cold War mindsets and really get going, put the spurs to them on this transformation? Presumably you've put a lot of effort into this already. What's it going to take? What do you have to do?
A: It takes time, for one thing. When you look at an institution as large as the Department of Defense, I don't think anyone can come into this job and say here's how it's going to be done and then change it automatically. It takes a lot of discussion, a lot of dialogue to make sure that we take into account what the individual services need and try to steer them in a path that the civilian leadership and the military leadership thinks we ought to go. I'll give you an example.
I think that Rick Shinseki is undertaking a real renovation or revolution in terms of how the Army approaches going much lighter, developing more expeditionary capability, and putting the money in to achieve that. So there's the Army, the largest of the services, that he is going to be, I think, taking some real bold moves to appreciate the Army's capabilities.
The Marine Corps I think has always been flexible in their urban warrior series (inaudible), has proven to be quite successful. They continue on that.
The Air Force is reshaping itself as far as its operations of an AEF. It's too early to tell how that's paying off in terms of the retention aspect and the operational tempo and how that's being seen out in the field, but we're seeing that take place in the Air Force.
The Navy is coming up with a redesigned ship that will have far fewer people to man it.
So it's a question of can we put in place the building blocks so that my successor or successors can build more rapidly upon a strong foundation. You've got to take time to make sure you've got the building blocks right, and then people will follow.
I see it taking shape, and I'm quite pleased with the progress we've made.
Q: Can I follow up very quickly? Since you've been here three years now you can make a good comment on this. Rank the services in terms of who has been most forward thinking and who has...
A: [You know I can't do that].
Q: Recruiting. Don Snyder and others have suggested that there are fundamental long term changes in attitude. It strikes me as something that goes beyond picking out the celebrities to speak to 18 and 19 year olds. (inaudible) is not a MIRV.
Twenty years ago when you were one of the people who led the charge for an all volunteer force did you ever think through the possibility that there might be social changes that would make it an (inaudible)? Do you see any problem now? Do you concur with Snyder and others that there is a fundamental change in youth attitudes and willingness to serve across the board, nationally? And third, are there steps that the Department as a matter of prudence ought to begin taking to hedge against the possibility that not next year or tomorrow, but in the foreseeable future we're going to have to change the thing in a pretty fundamental way?
A: I think going back 20 years ago, very few people would have looked at our economy and said we're going to have an economy with this kind of prosperity for this period of time, and would have taken that into account as a factor.
Secondly, we've seen because of the prosperity, because of colleges now offering scholarships and opportunities to the same pool of people we're trying to attract, the benefits that we can offer are not as significant as a choice factor.
A third point is, I anticipate, like anyone else, that we'll have a dip in terms of the number of people between the ages of 18 and 24, 26 from this generation. We have a smaller pool with a much more vigorous, dynamic economy at a time when we don't have a "visible, identifiable enemy" on the horizon in the form of a Soviet Union.
So you have all those factors involved which have changed.
So it's a much bigger challenge today, but I must say that we have tried to place the emphasis not only on celebrities, and I want to convey that impression, but didn't take advantage of the professional recommendations, saying we've got to get the people who are influencing, who the younger people look up to.
When you had the showing of Top Gun there was a rather dramatic benefit that was derived by the Navy. I've talked to Tom Cruise about doing some PSA. I've talked to a number of people, Harrison Ford. I've talked to Robert DeNiro, [not a former Marine]. I've talked to a number of people to encourage them to come out and to speak to the troops to express their appreciation and to do PSAs for us.
Now that's just one facet. That doesn't deal with the fundamental, underlying problems of how do you go to a diminishing pool, which by the way, projections are that's going to pick up again about the year 2004, 2005 so you have a bigger pool to pick from.
I don't know, I hope the economic boom continues to sustain itself, but in the event that it doesn't that may change the dynamic as well. So I think that it's too early to tell that we have to alter the all volunteer Army, the all volunteer force, I should say, at this moment. Whether or not there are any contingencies to take into account, it's premature for that.
Q: Have the three of them agreed to do it in principle?
A: Yes. It's a question of working out the timing.
Q: That's three of the 12?
A: I took advantage when I was on a trip to try to meet with them, and producers. Jerry Brukheimer is doing a film called Pearl Harbor, in which we are cooperating with him. He'll be doing a film coming out in about a year, 18 months. So I think it will be a blockbuster film.
I talked to Mr. Brolin, James Brolin. I won't take the time now, but I've talked to at least 12 or so. I've talked to three film producers who I hope will do some films about the military. I talked to Steven Spielberg who is now in the process of doing a documentary on the Marines, going all the way from recruiting days to the end of their career. We've talked to Julia Roberts about the possibility of her doing something.
Q: What was the response?
A: They're all very positive. Janet and I have gone out and asked will you do something? Will you come with us? Will you make a trip. Again, went out and visited NFL Fox Sunday. Spent some time with their producers. Talked to all of the, to Terry and Howie and Chris. They're eager. They want to go out and do it. They want to go individually to visit with the troops.
I found out, for example, that Mike Singletary when he came with us on the last trip, we talked to General Shinseki about this. The feedback was, here they saw a guy that got up there, who played very big for his size, and he was an inspirational model for those kinds who are out there. Those are things that make a difference in terms of people saying we really appreciate what you do for us because we're allowed to do what we do because of you. It makes a difference.
Now is that going to deal with the (inaudible) problem? The answer is no. But it's a factor. We're trying to, you've heard me talk about this before, reconnect America with the military. But to say to the American people we've got the finest military in the world, we want to keep them, we need your help. We're getting prominent people to go out and say the same thing. That helps.
Q: Let's shift from movies to the industrial base.
A: Well, I have 12 suggestions...
Q: There have been a lot of balls in the air, trying to create an enabling environment as Dr. Gansler said yesterday, for a healthy industrial base. You met with the Defense Policy Advisory Committee last week. Maybe in this room. We've got a Defense Science Board going on. A Joint Strike Fighter relook at the strategy.
Realistically, what can you accomplish this year by way of policy changes or regulatory changes as apposed to studies that will be (inaudible) next year? Realistically, what can you accomplish?
A: Realistically, we can accomplish a lot by spending $60 billion a year to help the defense industry. You probably saw the report that General Dynamics, Northrop are doing quite well. As far as Lockheed and Raytheon, they've gone through some major consolidations, but I believe that they will work their way through this and remain very competitive and healthy.
So I think the key is spending the kind of dollars we said we were going to spend. As you look back again, three years ago we were at $43 billion; this year, 2001, we'll be at $60 and it's rising. So spending an adequate amount to deal with our procurement needs is going to have a very healthy, beneficial impact on the industry itself.
Secondly, as you or others have reported, I have asked the Defense Science Board to look at ways in which we might either alter, modify our contracting policies, find out ways in which we can be helpful to the industry as such. They will come back to me with recommendations by mid-March or April. Some recommendations as far as how to achieve this.
You had an article quoting Dr. Gansler recently about looking at whether or not the Joint Strike Fighter should be any kind of a split arrangement.
All of this is I think very positive. Let's stay in touch with industry. We meet at least twice a week with all of the major defense contractors and say how is your industry doing? What can we do to be helpful? I think that's very positive.
Q: Did you get a sense of crisis last week when you met with the [DPACT]?
Q: Mr. Secretary, are you satisfied that the military service have communicated your policies on don't ask/don't tell down the chain of command as those policies were embodied in the Dorn and later the de Leon documents? In particular, are you satisfied that the any harassment investigations are fully insulated in a manner that prevents them from being used to discover the sexual orientation of a complainant?
A: That's the very reason I've asked the IG to go out and make a survey which is currently underway. The IG will visit some 38 separate facilities, both here and abroad to conduct a survey that will be reported back to me in terms of whether or not there is a widespread problem, whether there is general compliance. But in any event, sometime early next week I hope to at least act upon a recommendation, a report that will go out to all of the services in terms of emphasizing what needs to be done in terms of education and training, as far as the don't ask/don't tell, but don't harass policy to make sure that it is properly and effectively implemented. There can be toleration whatsoever for any kind of harassment for any reason. So I hope to have that ready by next week.
Q: Let me restate the original part of my question. Are you satisfied to this point, and I would take your answer to be a negative one since you're asking for an IG report and you're issuing subsequent orders. But as of this point are you satisfied that the chains of command have adequately communicated your policies as they've been articulated in writing (inaudible)?
A: I am satisfied that the policy generally is being implemented effectively. To the extent that you have a situation that's developed at Fort Campbell which is absolutely a horrible situation, I want to know is that isolated? Is there something more involved? That's one of the reasons I wanted to make sure that the policy is being effectively implemented. I don't want to have a situation where you have one clear, excessive abuse resulting in the murder of that individual to then come to the conclusion that the general policy is not working. I have just the opposite judgment, but I want to make sure that my judgment is correct. That's the reason I called for the IG investigation.
Q: Beyond the base closing issue, could you share with us your major concerns of what Congress will do for and against you in the upcoming session? Like force your hand on the ABM Treaty, break the bank with military health care, curtail peacekeeping? What are your major concerns as you go into this new session about how they're going to handle your budget.
A: I really don't anticipate any kind of a major confrontation with Congress going into this year. I think there's always the general sentiment that they would like to do more. [Not only to] support the budget we submit, but at least to take into account what they would like to do as well. We will ultimately have to arrive at some kind of a compromise with the Congress as we always do. But generally they have been supportive. I don't expect that they are going to force my hand as such on the ABM Treaty.
I think that the sentiment that I've heard and seen up on the Hill is saying they recognize that I have really tried to put our money where the articulation of policy has been. We put the money in the budget and I have been pressing to ensure that money is included to show that we are serious about the NMD program. I don't know that anyone, many on the Hill would say we don't care what your results are. We'll just let you go forward. You've heard Chuck Hagel and others who perhaps want to take a second look to see whether or not it's going too fast. You have General Welsh who has filed a report in the past saying this is a high risk program, we're pushing pretty hard, and we are. That's something that I've always tried to point out to members, that we are pushing this.
I was very much involved in the formulation of the 3+3 program. I have been intimately involved with putting the money in for NMD because I believe the threat is there and it's likely to grow. So I want to do whatever I can to make sure sufficient money for the testing is there so that the President can make the decision as to whether to go forward with the deployment.
So I don't see Congress pushing me in a direction that I don't want to go, and that's part of the reason I've tried to maintain very good relations with both the House and the Senate, spend a lot of time to see what differences there are and how we can work them out.
Q: Is there deployment money in the next budget?
A: There is sufficient money for I believe the deployment should it be (inaudible).
Q: On Kosovo, Mr. Secretary, senior Russian officials including Defense Minister Sergeyev have publicly put NATO on notice that they intend to hold NATO to the UN agreement to allow several hundred Serbian police, lightly armed Serbian police and military to return to Kosovo in June. It's set in stone in a UN Resolution on Kosovo. General Clark has already said that's not acceptable and it won't be allowed.
I'm wondering do you support General Clark on that? And is it a concern of yours, given the fact that the Europeans are now taking over command, that perhaps they might be more lenient on this question and more amenable to allowing Serbian troops and police to come back into Kosovo? Do you believe the situation there would allow that to take place without violence?
A: I have not talked to General Clark specifically on this issue, but I would defer judgment in terms of the military situation on the ground as to whether or not it would create the kind of tensions and conflict that would be unacceptable. So I have not discussed this with him, but I would defer to his judgment as to what the situation would allow.
Q: Do you think the United States, if the situation in his judgment and subsequently in yours, would not allow that, would the United States be prepared to violate a UN Security Council Resolution?
A: I really have to reserve judgment on that issue until I discuss this with him, with the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, and also with the White House.
Q: Would you support the creation of another National Defense Panel? Or do you think (inaudible) phase two report will help obviate the need for a National Defense Panel?
A: I don't think we need another National Defense Panel. I believe that the Department and (inaudible) will make a positive contribution. I think the members on the Hill have sponsored the NDP in the past, are satisfied that now we have really focused on joint training, joint doctrine, joint command as such. They're satisfied that we're exploring ways in which we can look into the future and see what is necessary as far as the reformation of our program. I've not detected any strong movement that I think (inaudible) and others have been quite satisfied with (inaudible).
Q: Mr. Secretary, following up on the recruiting question, there seem to be folks up there who believe that one of the long term solutions to the problem is dramatically move away from a manpower intensive military to a military much more relying on technology. I think DD-21 is an example.
Have you considered at all perhaps down the road reducing the size of the military as a way to crack that nut as far as recruiting? Making more dramatic shifts that rely on technology (inaudible)?
A: I think you don't make that determination now in terms of what the size of the force should be until you have the technology that's pretty mature. With the DD-21, we're looking clearly to reduce the size of the manpower required for operating that ship. We're going to see more and more of that. In terms of whether or not that's going to alleviate the need to have larger forces engaged remains to be seen. But I cannot make that kind of prediction at this point. I think we're at where we are today and I don't think we should go anywhere below that, given the deployments that we have, given the operational tempo, to start contemplating reductions at this point before the technology has proven itself I think would be counterproductive.
Q: Getting back to recruitment and the celebrities.
A: I'm sorry I mentioned it!
Q: I think you're going to get free ads out of this.
A: Let me give you one example. Terry Bradshaw, no one ever asked him before. We called up out of the blue, said would you come with me on this trip overseas? He said absolutely. No one had ever asked him to do anything like that before. The three consecutive Sundays he's been on, he's had a beret on talking about his experience over visiting the troops in the Balkans. They loved it, and it was a big morale boost.
So I don't want to over-emphasize this other than to say we're looking at new ways to recruit and retain. The Navy, for example, is setting up kiosks in various malls around areas, putting in computers to allow young people to have access to not only computer games, but to have access to on-line information about the Navy. We're trying to take advantage of this new, younger, very computer-oriented generation that we have not done in the past as effectively. That was a recommendation, again, coming from this bipartisan commission that I had.
So we're looking every which way we can to try to reach out and touch those young people to come into the military. The influence is just one aspect of it, and it's something that I feel could have a positive influence. I don't want to over-emphasize that. We're spending more money (inaudible), we've changed the way we do contracting for advertising. When I first took a look at this, they were five year contracts. That to me is much too long in terms of advertising agencies not having competition. That all has changed now. So we're changing the way in which we're trying to identify individuals that you would like to talk to via e-mail or personal contact. And we're changing (inaudible) as opposed to one big ad coming on Super Bowl Sunday, or perhaps during (inaudible), we're trying to get more ads out in the field, more (inaudible) as we can.
Q: Getting back to the influence (inaudible). Steven Spielberg's documentary for instance that's not a Defense Department documentary. Is it a Defense Department documentary?
A: No. No, it's his.
Q: It's his documentary.
A: He and I discussed this. (inaudible) the Marines and put him in touch with the Commandant, General Jones. They are now talking on how to accommodate film crews and others for this documentary. That's just one aspect of it.
Q: When you talk to (inaudible) to his wife?
A: The Commandant had a dinner for him a week or so ago. (inaudible) He had a very successful program that has had an impact, which the Commandant sees as a positive impact in terms of how it portrays the Marine Corps. He wanted to personally express his thanks. These are the sorts of things that I'm not necessarily aware of, but other people are aware of, and if we can take advantage of that or anything else (inaudible).
Q: Yesterday you made mention of Dr. Ganslers speech yesterday when opened the (inaudible) conference where he mentioned that a group of independent consultants is going to exam the winner take all (inaudible) Joint Strike Fighter.
What are you looking for there, given that Boeing and Lockheed Martin have such distinct designs, and it's so far along in the process, what kind of compromise are you thinking about?
A: Well, I'm not thinking about any at this point. The purpose of, Dr. Gansler asking this independent group to take a look at this is to see what in the future might be necessary in order to sustain a very healthy industrial environment. No decision has been made. It's a question of trying to take advantage of analysis that will make sure that we have a very vibrant and viable defense industry.
Q: I wanted to talk about Russia. You mentioned (inaudible) Kosovo war, and there seem to have been some changes on the part of the Russians concerning their military, more Cold War style exercises, there's been this recent change in their national security policy, viewing NATO as a greater potential threat as before. Just this week they've announced that they want to increase their procurement budget for the military.
My question is, is there a danger that if the United States proceeds with NMD and the deployment of that NMD will push Russia down a path that in the future could lead to greater tensions and possible confrontations?
A: One of the reasons that we have made an effort in the last six or eight months in meeting the Russians is to lay out exactly what we have in mind for the NMD system. To say that this Administration would like to continue to operate under the umbrella of the ABM Treaty which by its own terms contemplated modifications in the changing security environment.
Strobe Talbot has had a number of meetings with his counterparts. I've spent considerable time in Moscow with Sergeyev with Primakov, with members of the Duma and others laying out exactly what our proposal would entail, how it would be implemented, why it would be no threat to their strategic deterrence, and why they should not see this as something designed to undercut them.
Hopefully over a period of time through these meetings we'll be able to allay their fears and apprehension and also deal with our allies. The allies look at the ABM Treaty as being one of the more important documents that helps to stabilize the relationship between the United States and Russia, and that's important to the (inaudible), and we have to take that into account.
That's the reason that NATO in the last meeting in Brussels spent a good deal of time talking to all of our NATO allies in Europe about what this system would do, why it is not a threat to Russia, why it would not undercut the (inaudible), why it would not in any way decouple the United States from our European friends.
So I think through a lot of discussion and dialogue we can make a good deal of progress in dealing with the Russians, and also pointing out to them that they should also consider a future where this proliferation of technology may pose a threat to them. Just as in years in the past we talked about terrorists, and then the fact that they have been supporting terrorist groups, weapons (inaudible), now we find a situation where they're experiencing terrorism for the first time on their own territory. It turned out that when I was in Moscow one of the last bombs went off killing 80 or 90 people. I don't know if you were with me on that trip, but I went on national television, Moscow television and radio, to indicate to the Russian people that we were going to join with them in sharing information, intelligence, technology in combatting terrorism. Because we were adamantly opposed to it, and we thought we should work together to defeat it.
So I think part of the problem is we need to have more contact with some of the Russians. They have felt in recent years that they no longer enjoy the status of super power status overall, that we would not take into account any of their concerns. Frankly, we need to spend more time with them. We need to have more congressional delegations go there, and more of the Duma members come here, and to try to work through a problem which otherwise could prove to be very contentious. But I think there's been a lot of effort on our part to say that we can in fact modernize the system, we'll be providing for a limited system, a limited protection for us. It will not pose a threat to the strategic deterrence. That's going to take a lot of effort, but that effort's been underway.
Q: But so far they don't seem to have been persuaded by...
A: So far.
Q: Are you concerned about the direction in which they're moving?
A: As far as their conventional forces. We know that it's been in a state of some deterioration. I do not find that particularly troubling that they have to rebuild their conventional forces. We're doing the same. Here we are talking about what we're going to do to build up our military, and we have a $112 billion increase over the next five years in order to make sure that we have modernized our forces, and to say that the Russians should have a force that is old and obsolete. That is unrealistic.
So to the extent that they're going to try to modernize their force, we should not necessarily see that as some kind of threat. But rather here is a country that has been a major power, that is likely to regain its status at some point in the future in terms of its economic (inaudible), and they want to modernize their conventional forces. To say that's threatening, I don't think so. We have to engage them and to continue the diplomatic engagement and our military-to-military engagement, which we are doing. I will plan to go to Moscow again sometime during the course of a year. I would hope to have their Minister over here to meet with me as well. That's part of our policy of a very proactive engagement with both China and Russia.
Q: There's some pretty disturbing reports coming out of Kosovo. There was one soldier that's been charged with murdering a civilian girl. There are some other investigations going on in terms of mistreatment, harassment of civilians in Albania, in Kosovo. I'm wondering if you are - Is this a wide spread problem. Are you concerned about the discipline problems of Kosovo? Is this any kind of reflection of the attitude among our soldiers who are there about what we're doing there, the mission itself, whether or not we know who the good guys are, the bad guys. Just sort of maybe some ambivalence amongst our troops?
A: I don't think we should try to extract from this particular instrument any kind of a generalization that this is a widespread problem. Every visit I've made to Bosnia, to Kosovo, I have found that morale is extraordinarily high. Again we point out that that's where the highest reenlistment rates we have. Our men and women go over there, see that they're making a contribution to the betterment of other people, they feel good about what they're doing, (inaudible).
So I don't think we should draw any negative conclusions in this particular incident.
It's troubling, of course, any time you have something involving a murder and the individual, allegedly at this point, I can't comment no the facts, but nonetheless, it's under internal investigation by the Army.
A:...things that, the Army will investigate that as well.
One of the problems we have to face up to, and I met with Kofi Annan last week in New York, is to really try to not only encourage but to really energize the United Nations in terms of fulfilling the requirement of having a police force. They have authorized some 4800 police for Kosovo, and they've gotten roughly half that amount. We've got to get trained police on the ground, in the field, and not shift the responsibility to the military. That's something that I feel strongly about, the Chairman does, Senator Warner does, the Chairman of the Armed Services Committee, and others. We feel very strongly in terms of getting the civilian forces in and not have the military engaged in that type of thing.
Q: But as our roles are changing, we are taking on more of these peacekeeping roles, shouldn't our troops be expected to be able to handle this kind of situation if called upon? (inaudible)?
A: You saw that our role in Haiti has finally been altered in terms of a rotational type deployment there with permanent status. We are going to be involved in peacekeeping missions, but (inaudible) official police functions. We want to maintain that distinction. Any time we start to assist or prepare to train forces for police work, then I think (inaudible) the training for peacekeeping (inaudible).
Q: Mr. Secretary, there's been (inaudible) in recent months about how much of a threat of mass casualties (inaudible) there is for the population of the and the US. (inaudible) but a lot of these specialist are coming to the view that maybe the threat of mass casualty attack is somewhat less than the government has suggested over the years. Have you changed your analysis of that at all?
A: Not at all. In fact I think if anything the threat's going to grow, not diminish. That's one of the reasons why we've expanded the so-called RAID teams from 10 to 27 now. Because we believe, we're convinced that the threat posed by chemical, biological, nuclear type of detonation could provide this type of mass casualties for which we [might not be] prepared. So I think rather than going the other direction, we're looking to actually expand it. Everything I've seen indicates that if you're looking for asymmetrical [types of attacks] that come in the form of biological, chemical attacks domestically here at home, the recent scare that we had as far as during the new year, the Y2K turnover period of time with threats coming through Canada and elsewhere I think should only emphasize the fact that those who are dedicated to inflict (inaudible) on the United States or our friends are trying to cause as many casualties as they can. So I wouldn't in any way (inaudible).
Q: And that's from both (inaudible) and terrorism groups?
A: From any source. I think that because of the linkage of technology and know-how, the ability to (inaudible) can inflict high casualties that we ought to be concerned about.
Q: Before you go, Mr. Secretary, what's your view on the situation in Chechnya?
A: We've always (inaudible) I thinks its clear that we have favored a political settlement there. We have encouraged the Russians to...
...Russians (inaudible) in Chechnya. Whatever victory they might secure, they certainly have to face a long term type of guerrilla warfare coming from the Chechnyans.
So I think it's in the interest of Russia and in the interest of everyone to have this resolved politically. I think they're encountering that kind of activity now, and I think they're seeing evidence of mounting casualties. Whether or not that's going to alter the political landscape in the short term, certainly in the long term (inaudible).
Q: Just one thing. You mentioned the (inaudible) question of whether (inaudible) mass destruction. Were you suggesting that you have any evidence or you've received any briefings to indicate that the weapons they intend to use conventional explosives?
A: I really don't want to comment on that case. Based on everything that I've seen, aside from that specific case, I believe that those who have indicated to conducting terrorist actions will try to maximize the casualties here and abroad. But I wouldn't talk to that specific case. Generally speaking, that's the case.
Q: Thank you.
Q: Are you going to China? (inaudible)
A: I haven't arrived at a time. We left it at the (inaudible) mutually convenience. They are I think eager for me to come (inaudible). Do you want to go?