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Military News Briefs for the Week of June 8, 2001

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, June 8, 2001 – (This is a summary of the top American Forces Press Service news stories for the week ending June 8, 2001.)

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U.S. To Develop, Deploy Ballistic Missile Defense System

BRUSSELS, Belgium, June 7, 2001 -- The United States will build and deploy a ballistic missile defense system, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said June 7 to defense ministers gathered at NATO headquarters here.

Rumsfeld told the ministers that the "development and deployment of ballistic missile defenses will be an element" of a revamped U.S. defense framework.

"We intend to build and deploy [missile] defenses to protect the U.S., our forward-deployed forces, and in cooperation with friends and allies," he added. Rumsfeld told NATO ministers that the goal "is to deploy defenses against handfuls of missiles." He added that creating such a system wouldn't occur overnight.

The United States would not make decisions on the configuration of the missile defense system "until our technologies have been tested, and it is likely they will evolve over time," he said. "As this program progresses, we will likely deploy test assets to provide rudimentary defenses to deal with emerging threats," he added.

At an afternoon NATO press briefing, Rumsfeld told reporters that the proliferation of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons of mass destruction -- and of the ballistic missile systems to deliver them -- are real threats to world peace and stability.

He told reporters nondemocratic countries like North Korea, Iraq and others that are unfriendly to the United States and its allies either have or are seeking WMD and ballistic missile technology to increase their political profile and "clout" in the world.

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NATO Must Evolve To Meet WMD Threat, Says Rumsfeld

BRUSSELS, Belgium, June 6, 2001 -- Soviet troops aren't planning to crash through the Fulda Gap into the heart of Europe, and the United States doesn't expect to be attacked by thousands of nuclear-tipped intercontinental ballistic missiles fired from Russia.

Why are these events unlikely to occur? Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld has a five-word answer: "The Cold War is over." But then, he also notes that dangerous new threats to world peace have emerged.

"We are committed to NATO and are engaged with it in a host of ways," he said. "It is important that a new administration underline that and emphasize it." Rumsfeld said he plans to tell NATO representatives of new dangers to world peace, such as the proliferation of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons of mass destruction.

"It is important for the United States, as well as the NATO alliance, to adjust to those changes," he said. "The Soviet Union is gone, the Cold War is over, and the deterrence strategy does need to evolve so it is appropriate for the kinds of emerging threats that exist.

"We need to recognize the kinds of instabilities that we've seen over the past decade, the kinds of challenges and emerging threats that exist," Rumsfeld said. Some nations, he continued, have developed or are developing the ballistic missile capability to deliver those deadly weapons.

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Northern Watch, EDI Fill Rumsfeld's Turkish Visit

ANKARA, Turkey, June 5, 2001 -- Bilateral talks with Turkish leaders ranging from Operation Northern Watch to the European Defense Initiative topped U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld calendar here June 4.

Rumsfeld noted his respect for Turkey, its role in the Atlantic Alliance and its long-standing friendship with the United States.

Turkey is host to U.S. and British fliers engaged in Northern Watch, the enforcement of a no-fly zone that contains Saddam Hussein's air activities in northern Iraq, Rumsfeld said. "We appreciate and value the very fine cooperative arrangement we have (with Turkey) in respect to Operation Northern Watch and the efforts to assure that the regime in Iraq isn't engaging in aggressive behavior against its neighbors," he said.

Rumsfeld said he and Turkish leaders also "had very good discussions" about the European Union's European Defense Initiative, which would create a rapid reaction force of up to 60,000 military troops.

Members of the NATO alliance "have to be very attentive to see that new concepts that come along are managed and handled in a way that strengthen NATO," Rumsfeld said. "That's the reason that the United States has felt from the outset that the European Defense Initiative should add capability to NATO.

"The planning mechanism should be embedded in NATO so there is full transparency," he said. "Activities should be arranged in a way that NATO has a right of first refusal."

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DoD Running Two-Year Spouse Job Preference Pilot

WASHINGTON, June 4, 2001 -- Job-seeking military spouses in Europe are eligible to participate in a two-year pilot program called MSP Choice.

Under the program, they are allowed to accept an interim job without losing their rehire preference under the Military Spouse Preference Program, according to DoD Civilian Personnel Policy Office officials.

Spouses of active duty service members who relocate to a new permanent duty station are entitled to hiring preference as long as they're among the best qualified for the position, officials said.

In the past, military spouses who took temporary jobs and time-limited jobs lost their hiring preference. This meant they couldn't compete if more desirable jobs became available later.

Under MSP Choice -- the first significant change in the military spousal employment provision since 1989 -- the spouses lose their spousal preference only if they accept or decline the offer of a permanent full-time or a permanent part-time position. The pilot program applies to all DoD appropriated fund and nonappropriated fund positions in Europe.

Spouses in Europe who lost their preference rights before the pilot started may be eligible for reinstatement under MSP Choice. Individuals who believe they may be eligible should contact their local human resources office.

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Bush Sends DoD Supplemental Budget Request to Congress

WASHINGTON, June 1, 2001 -- President Bush has sent Congress a $5.9 billion supplemental request to make up for shortfalls in the fiscal 2001 budget. The request slates $5.6 billion for DoD.

Dov Zakheim, newly sworn-in DoD comptroller, said the supplement will cover such things as a July 1 targeted pay raise for mid-level noncommissioned and petty officers, unfunded military healthcare requirements, the rising cost of fuel, and reducing out-of-pocket housing costs.

DoD requested $1.9 billion for urgent pay and benefits, and $1.8 billion for readiness training and operations. The request contains $1.1 billion for contractual obligations and cost growth and $763 million for infrastructure and weapon systems repair and maintenance. It also requested $188 million for transformation capabilities. Zakheim called this last request "seed corn" for the major push in transforming the military that will begin in the fiscal 2002 and 2003 budgets.

The supplemental also provides funds to repair the destroyer USS Cole and to recover the remains of nine Japanese citizens who died aboard the fishing trawler Ehime Maru, which sank in February after a collision with the submarine USS Greeneville off Hawaii.

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