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DoD News Briefing, Rear Admiral Craig Quigley DASD PA

Presenter: Rear Admiral Craig Quigley DASD PA
March 09, 2000 1:30 PM EDT

Thursday, March 9, 2000 - 1:30 p.m.

ADM. QUIGLEY: Good afternoon. I have two short announcements, and then I want to go into Atlas Response in some detail, and then we'll take your questions.

First, an update on Secretary Cohen's travel. As you all know, he departed last night and is currently en route to Hong Kong. He'll meet with key figures there within the Hong Kong administration government and just take a look at how the city and province are doing a few years after reversion.

Second, today we're announcing the completion of our first family readiness strategic plan for our Reserve forces for the years 2000 to 2005. As everyone knows, we have dramatically increased the use of our Guard and Reserve forces in the decade of the '90s, and from -- every mission you can imagine, from combat operations to humanitarian support around the world.

As an example of that, a Texas National Guard armored division relieved -- took over command of the American sector in Bosnia just a couple of days ago.

The goal of this plan that we're announcing today is to maintain our national defense readiness by ensuring that all the families of our Reserve and National Guard members are able to receive the various military benefits and help available to them throughout their loved ones' extended deployments throughout the year, and that by taking care of those family members we support the service members in turn.

We have a bluetop and copies of the plan available on the table in the table in the back of the room following.

Now to Atlas Response:

I'd like to go over this. This chart here -- I'd like to just talk through this. This gives you a blow-up view of Mozambique, focused on Mozambique. And I'll just point out the names of some of the major sites here: Maputo, Hoedspruit -- I'm probably pronouncing that wrong; I apologize -- in South Africa, and Beira. And let me tell you what is at each of these places.

Maputo is where the joint task force that's headed by Major General Wehrle -- he is the 3rd Air Force commander, normally stationed at Mildenhall in England -- he is the joint task force commander and has set up his joint task force headquarters here at Maputo. This is also the civil military operations center headquarters at Maputo.

Now the joint task force rear is some additional elements of the joint task force staff. The tanker airlift coordination (sic) [control] element here, the TALCE, is at Hoedspruit -- two Keen Sage aircraft -- these are C-130 aircraft, C-130 airframes, with an electrical optical observation video imagery capability package that has been added to the airframe.

It does not stream live video to the ground, but it can capture video stills and bring that imagery to the ground, and has been very helpful, both to the U.S., to the Mozambique government, to the U.S. military forces and to the NGOs and PVOs that are there in getting a good, accurate, near-real-time picture of conditions on the ground. We can take a real good aerial look at flooding conditions, what are rivers doing, what is the impact of additional rain upstream having on the rivers' levels, and what have you. And five, straight-stick C-130s are there.

Now, Beira is the forward staging base, and that's where we tend to be moving a lot of our forces. Because of the excellent staging facilities that are available at Hoedspruit here -- this is a good place from which to operate our fixed-wing aircraft, whether they be C-17s or C-130s. The rotary wing, the helicopter, aircraft are moving forward to the forward staging base at Beira. And you'll see here, again, an extension of the civil/military operations center. That's so that we can coordinate the activities of not only the U.S. Department of Defense, other nations' militaries, the U.N. officials, PVOs, NGOs, and the like and make sure that we're doing it as efficiently as we can and provide help to the people of Mozambique that need it most.

Three MH-53 helicopters, three H-60 helicopters, and three of this model of C-130, those are refueling aircraft that can refuel helicopters. Now, those assets that you see described here in the three locations in the three boxes are expected to all be on station and operational by this weekend. So some are literally moving as we speak; some are actually on station, and some will be there in the next day or two. But by this weekend, those are the forces we expect to have not only in place, but things like orientation flights and check flights will be completed. The aircraft that arrived disassembled are assembled and check flights done and ready to work and ready to distribute the food to the people of Mozambique that need it.

There's been about $38.6 million U.S. that has gone to support the U.S. operations so far.

And there's a total of just under 500 people that are currently in place -- 493, or something in that ballpark, just under 500. And that number is expected to grow by a couple of hundred by this weekend as those additional forces flow into the theater that you see on the chart.

Just a couple of things on distance. It's about 4,600 hundred nautical miles from Ramstein to Hoedspruit. Now, in a C-5 that's a 40-hour mission: 14 hours to get there, 12 hours of crew rest on deck, and 14 hours back. And for a C-130, that's a three-day mission, to go that sort of distance to get the materials in. So you're talking about very large distances involved here to get the materials in place that are needed in-country.

Any questions on this before we move on to other topics? Yes, sir.

QYes, sir. What number do you expect the U.S. personnel to grow to in --

ADM. QUIGLEY: In the neighborhood of 700.

QSeven hundred.

ADM. QUIGLEY: Yeah. That'll be plus or minus a little, but that's close, Jim.

Pam?

QWhen did you change the name from Silent Promise to Atlas Response?

ADM. QUIGLEY: I've never heard Silent Promise.

QIsn't that what Ken said?

ADM. QUIGLEY: I don't know. I'll see if I can find that for you.

STAFF: It changed about a week ago. I can get -- [Name of the operation was changed from Silent Promise to Atlas Response on March 3.]

ADM. QUIGLEY: Okay.

STAFF: (Off mike.)

ADM. QUIGLEY: I was out on the road, I guess.

I asked the question, if you're wondering, earlier in the morning what are these little yellow circles, and they just indicate cities. They're nothing directly related to the mission at hand.

I've seen other charts that I thought were somewhat helpful, but -- and I'm sure you've seen them, too, so I didn't bring them in, that gives an indication of some of the flooding, the rivers, specific rivers that had flooded. The weather report for this weekend is not all that great, I must say. It's currently raining there, and more rain is forecast for tomorrow with weather finally expected to improve by Saturday. But that's not good news. The rain, we hoped it would stop as soon as possible.

QBut even with this rain these aircraft will be able to operate out of these areas?

ADM. QUIGLEY: Yes. And that's another reason that they were chosen, because of their geographic location. You see this triangulation here. Those are the three sites. And all three of those sites we assess that will remain available, despite what additional flooding may come.

So the priorities right now are the delivery of food supplies first and foremost, and any sort of a recovery effort beyond that. Of course, everything shifts to search and rescue, if some of our forces come across people that have not yet been rescued. You have seen them on rooftops and in trees over the last couple of weeks. We think that that portion of the effort is largely behind us, thank goodness. And so the focus now is on the provision of relief supplies. But that will shift quickly in order to execute a rescue, if that's what we need to do.

Pam?

QThe sense of depths associated with the flooding?

ADM. QUIGLEY: I have seen estimates all over the map on that. I don't have a good feel for what an accurate number is. I dare say that there may not be a very accurate number right now.

QDid any DOD helicopters or personnel assist in any rescues, or did they just get there too late?

ADM. QUIGLEY: None that I am aware of.

STAFF: We funded them, but --

ADM. QUIGLEY: I was going to say -- yeah -- I think there were South African helicopters in the early going.

A new subject? Any others on that?

And that's the end of my announcements -- take your questions. David?

QDo you have any reaction to this report by the Servicemen's Legal Defense Network about the incidents of gay harassment having more than doubled in the past year?

ADM. QUIGLEY: Well, we have only gotten a copy of the report this morning, when it was released, and are not yet through completely reviewing it, although we have started.

So some reactions, I guess, come to mind. For starters, just a quick -- the instances of harassment that they listed, the SLDN lists, in their report. We are hopeful that they can be as specific as possible. And with specifics, we can take action; we can do something and investigate further to verify the accuracy of their claim.

In the past, they have been somewhat anecdotal in their findings. But if there are specifics, enough for us to actually do something with, we will. And so for the specifics in the report, we will follow up on those and take a look.

Harassment is, as you have heard Secretary Cohen and many others say in the last few months, with particular emphasis I should say in the last few months, is not tolerated in any of the services, at any level, for any reason.

The instances of harassment per se are something that we try very hard to stamp out, from boot camp all the way up to flag officer level within each of the branches of the armed forces. And it's something that the services have submitted to DOD in the last couple of months, and DOD has approved, and the services are now very busily executing that training regimen, with renewed emphasis on trying to eliminate harassment at every level for every reason. So I guess that's my initial reaction to their --

QIn your reporting system, have you tracked any increase in complaints about harassment?

ADM. QUIGLEY: No, we have not.

QOne of the things that they mention in this report is --

ADM. QUIGLEY: Let me go back one second, John. Let me follow up on that, though. Again, same answer basically as I gave to David before. If there are specifics in this report that talk about harassment, we will follow up and take a look, go to the services, go to that local level if necessary and see what, if anything -- if there's justification for the claim; was action taken at the local level; was it appropriate? Things of that sort. So I don't want to belittle it, but we just need to take a look.

QWell, it may well be, as they explain it over there, that people do not feel safe in using the DOD reporting system for harassment complaints because they feel that then they end up being investigated and not necessarily the complaint. So they would maintain that their tracking system is better than yours because it doesn't have potential repercussions for the person who is complaining.

ADM. QUIGLEY: We have tried to make it very clear that the focus here is to stop the harasser, not the harassed.

David, I'm sorry. Go ahead and finish.

QThey cite instances in there in which officials -- I think they said an official working for the Army inspector general -- said that they -- and medical personnel -- feel it is their duty, if someone complains to them about being harassed for being gay, it's their duty to report that individual as possibly gay to the -- to his commanding officer. So that there's a catch-22 here; how do you complain about the --

ADM. QUIGLEY: Yeah, I see where you're going. That is something that we are looking at separately, because while there is no prohibition -- there is neither a prohibition on, there is neither a prohibition on a -- like a mental health provider, you mean, was, I think, the focus of your question -- there is no demand that they share the information that soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines have brought to them, nor prohibition on doing so. And we're taking a look and asking ourself is that the right policy to have in place or should we take another look at that. So I don't know where that will go.

QWill they look at it and possibly prohibit it?

ADM. QUIGLEY: Well, all options would be open. But we do want to take a look at that and see is that the right posture to have or should we be more definitive. And we don't know where that will take us.

QYou mentioned the training and the zero tolerance. When you ask the services, each of the services individually, can you give us a copy of the training video that you show troops, none of them have a training video. If you ask them for a training video on sexual harassment, all of them have training videos. How can it be that a policy that's been in effect for seven years now and was introduced with great controversy still does not have any formal training aids, and the only thing any of the services can produce are a few slides that have gone out just recently, since the president said that he didn't think the policy was working?

ADM. QUIGLEY: Well, I think the broad elements of the policy have been known since 1994, and the services have implemented a training regimen, with refinements along the way, along the six years since, that varied by the particular -- that were tailored to meet the needs of the particular service. There's a different method of training. There's a different schedule of training. Each service embraces a different method of teaching, philosophy of teaching at different levels. And while the policy and the directive remain in force for all services, we ask the service and expect the services to tailor that program to best suit their needs. So we didn't say you have to have a video or you can't have a video. I would only think that the services either have that as still a work in progress, and it's something that they have recently, perhaps, made a decision on, or they've simply chosen to train via other methods.

QWell, let me ask it another way. Would you say -- is it the opinion of the secretary of Defense that the services have done a good job of explaining the "don't ask, don't tell" policy to troops over the past seven years?

ADM. QUIGLEY: I think that we have said on several occasions, that -- you have seen, I guess, mixed results of effectiveness of that training through different services over the years. Certainly, you have seen a renewed emphasis on that in recent months. The secretary's memo of August of last year certainly refocused efforts on that, although you have seen refinements in the policy over the succeeding years that it's been in force.

I think that we will always say that we can do a better job of training. We will never be satisfied with the status quo; I doubt that you'll hear anybody ever say that. But it's a policy that we think does answer the requirements of the law and does need constant attention, at all levels of command and leadership, to make it understood from the very youngest service member to the very oldest and most senior across the different cultures of the services.

Yes?

QThe Pentagon must address this issue about the report that said that there were a record number of women who were discharged last year. There must be some formal record of that, is there not?

And as a sort of a follow-up, do you have any reaction to the specific charge in the Legal Defense Network's report that called -- a "witch hunt" at the Defense Language Institute, where a dozen Air Force women were singled out?

ADM. QUIGLEY: Well, I am sure we have records of how many women, as opposed to how many men, were discharged from the services over the last year. So on the first part of your question, I am sure we have that figure.

But we have not gotten to that point yet in our review of the SLDN work, to answer that second one yet. We just haven't had it that long. I am sorry.

Yes, ma'am?

QThey talk about a thousand incidents overall and call it a 142 percent increase. What are your statistics on that, the total number and --

ADM. QUIGLEY: Of --

Q-- before you said that you have incidents -- harass --

ADM. QUIGLEY: I am sorry. Ask your question again.

QThey say there were a thousand -- something like a thousand incidents of harassment and that it was an increase of 142 percent from last year. You are saying that the number hasn't gone up, but what is your number?

ADM. QUIGLEY: Well, what I am saying is I can't vouch for their figures.

QOkay. Do you have the figures?

ADM. QUIGLEY: We would hope that their -- and again, in past years -- I think this is the sixth year of their survey -- in past years, a lot of their findings have tended to be anecdotal and don't provide enough concrete information for us to proceed further. And if there have been specifics, and if there are specifics in this year's survey, we will follow those up.

But I just can't vouch for their figures. If it is specific enough to follow up, we will. But if it's not, we won't be able to. So I am having a hard time giving a clear answer to your question.

Q (Inaudible) -- for your figures?

QI am just asking what your figures --

QYou said they don't show that. But what are your figures --

ADM. QUIGLEY: On? On?

Q-- for harassment report --

Q-- the number of incidents of harassment?

ADM. QUIGLEY: I don't know. I'll have to take that. I don't know that we have figures of "harassment."

QWell, how can you say --

QDo you have another category?

QHow come -- you say they didn't really show any increase.

ADM. QUIGLEY: Well, you have -- we have said that our policy is that harassment of any kind will not be tolerated. And we'll try our very best to educate people at all levels that that is, indeed, the case. I don't have any indicator that I can point to that shows a great increase in the number of harassment cases for any reason over this past year's period of time. I just don't see that in our --

QDo you have an indicator that shows you the other way? I mean, what we're asking for is what are your indicators, what are your numbers. And if you don't know the numbers, how can you know that there's no indicator?

ADM. QUIGLEY: Well, you would feel it in readiness reporting, John. You would feel it in a variety of ways, and we've just simply not seen that. I'll see if we have -- let me just take the question on --

Q (Off mike) -- complaints, complaints of harassment through the system that you have set up that is supposed to be so sensitive to this issue.

ADM. QUIGLEY: We'll see if we have a number for that.

Chris?

QAnd further, I think the policy is supposed to be when you get these complaints of harassment, that that is what is supposed to be investigated, not the question of whether or not the person who's complaining is homosexual.

ADM. QUIGLEY: Right. Right.

QCould you get any record of any investigations that have been done, following up those?

ADM. QUIGLEY: I don't know that we would hold those at this level. Those tend to be administrative in nature, for the most part. There have been -- one example comes to mind. I believe a Marine on the West Coast was actually relieved of command. But that, I think, would probably be the exception rather than the rule. Most tend to be administrative and not necessarily reported to higher levels.

QSo what you're saying then, most of these are Article 15s and are handled at a lower --

ADM. QUIGLEY: Or perhaps not even to that level. There are still other options available from there, everything from a verbal counseling, an administrative letter of caution -- there's a variety of means that don't even rise to the level of an Article 15 and certainly are not reported to higher authority.

Yes.

QYou have an inspector general's report coming out later this month. Is there any chance you could give us some insight on what may be contained in that report, any -- any --

ADM. QUIGLEY: Not at this point, no. The inspector general will provide his work to Secretary Cohen. And after Secretary Cohen has reviewed it, then to the Hill, and publicly. It will be released later this month, but we're not ready to release it yet.

Chris?

QHas the Army inspector general, which I think is taking a look at the situation at Fort Campbell last year, has that report reached the secretary?

ADM. QUIGLEY: No, that one's due to Secretary Caldera by May 1st, I believe. And it looks a little bit different --

I mean, for instance, the DOD IG is looking at a variety of installations. He is not looking Fort Campbell.

The Army IG, at Major General Clark's request down there, is specifically looking at Fort Campbell, and that one is due, like I said, to Secretary Caldera in May.

Yes, sir?

QDoes the Pentagon have something to say about that spying story within NATO given by the BBC --

ADM. QUIGLEY: Yes. I was surprised to see that. I mean, that's an old story. I remember it coming up months ago.

We have no concrete evidence of any spy operating during Allied Force. What we do know is that our operational security procedures in the early stages of the war were probably not as good as they should have been, and the Serbs were very good at taking advantage of some of our operational security shortcomings in the early going -- listening to radio communications and the like.

When we tightened up on those procedures -- we think that was probably one of the reasons -- we were probably doing it to ourself in some regard. But we have no evidence of any spy or mole operating within NATO.

QWhy did you cut down, then, in the number of people receiving the ATOs?

ADM. QUIGLEY: Because before hostilities started, there was a variety -- a much wider number of people that had a legitimate reason to know allied air activity -- air traffic controllers in the region and whatnot. This is before hostilities started.

But once hostilities started, they no longer had a need to know that, and so when we cut down -- greatly cut down on the list of those who received the air tasking order on a daily basis, again, that was all under the rubric of just smarter operational security.

Bill?

QYes. Admiral, Louis Freeh this week made public the intense spying that is going on, especially within the United States government -- spying on the United States government by the PRC, the PLA, et cetera. And I would ask, does the Department of Defense have any information that you can reveal with regard to counterespionage measures, measures to protect the United States' security, within this department?

ADM. QUIGLEY: Well, without offering a comment on Mr. Freeh's report -- I would refer you to the FBI on that -- but sure, the Pentagon takes reports of espionage from any quarter seriously.

I don't think it should come as a surprise to any of us that the world's most powerful military and economic power is a favorite target of a variety of nations and entities around the world to find out how we do things. By the same token, we're not so naive as to believe that's not happening. We think we have good procedures and processes in place to be on the lookout and be wary of that, and that we do a pretty good job. It isn't perfect, but we're very much aware of espionage threats against Department of Defense people and equipment around the world.

QSo you can ratify what Mr. Freeh said?

ADM. QUIGLEY: I'm not intimately familiar with the details of his report, but I'd just -- I'll just let my remarks stand. I mean, espionage activity is something we always take seriously from any quarter.

Sir?

QYou say that you have no evidence of a spy during the early stages of the Kosovo conflict. But this report that was seen by the BBC was prepared for senior U.S. officials. Are you not aware of this report, or can you not shed any light on this report?

ADM. QUIGLEY: No, I can't. I know of the Kosovo after-action report, which we testified on the Hill. If there were others that were done for individuals or smaller groups within -- just we tried very hard for there to be an all-encompassing after-action report, the Kosovo after-action report, so that there would not be a series of reports that would have information from this source but not that source. And so it tried to be quite comprehensive. So I'm not sure what the source of the BBC's information might be. I know it's not the Kosovo after-action report; you'll find nothing in there about a spy or any indication of a spy either.

QCould you comment as to whether you feel that even the publicity surrounding this has made -- has affected relations between America and its European partners? Has it made it more wary of providing information or sharing information with European partners in NATO?

ADM. QUIGLEY: I don't think so. Certainly not at the military-to-military level. If anything, I think Kosovo and Allied Force, in general, greatly strengthened the relationship amongst the 19 allies within NATO. You have 19 democracies with an overarching common goal, but sometimes with very different ways of getting there. You have built into that system an ability to have stresses and strains and tugs and pulls within the alliance. And despite all that, the alliance held together during Allied Force. I think that's a great testament to the confidence of the allies with each other and the trust that the nations put into each other throughout that conflict.

QOn the same subject. These reports have been very persistent. They go back to the time that Kosovo was going on, and every few months it seems to come up again. Was there some kind of unwitting operational security lapse of a major kind that was corrected that perhaps is the source of all these reports?

ADM. QUIGLEY: Nothing particular that we can put our finger on. But it was -- I mean, we do know that you could have -- it doesn't take a rocket scientist to count airplanes launching from airfields or landing at airfields. And like I say, the operational security in the early going for communications intercepts, too many of the allied aircraft sent their transmissions in the clear. We know that now by taking a good, had look at ourself. So I don't think it was a single thing, but it was a combination of several things that we tightened up on, and we think that probably was the biggest single solution to the problem.

Q (Off mike) -- correction report, is there a classified version of that that has --

ADM. QUIGLEY: Yes, there is.

QAnd would that not have a lot of areas that just aren't going to be seen publicly?

ADM. QUIGLEY: Well, one you won't see in the classified version is anything about a spy.

QWas there an attempt -- was there an investigation into this because of the --

ADM. QUIGLEY: Not -- in the United States, there was not. Perhaps NATO headquarters, but not that I'm aware of, no. I mean, I think this was something that you had to ask yourself the question, you know, gosh, what are we doing here? And that's what led to us taking a look at our operational procedures, found we could do better. And we did better. And I think that was what most people would point to today as probably the cause of our problem in the early going.

QWas there at any stage, do you believe, that there was a feeling among senior NATO officials that there was or might be a spy?

ADM. QUIGLEY: From the earliest time that I recall this story surfacing, the answer was no. And it's been no repeatedly, and yet the story has a life of its own, it seems.

QAnd General Clark is quoted in the report as saying to his colleagues that in the first two weeks of the war, he believes there is a spy within the system and he wants to get it caught, or wants the spy to be caught. You're not aware of any time during the operation that there was a feeling within Pentagon officials that there was a spy?

ADM. QUIGLEY: No, I'm not. I would ask General Clark, to see if he recalls saying that. I mean, I saw him in an -- I don't remember, it was an AP piece, I believe, this morning on this bounce of the story, and again saying, very similar to what I said, that we just simply have no indication or evidence of there being a spy.

QThank you.

ADM. QUIGLEY: Thank you.

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