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Secretary Rumsfeld Media Availability on Capitol Hill

Presenter: Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld
May 25, 2001

Thursday, May 24, 2001

(Media availability on Capitol Hill following a meeting with members of the Senate Armed Services Committee. Also participating are Sen. John Warner, R-Va.; Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich.; and Army Gen. Henry H. Shelton, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.)

Warner: Senator Levin -- can you inquire to Senator Levin -- he was right with me. We'll go ahead and get started.

The secretary of Defense and I go back a very long way. And when I was secretary of the Navy he was in the White House, and we got to know each other very well then. And through the years we kept up our relationship. I had the privilege of appointing him the chairman of the Space Commission and other assignments. I mention that only because given that I have served under three secretaries of Defense and worked with each one since that period of time, and have gotten to know this secretary very well, I have the highest personal and professional regard for him. And since the first day he took office he has worked with me very, very closely, in consultation and in every other respect. So I am pleased today to offer the opportunity for you to question him here in our hearing room, together with my distinguished ranking member, soon to be chairman, Senator Levin. And then we'll take your questions. But I give the secretary the highest marks, and I think he's doing the best job he possibly can. For some period of time we only had one assistant, Dr. Wolfowitz. This committee has moved expeditiously on each of the appointments since that time, and hopefully next week we will conclude several more. And tonight I anticipate the final two secretaries, of Army and Air Force, will be confirmed.

So, Senator Levin, do you have a remark? And then we'll let our secretary --

Levin: Well, yes, very briefly. We had a good meeting with the secretary. I have to cite a number of points. One is that the -- you really need to see the budget detail, the so-called amendment, in adequate time to give this committee a chance to review it. We also need to know at that time if there is a request in the '02 budget for additional money, that we know the source of that money. Given the size of the tax cut which is being enacted, given the determination on the part I hope of most senators to avoid taking from the Medicare surplus, hoping -- a determination I hope on the part of most senators to avoid going back into a deficit situation, we need to know where any additional funds would be coming from. We did learn today I think something that I wasn't clear on before, which is that the strategic review which is ongoing is not going to come at any time in any detail to have an impact on the '02 budget, but it would have a greater impact on the '03 budget request. And I think that clarification helps. But there were some real timetable questions which were made reference to by a number of us as to the importance of getting a budget in time so that we can give adequate consideration to it. Otherwise we are going to be up against a continuing resolution on a defense appropriation bill, and I don't think that's in anybody's interest.

Warner: Mr. Secretary?

Rumsfeld: Well, we have just had a couple of hour discussion in the hearing room with the members of the Armed Services Committee, and I am happy to be here and happy to respond to questions with General Shelton and the chairman and the chairman-to-be.

Warner: Who'd like to start off?

Q: Senator, do you feel like you are being to this point that you as chairman and you, all of you on the committee, have been adequately included in the process of making decisions about what is going to happen in the Defense Department?

Warner: For those of you who might not have heard, the question was do I personally feel as chairman of this committee that I've had adequate consultation with the secretary and have been able to be given the opportunity to express my views. The answer is definitely yes. I've been to the Pentagon I guess six or seven times to visit with the secretary, other members of his staff, and to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs office on several occasions.

But the secretary has made it very clear that much of his work had to be conducted by those outside of the building, simply because he only had one principal assistant, Dr. Wolfowitz, and those reports as yet have not been completed. But at such time as they are he indicated to Senator Levin and myself and others members of the committee the essence of those reports, if not the actual reports themselves will be given to the Congress.

Q: To follow, what kind of changes are you expecting as Senator Levin becomes chairman of this committee?

Warner: Senator Levin and I came to the Senate together 23 years ago -- same classmates I guess you might say. We worked side by side these many years. And I'm proud to say that in my tenure as chairman, and prior thereto -- I think I had six years of ranking member -- this committee has a long history of bipartisanship, and I am confident that our new chairman, Senator Levin, will continue that tradition. And therefore I anticipate it will be a smooth functioning committee, and there will not be a heartbeat between when I step down and he takes the gavel -- that time is to be determined by the leadership.

Yes?

Q: In your meeting, did you touch at all on press reports at least about maybe trimming a division or two off of the Army? And --

Warner: The secretary asked that, I answered that. We didn't get into that particular detail. We had I think at one time 15 or 16 members. There was a wide range of questions, give and take.

And I want to also say that throughout the secretary indicated he would like to have our advice and to receive our ideas, because he is very much of an open mind as to restructure some of the major portions of our defense.

Mr. Secretary?

Rumsfeld: I don't know how many times someone can say something before it finally sinks in, but I'll try one more time. We have not gotten to the point of addressing weapons systems or specifics. We will in the context of the '03 budget, which will come out of the Quadrennial Defense Review this summer, and be built in the fall, and be presented to the OMB late in the year, and will be presented by the president to the Congress in the first of the year.

There has not been any discussion by me with anybody along the line you described. I have heard the safe thing about aircraft carriers. I have heard one thing and another about weapons in space. And I know you all have got your job and I've got mine, but those stories are not correct.

Q: Have you resigned yourself to the fact -- regarding the China -- the plane in China -- have you resigned yourself to the fact that it will have to be dissembled and --

Rumsfeld: No. It's unclear. Clearly if it is surely reparable and flyable that would be our first choice.

If it's not the next choice is to disassemble it as little as possible. And that is to say you'd probably take the wings off and send a very large cargo plane in, put the fuselage in and then the wings either in that fuselage or in another one, and lift it out, so that it would -- could be then reassembled.

There's an issue as I understand it as to whether or not that runway would take the weight of a cargo plane that large. And the technical teams are discussing these things now, and that's the current status.

Q: Senator Warner, you detailed for us a moment ago the consultations that you had with Secretary Rumsfeld and Senator Levin as well. Some of us have heard that while the secretary listens to your input that members don't hear very much back from him about the direction of his thinking or what items are of special interest to him. Could you comment on that? Are you satisfied that you have a good grasp for where the secretary is headed with his review?

Warner: I made it very clear that the secretary studied many things. He has not made final decisions. This is the second time he has appeared before our committee just for a general discussion with members. But again, the specifics have not been decided as yet.

Yes?

Levin: Could I make a comment on that?

Warner: Yes.

Levin: I don't have a good grasp on where the secretary is headed. I don't think the secretary has a good grasp on where the secretary is headed. Now, they'll speak for themselves on that, but at least that's the very distinct impression that we have, is that he has not reached any specific conclusions yet, or is he at the point yet where he can say this is the general direction we're heading, therefore give me a reaction.

But there was a concern raised by a number of members in the committee today about being involved at an early stage in this process. That concern was raised. We received assurances from the secretary that a process is going to be worked out where there will be a very detailed involvement by members of this committee at an early stage in this process before it is formed up -- before it gets to the point where you can say options have been discarded. So that assurance was readily given to us. We don't know what that process will be. Senator Warner and I, as he says, have worked together here for 22 years. This is a committee that has a tradition of bipartisanship. That tradition has been maintained beautifully by Senator Warner, and I am going to do everything that I can to maintain that tradition as chairman, and we will be working together to come up with the process where this committee will have the kind of input which the secretary assured us will be very valuable to him, and will come early enough so that we will really be in on this entire process in a way that we can feel that we participated. Whether or not we have an impact is a different issue.

Rumsfeld: May I just say the senator is exactly correct. There is an impression that I arrived in Washington with fully developed views on every single aspect of the defense establishment. The reality is I didn't. And what we have been doing is going through a process where I have been meeting with all kinds of people, in and out of government, in and out of the Congress, in and out of the military, and developing my thinking, at the point where we have some conclusions or some thoughts that are fully sufficiently well developed to discuss by way of alternatives, that is exactly what will happen, and it will happen probably sequentially, not in one fell swoop. And I think there is a tendency for people to assume there is more there than is there. And I have a lot of impressions, and I am prepared to begin discussing those impressions. But in terms of suggesting that their conclusions or I've rejected a lot of alternatives, the answer is that that's just not the case.

Warner: Yes, sir, over there.

Q: Mr. Secretary, do you feel that your military strategy review has supplanted the national security strategy that traditionally has come out of the NSC?

Rumsfeld: No, you are quite right -- of course a defense strategy fits under a national security strategy, and that is a process that is taking place in the White House at the present time. And the materials that we have been working on and considering and editing and using not so much as a product but more as a process for discussion and forcing though is -- those materials have been widely worked out with the other members from the national security team. So I think they will be a good fit.

Q: Mr. Chairman, what did you learn today about the QDR, how that fits in with the strategic review?

Warner: The QDR is a work in progress and it's yet to be completed -- as well as the particular mandate of the Congress to do a complete strategy on all of our nuclear systems. That's a work in process.

Yes?

Q: Senator Levin, I'd like you to elaborate on your insistence that the administration explained where the funding will come from for any sizable '02 amendment. I mean, the fact is you lost on the tax cut. The tax cut is going to happen. So if they can't give you a nice crisp audited accounting for where the additional funds are going to come from, does that mean you are going to oppose a sizable increase?

Levin: Well, it's going to affect the position I hope of everybody on a request for an increase as to where it comes from.

Q: I don't understand that.

Levin: Well, let's assume that that increase would come out of education, or that that increase would come out of a prescription drug program -- I'm not suggesting it will, by the way. We don't know where it will. But the secretary gave us a number today where he has been told that there is a budget surplus of a certain amount. I don't know if that budget surplus which he gave us includes the Medicare surplus or not. Medicare is on budget -- it 's not off budget. That means because we haven't created the trust fund that many of us wanted to for Medicare, that means that therefore an on budget surplus, including a Medicare surplus, could arguably be a source for an increase in a defense budget, or some other budget. Well, there's going to be a lot of resistance to that, if that's true.

I hope -- don't want to get back into a deficit ditch. I hope we are going to do something about avoiding an alternative minimum tax being imposed on 20 million additional Americans, which is what would happen. Do any of us really believe that the Finance Committee is not going to have another tax bill? I mean, we want to see a whole picture.

Q: And that means there is absolutely no way you can support any semblance of an increase in --

Levin: No, I mean --

Q: You've just explained why there can't be one.

Levin: No, I've just explained that we have got to weigh any request for increases against where it comes from. All we want to know is, where does that increase come from. That is responsible budgeting. It may be that that increase is so important that we are willing to take that from another source, which is also important. It may be that we would be willing to go back into a deficit situation. I'd be not inclined to do that, by the way.

Q: Mr. Secretary, I just wanted to ask in terms of your strategic review obviously, what you said was affecting -- it will affect the '03 budget and not really the '02. What is then going into the '02 budget amendment, or what is affecting what goes into the '02 budget amendment if your strategic review doesn't have an impact on it?

Rumsfeld: There are several things. One, the president has announced some initiatives. A second thing is events occur during the course of the year and as you begin to look at a budget amendment for '02, to the '02 budget that was previously submitted, you take those events into account.

And, third, to the extent you have learned enough or some things but not everything during the first few months in office, you have the opportunity to do some emphasis or de-emphasizes with respect to some programs. It would be those three kinds of things.

The other thing that happens is that the '02 budget amendment has to reflect things that you now know that you didn't know. It may be the price of things, like fuel. It may be -- or energy in California. It may be the cost of the coal. It may be things like that. So you have to take into account real-world events.

Q: General Shelton, actually the last couple of years you testified with the other chiefs on the need for an increased procurement dollars, that $60 billion wasn't enough. Is there any fear within the military now that you are not going to get great increases because the Democrats are in power and they are going to shift money into domestic priorities? Is there a fear one way or the other?

Shelton: Let me first of all thank Chairman Warner and soon to be-Chairman Levin for the great bipartisan support that they've given to the members of our armed forces, the great men and women that serve. For that reason there is no concern on our part. I think the Quadrennial Defense Review will clearly define what is needed for the future, and that is the recommendation that we would then provide to the administration that would ultimately come to Congress. And we have gotten great support in the past, so I have no real fears or concerns right now about the future of our defense establishment or the way ahead.

Q: Well, the procurement dollars in particular though --

Shelton: -- specifically with procurement dollars. I think we all recognize that if you want to maintain the technological lead, if you want to recapitalize the force as I think there is a general understanding throughout our government that we need to maintain that technological edge. We need to recapitalize. Then you have to have the money to do that.

Q: Senator Warner, I would like to get back to the politics of today and the announcement by Senator Jeffords earlier.

Warner: I know there is some desire to ask those questions; I'll make myself available after the secretary departs.

Q: But mine is actually related with that switch in the change in power. How do you think that's going to affect priorities of the administration coming to the Hill and this committee -- particularly things like national missile defense?

Warner: Well, in my judgment the president's program is being unfolded, with the secretary -- with the '01 coming up, then the '02 budget amendment. As I said, Senator Levin and I worked together these 22 years; we'll continue to work. I do not see any substantial change. I have found on both sides of the aisle a strong desire to support President Bush in his reevaluation of the needs of the United States military.

Now, there are issues like missile defense. Senator Levin and I have had I would say very respectful and tough positions through the years, and they have differed. They will continue to differ. We will both advocate our positions, and at some point in time it will be decided by votes on the floor of the Senate.

Q: Senator, could you respond to that question also, particularly --

Levin: Well, actually I'm -- there's really two ways to read the president's last speech on missile defense. One way is what he said in that speech, that we will deploy a missile defense as soon as technologically feasible. But three other places in the speech, including one just two paragraphs away, he said, we are going to have real consultations on the whole issue, with allies and indeed with Russia and China, which presumes that those consultations will go to the basic questions of whether or not we would be more secure with or without. In other words, it addresses the whether question, not just the when or the how question. That's what real consultations are all about.

I felt that there was in that speech a move toward a broad assessment of missile defense in terms of its feasibility, in terms of whether or not it should be done in a particular way, but also whether or not on balance it would add to our security, because real consultations with people who have real concerns or who may react in a way which could make us less secure -- those kind of real consultations mean there's a much more nuanced position in the administration towards missile defense -- a consideration of pros and cons -- not just timing and modes.

So I think that the change, if there was one, if I read that speech right, if there was one, came before the shift in the control of the Senate. And I don't see that this shift in and of itself is going to make a major difference in terms of how the president proceeds. I hope he'll proceed in that more nuanced way, looking at the broader question of assuming we could find an operationally effective system, whether or not a unilateral deployment, if we can't modify a treaty that we have with Russia would make us more secure.

Q: Will it change the way the Senate handles the issue and debates the issue?

Levin: I think it could, because it's possible at least, and that depends on the budget detail that comes in -- if the budget detail that comes in from the administration contains money which if appropriated would constitute a breach of the ABM Treaty, it is very possible that in the markup of the document that comes before us, the document that we actually mark up, that that money is not in but would have to be added. And that does shift a burden.

Now, I am not speaking for all Democrats necessary -- okay? But I just wanted to say it is possible at least. You start with a markup document from the committee that if -- I think this is a big if, particularly this year -- if the president included money in that budget request, which if appropriated constituted a breach of the ABM Treaty, I would argue that we should not include that in the original markup document. But the people who want a unilateral breach of the ABM Treaty should then have the burden of adding those funds and try to carry their position that way. So it could conceivably have a difference -- conceivably, but not necessarily.

Q: Would that include work at Shemya Island?

Levin: Well, that's the direction it goes, but that's already been appropriated. That money has already been appropriated. If that's the direction he goes, he would be able presumably to obligate that money and then those who would oppose obligation under these circumstances, on the grounds that we are not more secure, on that ground that that system may not make a lot of sense, would then have the obligation of trying to stop.

Warner: Let me just say very briefly -- and I've talked to the president on this subject, and the secretary, Condoleezza Rice and others -- this president has made it very clear that the threat facing this nation is a serious one from limited missile attack -- either rogue, accidental or whatever. Now, he has carefully laid down a format where consultations will take place prior to any decisions with regard to the restrictions in the ABM Treaty. He has done that process. They are well along. Indeed, they came up and briefed the Senate here recently on that subject.

The president has also indicated his intention to explore means by which this nation, within the permissible framework of ABM as now written will undertake research and development of certain systems which previous presidents have decided not to explore with R&D, because he would like to have before him a range of options as to how to construct a limited missile defense system. To me that's a very prudent step. So that's the posture.

He's also in strict compliance, in my judgment, with the law of the land, referred to as the Cochran bill, which is the most recent enunciation by Congress on the subject of missile defense.

Q: Senator Warner, do you feel let down by Senator Jeffords leaving the party? And what was the thrust of the remarks you made to him to ask him to stay?

Warner: The subject is as follows. The senator was a friend of mine. I knew him. We worked together. And yesterday -- indeed the day before -- I spoke to him quietly about the first reports.

And then mid morning yesterday I decided that it would be in the best interests of the Republican Caucus if a group of us gathered and gave him the opportunity to make known to us -- quietly -- his understanding of the problems and what he intended to do. We did that around 10:00. Because of the intensity of the voting on the floor, we could only spend about 40 minutes, and I suggested a second meeting, which I convened later in the afternoon, around 4:15, and the group was expanded from about 6 to 10. And it was one of the most remarkable moments in my Senate, 22 years, as well as others who sat with me, and freely exchanged -- not in a confrontational manner, but in a quiet way, our own views of what he was considering at that time.

He gave us, as you know, the 24 hours within which to give us the opportunity on the Republican side to share our views with him. And we did just that. And the rest you know is history.

Yes, I shall miss him as a friend, but the Republicans will carry on. We are a strong and a united group. I must say throughout that process I personally consulted with Senator Lott. There was not effort of our group to circumvent Senator Lott in any way, and he indicated to us if we could reach some format of understanding, of change and so forth, he would consider it. It just didn't come to pass.

Q: How did that second meeting -- about 20 minutes.

Q: Question for Senator Levin please. It looks like you are holding in your hand Secretary Rumsfeld's handout that he has been giving out at these meetings on the Hill.

Levin: His meetings what --

Q: His meetings yesterday and today on the Hill. What's your opinion of the statements made in his handout?

Levin: I thought there was a lot of wisdom in some of it. I'm not sure that I actually -- here you go -- no, that's not -- one long list -- (laughter) -- here you go, here's the handout. Well, as he went through these things I thought there was a lot of wisdom in there about --

Q: (Off mike)?

Levin: I don't think this is a classified document -- oh, that handout. No, I'm sorry, that's just a foreword to a book. This is something called "Thoughts about Planning for the Future." Apparently these are not only his thoughts, but he said some other folks' thoughts with them. But he went through a lot of these, and it seemed to me that there's a lot of wisdom and that they seem to be accurate when hen gave them. I can't tell you I studied them. But I -- unless -- is somebody here representing Secretary Rumsfeld?

Q: I think we can ascertain --

Levin: Can we give a copy -- do you have a copy of this for the press?

Q: Senator Levin, before this meeting today I was under the impression that the Senate and maybe the House was going to be given a pro forma briefing prior to the announcement of the strategic review. From what I heard you say, and what Secretary Rumsfeld said, it sounds like you are going to have a lot more input in what he's doing after today's meeting. Is that a correct perception?

Levin: There's going to be a significant input, and he welcomed it. I can't tell you what would have happened but for today's meeting, but he welcomed the idea that there would be a very significant effort to meet with members of Congress that have an interest in this matter, to go over options, to get suggestions. And I can't tell you what was going to happen before today, because I just don't --

Q: What happened before -- a lot of people were excluded --

Levin: I don't know when you say "excluded" -- I didn't feel --

Q: Well, the entire committee was there today?

Levin: Yes, but I --

Warner: -- invited, but only -- let's see, 15 showed up.

Levin: I wouldn't agree with your word "excluded."

Warner: Yes?

Q: Those of us who know you know how long and hard you worked and waited to become chairman, how important it was to you to be chairman. You have got to make some decisions here in the next six, eight months about your political future and whether you'll seek another term. And I'm wondering if you can talk to us a little bit about the prospects, how the prospects your returning to the chair would figure into your thinking, and how important it would be to --

Warner: Well, as I indicated some time ago that I would seek a fifth term in the United States Senate -- as a matter of fact, I think my colleague also has indicated he is going to seek a fifth term. So chances are we will be partners as this chair shifts back and forth over the next six to seven years perhaps. (Laughter.)

But I think it's important -- Virginia has lost some 82 years of congressional experience in the recent retirements and deaths and defeat of one of our members of the Virginia delegation. And I think of strong mind and strong body, God willing, I will hopefully offer myself -- I am now and will continue for a fifth term. Much remains to be seen between now and election day, but they're going to have a good strong candidate in me, I'll assure you that.

Q: What was your mood as you watched the Jeffords speech -- I mean, your whole career has kind of been focused on serviced to the armed forces -- secretary of the Navy, bringing home the bacon to Newport News. Are you sad about the fact that you are giving up this chairmanship?

Warner: You know, I have had such a lot of good fortune in my life, I take everything instead -- I have experienced one way or another three wars -- served in World War II, Korean War, secretary of the Navy for over five years during the Vietnam War. I have had the privilege of being with men and women in the armed forces, and a very modest two periods of active duty myself for some 50 years. And I am pleased with the opportunity to continue in any capacity I can. And I accept gratefully the opportunity to be the ranking member of this committee with our new chairman, Senator Levin.

Levin: And we welcome him as the ranking member -- (laughter) -- let me assure you. Also what I need in Newport News and the shipyards and --

I want to just add this --

Warner: Newport News will get it on its own, I assure you. They are doing marvelous work on submarines and carriers. I'll help, but pretty much the workers in the yard earn it themselves.

Levin: Senator Warner was ranking member January 3rd to January 20th, and that experience really was -- this year -- it was invaluable. It showed just how beautifully he can fill that function. And I know he'll do a hell of a good job doing it again. (Laughter.)

Q: Senator Warner, you mentioned that -- was it just a moment ago -- you said that Senator Jeffords "was" a friend, and you seemed to emphasize that.

Warner: No, I'm glad that you picked up on that. He will continue to be a friend. I thank you for that.

Q: How much of a fracture has this caused from a point of view of collegiality of the Senate, which a lot of people --

Warner: Well, that remains to be seen. Frankly I think at this present time no one can make a full assessment of this situation. Historically, ladies and gentlemen, it is the first time in the 212- year history of the United States Senate that there has been a change of control other than the two-year election period.

Now, that's an interesting fact. Therefore we're trying to fully assess the impact of that. But in speaking to Republicans and I'll listen intently as I travel in the coming weeks with Republicans -- there are vast numbers of moderate Republicans in our party -- millions of them across this nation. They must continue to believe that within our leadership there is as spokesman or woman or person on their behalf. And I am confident that our leadership will make that opportunity available.

Yes, go ahead.

Q: Didn't mean to interrupt. Senator McCain had sort of a blistering statement in reaction to Senator Jeffords' move, and part of that statement was that the GOP needs to "grow up" in his words. What's your reaction to that?

Warner: Well, I'm not privy to what he said. But in my opinion, I think the Republican Party, particularly the moderate wing of the party, will hold us accountable for what's happened. I mean, we are the leaders. Whether we could have avoided it, I have serious doubts given that I went through extensive consultations with Senator Jeffords with others present yesterday. But we certainly will be held accountable for the future to see that there would not be similar problems associated with our party, and particularly here in the Senate.

Q: Senator Levin, one other issue that I think there might be some disagreement between the two of you was on base closing. You co- sponsored the McCain Bill. Senator Warner has indicated some mild support for it. But do you think that there is now a better chance of base closing legislation this year?

Levin: I do -- for a number of reasons. But the administration has indicated that it will support another round or two of base closings -- a commission that would make recommendations relevant to that. And I think with the Bush administration's strong support that there will be a number of additional Republicans who will now be supporting who perhaps did not before.

Now, the argument was used in the last year or two that President Clinton allegedly politicized this process. Well, I don't think he did. That's not the point. The point is that the last couple of years the bills would have taken effect during the administration after the Clinton administration. We were not successful nonetheless, even though that was true in getting that authority put in law. But now that there is a new president, and now that that president supports one or two rounds of base closures with the commission making recommendations, I am a little more optimistic that we can get this passed. And it's essential that we spend our money wisely. And if we are spending money on infrastructure that we don't need, that means we don't have the funds for the new threats that we really must face, the terrorist threats, the proliferators' threats, the kind of new problems that we see -- the emerging threats of this world, which must be the focus I believe of all -- just about most of our new budget activity.

Warner: I'll wrap up on base closures. Very clearly the president in the budget submission indicated his desire for a base closure. I promptly indicated I would support legislation forthcoming from the legislation, which would be considered by the committee, and that will be done.

The one area of difference that Senator Levin at this moment and I have is that he has indicated two rounds of closure, and I have indicated a strong preference for one. And I say this for the following reason: In our many years here together, I was the author of previous base closure pieces of legislation. Indeed the secretary just moments ago in that room said there's some 20 to 25 percent of our infrastructure which currently is viewed -- not fully determined -- but is viewed as possibly excess.

Now, one round for this reason -- and I've experienced this first hand in my state and travels all over this country. Every community that has an affiliation somehow with a military installation suddenly when the process is started goes on general quarters. They responsively, in a responsible way, hire very well qualified persons in many instances to help consult them. That is an expense.

Secondly, it begins to put a cloud of doubt over that community's ability to attract new business -- whatever their economic situation may be. And, secondly, there's always a whole sort of aura of uncertainty that settles over a community. And frankly it's stressful. And therefore I think we do it one time, and I think we do it thoroughly and as big as we feel in the Congress and the president t hat it is necessary, and put it behind us.

Levin: Well, just on that one point that we did offer a one-round approach last year which was not accepted -- I am sure Senator McCain -- I can't speak for him now, but it's a joint bill. I would accept one round if that's the best we can get.

Q: In each of your respective states -- you Senator Warner with high tech, the new high tech corridor in Northern Virginia; you Senator Levin with autos -- one seems to be of course old-style technology, the other is the new modern technologies, and the dot-coms and such. Is there any way that we can avoid an economic slowdown, get more education in where there isn't adequate manpower to work both in the defense areas as well as the commercial areas without a total upheaval? We have been relying in the high-tech areas with a lot of foreign workers, especially coming from India and Europe and elsewhere. And --

Warner: Well, of the requirements have been alleviated by -- as a consequence of the slowdown in the high-tech industry -- I don't of any specific issues coming before us right now with regard to employment in these areas. Each of us look after our states as best we can. But I think I can say almost without exception the national defense requirements as laid down by whoever is president and that secretary of Defense are the guiding principles for our committee. And by and large our decisions are made consistent with what are the defense needs.

Q: Senator Warner, you have shown at times your own independence from your party. As you heard Senator Jeffords outline his concerns about being a moderate in the Republican Party, did you find yourself sharing some of those concerns?

Warner: When I talked it was private -- of course our communications -- but I assure you at this point in time -- I'd be glad to show you a full polls -- I wish I had them here to publish. I am enjoying at the moment some of the highest polls I've ever had in the 20-plus years I've been in the Senate. And I'll be glad to give them to you. I hope you might include them in this article. (Laughter.) So I appear to be doing that job that Virginians expect of their senior senator. Thank you for the question though. (Laughter.) Thank you very much.

Levin: How come no one asked me a question like that? (Laughter.)

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