Tuesday, May 29, 2001 - 1:30 p.m. EDT
Quigley: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. I have three announcements this afternoon.
The U.S. Air Force Academy will hold its Class of 2001 graduation ceremony at 11:00 local time tomorrow, Wednesday, at Falcon Stadium in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Vice President Cheney will deliver the commencement address. And for more information please contact the Air Force Academy Public Affairs Office, or SAFPA here in the building.
Second, remains believed to be those of three American servicemen missing from the Korean War will be repatriated to the United States in a ceremony at Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii tomorrow at 9:00 a.m. local time. U.S. Pacific Command will host a repatriation ceremony at Hickam Base Operations. The event is open to the media, and there's a release available on that in DDI.
Finally, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Henry A. Shelton will depart Andrews Air Force Base tomorrow for counterpart visits to India, Oman, Qatar, Jordan and Egypt. The chairman will also attend NATO ministerial meetings in Brussels, Belgium on the 7th and 8th of June. And he returns to Washington on Friday the 8th of June.
And with that, I'll take your questions. Charlie.
Q: Craig, have you got anything on the F-18 down in Florida?
Quigley: No. I've been following that. I understand the Navy is now reporting that they are -- there is an F/A-18 missing and overdue from a training mission. But beyond that, I'm sorry, I don't have very many details on that.
I would hope that the Navy would have some more as the afternoon goes on, Charlie.
Q: Can you bring us up to date on the EP-3 return, plans for return?
Quigley: Yeah. Well, the stories that were running yesterday stating that the United States and China have an agreement in principle to return the EP-3 via disassembling the aircraft and loading the components onboard an AN-124, a very large -- the largest in the world -- cargo-carrying aircraft are essentially correct as written.
Now beyond that, details have yet to be worked out. The folks at Pacific Command are putting together a small, I think four people, assessment team that will travel to China later on this week to, I believe, first stop at Beijing and then travel from there down to Lingshui to work out the details of you name it: the transportation; the communication; the provision of supporting materials, tools, power, all of it that you will need to do the disassembly and ultimately to land the aircraft: the parts, the tools the technicians at Lingshui to affect the disassembly, loading up of the components, the large components on board the AN-124, and then out.
So first is the assessment team has their discussions with the Chinese authorities, both political and military authorities, to ascertain the level of support that will be required to either bring in with us or perhaps contract with firms there in China. And then when you get that understanding, you would then move to the next step, which would be then contracting for the balance here in the United States and working out the details.
That's where we are now. Probably no resolution, I would suspect, on the details of the contracting and whatnot until, gosh, sometime next week would be my best guess I think.
Q: When will this team go there?
Quigley: Later on this week.
Q: A particular day?
Quigley: I do not know the exact day.
Q: From where will the United States be able to lease an AN-124?
Quigley: There are a variety of nations and companies in the world that own the AN-124. And you would then enter into a contract with those entities to lease it, basically, for a period of time and use it or them, depending on if you needed more than one, to bring in the people, the equipment, the components you would need to perform the task.
Q: Any discussions with the Russian government about -- since it's --
Quigley: Not that I'm aware of so far, no.
Q: And you said --
Quigley: But all's fair, though, let me quickly say. I mean, we'll shop around and try to get the -- once we have a good explanation -- understanding, I should say, with the Chinese as to what, you know, the circumstances are as to how many planes, in what order, what time of the day, what length of time, things of that sort, then you can go to organizations that actually own these things and say "This is what I would like to contract for." But until that we're kind of guessing.
Q: You've said repeatedly over the last couple of weeks that the United States preferred to be able to repair the plane and fly it out. Are you disappointed with the way this has turned out?
Quigley: I think that at the end of the day we're glad to get the airplane back in a condition that it can be repaired and used again. It's an $80 million airplane that is perfectly repairable and flyable and fit to be used again. Had we needed to have gone the smaller plane route -- an IL-76 or something of that size -- we would have then been obliged to cut it up into such small pieces that it could not have been used again. And that would have been a shame. So the preference would have been still to have repaired it to the point of flying it out. It would have been faster, would have been fewer people, would have been less time, it would have been less money. But if this is an acceptable solution to both nations, we'll press on and be satisfied with that.
Q: How many pieces do you estimate that it would need to be disassembled to?
Quigley: When you go to a -- well, if you go to the -- how do we build an EP-3 in the first place, you go down to Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, where you have P-3s stored in long-term storage, and you choose one that has a good, long life left in its airframe and things of that sort, and you disassemble it there. And you load it onto a very large cargo carrier, and you move it to a Lockheed Martin facility where it is refurbished and rebuilt in a different configuration. So the parts that are really the key are the wings and the tail assembly and the fuselage, of course. Now, how many flights, what are the particulars of the loading characteristics of the AN-124? We still have to work our way through that.
Q: Can you definitively say that the plane will be put back together and flown again? I presume that -- I mean, the cost of disassembling it and then the cost of repairing it, is that not a factor in whether in fact you do put that plane back together again or refurbish one of these others that you have in storage?
Quigley: It's a factor, Tom, but I think we've already come to the conclusion in this case that it is very much a more cost- effective option to repair it and fly it again. You do have some number of P-3s. I don't know what the number is, at Davis-Monthan, but the production line is not open anymore, so you really need to husband your resources here fairly carefully, and the assessment is that this plane can quite readily -- that's a relative term, I know, -- but quite readily be repaired and made perfectly flyable once again. In this case, the judgment was to go with that option, and it was not so damaged that it would be something you would take out of commission.
Q: Last week the Chinese said that there had been an agreement to do just this, apparently, and you and others had said there was no agreement. I'm curious about the timing of this. When did this come together? Subsequent to that, or was there in fact some miscommunication of what the Chinese had in mind last week?
Quigley: I don't think I can still provide you a very good explanation on that. Last Thursday afternoon when we were here, it was the United States government's firm understanding, no matter who you talk to, that there was no agreement yet with the Chinese government as to the methods to go about doing this. I heard of this over the weekend, that an agreement in principle had been reached with the Chinese government. It was either Saturday or Sunday, I believe. To the best of my knowledge, that was the time when both governments agreed that that was an acceptable way ahead. So I still think that's -- it was either Saturday or Sunday of this weekend. I still can't explain Thursday.
Q: Why did the Chinese government -- what was their justification for not allowing us to go there and repair it and fly it out?
Quigley: I do not know. You'd have to ask them directly.
Q: They are saying Chinese are really -- they are celebrating and they are saying this is a pride for the Chinese people, not to let the plane fly back to the United States, otherwise the Chinese government will be in trouble because the people are asking, and that means they are saying that -- they are celebrating -- (inaudible) -- that not to let the U.S. to take the plane in the air.
Quigley: Well, again, our preference would have been for the quicker, faster way of repairing it for flight, but if that was unacceptable to the Chinese government, for whatever reason, then you continue negotiating and you find a way ahead that both nations can agree to, and we're pleased that we have been able to do that.
Q: How much are we talking -- the cost of the total from bringing the plane to when it goes back in the air?
Quigley: Don't know that yet.
Q: No estimate yet?
Quigley: No, not until we have had an opportunity to actually go out to countries and companies that own these planes and find out how much it would cost; and they don't know, in all fairness to them, what we're asking them to do. So first things first, and that's the discussions with the Chinese, and try to ascertain from that kind of what the ground rules would be and then enter into discussions with the organizations that own the planes.
Q: Craig, do you have anything on the Chinese canceling a port visit, a scheduled port visit to Hong Kong by a U.S. naval ship?
Quigley: No, I had not heard that at all.
Q: I believe the Chinese Foreign Ministry said that a U.S. minesweeper was -- you know, a visit to Hong Kong by a U.S. mine sweeper -- I can't remember the name of it --
Q: That was the Inchon, a helicopter carrier.
Q: A helicopter carrier?
Q: Well, it's a mine command ship.
Q: Mine countermeasures headquarters.
Quigley: Let me take that one, because I had not --
Q: (Off mike) -- to step up here to the microphone? (Laughter.)
Quigley: I had simply not heard that. The Inchon is a mine countermeasures command and control ship. It's a former helicopter carrier, but it was converted some years ago.
But I had not heard that. Let me take that.
Q: Craig, are there any other port visits to Hong Kong scheduled, have future visits been --
Quigley: I have not looked a long ways downstream, but I don't know of any in the near term, no.
Q: There are already wire service stories out quoting merchants as being very disappointed about the loss of business from American crew. Anything on that?
Q: Do you know where the parts of the EP-3 will be taken to be reassembled? Is it Guam? Do they go back to Whidbey Island? Does it go to the Lockheed facility? Do we know what happens after the Antonov takes off?
Quigley: You would probably go to the Lockheed Martin facilities themselves. And if -- again, I'll go back to my example of how you make an EP-3. When you choose a P-3 from Davis-Monthan and disassemble it, I think it goes to the Lockheed Martin facility at Marietta, Georgia, I believe, for refurbishment and rebuilding in its new configuration.
Now, I don't know if Lockheed Martin would choose or recommend that that be the place that it has to go, or if it would simply be the wisest choice; I'm not sure. But the honest answer is we just don't know that.
Q: So Lockheed is sort of the lead on this and you'll take their advice on what to do with it?
Quigley: Mm-hm. Mm-hm. (Affirmative response.)
Q: It's obviously not an easy job, so you think it's going to have to go back to the Lockheed facility in Marietta?
Quigley: I mean, this is a doable job, but it is a very complex job to do the disassembly and the reassembly. This can be done; we have done it before. But it is simply a more complex, time-consuming, costly evolution than repair to fly.
Q: Craig, the Chinese government has said to allow the plane to be repaired and flown out would be an affront to China's government. Isn't it an affront to the United States to be forced to dismantle this plane and take it out in pieces?
Quigley: No, I mean, I don't think so. I think it's -- our preference was for the quicker way to go. But we really do want to get our plane back, and if in the course of the negotiations this was the solution that was acceptable to both nations, we're more than happy to enter into that.
Can I go back a question or two ago to Jim and Jonathan's?
China did inform the U.S. consulate on May 15th that it has denied a request for the Inchon to visit Hong Kong. This was to have been the 28th of June to the 3rd of July. No reason was given for the disapproval, but it was disapproved.
Q: Was that request for the port visit made prior to the E-3 incident, I assume, or subsequently?
Quigley: I don't know.
Q: Will you take that question, please?
Quigley: Yeah, we'll try.
Q: Did you say no reason was given?
Quigley: No reason was given, right.
Q: Even though they've reached an agreement in principle with China on the EP-3, are efforts still being made to try and fly it out or have those efforts been given up?
Quigley: No, no, we're pressing on with the disassembly and flying it out on the AN-124.
Q: Would it be the U.S. position that only U.S. people -- personnel be involved in that disassembly and that whole operation or will the Chinese military be involved?
Quigley: No, we won't know that until we have the results of the assessment team's discussion with both the military and the political leadership.
Quigley: Craig, have to date the Chinese indicated their intention to bill the United States any charges in connection with the keeping of the EP-3 at its present location?
Quigley: Not to my knowledge, no.
Q: Are we seeking any compensation from the Chinese for the damage that was caused to the aircraft?
Q: Again, not that I have heard, Alex, no.
Now, if -- in the course of the coming weeks as we disassemble the plane and load it on board the AN-124s and fly it out, if there are costs associated with entering into some sort of local service contract, that would certainly be fair game and costs that we'd be more than willing to entertain.
Q: New subject?
Q: I have one more.
Quigley: Go ahead.
Q: Do you have anything on the Bowditch being buzzed -- Navy -- I mean Chinese jets harassing this ocean research vessel?
Quigley: The Bowditch is an oceanographic survey vessel that has been at sea -- wow, some time, I think a couple of weeks I want to say -- between Japan and China in the Yellow Sea and the East China Sea doing oceanographic survey operations.
The Chinese did send out a long-range maritime patrol plane to have a look. That's fairly standard practice. There was a Chinese surface vessel that has come out periodically during the course of its underway period to have a look as well.
Q: Wasn't that same survey vessel in another incident prior to the EP-3 thing in which it was actually -- had to leave the area because a Chinese surface combatant came out and --
Quigley: They had a Chinese surface combatant -- I think a small frigate that came out to take a look. And the master of the Bowditch thought that it was their better course of action to depart the area at that point and he did so.
Q: Is the Bowditch covered by any escort ships?
Quigley: Yeah, she is. The cruiser Cowpens is with her. We do that from time to time, escorting vessels of this sort.
Q: So there was no request this time to leave the area and --
Quigley: Not that I'm aware of Chris, no.
Q: Was the Bowditch actually buzzed, or did it -- was there just a plane in the area?
Quigley: I think it came fairly close aboard, but I don't think it was all that close, Jim. "Buzz" to my way of thinking means somebody that's trimming the tops of the antennas at a high rate of speed, and I do not think that was how I would characterize the flying.
Q: So it was --
Quigley: It was fairly close, but it was also well abeam of the vessel and did not fly directly over the top.
Q: Several passes?
Quigley: Yes. Two or three or four, something like that.
Q: When was this?
Quigley: A week or a week and a half ago.
Q: Is there any reason to think that the Chinese have been kind of continuing to plague U.S. ships and aircraft in the area, are they harassing these ships? Is this normal conduct for other countries, for example, if there are U.S. ships operating off their shores in international waters?
Quigley: I don't -- I can't speak to how they would treat vessels or aircraft from other nations, Chris. I don't know. But the --
Q: How about how other nations treat U.S. ships off of -- and U.S. aircraft off of their borders --
Quigley: It is very common for other nations to send out either aircraft or surface vessels to ascertain, physically look at the identity of ships that are passing through either their exclusive economic zone, or certainly areas that are close by their territorial waters or their contiguous zone. Frequently the vessels or aircraft come close enough to get a visual ID of what the vessel is, what it's doing, frequently speak with the vessel on international voice radio communication circuits. And once -- and they'll spend some amount of time in physical proximity to the vessel and then return to their home fields.
Q: Was there any contact?
Q: I suppose the question is, are the Chinese particularly aggressive compared to other nations when it comes to this sort of thing?
Quigley: Well, I think they've shown that they certainly can be, and the collision of the 1st of April certainly being the most obvious example. But it would depend on circumstances. The various nations come within various distances of both surface vessels and aircraft. It also has to do with pilot proficiency and weather and a variety of issues that caused the vessels or the aircraft to come further apart or closer together.
Q: Craig, was there any contact --
Q: I'm sorry. Just one more. Since April first, it's still pretty aggressive conduct.
Quigley: Well, certainly they have maintained their interest in knowing who is either sailing or flying in the vicinity of their coastlines. That is safe to say. I would not see that changing.
Q: Craig, was there any --
Quigley: Can I go back one step? There was a question asked, Chris, I think it was yours -- to whether or not the Inchon port visit request was before or after the 1st? It was after the 1st of April.
Q: Did this plane come close enough to the American vessel that there here was concern voiced over international frequencies, by either the vessel itself or its escort, to the Chinese aircraft?
Quigley: No. No, not at all. Again, the altitude was fairly low, and I don't have a measurement for you, but it was fairly low, but it was well abeam of the Bowditch, so that it did to come -- I mean, again, that's kind of, in my mind, Jim, when you say "buzz," that's kind of like right over the top of my head. And that's my understanding; it did not do that. It was well abeam of the vessel.
Q: How would you describe the manner in which the Chinese are performing aerial intercepts on American surveillance flights in recent weeks?
Quigley: They have remained at a considerable distance; enough to get the information, I guess, that they are looking to gain, and then returning to their bases.
Q: How about the intercept flights flown from Hainan Island? Have they been mowing that same pattern?
Quigley: Yes. Yes.
Q: Has there been any progress on setting a date for that meeting with the maritime commission?
Quigley: No. Still have no response back from the Chinese.
Q: On the resumption of surveillance flights, just a couple of things. Have EP-3s as well as RC-135s flown those surveillance flights?
Quigley: I won't provide that information.
Q: Can you tell us whether any plane has flown along the general route -- perhaps not specifically, but the general area in which the EP-3 was conducting surveillance back on April 1st?
Quigley: No, I won't, other than to say that we continue to fly surveillance flights and reconnaissance flights in a variety of places around the world.
Q: Have the Chinese repeated in any way what you have called harassing tactics against these surveillance flights?
Q: Could you give any detail about General Shelton's visit to India, if he's getting any message from the secretary, from this building, and also if there are going to be discussions of new military-to-military relationship between India and the United States, or any agreement are going to be signed as far as military relationships are concerned?
Quigley: I'm sorry, I do not have -- let me take that question and see what we can do from his staff. I have no -- virtually no details on his counterpart visits to any of those nations. [His visit is a follow-on from the meeting between Secretary Rumsfeld and Foreign and Defense Minister Singh. It reflects the growing appreciation for this important relationship.]
Q: Because this is the first time in a long time that a high- level U.S. official visited India to discuss the military relationship -- (off mike).
Q: Same topic. I notice that the general is not going to Pakistan. Is there any significance we should read into that; that he is going to India but he's not going to Pakistan? In the past it has been usual practice that high-level visits by American officials go to both countries.
Quigley: No. The short answer to your question is no, no signal either positive or adverse should come of that. The scheduling is very complex. When you try very hard to get as many of the senior folks that you're trying to visit to be available as you can during a given visit to a part of the world -- I mean, General Shelton is traveling a long way -- but it always doesn't work out. You try, and you get as many as you can, but it simply doesn't always work out.
Q: Bosnia, two questions. One, is the United States proposing lowering its troop contribution to Bosnia? And can you at all clarify -- Secretary Rumsfeld's comments in the Washington Post interview would seem to indicate that he was in favor of withdrawing all U.S. troops from Bosnia.
Quigley: Let me -- let me kind of approach that in a different way, if I can.
NATO announced today, in a communique, that it was reducing the overall strength by about 3,000 troops in SFOR in Bosnia. Now, the United States today contributes about 20 percent of the overall force, or about 3,800 troops to that force level. So we would expect that -- you know, we would take our fair share of those reductions during the course of the weeks ahead. But what you're seeing this come out of is the six-month review, which completed last week, that NATO -- the nations that contribute forces to Bosnia, in this case, every six months take a look at force levels and take a look at the political and military situation on the ground and try to match the needs with the forces provided. In this case, NATO found it prudent to reduce the overall strength by 3,000. And we expect to have some portion of that as part of our 20 percent contribution to the forces in the region.
It is Secretary Rumsfeld's position that we should constantly be looking at the continued need for U.S. military forces around the world, and that includes Bosnia.
But by the same token, if you read the entire verbatim transcript of the interview that you refer to, you will see the secretary said very similar words to what you've heard Secretary Powell use in the last few days about there's no enthusiasm on the United States' part to do any unilateral withdrawal of forces that is not done in conjunction with discussion with our allies; that is not done at the expense of creating some sort of a void or a vacuum without adequate civilian replacements being in place that are qualified and capable of taking over the task that the military members currently perform.
So it's going to be done in a very prudent way, over the long haul, in conjunction with our NATO allies every six months.
Q: Twenty percent of 3,000 would be about 600 troops. Would you expect that the U.S. contribution would probably go down by about that number?
Quigley: To the best of my knowledge, no nation has made the calculations of parsing out that 3,000.
Q: One more, sir. At this moment the verdict in the U.S. embassy bombing trial is on its way to New York. If anywhere in the world the U.S. military is on alert or extra precautions because of this bombing trial verdict, and also because Osama bin Laden had threatened in the past that after the verdict he might order any -- or make threats against U.S. citizens?
Quigley: We're usually not very forthcoming as far as details of those issues, and I think I'll stick with that.
Q: Has DoD taken any stand on the potential merger of Alcatel -- or the purchase by Alcatel of Lucent?
Quigley: No, not yet, just starting --
Q: Will you be rendering an opinion -- it has national security implications doesn't it?
Quigley: If there are national security implications, we will make our opinions and views known through the interagency process, yes.
Q: Thank you.
Q: The question of U.S. consultation with Russia about missile defense and other issues -- has there been any discussion of the United States buying back, or buying Russian military equipment, or some kind of exchange or assistance of technology and joint exercises on missile defense or any of those things? Can you characterize at all what Deputy Secretary Wolfowitz discussed with his counterparts in Moscow, and specifically --
Quigley: No, I can't. It's a very complex arrangement that the National Security Council has the lead on. We are certainly making our views know through that interagency process with NSC taking the lead. But other than saying that it's still a work in progress with our allies around the world, I'm sorry, I can't provide you any more details on that.
Q: Yes, over the weekend -- on Saturday, I believe -- there was a rally with about 100,000 people in front of the U.S. interest section in Havana, Cuba.
President Fidel Castro was in attendance, members of the Puerto Rican Independence Party were in attendance. They called for the cessation of all bombing in Vieques and the withdrawal of the U.S. Navy from Vieques. Does the department consider that those statements are appropriate for the -- Mr. Castro to comment on Navy training on U.S. soil?
Quigley: Well, in the discussions amongst nations, I guess I should properly steer you to the State Department to get their views. But I don't think that the demonstrations had a big impact within the Defense Department, no.
Q: There have been also other Latin American leaders who have stated their views on the fact that the Navy should withdraw from Vieques. Does the department consider that this is meddling in U.S.- Puerto Rico affairs, or military affairs?
Quigley: Well, again, I think if you're talking about the interaction between governments of nations, I should probably defer to the State Department.
Q: The president this morning at Camp Pendleton, he defended or he reiterated the importance of training for the security of our men and women of the armed forces. And there was supposed to be a COMPTUEX training for the Teddy Roosevelt battle group in Vieques in June. Has that training been scheduled, or is it being held hostage to political considerations from the White House?
Quigley: We have made no announcements on any training in June yet.
Q: Reverend Al Sharpton and other detainees are quoted in the New York papers as saying that because of their incarceration training has stopped, therefore the protesters in Vieques are winning. Does the department share that view, that the protesters are winning on this?
Quigley: Well, I think -- in the case of the trespassers that broke the law and proceeded onto the training range, and were then processed through the normal judicial system, that is a completely separate process from the determination of training needs. So I cannot ascribe any particular motivations other than to say that we have made no announcement of training during the month of June.
Q: But Navy officers had originally stated that training was going to take place in the month of June, and because of the White House now that training is sort of suspended.
Quigley: We have made no announcement of a suspension of training during the month of June, either. I cannot comment on something that we have not said anything on publicly.
Q: When will there be an announcement? I mean, COMPTUEX is a long-scheduled exercise.
Q: New topic? Craig, it's been widely reported that the secretary's meeting with the Joint Chiefs -- has been meeting this week. Could you give us a sense of what's on the agenda? And can you also help us understand how these meetings fit in with this parallel sort of processes on the review, on the QDR and on the budget?
Quigley: Sure. Quite a few meetings set up all this week. Matter of fact, let me kind of use the opportunity to run through the schedule over the next several weeks here. I think that would be useful for all.
The secretary is meeting every day this week -- not yesterday, but Tuesday through Saturday of this week, with the service chiefs. On Saturday, we will add the unified commanders as well. And the principle focus this week is to determine the way ahead on the Quadrennial Defense Review, with the goal that in the next week or so, the secretary would be able to issue a so-called "terms of reference" for the Quadrennial Defense Review. And what that would do would be provide the chairman, the service chiefs, the unified CINCs guidelines as to his thinking as we enter the homestretch, if you will, of the Quadrennial Defense Review due in September.
Now, by the same time schedule, you also need to come to a point where you will be able to issue -- the secretary will be able to issue Defense Planning Guidance, which will then lead to budget guidance as you start the build of the '03 Program Objective Memorandum, or POM, which will ultimately lead to the president's budget in the first part of 2002.
So you see a progression here from the studies that the secretary had chartered for the first few weeks or few months of his tenure to get his thinking up to speed on relevant issues on the Defense Department, feeding into the discussions with the service chiefs and the CINCs, ending in Saturday of this week to, hopefully, come to consensus on the way ahead on the Quadrennial Defense Review, and by perhaps late summer, you'd have enough knowledge in hand from the efforts to finalize the Quadrennial Defense Review that you can put that into the Defense Planning Guidance, which feeds directly into the '03 budget bill.
So that -- you'd see those three streams of effort really coalescing into one by the July/August time frame, Tom, and that's the work plan, if you will, for the next couple of months or so.
Q: What are your public windows into that process going to be?
Quigley: Budget testimony on the Hill. I would expect the secretary or perhaps Dr. Zakheim or somebody to come down here and provide more clarity at the time the budget is released to the -- budget amendment is released to the Congress by the president and OMB.
Q: When is that going to be?
Quigley: Still don't know exactly. My best guess would be sometime next month, but that's still just a guess on my part.
You would also have issues of the Quadrennial Defense Review. I have no idea what the terms of reference will end up looking like -- if it's classified, if it's unclassified; probably elements of both. We'll try to be as clear on that, to focus everyone's thinking as we proceed towards the Quadrennial Defense Review, as we can. Those come to the top of my list, I guess, Tom, but there probably will be more.
Q: A clarification. Is he meeting with all the chiefs every of those days, or is he meeting with them individually or in smaller groups?
Quigley: No, as a group, every day this week.
Q: For how long?
Quigley: Hour to an hour and a half, I believe, each day this week.
Q: Tank sessions all?
Quigley: I don't know if they're going to be in the tank. They may be in another conference room.
Q: Did you say that Chairman Shelton was leaving the country?
Quigley: He is, yeah. So General Myers will represent his views.
Q: On the '02 amendment, where does that fit into the process? And the supplemental?
Quigley: Well, time frame, as I indicated, my best guess would be sometime late next month, but that's still an approximation on my part. I mean, the short answer is whenever OMB and the president ultimately say it's ready to go to the Congress. But the findings of the studies, the deliberations that have been made, there is still no '02 budget figure, to the best of my knowledge. I heard Secretary Rumsfeld say that again just the other night, so it's still very much a work in progress.
Q: And the supplemental?
Quigley: The supplemental, again, we anticipate one, but the timing of that will be at the discretion of the president.
Q: I know it seems like we've been over this ground a few times, but I just wanted to be clear. As I was listening to your laying out the time table for the next couple of weeks, do I understand you correctly then that there will be no tangible result, or concrete recommendations that come out of the, what we've been calling the "Rumsfeld Review"?
Quigley: The studies may eventually, one or two or several of them, could be published as stand-alone documents, but they are, more than anything else, created to stimulate Secretary Rumsfeld's thinking and to blend into the budget build in the Quadrennial Defense Review -- and the nuclear posture review, on the strategic forces piece.
Q: So should we expect anytime during the next couple of months any sort of an announcement of any conclusions that were reached by this review?
Quigley: I'm not sure that it will come out, any of them will come out as a stand-alone entity, or would their one or two or five points, main points be simply folded into the efforts of the QDR and others? I'm not sure.
Q: Just to go back for a minute to the '01 supplemental, at the time of the meeting with the Armed Services Committees last week -- meetings, I should say -- we were given to understand, and I thought Secretary Rumsfeld said, that the supplemental would go over this week. Is that now no longer the case now?
Quigley: I believe that is our best estimate. But it's still ultimately at the discretion of the president. But I would --
Q: So nothing's happened that would pull that back?
Quigley: -- estimate that it would be this week. No. I don't think so.
Q: Sources haves been talking -- about expressing fears about reductions in training, steaming hours, this kind -- flying hours, this kind of thing. The longer this goes on, surely the greater that concern becomes.
Quigley: Correct. Correct.
Q: And is the -- the secretary's cognizant of this, then.
Quigley: Absolutely. As is the president.
Q: And they're still crunching numbers? Is that the issue here?
Quigley: I can't tell you the reason for the timing, Chris. I'm not sure.
Q: Talking over these past couple months with the people who are responsible for building the QDR, they were saying that they were basically on hold waiting for some of these resolutions to come out of the so-called Rumsfeld review. Does that mean that they're behind the curve now? Are they going to have enough time to put the QDR together?
Quigley: Oh, absolutely yes. A lot of the -- each of the services and the joint staff had built, as you know, small organizations to get ready for the QDR. When the secretary initiated the studies to stimulate his thinking, it was understood that the results of those studies would feed into his thinking, which would then feed into the QDR. That is what you're seeing being done this week in his meetings with the service chiefs every day this week and adding the unified CINCs on Saturday is to come up with terms of reference to finalize the focus of the QDR. So within a couple of weeks, I would estimate, you would have those terms of reference known so by the time it's mid-June, let's say, you've got the QDR teams and each of the services and the joint staff with pretty good clarity as to what the final product should be able to address, what questions it tries to either answer or pose, and feed directly into the '03 budget.
Q: Call me nit-picky, but when Bush took over the White House and asked Rumsfeld to do these reviews I think we were all under the impression that it was a big deal and it was going to lead to changes and it was going to be, you know, "help is on the way" and "this is the new Bush White House," and the Pentagon was -- they were going to clean up their act.
And it seems like for the last month there's been a concerted effort to dissuade us of that notion that this is a big and that, instead, it's just, you know, preparatory homework and everything's going to go -- are we wrong? Am I wrong?
Quigley: I think there was a widespread perception that there would be much more near-term -- many more near-term announcements of dramatic change than what we're actually going to see. Instead of that --
Q: Was that an unfounded perception?
Quigley: I don't know as if anyone ever made a prediction as to what form their findings would finally be realized. What now seems to make the most sense is to fold them into the budget builds and the Quadrennial Defense Review, with the exception of you still see some that have come out, space being one of them; missile defense being a second, there may be more. I can't promise that there won't. But I would say that the majority of the effort would be folded into the Quadrennial Defense Review.
Q: Has the secretary concluded the strategy part of the review, or is that still ongoing? What's happening with that?
Quigley: I think Andy Marshall's work has served its purpose in the sense of stimulating the secretary's thought and getting reaction from service chiefs and unified commanders; inputs, resulting in many, many rewrites of the original drafts. And the whole purpose was to stimulate discussion and try to ascertain where should America's military be headed for the 21st century, the early part of the 21st century.
Q: Does he now know? Does he now know that? I mean, is his own thinking on that clear enough where he has a sense of what the strategy is going to be?
Quigley: No final version has yet been presented to the president.
Q: Is that paper still being revised, or is it done now -- the Andy Marshall paper?
Quigley: I don't know of any recent revisions in the last couple of weeks.
Q: Do you think it's possible that you could release that paper so that it can stimulate our thought processes as well? (Laughter.)
Quigley: Andy's paper is just a paper, and that does not presume that the secretary will --
Q: Yeah, but we're just readers.
Q: Yeah, we just --
Quigley: Well, keep in mind the purpose of these were to stimulate the secretary's thinking and get him thinking and up to speed on these issues. They were internal studies; they were from the very beginning. And if he chooses to not accept every element of a given study's findings, that's his call. I don't think he's looking to create controversy by releasing a study that was designed to help him get up to speed, and all of a sudden he's on the defensive now because he didn't embrace every one of the findings in the studies. I don't think that is his intent.
Q: So at what point will you be able to point to a specific document that says this is the result of the secretary's stimulated thinking? In other words, this is -- this is what he has decided himself, this is his imprint on the way the military is going to be developed over the coming years.
Quigley: You're looking for clarity, and I can't offer it. I cannot offer it.
Q: Craig --
Quigley: You have seen pieces of it come out, like space. Will there be more? Maybe. That's as clear as I can be.
In a comprehensive way, the really complete answer to your question is the Quadrennial Defense Review. But there may be elements of the studies that are released before that time. I just don't know. I don't think the secretary has a complete understanding in his own mind of how he wants to fold all the parts together. It's starting to come together, but I don't think there's clarity there, either.
Q: Well, I thought the point was that before you get into the details of particular programs and approaches to reforming or changing the military, that you needed to have an overarching strategy. Is there going to be an overarching strategy presented, or is that a QDR thing, or --
Quigley: Again, the secretary has not made the final recommendations to the president yet. And you don't have an '02 amended budget yet. So --
Q: What -- I'm trying to figure out what -- when and in what form would we see that, and is it going to be --
Quigley: I can't answer your question. I don't know.
Q: What about --
Q: Yeah. For some time now the Pentagon has been revising plans, looking into the future, coming up with new programs. And there was some thought that maybe what was going to happen was all of these reviews, there'd be a major change to that. But there's also some thought now that really what we're going to end up seeing is kind of a fine tuning, a honing of what had already -- the planning that's already begun at the Pentagon for transformation in the future. Would that be incorrect, to say that really a lot of this is really going to fine tune and -- with the work the Pentagon had already come up with and the focus that they had?
Quigley: I can't make that prediction for you. I'm sorry.
Q: Craig, you said that there -- you acknowledged that there was a widespread perception a couple of months ago that perhaps what we'd be seeing would be recommendations for far more dramatic reform than what we're actually experiencing now. Is this a case where there was a more ambitious agenda, but then it had to be adjusted? And is the secretary sort of, in effect, behind schedule on where he thought he might be in terms of making some of these major decisions? Is that what --
Quigley: No. He just didn't know what he was going to find when he started down this road. He started a process to help him better understanding the issues, to help him better understand the issues that matter in the Defense Department. And how they were going to be rolled out, in what manner, in what time frame, he didn't have a clue in the early February timeframe when he started this effort.
As time has passed and the studies have matured and his thinking has matured, I think he has a better understanding, but he was never -- he was never on much of a timetable, let alone be late or early for the timetable.
Q: Did the White House two, three weeks ago expect that by the end of May they would have a strategy to announce?
Quigley: I don't know what their expectations were.
Q: After the meetings on the Hill last week I believe Senator Levin told us that there had been an understanding reached that there would be a process created by which members of the Armed Services Committee would have input into what the secretary is doing before any decisions are made, but that the way that was going to be done had yet to be worked out.
Can you tell us what that process is going to be like?
Quigley: I don't -- that has not been worked out, either. But he did, indeed, seek their input and sought their advice and thoughts in his sessions with both the House and Senate Armed Services Committees last week.
Q: Is that different from what he was doing before?
Quigley: Well, it was a more -- his approach in the early part was very much along the lines of, "I don't even know enough to ask the right questions. So what elements of this should I be concerned about? There's a lot of things that go on in the Department of Defense. I can't personally monitor them all. Help me sort out those big issues that deserve my attention, and separate them from those that don't."
He wanted a period of time to develop his own thinking and ultimately to share that work in progress with the Hill. That has certainly started in earnest last week, when he got the thinking to the point where "This is kind of where I am. I don't have answers to all the questions; I'm not even sure I have all the questions identified. But this is where my thinking is at the moment, and I seek your views."
Q: Craig, don't you think that after the campaign and the promises that were made about -- by the president about military reform, what we heard after the inauguration, what we heard from the secretary himself, that it was time that he share his thinking or this stage of his thinking with the American people where this process, where this review that's been under way now for three months, or more, is and where it may be going? Because, I mean, there has been a great deal of expectation raised about it, and now it seems to be that you're downplaying what to expect out of this process.
Quigley: Given the brief period of time -- I mean, you say three months, four months is a long time; I don't think so for the sort of issues that we're talking about here. People's patience is less by the year. You're expected to come up with most of the answers in a week or two at most, and beyond that and you're late. And, obviously, there's a problem, and there's this growing perception. I don't think we're behind any schedule. I don't think four months is a long period of time. And I don't think that this process has been anything but what Secretary Rumsfeld and the president had hoped to get out of it from the get-go.
Q: I don't mean to be suggesting any -- what you're saying. What I'm asking is whether or not at this point of the process that perhaps it's time for an update? I'm not suggesting that he's behind the curve, I'm not suggesting that he's late, that he's run into any problems.
The question is out there. Where is the process? And what stage has it reached?
Quigley: Well, you've seen last week discussions with both of the oversight committees in the House and the Senate to share the current state of things with them and to seek their views. The president is expecting a further update from the secretary. Other than saying to you that we are moving towards that goal, I can't offer you a definitive time frame.
Q: Thank you.