Tuesday, June 5, 2001 - 1:00 p.m. EDT
Quigley: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. I have two announcements this afternoon, and would then be glad to take your questions. First, an update on the secretary's travel. Yesterday, he reported that he had good meetings with the Turkish military, the Turkish minister of Defense and the prime minister, and a transcript has been posted, I believe, from a readout from his meetings with those individuals. And later yesterday he met with U.S. and coalition troops at Incirlik Air Base in Turkey, where they are engaged in Operation Northern Watch.
Today he started out in Kiev, Ukraine, meeting with the Ukrainian minister of Defense, General Kuzmuk, and Ukrainian President Kuchma. And this afternoon he then traveled to Macedonia and met briefly with the Macedonian minister of Defense, visited troops assigned there in Skopje, then went on to Camp Bondsteel to meet with U.S. KFOR troops. Tomorrow, he'll be in Greece for bilateral meetings with the Greek minister of National Defense, and the Southeastern Europe Defense Ministerials, and then moves on to Brussels for several meetings there.
Second, the fourth annual Department of Defense Electronic Commerce Day will be held two days this week, Wednesday and Thursday, June 6th and 7th. That will be held at the Hilton Alexandria Mark Center in Alexandria. This is co-sponsored by DLA's Joint Electronic Commerce Program Office and the Government Electronics and Information Technology Association. The event will focus on the growing use of electronic commerce technologies within DoD. A media availability is set for Thursday, June 7th, at 9:45 and we'll have a press advisory with more details on that later today.
Also on Wednesday, June 6th, tomorrow, at 10:30 in the morning, Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics Pete Aldridge will be the keynote speaker at the National Press Club for a defense acquisition reform conference. Mr. Aldridge will address the issue of acquisition reform in the next four years, as well as his five goals for acquisition, technology and logistics. [ Press advisory ]
With that, I'll take your questions.
Q: Do you have any word on the missing sailor in the Philippines? Have they found him, or do they know what happened?
Quigley: No, they have not found the missing Navy member.
Just to kind of recap for everyone what we know on that, there are three U.S. Navy ships in port -- the Philippines -- to take part in an exercise called CARAT. This is an exercise involving a series of bilateral exercises, small, bilateral exercises linked together to form the overall exercise that we call CARAT.
Crew members from those ships were on authorized liberty and had chosen to take a tour, arranged for by embassy personnel, which is the standard practice, a hiking tour up Mount Pinatubo near the former Clark Air Base north of where the ships are at anchor and tied up. On the way back down from the hike to the summit, the group was fired upon by eight armed men, and of the five Navy people that were in the group, four were accounted for, were in the main body, if you will, of the group, and all returned safely to the base of Mount Pinatubo and elsewhere. The fifth person remains missing. He had been lagging behind the group, as I understand it, and has not been seen since the incident.
It's dark in the Philippines now. They are exactly 12 hours difference from us, so it's something in the neighborhood of 1:30 in the morning local time there. The intentions of the Philippine military are to mount a first light -- so that would be in, say, four or five hours from now -- search using, initially, 100 members of the Philippine military, possibly some air assets as well, helicopter assets, to begin a search for the person. We have no reason to suspect that he was taken prisoner, but you certainly can't rule that out. And we're going to do -- work very closely with the Philippine military and try our very best to find him.
Q: And who is he? Can you identify him?
Quigley: No, I can't. Family notifications have not yet been made.
Q: Can you just give us his rank or --
Quigley: No, I can't. No hints, I'm sorry. That's not fair to the families.
Q: What time?
Quigley: Noon local time on the 5th of June. So midnight our time.
Q: Can you confirm it was a guerrilla -- Communist guerrilla group?
Quigley: They identified themselves as members of the NPA, yes.
Q: How did they identify themselves?
Quigley: Verbally --
Q: They shot -- (off mike) -- who we were?
Quigley: I don't know, John. The embassy folks in the -- my understanding is that communication was verbal, but I don't know the exact words that were chosen.
Q: You say you assume that -- or there's no reason to believe that he is a hostage. Wouldn't that have been the intent of these guerrillas, to try to grab one or two of these Americans?
Quigley: Well, it does not appear that way. The motivation was such that there was no robbery; there were no threats. The Philippine military people that were in concert with the American Navy people negotiated with the NPA members and worked to safely secure the four of them to return the rest of the way down Mount Pinatubo.
Q: So --
Q: Is it correct that all the Navy people were in civilian clothing?
Quigley: I don't know that, although that would be typically true.
Q: If I understand this, they had a firefight for almost an hour, and the intent was not to rob them and not to create hostages; they were just having a chicken shoot. What were they doing?
Quigley: I can't explain their motivations, John. I don't know.
Q: One account is that the armed men actually took the whole party sort of hostage for a brief time, and then the Philippine military escorts surrendered their weapons in order to get the whole party out of there, basically. Is that not your understanding?
Quigley: That's not my take on it, Chris, although I'm sure our knowledge is not perfect of the details surrounding that incident.
Q: So you do not believe that the Americans were taken hostage at any point?
Quigley: No, I do not believe that was ever the circumstance.
Q: Craig, what's the justification for these guys going out on a tour group with armed escorts? I mean, how did that come about? And is this something that occurs in the Philippines on a regular basis or anywhere else around the world -- that our soldiers and sailors go out with armed escorts?
Quigley: Well, it's my understanding that this is a very popular activity for tourists to undertake, is the climb up Mount Pinatubo and back down. And there has never been an incident of this type before. I don't know the history of the use of armed escorts to accompany tour groups. I just don't know that. The embassy might.
But this was something that had been worked very closely with the American embassy there, and it had never been an incident of this sort before.
Q: Has liberty been cancelled or altered for U.S. troops still --
Quigley: It has now, yes. There was a very carefully structured liberty program before the ships pulled into port for the CARAT exercise, worked out with Navy Criminal Investigative Service and the U.S. Embassy personnel, assessing all known risks and threats to American military personnel. There was a very structured liberty program that was put in place with liberty expiration for all hands at midnight locally. But again, this was daylight hours, a very popular tourist spot. For now, liberty has been curtailed.
Q: How many ships?
Quigley: Well, it's two guided-missile frigates and an amphibious vessel. You'd have about 175, I believe, on the two guided-missile frigates, so that's 350. You probably have 300, 400 more, I would guess, maybe 250, John, on the amphibious vessel, plus some number of Marines that were onboard the amphibious vessel as part of the CARAT exercise. So, round figures -- the Navy could provide you far better details -- but I would guess somewhere in the neighborhood of 600 or so. [Correction: more than 1,100 -- including embarked Marines -- are aboard the three ships.]
Q: Admiral, just to go back a minute to make sure I understand, does "curtailed" in fact mean cancelled?
Quigley: Yes, correct.
Q: And my other question is, given the continuing emphasis all the time here on force protection, how is it acceptable that U.S. military personnel would be permitted to go on a liberty activity that was dangerous enough to require armed escorts?
Quigley: Well, you take a look at the overall threat condition in the country, you work very closely with those that are tasked with keeping their finger on the pulse of threats to America citizens and American military members, and you make a judgment call as to whether or not a considered activity is appropriate for use. In this case, the answer was yes based on, I suspect, a strong historical database of no incidents that were ever recorded on this particular activity. But in this case there was indeed.
Q: Weren't assets from the Pacific Fleet being used earlier this week to assist Philippine forces in trying to track down other hostage takers on another Philippine island, that had grabbed Americans on another Philippine Island?
Quigley: Well, first let me make a very clear distinction between this incident and the ongoing hostage situation down in the southern islands in the Philippine archipelago.
And I -- as far as specific DoD assets that were in use on that, I can't get into any details on that, John. I'm7 sorry.
Q: But the point is you were participating in another hostage-taking situation where Americans were taken hostage on another island in the Philippines like three days ago.
Quigley: I did not say that.
Q: Were other Americans taken hostage in the Philippines on another island several days ago?
Quigley: Oh, yes. Absolutely.
Q: And what you're not acknowledging is that the U.S. military assets have assisted the Filipinos in any way in chasing that --
Quigley: Correct. Mm-hmm.
Q: A minute ago you mentioned that these tours are fairly routine. Do you know if it's routine to have armed escorts? And also related, can you tell us what the threat condition is in the Philippines now or was before this occurred? Was it Alpha, Bravo?
Quigley: No to both questions. I do not have a historical -- other than the one data point that this has not happened before in anyone's recollection there locally, but I do not know on the typical use of armed escorts to tour groups hiking up the side of Mount Pinatubo. I just don't know that. And I will not get into the threat condition in the Philippines or elsewhere.
Q: Were -- was the group only military, or were there other random tourists of different nationalities in there? And also -- well, I'll just ask that question first.
Quigley: No. It was a hundred percent Navy.
Q: And what would be the -- how would word get out? Were these tours regularly scheduled? How could somebody know that these people were going up the mountain?
Quigley: When a ship or ships pull into a foreign port we work very closely with the defense attache's office in the embassy there or the local consulate or what have you to arrange for a variety of activities for crew members. And these are frequently tours to popular tourist spots that are somewhere within a reasonable distance of where the ships are tied up. And the embassy will offer a variety of tours through locally recognized package tour companies and the like that they have had a good track record with and have had -- received fair treatment from the owners of the companies and what have you. You do that in concert with the assessment of the threat and other conditions that could have an external effect on the package tours that you put together.
Q: You say you have no reason to believe that the missing sailor was taken hostage, is that what I heard you say?
Quigley: Mm-hm. (Affirmation.)
Q: Could you explain what the normal indications would be, that you haven't seen, that he's been taken hostage, and do you have any evidence that he was shot?
Quigley: A visual. I mean, the fact that you would see him in company with some of the NPA members in this case, and that simply was not the case. He was physically separate from the group and was not with the group, and as soon as some of the shooting started, he was not seen at that point, but he was in a different location than where the NPA members were. And so in the absence of a visual confirmation that he was in company with them, or was being held by them in some way, that is our working assumption -- but it's just that.
Q: Was the shooting intentioned to kill and, therefore, have you good reason to be worried about the safety of this one?
Quigley: Again, I do not know the motivation of the NPA members that fired the shots.
Q: Did General Shelton postpone his visit to India? Indian officials have signed a worth -- more than $10 billion worth of military equipment, or deals, with Russia. And the Indian officials are, Defense officials, are in Moscow. Now he is planning to leave in July. Do you think this will affect, now or later, his visit as far as U.S.-India military-to-military relations --
Quigley: No, I don't think so. I mean, the reason for his postponement in the first place was to be here as part of the ongoing discussions on the Quadrennial Defense Review last week, and it's simply a rescheduling. The purpose of the talks, to discuss a wide variety of issues, remains valid. In the absence of another reason, such as the important meetings last week, I'm sure the trip will go on as planned.
Q: But as far as the deal that India made, or signed, with Russia, over $10 billion or more, any comments on that part?
Quigley: No. I mean, that may be very well one of the topics that General Shelton discusses with Indian officials there, but no, not -- the specific answer to your question would be no.
Q: And another thing, just to follow up, for the first time, Indian defense ministry has opened its door for the private investors that want to invest now in defense. Do you see any investment from the U.S. in the Indian defense?
Quigley: I didn't know that. I didn't know that the Indian military had done that.
And I -- that's a new topic to me. I have no details. I can't offer you an informed view on that, I'm sorry.
Q: Craig, while in Turkey yesterday, the secretary was talking about the threat to coalition pilots from Iraq toward the northern and southern no-fly zones. And he hinted -- really not hinted, talked about the fact that China is providing Iraq with weapons capabilities. Has the Pentagon seen any increase or anything of China transporting any technologies to Iraq, particularly since we bombed the radar sites and other command facilities in February?
Quigley: I don't think so, although it's an area that remains of concern to us, and we'll continue to monitor as carefully as we can over time.
Q: Well, was the secretary talking about any particular incident that prompted him to mention China specifically yesterday?
Quigley: I didn't have a chance to talk to him or Ms. Clarke about the origin of his remarks. My reading of that was he was referring back to the incidents in February, but that's just a guess on my part.
Q: And since that February bombing, has the Pentagon seen any increase in capabilities of Iraqi anti-aircraft sites, particularly those that were hit or really actually not hit that closely in February?
Quigley: Well, if you go back to the purpose of us doing the strike on February 16th, it was to mitigate the improvement in the coordination capability for the air defense picture that we had seen the Iraqi integrated air defense forces in Southern Watch in southern Iraq accomplish over the past few weeks prior to the strike. After the strike, as we had anticipated, we saw some rebuilding and replacement of some of the damaged equipment. But to date, they have not achieved the level of integration and proficiency that they had arrived at prior to the strike.
Q: So they're at lower capability than they were at February 16th?
Quigley: Prior to February 16th, yes, sir.
Now, we harbor no illusions that anything that is damaged can be replaced or reconstituted or certainly repaired. But so far, we have not seen a level of coordination and capability regenerated to equal that that you saw in the 16th of February. We're very heartened by that.
Q: Have you seen Chinese workers laying various types of communications, cables that you had seen before?
Quigley: I don't know.
Q: No fiber optics?
Q: Just a question about the state of play now on the QDR and the progress on the various posture reviews, and so forth, that are ongoing. Can you give us any details to date about the progress on those things?
Now that the supplemental request has been sent up, what's going on there behind the scenes?
Quigley: Well, they're kind of two separate events. But let me answer the first part of the question on a stand-alone basis, on the Quadrennial Defense Review. The series of meetings that were held last week, Tuesday through Saturday -- Tuesday through Friday with the service chiefs, the chairmen, the vice chairmen, and then adding on Saturday the unified commanders -- were a very, very productive series of five meetings. One-and-a-half to two-and-a-half hours a day during that period of time, longer on Saturday, to hammer out a set of terms of reference for the QDR. This will result in specific guidance being given by the secretary to the services and to the chairman as they prepare to start the effort on the Quadrennial Defense Review in specifics. And this will be their specific tasking as to what they are to look for and how they are to approach the Quadrennial Defense Review.
So that was largely achieved. Working on a draft of those terms of reference now. And again, that will be considered by all attendees at those meeting and then ultimately provided to the services and the chairmen as their guidance as they prepare to carry on with the QDR.
Q: Any word yet on when the EP-3 is coming home?
Quigley: No. I just checked on that just before coming down to the briefing room. The talks are very productive. We're very hopeful that we're close. But they are continuing, Toby, in Beijing between the four persons of the assessment team and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Chinese military authorities as well. So we hope to have something very specific and positive to announce soon, but we're not quite there.
Q: Can we go back to --
Q: -- the QDR for a minute?
Q: Could you -- I'm having a little trouble understanding what you mean by terms of reference. Can you give us an example of what you're talking about here?
Quigley: Trying to help the service chiefs and the chairman bound the problem as to what issues they should focus their attentions on as we do the Quadrennial Defense Review.
You don't just say, "Go out there and do good analysis, and I hope you come up with great answers." That's just not fair. That's not the way to go. This is an attempt to bound the problem and provide them areas of focus that they should be centering their attention on as they proceed through the analysis of the QDR.
Q: Among the recent studies that have been launched, there's a major shipbuilding review --
Q: -- where the DoD has decided to take a close look at the entire 30-year Navy shipbuilding plan. Can you provide any more detail about the composition of the review panel that will be looking at that, when those results are expected to be finished? And given the fact that they're supposed to feed into this QDR building process, was there some specific guidance to the Navy as regards shipbuilding coming out of this series of meetings last week?
Quigley: I believe the time frame for the desired product is around 45 days (sic) [preliminary findings are due within 30 days]. And if you -- again, to accomplish the time phasing that you need to feed into the Quadrennial Defense Review, you need to have a fairly good understanding, although not yet complete -- but a fairly mature understanding of some of the findings of your Quadrennial Defense Review by around a late July time frame, so that you can make some defense planning guidance decisions, as well as some decisions on areas of focus as you start the '03 budget bill.
So in order to have that shipbuilding study feed into those major efforts, you've got to have your findings at about the same time, so you fold that in as well.
Q: Back to the EP-3. Is it fair to say that DoD is still hoping to fly the airplane off the island, or is that, as a practical matter, off the table --
Quigley: No, that's -- that is not the focus of the discussions with the Chinese authorities. Our discussions now are the particulars of disassembly of the aircraft and loading it onto large cargo aircraft, the Antonov-124 series, to fly the large subassemblies off of Hainan Island.
Q: Craig, Senator Thompson is out with a report today called "Government on the Brink," which looks across the whole government and management and finds a lot of --
Quigley: What's the name of it again? I'm sorry.
Q: It's called "Government on the Brink."
Q: It has a large section on the Defense Department, and it raises a lot of things that we've heard before -- basically, about how the -- there is no good unified accounting system for the Defense Department, and you just -- it's so complicated, you just can't keep track of anything.
And there's all the horror stories, you lost this, you lost that, blah blah blah. And the previous administration didn't seem to take this too seriously and essentially said, you know, this is not a business, we cannot account -- we cannot have accounting practices like a business. How does this administration view that problem?
Quigley: Well, I have not seen Senator Thompson's report. But on the topic that the report is apparently centered on, Secretary Rumsfeld has been very strong in his goal on this. I mean, this was one of the studies that he specifically formed early on in his tenure here to help shape his thinking on the financial management and accounting practices of the department. He feels very strongly that we can do a heck of a lot better than we have in the past. So I'm pretty sure that he would share Senator Thompson's enthusiasm for making big improvements in the way that DOD is accountable for its financial house.
Q: Thank you. That's --
Q: There were some figures released last week on the numbers of discharges of gays last year from the services. It showed a fairly marked uptick. Have you got any insight on why that occurred?
Quigley: Well, I think you saw the largest increase numbers-wise being in the Army. I don't think I'm surprised by that because the Army is the largest service. But as a percentage of the force and as a percentage of discharges the numbers have remained remarkably constant for three years in a row now. I think overall the numbers were up a couple of hundred or something like that.
The statistics and the back-up, if you will, for those statistics is held by the services. We compile them; we put them out in a single release on an annual basis. But the specific rationale and the details behind those figures, I'd have to steer you to the services, Vince. I'm sorry.
Q: And so the fact that the Army went up about 200 where the other services -- the Air Force went down a little and the other services just went up marginally, that didn't raise any eyebrows and cause anybody to ask the Army why?
Quigley: I don't think that we have the -- again, as a percentage, if you look at that as the percentage of total discharges of the force, you see a pretty flat line for the past three years. And 200 out of a force of 1.4 million -- I don't know how many discharges there were from the services as a whole for all reasons last year -- you do see some number fluctuations up and down for a variety of reasons over time.
I don't think the increase in any service was so striking as to cause a DoD-level review, no.
Q: I'm sorry if I missed this, but can you confirm that Richard Perle has been appointed head of a panel by Secretary Rumsfeld?
Quigley: I saw the reporting on that yesterday, but I have not seen that. I have not been able to find a confirmation of that. I can't tell you it's wrong, either, but I have not been able to find any confirmation of that.
Q: Secretary Rumsfeld has made some remarks that seem to indicate that he's loosening up on the mil-to-mil relations with China. Can you tell us whether any specific military-to-military activities have been scheduled with China?
Quigley: Let me take that. I don't know of any that are near-term. They usually take quite a few weeks or sometimes months to put all the moving parts together, but let me see what we can find for you, particularly in the near term. [Secretary Rumsfeld has been reviewing activities on a case-by-case basis. He has recently approved several Pacific Command multilateral programs. The next event is June 17-19 in Mongolia where the Pacific Command Center of Excellence for Disaster Management and Humanitarian Assistance will participate in a seminar on Northeast Asia peace operations. The People's Republic of China has been invited to participate as well.]
The policy remains in place of there being individual case-by-case-based reviews of every proposal that's put forward.
Q: Craig, going back to the discharges that we were talking about, one thing that was very striking about the discharges was that a large number of them -- I can't remember; several hundred, I think -- came from a single Army base, Fort Campbell, where there was the murder last year. Do you -- are you confident that the atmosphere at Fort Campbell -- this was a rather dramatic centering of all these discharges in one place -- are you confident that the atmosphere at Fort Campbell is now normal?
Quigley: Well, if you recall, the DoD inspector general did a command climate assessment at Fort Campbell -- I don't remember how many months ago; six, eight months ago, last fall, perhaps -- and found there not to be an anti-homosexual behavior or command climate at Fort Campbell. The DoD inspector general is not known to be, you know, a -- he's known to be a very impartial person and calls them as he sees them. So I have great confidence in that assessment as being a very accurate snapshot of the command climate there. [ DoD IG report ] [ See also the Army IG report ]
But again, the specifics of the Army -- I mean, there's conduct, there's self-admission, there's a variety of reasons for the numbers in any given service to be as they are, and I don't have those details with me. I'd need to steer you to the services on those.
Q: Has this administration reviewed its policy at all towards gays in the military, "don't ask, don't tell"? Is it planning any review? There was an outstanding issue, as I recall, with Secretary Cohen that was not fully buttoned up before he left office and it was left hanging, and that had to do with implementation of some of the recommendations that had been made by a review panel. Is there any activity of any kind from the new civilian leadership on that issue in this building?
Quigley: I have heard Candidate Bush and President Bush and now Secretary Rumsfeld as saying that they have no intention of revising or seeking a review of the "don't ask, don't tell" policy.
Q: It was reported earlier today that the Russians have made an advance payment to the firm that is going to be raising the Kursk. As that situation draws nearer, does DoD have a particular interest in watching that procedure and getting any kind of information that they can on --
Quigley: Oh, I think we'll be watching with interest, because it's going to be a heck of an engineering project to raise such a large vessel from the bottom; but beyond that, it is strictly a matter under Russian purview.
Q: Now President Bush has extended NTR [normal trade relations], special status for China, for another year, do you think that can go beyond business or trade to the Pentagon? I mean, maybe -- (inaudible) -- also military-to-military relationship in a different way because of the president's NTR?
Quigley: I think the secretary is still taking a very cautious approach to the mil-to-mil relationship with China. As you saw from his remarks yesterday when he was in Turkey, there are some instances, and we'll see what we can do on trying to get of those, that have indeed been approved, but it's still not business as usual and he's still taking a very cautious approach. Trying to predict where we might be with that program six months or nine months or a year from now is anybody's guess, and I just don't think we'd be very accurate in such a prediction.
Q: And if after EP-3 comes home safely, the way you want at this moment, relations will change?
Quigley: Well, I think that's certainly an element of it, but it's not the only issue that's on the table, and it's certainly not the only issue that will drive the review process and the case-by-case analysis of proposed mil-to-mil exchanges. The secretary has said, you know, two of the things he's looking for is some sense of rough equivalency between exchanges between the two nations and a sense of value and comparable value to both nations. So these are the issues that are always going to be in his mind as he compares and balances the proposals on the table. But, boy, who knows what issues, additional issues might be on the table in the future. That's a hard one to call.
Q: Do you have any scheduled U.S. and South Korea defense minister talks?
Quigley: Do I have any scheduled?
Quigley: I don't know if we have a current schedule. Not that I have heard discussed recently. Let me take that and see if we have any near term scheduled. [Yes. Defense Minister Kim Dong-Shin will be meeting here with Secretary Rumsfeld on June 21st.]
Q: Thank you.
Q: Japan apparently is preparing a proposal wherein the United States, Korea, South Korea and Japan would band together to buy missiles from North Korea and then destroy them. Have you guys talked about this at all? Is it an interesting idea to the United States?
Quigley: I don't know if there's been discussions at the government-to-government level on that. Certainly nothing that's come to the point of maturity where it's an offer that's on the table. I think I would wait for that if that ever should materialize.
Q: So you don't know if it's a good idea or bad idea?
Quigley: We'll wait for the concrete proposals to be developed, if indeed there are any.
Q: According to North Korean newspaper, Rodong Shinmun, said today that the nuclear weapon is being developed again. So what is the U.S. reaction to --
Quigley: Would you repeat that question, please? I'm sorry.
Q: North Korean newspaper today they say the nuclear development is restarting again. So how do you react?
Quigley: Nuclear development, you're saying, in North Korea?
Q: Nuclear weapon.
Quigley: We would hope that that would not be true. I mean, that's the very simple answer to your question. There are better options available to the North Korean government, and we'd hope they would choose otherwise.
Q: Thank you.
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