Thursday, August 2, 2001 - 2:05 p.m. EDT
Quigley: Okay, ladies and gentlemen, we'll start on the second part this afternoon.
I have one announcement for you. By popular demand, starting in March of next year, the Pentagon will have a new food service provider. The Department of Defense Concessions Committee has unanimously selected the Navy Exchange Service Command to provide food service. And that command will make extensive use of brand-name franchises that by a 3-to-1 margin in polls of those working in the building, I think, were an overwhelming choice. And these are names you all recognize -- McDonald's, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Subway, Taco Bell, just to name a few. And they'll have a bluetop following the brief here with more details on that. And again, that is due to commence in March of next year. [ News release ]
And with that, I'll take your questions. Suzanne?
Q: Were there any health concerns -- (laughter) -- involved in the choice of these individual companies for the food?
Quigley: You mean did they meet sanitary criteria, you mean, or --
Q: No, health concerns, in terms of whether people's diet is proper for the --
Quigley: Oh, oh, oh. Well, I think in those that I just named -- and these were just exemplary, not comprehensive -- but I think that there are a variety of foods that each of those vendors sell, some more healthy than others. But it was -- principal criteria were -- used were the desires of those that actually work in the building and would purchase the food and would have the snacks and lunches and what have you in the building.
Q: And what hours would they be? I mean, this building is up 24 hours a day, with a lot of people working in it.
Quigley: I don't know. Let me take that. I --
Q: Food service has cut back extensively.
Quigley: Yeah. And I think there has been modification to the hours, but I don't know it off the top of my head. Let me take that. [Update: Hours are expected initially to be the same as at present. Hours may be modified over time. Firm decisions have not yet been made.]
Q: The House Armed Services Committee adopted its version of the defense authorization bill yesterday, and there are provisions in there involving the future of the range in Vieques.
Specifically, the Department is barred from giving up that range until it's willing -- until the Navy is willing to certify that it has a single site that is as good or better than Vieques for that training.
Is that language that the Department will try to get changed on the House floor, or would cause the secretary some problems in making a recommendation to the president?
Quigley: Let me address that -- make two points to respond to your question. One is, the Navy Department has made it clear, I think, from Secretary England from here, what it thinks is the best way ahead, and that is to find an alternative means of providing first-class training to the sailors and Marines of the Atlantic fleet by a site or sites, and perhaps a combination of methods, prior to the cessation of training there in May of 2003. So clearly, that is our stated preference and the intention.
Now, as you know, the way these things work out, differences in legislation between the House side and the Senate side are worked out in committee, as is a way -- that's the way our government works. So I'm not going to be able to offer you a specific comment on that, other than to say that we've made our preference very clear, I think, and we would just see how that develops on the Senate side and work that in the conference.
Q: Can you tell us anything about the secretary's briefing the other day with Admiral Mies, and any update on the nuclear posture review and the strategic review?
Quigley: You mean the president's visit to the Pentagon here yesterday? Is that what you mean?
Q: I understand that the vice president and the secretary --
Quigley: Yeah, the president was here, the vice president was here. A variety of folks were here yesterday afternoon to be briefed by the secretary, the deputy secretary, others. I think I'll leave it to the words that we chose yesterday, however, on the topics of their discussion, and it's to provide to the president an update on some of the strategic review and some of the force structuring issues that are being discussed.
Q: Iraq. Has there been any activity -- threatening activity from Iraq in either the northern or southern no-fly zone in the last couple of days?
Quigley: I do not believe there have -- I would steer you to CentCom to see if they have any specifics, but nothing that I recall reading, no.
Q: No response from the United States in --
Q: -- to any Iraqi threats in the last couple days?
Q: Anything more on the Code Red worm that's infected --
Quigley: Well, yeah, it has. I mean, we continue to watch that very closely. I had the best -- (laughs) -- explanation, I think, of the impact at least on our systems a couple hours ago that I have had given. We still are watching very closely. As I mentioned a couple of days ago, we think we've been largely successful in downloading and installing the patch.
What the patch stops is the servers that are affected, the computers that are affected, from furthering the propagation of the worm. It does not stop the actual threads, as they're referred to, from coming into the servers. So what you see is a greatly increased volume of activity coming into a server. You keep that up long enough, and you'll crash the server. So the patch does not preclude that from happening. It precludes you from being an unwitting propagator of the thing to other servers. But what we have seen is a great increase on the activity, and we attribute that to the Code Red worm on a variety of DoD servers.
So we have taken a variety of actions to watch that very carefully, to mitigate the effect. You'll see some of the networks, the DoD networks have been taken off line, again, as a safety precaution. We don't think we have been contributing to the propagation of the worm, as best we can determine. There may be a few circumstances where that's not the case, but by and large we think we've not unwittingly helped to propagate the problem any further. And we don't know of any damage yet, long-term damage that's been done. It's this volume of activity that's flowed into our servers. So we're still watching it very carefully. We don't think we're out of the woods yet. And we'll continue to take actions that we think are the appropriate things to preclude damage and stop any propagation further.
Q: How long are you planning on keeping some of those networks you talk about off line?
Quigley: As long as it takes. We're just going to keep -- continue monitoring Internet activity and business levels and activities on our various networks and servers and just kind of play that one by ear. We'd rather be overly cautious than overly risky on this one.
Q: So, in effect you're saying that you have, in fact, been victimized by this, because part of the malicious intent of this computer worm is what's called denial of service. And by taking down publicly accessible websites for a time as a safety -- as you call a safety precaution, you're in fact denying access to servers to the public, so you are -- you're in fact being victimized by this, are you not?
Quigley: I guess I would agree with you, as an indirect denial of service is really where you're physically incapable of getting onto a server because it has somehow been damaged or knocked off line by the volume. But what we do, apparently --
Q: But if you take it off line voluntarily --
Q: -- in order to protect it you, in fact, also do -- people cannot access that, for whatever reason.
Quigley: Yeah. What we need to do if such a circumstance occurs, of course, is to figure out workarounds, and whether that's telephone calls or fax machines or alternative means of communicating or something like that. So it is -- there are always alternative means of communicating some of the information; not always convenient, not always as fast as using a Web-based version, but there are workarounds. [Clarification: The key point is that web servers and networks remained available to .mil users. We took prudent steps to ensure we could continue to do our jobs -- and that the network infrastructure did not suffer any damage. Networks and web servers can be brought back on line when the problem has passed.]
Q: But this isn't like the last time where the Joint Task Force actually ordered a number of networks to shut down. This is on a case-by-case basis. If they monitor a network and they see it's affected, then they'll shut it down, right?
Quigley: Yes, sir.
Q: Are there particular parts of DoD that seem to have been targeted or hit harder than other parts? I heard, for example, that there were more Army websites down than some of the other services.
Quigley: I have not heard one way or the other. Let me take that and see if we can try to find a trend or something. I had not heard that. [Update: Internal analysis of the Code Red Worm is continuing. Such details are not currently available.]
Q: If the level of activity jumped up, I guess, on Tuesday night, has it steadily increased from that level, or is it -- that's what I'm trying to --
Quigley: No, it's more steady state.
Q: (Off mike.)
Quigley: Yes. It's higher than you would see on a normal day unaffected by the worm, but it has not continued to rise, no.
Q: You're not planning on changing the IP, the numerical IP address, sort of like the White House did the last time around, are you?
Quigley: I have not heard that discussed as a potential option, no.
Q: One question. I was listening to the briefing on base closings, and I was confused about one thing. I don't know whether you can clarify this or not, but under the new, the proposed procedures, would the Defense secretary have the ability to block any closing that was added to the list by the commission, the independent commission? Are you aware how that works?
Quigley: I don't think that is being considered, no. But by the same token, as Secretary Aldridge said, we're still working the particular language, and we will release that. There was a question in the interim between the two --
Q: (Off mike.)
Quigley: Yeah. What we're proposing will be actually submitted to the Congress as changes to the previous legislation. So it'll say stuff like, you know, change paragraph four, section two to read as follows. What we will have once it has been submitted to the Congress is a comprehensive, with-changes-made version so that you all can clearly see from start to finish what the proposed legislation will read, as opposed to just the cut-and-paste version.
Q: Changes to the last BRAC legislation --
Q: -- or to the bill that was sent up earlier this year?
Quigley: No, no, no. To the previous BRAC legislation.
Q: Do you know when we'll have an announcement on the new chairman?
Quigley: No, I don't. I guess the short answer would be, you know, when the secretary and the president have discussed this to their full satisfaction and the president decides as to when he wishes to do that.
Q: Was that one of the subjects discussed over here yesterday?
Quigley: I don't know.
Q: Thank you.
Quigley: Thank you.
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