United States Department of Defense United States Department of Defense

News Transcript

Press Operations Bookmark and Share


DoD News Briefing - Rear Adm. Craig R. Quigley, DASD PA

Presenters: Rear Adm. Craig R. Quigley, DASD PA
August 07, 2001 1:30 PM EDT

Tuesday, August 07, 2001 - 1:30 p.m. EDT

Adm. Quigley: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. A couple of announcements this afternoon.

Yesterday, the Pentagon Channel, that's channel 13 on our cable system here in the Pentagon, began an expanded programming schedule, starting one hour earlier and adding new programs to its schedule. The channel carries all the services' flagship television news programs and live Pentagon briefings, and will now add, and have added, two new news casts: The Pacific Report and On Assignment. And additionally, the channel will carry weather forecasts from American Forces Network Weather Center and the Space A [Space Available] forecast. We hope this addition will be a useful one for the men and women that work in the building.

Second, tomorrow, Deputy Secretary Wolfowitz and Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, General Myers, will provide an update on the Quadrennial Defense Review process. That will be here in the briefing room at 11:30 tomorrow. I say 11:30; that's a little mushy. We will fine-tune that as the afternoon goes on today and put that out in a press advisory. But that is our best estimate at this point, 11:30 to 12:00 here tomorrow.

And next, Undersecretary of Defense David Chu will host a media roundtable tomorrow afternoon from 1:30 to 2:30 in the conference room, Room 3E752. This is an on-the-record brief, however, it's a very small room and I can't get cameras in there. Those of you who are interested in attending should please contact Lieutenant Colonel Cathy Abbott on the news desk. And since this room is small -- it will hold about, I don't know, 15 to 20 people, I suppose, but I don't want to run out of room. If you do wish to sit down with Dr. Chu for a while, please check with Lieutenant Colonel Abbott and let her know of your intentions to be there.

Q: What's the topic?

Adm. Quigley: I'm sorry?

Q: What's the topic of that?

Adm. Quigley: Anything within his portfolio of Personnel and Readiness. It's his first opportunity -- we're going to do this with the other undersecretaries -- to some extent, we've done it with Dr. Zakheim already as the comptroller -- but other undersecretaries and assistant secretaries for them to get to know you, and you to get to know them on topics that are within their purview.

And -- yes?

Q: For the record, at this point, I would like to register a very strong objection to you doing this in a room where you cannot accommodate cameras, because as we all know, on-the-record for broadcast we have to have a means of having the picture and a voice. And is there any chance you could move this to a larger room, especially as you've just said you plan to have more and more of these? It puts us at a continuing disparity with our colleagues, including radio. Can you take that under advisement?

Adm. Quigley: We will try. We will try.

Q: Because we object -- or at least I did.

Adm. Quigley: Okay.

And I'd also like to introduce Charlie Aldinger's summer intern, Leticia Stein. Here today? Not here. Leticia Stein, a graduate of Yale, and was editor of the Yale newspaper. Welcome. Good to have you with us.

Q: Welcome Leticia, Reuters - she is a Reuters summer intern. (Laughter.)

Adm. Quigley: A Reuters, but not necessarily Charlie's. Okay. Welcome. Good to have you with us.

And with that, I'll take your questions.


Q: Craig, could you give us any details on the missile talks that are going on --

Adm. Quigley: Very few, I'm afraid. I can give you a sense of how many folks are involved. You're talking about 10 Russian representatives and about nine U.S. representatives. That number goes up and down a little, depending on the topic that has been discussed, and a couple of people, one from the American side, will drop out, and one more might be added, depending on their particular area of expertise.

On the U.S. side, Undersecretary Doug Feith is the senior person attending the talks, and on the Russian side, Colonel General Yuri Baluyevsky -- and he is the first chief of the Main Operations Directorate on the Russian General Staff. They started about 8:30 this morning, will go till about 6:00 tonight. I believe there is a dinner that follows that. And then 8:30 again tomorrow morning, and scheduled to end roughly 5:00 tomorrow afternoon. And all this is a precursor to the secretary's trip to Moscow, leaving Saturday night, where he will have two days of talks with his counterpart, Minister Ivanov, in Moscow, on the 13th and 14th, and then come back. And that itself is a precursor to follow-on talks then to President Bush and President Putin later on in the summer.

So, other than what the secretary said the other day as far as this being an opportunity to share information and some more of our thinking on a variety of topics of interest, I would say that - to put it this way: It is what we envision as the first of many such talks that would describe a totally different way of -- relationship between the United States and Russia, and not one dated on -- or based on outdated Cold War thinking, but one that reflects the very different relationship that we can and we hope we should have with Russia in the years ahead.

Q: These talks are in large part designed to provide more details to the Russians about U.S. plans for missile defense, which they have questions. Could you at least give us some of the subjects being discussed? For instance, are the Americans outlining details of plans for an airborne laser, or progress on hit-to-kill technology? Are those kinds of things being discussed in some detail?

Adm. Quigley: Again, I'm sorry, Charlie, I can't provide you that level of detail.

Both nations agree that at this point, at such an early point in the discussions, it's best to do that privately, so that each nation has a time to absorb the information that's been presented to the other nations' representatives.

We're really trying to figure this out, and on a different way to look at the relationship between our two countries. And it is information sharing, as the secretary said the other day. But I can't be specific as to the topics.

We will see what we can do about providing some sort of a readout after the delegation has left, either late tomorrow, I guess, or possibly Thursday or Friday. But again, depending on the sensitivities of the Russian delegation and we, I can't promise that either. I'm sorry.

Q: Are you saying you can't say whether or details are being provided, or you simply won't go into what kinds of details are being provided?

Adm. Quigley: Choice two. I will not go into the kinds of details that are provided.

Q: So the United States is trying to satisfy Russian questions about missile defense?

Adm. Quigley: Yes, sir. That's a fair description. And to share information with the Russian delegation about some of our thinking on missile defense -- and missile offense, for that matter?

Q: Well, I was going to say presumably also talking about reductions on offensive sites --

Adm. Quigley: Consider two parts of the same whole, Bob, yes.

Q: Also --

Adm. Quigley: A different way of looking at deterrence.


Q: Also, I mean, in the past, I think White House officials have talked about the possibility of technology cooperation with the Russians. Was that a subject that will -- that's being discussed here?

Adm. Quigley: Jim, I'm sorry. I just can't start down that road.

Q: Admiral, did Secretary Rumsfeld drop by these talks at all?

Adm. Quigley: He was going to drop by during lunch today. I don't know if he did. Let me take that and see if he did, if -- his involvement today would have been just that, if at all. I don't think the deputy was scheduled to drop by at all.

Q: Does he have any scheduled involvement tomorrow?

Adm. Quigley: No, does not.

Q: Is this strictly group talks, so everybody's in the room and talking, or it is breaking up into groups or --

Adm. Quigley: No, everybody is --

Q: It's a lot of hours --

Adm. Quigley: It is a lot of hours. But you're talking about roughly 20 people, give or take a few, that will remain together for two full working days and a dinner tonight.

Q: Can you provide any kind of -- are they -- are there visual aids? Are they -- anything you can tell us about what's happening at --

Adm. Quigley: I -- Bob, I don't know as to whether or not visual aids will be used.

But if the -- if either nation's representatives feel that that would help in somehow making the point they're trying to make, I'm sure they would not hesitate to use them. But I don't know.

Q: Are they lined up around one long table? Is the Russian general wearing a uniform? Is --

Adm. Quigley: I don't know. On the uniform, were you there this morning, Bryan, when they came in?

Bryan Whitman: They did arrive in uniform.

Adm. Quigley: Yes, he did arrive in uniform. Yes. This is a three-star equivalent, for those not familiar with the Russian system of rank. "Colonel general" is his rank -- a three-star equivalent, U.S.

Q: I mean, they will be getting briefings, right? That's what Secretary Rumsfeld said.

Adm. Quigley: Correct. That's why they're here.

Q: And so will they be briefed by people from, you know, outside that immediate, you know, group of policy -- people from policy who are leading the talks?

Adm. Quigley: It is principally about policy, Jim, and so I think it's very appropriate that we have Doug Feith lead that effort. But you do have people whose focus is to try to design a different way of looking at the relationship between the two countries.


Q: Normally talks with other countries on policy are done by the State Department and the other country's foreign minister. Why are these talks being done here?

Adm. Quigley: I think that this is appropriate. When you're talking about counterpart -- this is largely a counterpart visit. I mean, you have a Russian three-star equivalent that's leading a delegation. His charter in Russia is to be responsible for certain military issues. Ditto with the Defense Department folks that are sitting down with the Russians today.

There could entirely be other subsequent discussions that would take place between the Russian Foreign Ministry and the U.S. State Department. I don't know if any of those are scheduled, but I sure wouldn't rule it out. You saw Dr. Rice visit Moscow a couple, three weeks ago, as the national security adviser. So this is very much going to be an interagency process that would go on for a while. Today and tomorrow the focus is on discussions between our Defense Department and representatives of their Ministry of Defense.

Q: Is Condoleezza Rice or anybody from the White House or State Department going to meet with the Russians while they're here, or do you know?

Adm. Quigley: No plans to do that. No.


Q: I wanted to ask you about Iraq. Can you provide any additional detail about that incident today in northern Iraq?

Adm. Quigley: I think that the release on the European Command's website was pretty comprehensive. I can encapsulate that, though, if it would be helpful.

Q: Well, in particular I was wondering if you could be any more specific about the target that was attacked by American aircraft.

Adm. Quigley: No, I can't.

Q: This is -- this is an -- is this retaliation, or in part retaliation, for the recent Iraqi targeting of a U-2 and other aircraft, perhaps aircraft in Kuwaiti and Saudi airspace, or is this simply another tit-for-tat response to an individual incident?

Adm. Quigley: We have been pretty determined over the years to not be too descriptive about how we characterize the actions that we take. We have said on any number of occasions that we reserve the right to respond to Iraqi provocations and threats and strikes against coalition aircraft at a time and a place and a manner of our choosing. I don't think I can characterize it any more beyond that. I think the EUCOM description of the strike this morning was accurate; it didn't undercall it, it didn't overblow it. I think it was accurate as written.

Q: The secretary said on Friday that the Iraqis had made improvements in their integrated air defense since February's attack. Did the bombing do anything to degrade that integrated effort, or was it simply an attack against some individual targets in response to firing, which is what it said?

Adm. Quigley: One thing I would say is I would not consider this a focused effort to try to degrade the capability of the integrated air defense system.


Q: Craig, the description of it as both SAMs and Triple-A seemed a little more aggressive than what we've seen in the past. Was this a higher intensity attack by the Iraqis than in the --

Adm. Quigley: I think you can find previous attacks that have come in all shapes and sizes, certainly. But as we have said recently, since, say, the first of this year, there has been a much more concerted effort on the part of the Iraqis, both in Northern and Southern watch, to try to down a coalition aircraft. I don't know how to rank this one, Otto, in the scale of 1 to 10, but certainly in the aggregate, their efforts have been much more aggressive in trying to bring down a coalition aircraft.

Q: Were the SAMs unguided, as they have been most of the time in the past?

Adm. Quigley: I'm sorry, I can't get into that.


Q: And not to trod over old ground again, but it's now been many, many days since the firing against the U.S. U-2 aircraft. Is there any -- is there a way you can help us understand why the U.S. has not responded to that provocation? It's been days now.

Adm. Quigley: Well, I would make no time line nor any prediction. I think leaving that as a very vague, open-ended issue is not a bad thing. And that is one of the great strengths and benefits, I think, of our policy of responding at a time and a place and a manner of our choosing. We'll call the shots when it is our advantage to do that. And as we've said many times before, if coalition aircraft were not fired upon, there would be no reason for coalition aircraft to strike in the first place.

Q: Do you think it's fair for us to conclude that some day you will respond to that U-2 provocation?

Adm. Quigley: I could not rule that out or in, I'm afraid. Keep in mind the goal of Northern Watch and Southern Watch is not to attack the Iraqi integrated air defense system. The goal is to protect the people in the north and the south, both Iraqi citizens and those of nearby nations, from being attacked by Saddam and his forces. Now, if in doing that the coalition aircraft are on their patrols to make sure that Iraqi forces do not move in a threatening manner to carry out one of those attacks on either Iraqi citizens or those of other nations, if they are fired upon by Iraqi anti-aircraft systems, then we have said that we will reserve the option of responding to that provocation in a time and a manner and a place of our choosing.

Yes, ma'am?

Q: Russian President Putin and North Korean leader Kim Jong Il announced that they want U.S. troops out -- withdrawal of U.S. troops from South Korea. In this regard, what is the United States view of doing that?

Adm. Quigley: We will discuss U.S. troop presence in South Korea with the government of South Korea; that is who we discuss that with. And the views of outside governments in that have -- are not the determining factor. It's the views of the United States government and the government of South Korea.

Let me go back -- (to staff) -- thank you very much. Secretary Rumsfeld did stop by briefly at the luncheon today. Who asked that, Barbara?

Q: I did.

Adm. Quigley: As we say, I just want to make sure you heard that.

Charlie, you had another question, I think, on that previous topic. Let me get -- Chris, I'll get right back to you.

Q: Two Iraqi jets violated the no-fly zone again this week, didn't they?

Adm. Quigley: Yes, Saturday.

Q: On Saturday. Did Western jets pursue them, or is this just happening so quickly that they turn around quickly and go back into airspace over central Iraq?

Adm. Quigley: It is unusual for Iraqi jets to violate the southern no-fly zone when coalition aircraft are airborne because they know that our response time is very short. And so typically, coalition aircraft are not up. This is either a time when a coalition air patrol has either landed or it appears to be a no-fly day, from the Iraqi's perspective, or something. But it is rare that there are coalition aircraft up when they violate the southern no-fly zone.

Q: (Off mike) -- on Saturday? I'm sorry.

Adm. Quigley: I do not believe coalition aircraft were up when that happened, no.

Now, it's also true that there was an UAV, an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle, up in -- over southern Iraq during that timeframe. Now, the motivation of the Iraqi air crews is unknown to us, but they were in roughly the same airspace at the same time.

Q: Have they been fired on? Have UAVs been fired -- either from the ground or from --

Adm. Quigley: I don't know.

Q: What kind of UAV was up; do you know?

Adm. Quigley: Predator, I believe.


Q: Back on the Russian talks, is this strictly a one-way flow of information; that is, U.S. officials briefing the Russians on things, or does it go both ways?

Adm. Quigley: Oh, it's never exclusively one way or the other, although it was our invitation for them to come here and share information with them. I'm sure that will -- some of that will go two ways. But it is our desire to get this process started. And we wanted to share with them some of the information of our thinking as we proceed.

Q: In the talks next Monday and Tuesday, obviously the secretary will be meeting with the defense minister, but will this working group go over there and continue what they been doing here, or --

Adm. Quigley: Several members of it will go with the secretary, yes. He's taking a contingent with him of, again, mostly policy folks. The chairman is going, as well. And it's not exclusively policy experts, and some of the people -- many of the people that are in the talks today and tomorrow will be accompanying the secretary to Russia.

Yes, ma'am?

Q: Update on the situation in Macedonia. Is everybody out of Camp Able Sentry who's directed to go out?

Adm. Quigley: Yes, I believe on Sunday completed the movement of approximately 200 up into Kosovo, into Bondsteel. And thankfully, I mean, the conditions on the ground have remained fairly calm around not only Able Sentry but around the U.S. Embassy in Skopje, as well. Certainly hope that continues.


Q: Just a quick question about the progress of some studies that are ongoing, in particular the shipbuilding review. Do you have any visibility on where that study is right now in the process, and how complete it's becoming?

Adm. Quigley: No. I did not ask that this morning. Let me take that and see if we can get you a snapshot of progress [the report is being done concurrently with the QDR and will be completed on Sept. 30].

Q: Thanks.

Adm. Quigley: Sir?

Q: There were reports that last month three Iranians and a number of other civilians were detained in Kosovo and are being held at Camp Bondsteel. They're supposed to be working for an NGO. Can you tell us why they were detained and if this is in regards to any hints of possible terrorism?

Adm. Quigley: I have not heard that before. Let me see if we can get some information. Did you talk to the folks over there, over at European Command?

Q: It was a story out of Stars & Stripes.

Adm. Quigley: I did not -- I did not hear that. Let me see what we can find. I do not know.

Q: Thank you.

Adm. Quigley: Okay.

This transcript was prepared by the Federal News Service, Inc., Washington, DC. Federal News Service is a private company. For other defense related transcripts not available through this site, contact Federal News Service at (202) 347-1400.

Additional Links

Stay Connected