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Media Roundtable with ASD (ISP) Crouch

Presenters: J.D. Crouch, ASD (ISP)
August 29, 2001 1:00 PM EDT

Tuesday, August 28, 2001 - 1 p.m. EDT

Clarke: Hey, guys. Good to see everybody again. I'm thrilled to be back.

J.D. Crouch, whom some of you know and some of you don't know, is our assistant secretary of Defense for International Security Policy, and he's agreed to give us an hour or so, or three our four -- right, J.D.? -- of his time. (Laughter.)

Nothing in particular we've got to talk about, so, J.D., it's all yours, if you want to say anything to start with, or you can just start taking questions.

Crouch: Okay. Yeah, I probably ought to maybe start out by telling you a little bit about me, nothing stupendous, and a little bit about the organization. I've been on the job now for three weeks, so I'm not -- I would have to say I'm not fully up to speed on all the issues yet. It's a very wide portfolio.

And there may be some of you who are interested in talking about or asking questions about the reorganization that we've undergone in policy, because it has significantly affected my organization. In fact, my organization is new, but it actually really isn't new, it's going back to a construct that existed in the Bush and Reagan administrations. So the organization that was previously known as Strategy and Threat Reduction is now International Security Policy.

I come from both an academic background as well as a policy background. In the first Bush administration, I was the principal deputy assistant secretary in ISP working for Steve Hadley. And this was -- I was sort of the number two guy in the position that I'm now the assistant secretary. Prior to that, I had some experience working on the Hill, staffing for senators on the Armed Services Committee and working in arms control negotiations in Geneva and the like.

But anyway, been on the job for three weeks. A lot of exciting things going on -- our activities with the Russians, as well as, obviously, a lot of changes in trying to implement the President's and the Secretary's agenda.

I don't know what your interests are, so I think I'd really rather turn it over to you for questions. I'm sure that you would rather me do that.

Q: Mr. Secretary, Charlie Aldinger with Reuters. I'd like to ask, I understand, first, that your portfolio is heavily weighted toward Russia, is it not?

Crouch: I have both the -- what we're now calling the Eurasia account, and that pretty much aligns the department with the way both the NSC and the State Department have reorganized themselves under this administration.

And that includes -- that's managed for me by Deputy Assistant Secretary Ms. Mira Baratta, who just came on board this week, as a matter of fact. And that has all the, sort of, country operations: for Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, as well as the former southern Soviet states, in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and the like, and the Caucasus. So, in addition to that, it will also have country desk responsibility for a large percentage of the Balkan states as well. So I have that part and that portfolio.

And then of course the other side of the Russia relationship is really more on the new framework of relations, including our relationship over strategic offensive, strategic defensive force issues, military-to-military issues, and things like that. So most of that, from an OSD perspective, is in my area.

Q: The SecDef and the administration has made much of the fact that the ABM Treaty's kind of a relic of the past and can and should be dispensed with, whether jointly or otherwise. Russia has come back and said, well, if you want to do that, or you feel you can do that, then perhaps START I and START II can be dispensed with, too. How does the administration feel about that, about the possibility of START I and START II going by the boards? You say you really don't need ABM because Russia's no longer an enemy; do you need START I and START II, now that Russia's no longer an enemy?

Crouch: You know, one of the things that I think we're looking at -- first of all, I'd begin by stating that START I is a treaty that is in force, and the United States has absolutely no intention of leaving START I or changing its parameters in any way. START II, of course, is not in force, so I would make a distinction between those two, although I think that the administration's position on START II has been essentially that we're headed in a direction -- in terms of reductions, the president says he wants to reduce our strategic offensive stockpile to the lowest possible level consistent with our own national security interests and those of our allies. And I would expect that there's going to be some further discussion about that with the Russians this fall, as well as some reporting to the President by the Secretary sometime this fall, and a decision on that will be made.

As you know, there's a mandate from Congress to have a nuclear posture review. We're undertaking that review right now. So that's sort of the parameters of things.

On the Russian -- the position of whether the Russians will get out of START I and START II, I think that both the United States and Russia are headed on a path to be in compliance with the START I numbers, as of December of this year, and I expect that's going to happen. I would -- obviously, what the Russians want to do is really up to them, but I would think that the Russians would probably view START as much in their interest as it in our interest. So I would doubt very much if we would see that kind of a radical change in the Russian position.

On the ABM Treaty, clearly, the President has said that we're going to move beyond the ABM Treaty. He's also said that we would prefer to do that cooperatively with the Russians. And we think there's a really good basis for doing that, and that basis is the fact that the ABM Treaty, if you will, ensconces an adversarial relationship. It's based on the idea that there is stability in the ability of the United States and Russia to blow one another up. And we think that that is not an appropriate relationship for a new relationship with Russia. And as the President has said, you know, we no longer regard this country as an enemy; is that the basis on which we want to proceed?

The second point, and I'll let you jump in here, is that we think the Russians have as much of an interest in having concern about a ballistic missile -- the emerging ballistic missile threat, as we do. In fact, in some ways, in more proximate ways because of the different geographic problems that we have. So, you know, we think part of our discussions with them is to sort of explore those common threats and see what can be worked out to deal with them.

Q: I just wanted to follow that up on the same line of thinking about the ABM Treaty. What is your view on the wisdom of amending the treaty in a way that would allow a limited, but still constrained missile defenses, as opposed to unfettered ability to test and deploy, which seems to be what the administration wants, of course, in an ideal world. But is there some logic to dealing with the Russians in a way that would allow you to amend the treaty and still have the limited system that you say you need?

Crouch: One of the issues that we're dealing with here in the Pentagon is -- and I don't know whether this group has been briefed in detail on the missile defense program -- but one of the issues is that we don't have an architecture. We don't have a set number of missiles we want to deploy, we don't have a set series of technologies that we definitely know that we're going to implement. What we do have is, I believe, a robust test and development program that's designed to solve specific technical issues and then secondarily, hopefully, present the President with some technologies and deployment options that he, or potentially a future president, would be able to decide on.

And that's a long way of saying we don't know exactly what we would want. We can't say today whether we're going to be defending strictly from ground-based interceptors, whether we're going to be using airborne lasers, whether we're going to be using sea-based systems. We do know that we want to cooperate with our allies, we do know that we want to have the ability to cooperate with our allies, and we do know that we need a -- we believe that the problem will require a multi-layer approach to make sure that we have very high confidence that we could destroy any ballistic missile that was launched toward the United States.

That's maybe a long way of answering your question, saying that I think it's very difficult to conceive of how you would constrain yourself by amending the treaty or by making minor modifications to the treaty when you don't know exactly what it is that you are going to need or what you would want to deploy. And if you look, in particular, at the various treaty provisions, you find that many of them, over the years, would come into conflict. For example, there's a provision that says you're really not allowed to share this technology with your allies, you're not allowed to (share) strategic technology with your allies. That's an area where we may, down the line, want to be able to do that.

Q: The administration says that the reason for pulling out of the ABM Treaty is because we no longer have an adversarial relationship with Russia. Does that same thinking inform the Nuclear Posture Review?

And, for instance, if Russia wants to go to START III, decreasing nuclear levels even more, would you still inform -- use the same informed logic that Russia is no longer an enemy or no longer a threat?

Crouch: I think, you know, obviously, I'm not -- the Nuclear Posture Review is still working on. I'm not in a position to sort of make any news on that question. That will be something that will be decided by the Secretary and then by the President.

But I think the short answer to that question is that we are sort of looking anew at how this changed relationship affects our requirements for nuclear weapons. And in that context, I think, you know, we are factoring in very much this new relationship with Russia in the way that we look at the NPR. We're not looking at it -- the fact that we regard it as no longer an adversarial relationship is an important component of that. We're also, you know, looking at all the other relationships with other potential countries and how -- in a general sense, sort of from a capability standpoint, with the understanding that the United States, I think, will retain robust nuclear forces as part of its deterrent. We're looking at how other actions in other parts of the world might affect our needs and requirements in that area.

Q: Speaking of START, is the administration moving away from the idea -- since you feel you don't need formal treaties with a non-enemy, are you moving away from the idea of a formal START II and START II to more of an informal agreement to cut nuclear weapons? Or do you look for a START III formal treaty to go beyond START II?

Crouch: I don't think there's a single answer to that question. I mean, I don't think it's an either/or proposition. I think that the administration is, you know, sort of open to the form and the process on this. But I think that there is a sense that in the past -- I mean, START I took 10 years to negotiate, I know; three of those were, you know, years of my life, okay? And, you know, many of these other agreements -- SALT II, as some of you may remember, took nearly seven years to negotiate, and was never ratified on the U.S. side.

There's a sense that because of the changed relationship, and because we're viewing our defense requirements as being focused on other areas, other emerging threats, that formal arms control agreements that require this much time to negotiate and that are negotiated at a level of detail that has become, you know, really astounding -- if you look at the START I Treaty, you're talking about hundreds of pages of text and annexes and protocols and the like. There's a sense that this will not allow us to make the kinds of adjustments to our own forces, and that we think the Russians will probably want to make to their forces, in the time frames in which we need to make those decisions.

And so we believe there's some real value -- and this is, by the way, nothing new. If you go back to the president's nuclear initiatives, President Bush in 1990 and 1991 implemented, there were some fairly major changes that were instituted there and that were done in a unilateral but cooperative way. So -- and again, I think we can also say that one of the outgrowths of those was, in fact, the START II Treaty. So the two things are maybe not mutually exclusive, and I don't think the administration is looking at them as mutually exclusive. But we do see a real value in unilateral approaches.

How about over here?

Q: This is a follow-up to that. Then taking it a little bit larger, there's a sense that this administration has an antipathy towards large agreements or treaties in general. And I think -- from reading up on you, I think that you did not favor the Bio-Weapons Convention. Is that -- do I recall correctly?

Crouch: No, that's not true.

Q: Was it chemical weapons?

Crouch: Yeah, I testified against the Chemical Weapons Convention, yeah.

Q: All right. Do you think it's --

Crouch: I was 14 when the BWC was -- I didn't have a view on it then! (Laughter.)

Q: Could you give us a sense of beyond our relationship with Russia, where do you think this administration that you have joined is going with regard to overall multi-party agreements and treaties? And is it a fair assessment that you seem not terribly taken with them?

Crouch: Well, I mean, I think the CWC -- I mean, one of the reasons that I was asked about that in my confirmation hearing was the fact that I think this administration strongly supports the CWC and, of course, my position on the CWC was prior to its ratification. And now it is the law of the land, and obviously I'm going to do everything I can to implement it and implement it wisely.

I think that the administration is -- rather than saying that there's sort of a general anti-arms control view, I would put it another way. I would say that the administration is looking at where arms control can be valuable and where it might not be valuable, rather than taking the position that, you know, sort of, any and all arms control approaches are by definition THE way to reduce threats to the United States, to reduce threats to our allies, and to cooperate on these issues.

So, I guess -- I know there's been a lot of buzz about particular treaties or agreements, Kyoto and ABM, things like that, I don't think -- I'm unaware of any, sort of, policy or general policy against these things, but I think that each of those agreements -- those agreements were looked at on a case-by-case basis and decisions were made on a case-by-case basis. And I expect the administration would continue to do that.

One of the issues that I know the Secretary is very interested in is the issue of how do you deal with future threats that are really emerging and that in many cases are sort of unknowns. We came out of a treat-driven environment in the Cold War. We're now sort of in an uncertainty-pulled environment, if you will. We have a sense that there are threats out there, but they are beginning to emerge and the characters of those threats will change over time.

And so one of the issues, of course, in dealing with something like that is trying to be nimble, and one of the ways you can be nimble is by having flexibility in what you can do. And so agreements sometimes can enhance your flexibility, but sometimes they don't, they can impinge your flexibility. And particularly if they're agreements with countries that you may not regard as your opponents. So multilateral things -- I think, you're going to see support for multilateral initiatives from this administration -- I think you already have. But I think it's going to be on a case-by-case basis.

Yeah?

Q: Along those lines, you mentioned looking at restrictions on sharing of strategic technology and looking at future threats and more bilateral, multilateral efforts. What about other technology, say, expansion of things like sensor technology, communications -- do you see any loosening -- you know, where is that going to go. That's always been a sticking point on restricting access to U.S. technology. Any changes anticipated there?

Crouch: To be quite frank, that's an area that I have not spent a lot of time thinking about. I know that one of the areas that will be under my new organization will be a deputy undersecretary for technology security policy and counterproliferation. One of the things that we're trying to do is find a way to better coordinate, if you will, our counterproliferation efforts, our investments in threat reduction, and our export control policies.

I don't -- like I said, I don't have any sort of answer -- specific answers, too specific, you know, are we going to be loosening up on computers, are we going to be loosening up on sensor technology and that sort of thing. I haven't really looked at it in that level of detail. I think -- I think one of the things we do need to be careful about, though, is, is that we -- as we try to, you know, promote American products and interests, that we're not also providing access to the best sort of core technologies that the United States has that might be provided or find their way into the hands of armies and navies, and the like, that might be used against us.

Yeah?

Q: Sir --

Q: Have --

Q: -- have you spent --

Crouch: You're next. (Chuckles.)

Q: Sorry. Go ahead. It's okay. I'm sorry.

Have you spent some time on the growing threat from China and nuclear missile technology exports by the Chinese to different countries like Libya or Iraq or Iran or Pakistan, and all that? Also, if Russia is no longer a threat to the United States or world peace, then you think China is in the future?

Crouch: Well, as you know, we've -- first of all, I want to say that China is Peter Rodman's game, and I think you've all had a shot at him already. So in terms of sort of our broad relationship with China, that's not something that falls under my area.

However, because I am dealing with proliferation issues, we do get into this question of the proliferation of technology, and in particular, I think one of the concerns is proliferation of ballistic missile technologies beyond China's borders. It's an issue that I know you know has a long history. There were a series of pledges, mostly during the Clinton administration, having to do with the Chinese pledging to restrict their activities. And there have also been a series of subsequent actions and activities, which I wouldn't want to get into in any level of detail here, which I think we believe, you know, contravene those pledges. I think it's a very, very important -- very important issue.

It shows you the nexus, really, between our policy of counterproliferation and nonproliferation in ballistic missile defense. I mean, one of the ways you can deal with a missile threat is by building a ballistic missile defense. Another way you can deal with it is by pressing on the counterproliferation and nonproliferation side. Some people like to think of those as opposite approaches; I like to think of them as complementary approaches because we can, in fact -- we don't believe we're going to be able to stop all proliferation of ballistic missiles. But what we do believe is that we can maybe lessen the magnitude of the threat, and that thereby would allow us to lessen the sort of investment we're going to have to make in ballistic missile defense down the line. So the two approaches really are complementary.

On the flip side, a good missile defense system will also, in my view, potentially dissuade countries from investing in ballistic missiles, if they believe that there's really no leverage. I mean, you always have to ask yourself, why are countries building ballistic missiles that could threaten the United States or our allies? They're building them, I think, principally because they want to have leverage over the United States. By building an effective defense, we dissuade them and make the nonproliferation task that much easier.

Q: But, sir, just to follow. All the promises and pledges made by China so far have been broken. And so what's the next -- how the U.S. will deal with China?

Crouch: I think that we -- you know, we're sort of in the process right now of engaging China on these issues, and it's somewhat of a delicate matter, both diplomatically and politically. I think one of the things we need to make clear to the Chinese is that this is a new administration, that we are extremely serious about this issue, and that we're not at all going to be pleased with the sort of cycle, if you will, of pledges and broken pledges. But at this point, I don't know -- you know, I think we're fairly early in dealing with this issue with respect to the Chinese.

Yeah?

Q: Thank you. Operation Essential Harvest is off to sort of a rocky start. Already a lot of people are talking about the fact that the mission may need to be extended beyond 30 days. What is the Pentagon's position? If that should happen, what will you talk about in the NATO Council?

Crouch: Well, you know, I was sort of surprised that people started asking this question, you know, sort of on the second day of the deployment. I think in some ways it's very premature.

Q: People have died.

Crouch: Yeah, that's true. And, you know, that was a very tragic event. But I think -- and, you know, we recognize whenever you deploy armed forces somewhere, that those things can happen. I mean, that's one of the reasons you want to be very careful and cautious about making decisions to put people in harm's way.

But in looking at the larger policy there, you know, NATO has a very narrow mission in Macedonia. That narrow mission is to collect the arms that the Albanian resistance group will, you know, provide at various locations in territory that they've been operating in, and that NATO will establish with them to collect those arms. And so -- and it's a 30-day mission to do so. I believe that we can, in fact, collect those arms in that 30-day period. And I believe that at that point, you know, NATO will pull that collection force out.

The longer-term issue, I think, is what kind of presence, if you will, is there -- not necessarily a NATO presence. I think the longer-term issue is what kind of monitors from the OSCE and other sort of potential organizations will go in and kind of continue to monitor the cease-fire. And at this point, I don't think there's a clear position on that, but I know that the administration is still looking at those issues.

But in terms of the NATO mission, you know, I think -- I expect that we still have a very good prospect of completing that mission in 30 days and being able to bring those forces out. And as you know, there are very few U.S. forces in that mix. It's mostly -- it's a fairly British -- British-heavy force.

Yeah?

Q: Back to the NPR. This non-adversary relationship that we're in with Russia now, does that imply that in sizing the U.S. nuclear force we do not need to take account of the Bill Lee argument that there is this residual ABM capability inherent in thousands and thousands of long-range anti-aircraft missiles, and which are being upgraded now of the 400 -- you know, the three-digit SAMS, and therefore, we really don't need to think about that in sizing the force? I mean, the relationship has changed that profoundly, this quickly, that we just -- I mean, we're not adversaries anymore?

Crouch: No.

Q: What were you answering "no" to?

Crouch: Your question. You said, does that mean we don't have to take in account these things.

Q: Why not?

Crouch: Well, because I think, you know, we still -- you know, we're building this relationship. The president has said that we don't regard Russia as an enemy. I think that's a fundamental change in the way we look at Russia.

But I think it's another leap to say that they do have several thousand nuclear weapons. You know, Russia still is one of the only countries that can -- in fact, really the only country that could attack the United States in a major way. And so that -- you know, that's a reality. It's a reality that may change over time.

Now, what we are saying, on the other hand, is that, you know, I'm not lying awake at night worrying about that attack happening, like some people did during the Cold War, because the sort of political relationship has changed. As a defense planner, however, I would be remiss if I did not take into account that capability, as I take into account the capability of, you know most countries, other than close allies.

Q: But, of course, that's the Russian response as to why they still think the ABM limitations impose some stability that's useful, that that's a fact of life, whatever the near-term change in the relationship. Why is there a step-jump transformation, just a radical transformation in the one sphere of the military relationship and no change at all yet in the other? I don't understand that.

Crouch: Well, again, I would quibble a little bit with the way you set the question up. I wouldn't say that there's no change at all on the offensive side. For example, our approach on taking unilateral reductions, it seems to me, is -- you know, in the old days, the view was you had to have an arms control agreement and you had to have it written so strictly that, you know, that one missile couldn't slip through the perimeter portal monitoring systems and all the other various arms control mechanisms that we have. We still think that transparency, by the way, between the two sides has value. But in this sense, I think it's much more as a kind of a confidence-building approach between the countries, because we still are trying to build confidence between our countries. Old habits die hard, and I would say that on both sides, on both continents. And so we have to take that into account.

But at the same time, the President has argued that -- on the ABM side, that we need a missile defense against emerging threats. He has also said that that missile defense would not be aimed at Russia and that it would be a limited missile defense. So I think that, in fact, takes into account the changed relationship.

Some of you probably remember the period of SDI when in fact the SDI program was explicitly oriented towards an anti-Soviet missile defense. We were talking about thousands of space-based interceptors, hundreds of thousands of ground-based interceptors, and the like. That is not what we're talking about here. We're talking about a defense that's focused on a much more limited threat.

Yes?

Q: Can you tell me why your office was created, and other than geography, how it differs from Mr. Rodman's office?

Crouch: Okay. I have a mixture of geographic and functional responsibilities. The geographic responsibilities are Eurasia, which I described earlier, as well as NATO Europe. One of the practical considerations in how we divided up the world was the fact that if all of the regional responsibilities had been under one assistant secretary, he may well have spent his entire time on an airplane flying from country to country. (Laughter.) So one of the thoughts was that by dividing this up, it would give Mr. Rodman and I -- although we work very closely together on a range of issues, it would give us a little bit more time at home, particularly him, because he has the rest of the world.

The other thing is that in many of the functional issues -- and again I have the sort of missile defense, nuclear forces, arms control and nonproliferation policy accounts that -- while certainly those issues range far and wide into his area -- for example, there was a question about Chinese missile technology, and there are other issues -- there's more of a focus there in the Russian relationship and to a certain degree in our relationships with our allies and the like. So -- in Europe. So those seem to fit together -- seem to fit together better.

Does that answer your question, give you some feel for -- I guess the only -- the other element I didn't mention is the sort of counterproliferation and technology security policy. And that's the other --

Q: Is the organizational structure of your office established?

Crouch: Yes.

Yes?

Q: How do you think the role of missile defense being provided by the United States into Europe is going to change with the evolution of the European Union? And specifically, with the MEADS in the system, what do you see as the future of MEADS?

Crouch: Well, I don't have a strong view on the future of MEADS at this point. That's something, frankly, I'd have to take a look at. I have -- in fact, I haven't even been briefed on the program yet.

But I would say a couple of things about European missile defense. I think that we have a real opportunity, and I think one of the -- sort of the best innovations in the president's program is moving away from the idea of a nationally oriented missile defense and one -- towards one that is designed in the long run to protect not only the United States but our allies and our forward-deployed forces.

I think that makes sense from a military standpoint, but I also think it makes sense from a diplomatic and political standpoint, in the sense that we -- you know, we really regard this ballistic missile threat as something that is not aimed peculiarly at the United States. It's something that could affect our interests almost anywhere on the globe. And I think there was some sense among -- in some European capitals that the national missile defense focus was sort of -- sort of had an isolationist impulse to it, if you will, a drawing back, Fortress America kind of idea. I think one of the things we've been very successful in demonstrating so far to the allies is that we're -- we regard this as another way for the United States to engage and another way for the United States to develop a cooperative relationship with our allies, not only in Europe but also in Asia.

So I think that's an important component of this. Certainly on one level it helps to build, you know, support for the program. But I think, more importantly, it helps to deal with a ballistic missile threat that really is not going to know borders, that -- in fact, in the near term, the threat really is more focused on overseas areas, in particular in the Far East -- obviously, Japan and Korea -- in the Middle East, and in Europe.

Yeah?

Q: One more question regarding Macedonia. As far as I understand, there are almost no or there are no forces at all -- U.S. forces at all participating in Essential Harvest. Why is that?

Crouch: Well, no, there are forces participating in Essential Harvest. They're fairly low levels, and I think they -- they're really commeasurate (sic) with the set of activities that the United States is involved in down there. We try to bring -- we tried to bring to the effort those things that we thought were U.S. strengths. Those strengths included logistics support and organizational support and the like.

Where you see the large number of forces, if you will, are really in the ground forces that are going to go out and actually set up the collection areas and that sort of thing.

But I wouldn't want to say that our effort is -- it may not be large in terms of total manpower, but it certainly is in terms of being, I think, an important part of the effort, a necessary part of the effort. It's a critical contribution.

Q: But have you perceived any irritation on behalf of the European allies, like Britain, Germany, France, on the lower-level involvement only?

Crouch: Not at all. Not at all.

Yes?

Q: As the United States starts working with unmanned aerial vehicles and using them, I understand that there are some people in the UAV community that are concerned about how they would be able to employ those UAVs abroad, specifically in Europe, where there's incredibly crowded airspace, different civil air authorities. Is your office going to be dealing with that issue? And what are your thoughts on that?

Crouch: I doubt it. Now there may -- there are certainly -- you know, there's probably going to be -- and in fact, this answer is, as you probably know, true for every question you could ask; there's probably more than one office in the Pentagon that touches on a lot of these issues. I would imagine that Acquisition would also be involved somewhat in that. We might be involved on the diplomatic side of dealing with that.

I'm not -- when you say "unmanned air vehicles," are you talking about --

Q: (Off mike.)

Crouch: Oh, for military vehicles --

Q: Oh, yes.

Crouch: Okay. Yeah, I mean, certainly we would probably be, if asked by the services, if there were issues that came up. And I'm --

Q: Isn't that really a diplomatic issue? I mean, we're putting unmanned vehicles, perhaps loaded with weapons, in their airspace. It's crowded with commercial airliners and whatnot. Is that not a diplomatic issue?

Crouch: Oh, absolutely. Absolutely. Yeah.

No, I'm answering that --

Q: (Off mike.)

Crouch: -- I'm answering yes, I'm probably going to be involved in it. But at this point I'm unaware of any issue that's been raised on that behalf. And what -- I would imagine that something like that might come up through either the Services or the CINCs and be raised as an issue in that way and would -- you know, the process for dealing with that would not only include my office but would also include the Joint Staff, for example, I'm certain, as well as maybe some people in Acquisition, who would have equities in that area.

But it's sort of a process answer, because until I have a real- life case in front of me, I don't really know exactly what level of --

Q: Well, I guess the example I was thinking of is the effort to get Global Hawk to Germany in 2003 -- (off mike)? Have you had any discussion on that issue?

Crouch: Pardon the pun, but it hasn't come up on my radar screen yet.

Q: Okay.

Q: (Groans.) (Laughter.)

Crouch: Sorry.

Staff: How about somebody over here? Have you had -- yeah -- (off mike).

Q: Excuse my cold. A lot of the justification for the missile shield is that there's an emerging -- as you say, emerging threat from rogue states. I'm wondering -- and the 1998 North Korea missile test obviously did a lot to intensify the belief that there is this threat. I'm wondering, can you talk a little bit about what's happened since then in terms of -- do you believe that the threat from these nations has -- is still increasing? Are there events to lead you to believe that the threat is worse than it was in '98, or is this just a constantly evolving process?

Crouch: Well, I mean, I think the threat is worse than it was in '98, and it is a constantly involving (sic) process. I mean, it's the -- if you look -- you know, if you look, for example, at the report that was done by Secretary Rumsfeld prior to being secretary of Defense -- I mean, if you read that report and you had kind of internalized the message in there, you would not have been surprised by what happened in North Korea in 1998.

I think some people were surprised by it because they just didn't want to internalize what was in that report. They didn't want to believe that the threat was developing at the pace that it is developing.

Now, I'm not -- you know, obviously, I'm not saying that -- it's an evolutionary process in the sense that these countries that are undertaking these activities have got to test programs, they're ongoing, they're having successes, they're having failures, just like any test program. But I think, you know, they will achieve their objectives of developing medium, intermediate range and intercontinental range ballistic missiles. And the response time that we have to deal with that is not measured in days or seconds. It's not a matter of, you know, saying, well, we can deal with that threat by instantly turning on a system that we've got. We have to develop that system and we have to make sure that that system is responsive to the kinds of technologies that we see being fielded.

So an important component to this is keeping a very close intelligence eye on those developments. So I guess -- I don't know whether -- I mean, I think the answer to both parts of the question -- it wasn't an either/or -- is yes, it's an evolving threat. I don't see any diminution in it in terms of effort, in terms of the numbers of -- types of missiles that we're liable to see in the future. I see an increase, if anything, in the scope and pace of those efforts.

Yes?

Q: This is Nikkei, Japanese daily newspaper. A geographical question. The Far East, like Korea, Japan, is in Eurasia's missile defense?

Crouch: I'm sorry, I didn't --

Q: The Far East, or Japan and Korea --

Crouch: Right.

Q: -- also you are in charge of that?

Crouch: No. Yeah, this is a point of confusion. And it's all our fault. As it was pointed out to me the other day, Eurasia is a very large place. And so the term "Eurasia" in this respect does not include the Far East or South Asia.

Q: Southwest Asia?

Crouch: No. Why don't I just tell you what Mr. Rodman is responsible for, okay?

Starting on this side of the globe, he has Latin America. Moving west, he has North Asia, including China, Japan, Korea. He has South Asia, Southeast Asia, including in South Asia Pakistan and the Indian sub-continent. And then he has all of the Middle East, all of Africa, and all of what I learned in grade school as "Oceania," you know, the entire Indonesian Archipelago down through Australia.

So the area that is in encompassed by our Eurasia is essentially the former Soviet Union.

Q: (Off mike) -- my question because you talked about cooperation with allies for the missile defense issues, as far as especially Japan. In the medium term, longer term, what particularly you want to see cooperation with Japan?

Crouch: Well, I think our cooperation with all of our allies to a certain degree is going to be paced by what their interests are and how they see the development of the threat in their region. So while I think that the United States is ready to cooperate and wants to cooperate, you know, one of the issues will be to what degree are our allies prepared to do that, to what degree do they have resources to bear and are willing to commit resources to that.

And another issue, of course -- and I alluded to it earlier -- deals with the treaty, and there are things we can do in terms of theater missile defenses that are not outside the treaty. There are also things that are potentially interesting in doing theater missile defense that may be adjudicated outside the treaty. So that's another issue that we have to look at. And then we have to also sort of look at the development of our own technology and on the one hand, see what are the kind of appropriate -- what kind of appropriate cooperative arrangements we might have with allies and what kinds of technology, you know, we can share. There will always be technology-sharing questions, if you will, but I think there's a lot we can do, in particular if allies, you know, want to devote some resources on their side to the problem.

Q: I had a follow-on question to that. In the last administration, DOD and State announced a Defense Trade Security Initiative, which I don't want to say loosened export controls, but was based on enhanced technology sharing with allies. They also started these bilateral negotiations with various countries to negotiate a Canadian-like exemption on certain defense items, and I know those negotiations were ongoing.

Do you support -- first of all, is your office going to be involved in those whatsoever? And do you -- I guess the allies were very critical of the Defense Trade Security Initiative, saying it didn't go far enough. So does your office support more of these technology-sharing measures to kind of not loosen export control, but loosen it at least for our allies? And will you continue those negotiations for granting a Canadian-like ITAR exemption for some of our allies?

Crouch: I think that as far as I know, the preliminary answer to that is yes. Now, I believe that Acquisition has the lead on that particular issue, and so we would, of course, support them. And I think -- and again, there may be -- I'm not exactly certain, but I think we may have some of those underway at this point.

So the relationship with Canada, as you point out, is one that allows us to, you know, share many of the more sensitive technologies that we would want to do in a defense cooperative arrangement. On the flip side of that, it's because we and the Canadians have kind of aligned our technology security processes in ways where they are both transparent to one another, and we feel comfortable and they feel comfortable that both countries are controlling the technologies that are being moved back and forth over the border.

As long as we can do that with other allies, I would think that this would be something that would overall be a great boon to U.S. industry, it would be a great boon to alliance cooperation, and would really allow us to leverage all of the defense dollars that the various allies are willing to invest in these technologies.

Q: Are you involved in the review of U.S. stationing in Europe? And I guess as a follow-on, how do you justify keeping such a large number of troops in Europe in such a peaceful time?

Crouch: The U.S. stationing? You mean the stationing of troops, the forces in Europe?

Q: Yeah, U.S. forces.

Crouch: Okay. I have not been -- most of that is being handled in, I believe, in sort of the QDR process. With the wide variety of other areas that I've been involved in, I have not been in a lot of the QDR issues. But we are obviously being kept in the loop in terms of major impacts. I don't see any, you know, major changes coming out of that process with respect to Europe.

I would -- you know, I would say that one of the things you have to look at in terms of the forward deployment of any of your forces is that oftentimes those forward-deployed forces will be more readily available, as a result of being forward deployed, in other areas of interest than they were if they were deployed here.

And, you know, so it isn't an obvious thing that, well, yes, we're no longer worried about Soviet tank units rolling across the Fulda Gap. That is absolutely true, but we still certainly have important interests in Europe. And obviously, one of those areas of interest where we have a large number of forces deployed is in the Balkans right now. And we certainly use our infrastructure in Europe to help support our operations in the Balkans.

So I guess I don't -- you know, I don't know per se whether or not there are going to be some minor adjustments made in those forces, but I don't think what we have deployed there is largely out of whack with what we need.

Yes?

Q: Do you think the administration will be able to reach agreement with the Russians on the new strategic framework before the administration's missile defense testing plan bumps up against the treaty, to use Secretary Wolfowitiz's phrase? Will we be able to reach an agreement with them on a new framework that will do away with the treaty and will allow to go ahead with the testing?

Crouch: I think we've got an excellent opportunity. I mean, you know, that's a crystal-ball question, and I don't know. But my judgment is that --

Q: Well, it's sort of a timing question too, right? You essentially have essentially 13 -- well, not even 13 months because you have to notify six months before the test that you're going to withdraw from the treaty.

Crouch: Right. Well, there hasn't been, you know, a sort of firm determination on when we would be in a position where the president would have to make a decision on announcing -- or using the six-month withdrawal provision in the treaty. What has been said is that in looking at the test program, we believe that that time will come in months, not years. But, you know, again, the test program continues to evolve and change, and as it does, there may be issues that we confront either sooner or later in that area. So again, I don't think there's a timetable. And I would hate to think that there's any kind of a timetable, a self-imposed timetable for dealing with developing a more cooperative relationship with the Russians. In fact, we've told them that. I mean, we've been very clear that no matter what the situation is, we want to continue to work with them and see whether we can't find kind of a cooperative approach to this.

So I don't -- you know, we're not operating or engaging in consultations and discussions with some kind of a rigid time frame in mind, but we've wanted to be honest with them about the fact that as we see our own program, that this is not something that's years away, it's something where we're going to have to make some decisions in months, not years.

Clarke: One more question, and we'll let J.D. go back to the rest of his work?

Crouch: You pick it.

Clarke: Nooooo. (Laughter.)

Crouch: (Laughs.) They're all repeat questions.

Clarke: (Inaudible) -- enemies. Does everybody have a repeat question?

Q: No, I have a new question. (Laughter.)

Crouch: Not a repeat question, a repeat questioner, excuse me.

Well, I'm going to go with the lady because that's always the safe choice.

Q: You don't know this lady! (Laughter.)

Crouch: I didn't -- I didn't mean "safe" in a -- in terms of the question! (Laughs.)

Q: I'm thinking I'm going to have to converse with my colleagues here to make sure that I don't waste it! Implying that it --

Crouch: Oh, oh! Huddle! (Laughs.)

Q: I actually have a couple of questions -- (laughter) -- and I'll throw them all out --

Q: Good pinch hitting!

Q: -- and hopefully I'll hit what theirs --

Crouch: I will never make that mistake again! (Laughs.)

Q: I'm wondering, is -- question one. Is this -- it just occurs to me that maybe this vagueness about a deadline is simply a way to light a fire under the Russians to get them to agree to changes in the ABM. Then, wow, the Bush administration got this ABM Treaty changed in a way, and so we keep the treaty and we get a missile defense system, and it's win-win in you guys' eyes.

A second question. You haven't addressed Saddam Hussein. He hasn't had any arms inspections in the last -- more than two years. So what are you doing -- or what are your plans on counterproliferation that way?

(To colleague) Bob, anything I'm forgetting? (Laughter.)

Q: You're doing pretty well!

Crouch: Okay. The Hussein question is one that at this point I'm going to have to kind of punt on. Obviously, Peter is more involved in the U.N. sanction side with respect to Iraq than I am. We remain concerned, obviously, about the continuing development of his weapons programs, including weapons of mass destruction programs.

And you are right that there have been no inspections there for over two years. At this point, you know, I know that -- at this point, I would have to sort of, you know, assess what is it that we would have to give up to get those inspections, and what are those inspections likely to do for us in terms of confirming -- maybe confirming what we already know to be the case.

On vagueness about a deadline, it would seem to me that if we wanted to maximize our leverage with the Russians, we wouldn't be vague about a deadline, we would tell them exactly what the deadline was. What we're trying to do is to engage them in a cooperative way and to get them, you know, first and foremost to understand that our relationship with them is -- and ought not to be in the future -- based on the ABM Treaty or on arms control agreements. It ought to be based on finding areas where the two countries can cooperate, both in a security standpoint, for example, in the areas of counterproliferation and nonproliferation; in an economic sense, where we would, hopefully, be able to develop a more normal economic relationship with Russia; and in a political sense.

The second -- you know, the strategic component of that is to try to move cooperatively beyond the ABM Treaty. But we're not moving cooperatively beyond the ABM Treaty because of some kind of problem or issue we have with Russia. We've moving cooperatively beyond the ABM Treaty, hopefully, because of our judgments about emerging threats that are really external to Russia.

Q: Sir, do you think there's some value, though, in keeping the treaty? It seems to give Russia a sense of security and a sense of stature and prestige that we regard them as an equal, that we would have a treaty with them. Do you not see any of these stuff as valuable, that if you can get rid of the treaty, that stuff can go by the wayside, too? And does it matter?

Crouch: I think what we see is that we're offering them an opportunity to have a relationship with the United States that is much more stabilizing than one that is based on a treaty that enshrines mutual annihilation, that we're -- you know, we want to give them a sense that that stability is really based on a sense of shared values and common objectives, a day-to-day economic trade intercourse.

And you know, I know that the Secretary likes to make a point that, you know, when the average American looks out and looks at a country, they don't pigeonhole the country the way we people in the policy community tend to -- you know, you look at it from the standpoint of missile controls or you look at it from the standpoint of trade -- they kind of look at the whole picture. And we want Americans to be able to look at the whole picture in Russia and have a positive feeling about it. And likewise, I would flip that over and say that we want the Russians to look at the United States and have a similar view of the United States.

So that's the kind of future that we see in the U.S.-Russian relationship, and we think that that offers ultimately more prestige than an ABM Treaty.'

But that's really for Russia to decide. It's really a choice that Russia will have to make. It's not something -- and we can say what we think our common interests are, but it really is up to the Russians, both the Russian people and their leadership, to make those decisions.

Clarke: Thank you, sir.

Q: Thank you.

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.

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