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DoD News Briefing, Tuesday, September 22, 1998

Presenters: Mr. Kenneth H. Bacon, ASD (PA)
September 22, 1998 2:30 PM EDT

Mr. Bacon: Good afternoon.

Let me just bring you up to date on military support for the hurricane victims in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

SOUTHCOM is sending a 15 person team to Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands to assess the damage and find out what sort of help is needed. Puerto Rico has already activated approximately 150 National Guardsmen, and the U.S. Virgin Islands has activated about 230 members of the National Guard.

We have prepositioned some medical and other supplies at Hanscom Air Force Base and several other places in C-141s and C-17s ready to take this equipment down to Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands if necessary. We also have some C-130s on standby. So we're prepared to work with FEMA and other state, local, and federal agencies to deal with the problems down there.

With that, I'll take your questions.

Q: Is there any damage to our facilities at Puerto Rico? Roosevelt Rhodes or...

A: We believe there was, but the extent of the damage we're not entirely sure yet. We think there was about maybe around $2.5 million worth of damage at the Antigua Air Station. We also believe there was some damage at Roosevelt Rhodes but we don't know the extent of that yet. That is in part based on the fact that we in the early stages, at any rate, had some difficulty communicating with Roosevelt Rhodes or at least some people there, so we think there was probably some damage.

Q: What's based at Antigua?

A: It's an air station that includes a space wings downrange instrumentation facility, that follows space launches.

Q: Can you tell us whether the Chilean Defense Minister got into the building unscathed today? Whether or not they discussed the F-16s or...

A: One, he both arrived and left unscathed, to the best of my knowledge. The principal point of the meeting was to discuss strategic issues in South America, for Secretary Cohen to get to know Minister Guzman better, and to talk about the Defense Ministerial of the Americas which is coming up in Cartagena, Colombia later this year.

The question of F-16s did come up, but I don't believe there was anything settled on that.

Q: Is there any indication that the current monetary problems in Latin America might cause the Chileans to at least postpone the purchase of the F-16s or have they given any indication...

A: That's a question for the Chileans to answer, but I do think that major procurement plans are always subject to current economic conditions and that's something you'll have to ask the Chileans about.

Q: Did he give any indication of whether or not...

A: I think it's better for you to ask the Chileans about that.

Q: Another question for that region. It's been reported that it's no deal with Panama on maintaining a presence at Howard for drug interception. It's also said that a four-year contract was offered by Panama that the United States could not accept. Can you comment on that and any other reasons that they couldn't make a deal?

A: I think I'll have to get back to you on that because I'm not exactly sure of the current state of negotiations there. We have had long discussions with the Panamanians about maintaining some presence there. We've made it clear that we don't want to pay rent. We don't believe it's appropriate for us to pay rent. But we have discussed ways that we might accommodate each other's interests. The last I heard we have not been able to reach agreement, but let me check for sure and get back to you on that.

Q: Back to the incident yesterday. Do you have any explanation for what occurred? Was it malfunctioning machinery or human error?

A: We don't know yet. There are now three investigations into the security barrier system. The first is by the Defense Protection Service, the DPS, the local security force; the second is by the company that made the gate, makes these security barriers that rise up; and the third is by an independent analyst, a security consultant, to look at the system generally and why it may have malfunctioned. So those three investigations are underway to try to determine what caused the gate to malfunction.

Q: Was it a mechanical malfunction?

A: We don't know. We don't know whether it was electrical, was this provoked by stray radio signals? We just don't know what caused this right now. That's why we're having these three investigations.

Q:...error was ruled out?

A: I told you. We have three investigations to figure out what caused this problem. It's premature to talk about what caused it. I just, before I came down here, talked to Chief Jester, asked him if he had any new insights into what caused this, and he said no.

Q: Is this a unique incident or have there been other cases of this in the recent past?

A: One I know of from personal observation several years ago, a similar gate went up and damaged Secretary Perry's car when he was coming out of the heliport at the Pentagon. And I've been told, but I haven't had a chance to check this out personally, I've been told that a barrier once came up and damaged the Chief of Naval Operations' car. So those are three instances along with the one yesterday that I know about.

Q: Can the Defense Protective Service provide us with a number or dates or how many other incidents they've had...

A: We'll try to get that.

Q:...problem on the Hill, around the Capital either earlier this year or last year.

A: There have been malfunctions as I understand it, or accidents with these gates around town from time to time, but I think that before rushing to judgment as to what caused this, we ought to let the investigators do their work and figure out to the best of their ability what the problem is.

Q: Is one of the capabilities that's designed into this thing the ability to come up very quickly?

A: Yes. Exactly right. If some suspected terrorist were racing in, the idea is to be able to pop these things up quickly to stop his attack.

Q: But under normal circumstances you see them come up and they sort of rise up slowly, but it does have the design and capacity...

A: They can shoot up quickly, yes.

Q: In the other two instances that you mentioned, granted they were some time ago. Was there any sort of investigation of them?

A: One of those turned out to be human error, and I don't know about the other one, but maybe the DPS will have some light on that.

Q: Are they radio activated or do you have a line from the security house back to the device itself?

A: They're generally activated by a key or a switch. The question is could a stray radio signal have somehow triggered an electronic mechanism in some way. I don't think we know at this stage. In fact I know we don't know. That's precisely why we've got these three investigations underway.

Q: Can you say who the independent analyst is?

A: I'm afraid I don't know the name of that company, but we'll try to get that as well.

Q: The manufacturer of...

A: I don't know that either. We'll try to get that as well.

Q: Was Perry hurt when his car got...

A: No, he was not.

Q: Were the Japanese able to have the conference with Cohen, or were they...

A: They did have the conference at 5 o'clock yesterday afternoon. It was a very successful conference. The Japanese Defense Minister said he felt that the accident had actually uplifted U.S./Japanese relations. He said he felt it gave him a closer, warmer relationship with Secretary Cohen, who visited him in the hospital yesterday. Also he felt it had strengthened relationships between the Department of Defense and the Japanese Defense Agency, the JDA.

Q: The Secretary, not to be outdone, said that no barrier stands between... [Laughter]

A: The entire incident showed that there was no barrier to the strong security relationships between the U.S. and Japan. And also, as you probably read, the Secretary gave Minister Nukaga a hat that said "I survived the Pentagon".

Q: Are you going to get one of those, too?

A: It's unclear that I have so I don't think I should claim victory until the proper time.

Q: Did the Japanese give any indication that they would be prepared to contribute or participate in a U.S. missile defense program?

A: That was one of a number of issues they discussed. What the Japanese have said is that they are discussing... They discussed ways that we can move toward cooperation in theater missile defense. I don't think we have anything specific at this stage to announce, but clearly both sides are looking for ways that we can work together on theater missile defense.

Q: Is there any added urgency to that? Obviously there's been discussions on this issue between Japan and the U.S.

A: We think that the attempted satellite launch by the Taepo Dong missile clearly creates a more urgent need to move forward with theater missile defense capabilities in that area. We are, as you know, in the middle of reevaluating our own TMD program to find the best way to proceed, and I believe the Japanese are also looking intensely at their program right now and trying to figure out the best way to proceed from where they are now.

Q: Okinawa. Was there any discussion on that? Also a landing field. Any progress on those issues?

A: There was discussion at the 2-plus-2 meeting in New York on Sunday about Okinawa. Both sides have expressed a desire to move forward under the SACO agreement and implement it as soon as possible. I can't get into any specifics on that but the general topic was discussed. Secretary Cohen in his statement on Sunday noted that we are determined to maintain good neighborly relations between the U.S. military forces in Japan and the Japanese people.

Q: A conservative candidate backed by the ruling LDP of Governor Tolio announced recently that he opposes the sea-based plan to replace Stenmar Air Base. Do you have any reaction to that?

A: I think that that's... I sometimes have enough trouble keeping American politics straight without commenting on Japanese politics. We are working with the Japanese government to reduce the footprint of our forces in Okinawa. As you know, the off-sea facility is one of the things we're looking at and working with the government on, but I don't have any specific comment on what that gubernatorial candidate may have said.

Q: Has NATO either formally or informally begun the force generation process for military options in Kosovo?

A: Let me tell you exactly what's happened. First of all, the North Atlantic Council has approved two contingency operation plans. One is an air plan and another is a plan to monitor and maintain a cease-fire agreement if one is reached.

There's also a concept of operations for dealing with smuggling and other transporter traffic. The North Atlantic Council has gone out and informally surveyed NATO members to find out how many troops and what types of troops they'd be willing to volunteer or commit to making these plans work. That's been done in an informal way.

The next step is, in NATO lingo, called activation warning. That is a formal notice of the possible execution of a plan, and advises countries of the requirements they would have to meet in terms of forces to play their part in that plan. That phase, the activation warning, has not taken place yet, but that's the next step.

After that there would be what's called a force prepare order, force prep in NATO language, that would basically advise people that forces will be necessary. That's followed by an activation request which is a formal request to execute a plan. Then there's an activation order which establishes a specific execution date for the plan. That would be a plan to commit forces on such and such a date.

That's basically the steps ahead. The next step is called the act warn or activation warning, and to the best of my knowledge, that has not been done yet, but I would expect NATO to consider that soon.

Q: Has the United States indicated a willingness and ability to contribute forces to all of those options?

A: We have informally. I think it's premature to talk about specifics at this stage.

Q: Has this informal poll, which you say is being run by the NAC...

A: It's been done.

Q: Was that done by the NATO military committee or the SACEUR? Or did the SACEUR not get into it until...

A: It was done by NATO military planners essentially.

Q: Just to clarify, has the United States informally indicated they'd be willing to contribute ground troops if the option to monitor a cease-fire were put into place?

A: We have supported the plans to date, and we have not... The contingency operation plans, one involving a cease-fire monitoring and enforcement operation, we have supported. We have not made a specific commitment about troop size or the type of equipment, number of people, we would make available. At the appropriate time, that's something that the people here and the President and ultimately Congress would have to consider.

Q: If there's a cease-fire in Kosovo and NATO makes a political decision to exercise an option to monitor and enforce a cease-fire, is the United States on the hook for ground troops for that operation?

A: As I told you, Jamie, we have supported the concept of the operation; we have voted for the plan that's now so-called on the shelf. Beyond that we have not made a specific commitment to numbers or types of troops.

Q: Let me try it another way. Does that plan, the monitoring and enforcement of the cease-fire plan, call for someone to provide ground troops in Kosovo?

A: Yes. We very much hope, along with the other members of NATO, that there is a cease-fire. That's our preferred option, that a cease-fire is reached through diplomatic means. It would be far preferable to other types of military action at this stage. I think it's quite... We would do what was necessary to support a cease-fire, but we have not made a specific commitment at this stage of numbers or types of troops.

Q: You said two plans, you said an air plan, as you put it; and the other, as a monitoring enforcement plan for a cease-fire. Are we to take that to mean that an air contingency would be, if necessary, to drive them to the cease-fire table or the cease table; but that ground troops are now being considered only to monitor and enforce a cease-fire and not to go in and force a cease-fire?

A: The plan that has been approved, the contingency plan that's been approved is a cease-fire enforcement plan. It would be a plan to enforce a cease-fire agreement.

Once an agreement is reached, NATO has approved a plan to send ground troops into Kosovo to enforce the cease-fire.

Q: There's no plan as of now to send ground troops in in order to force a cease-fire...

A: That is correct.

Q: The air plan might do that, is that not...

A: The air plan would be designed, if it's invoked, to force the sides to the negotiating table.

Q: What size force does the contingency plan envision for the cease-fire operation?

A: That's a question for NATO to answer. It's a NATO plan.

Q: When was this approval given? A: The approval of the plan to enforce the cease-fire? September 9th.

Q: The air war?

A: The air plan was August 4th. I've talked about these plans before. These aren't new plans. We've announced that this action has been taken before.

Q: Can you give us your assessment of the situation on the border between Albania and Kosovo, how dynamic you feel it is at this point, whether it is stabilizing, deteriorating.

A: First of all, the biggest problem right now is a large refugee problem within Kosovo. There are 200,000 to 300,000 refugees within Kosovo. These are internally displaced people who are away from their homes, away from their villages, and people who could be susceptible to harsh winter conditions because they have no place to live. The first snow fell on Kosovo last night, I understand, so winter is coming.

There are also a large number of refugees that have fled into Montenegro, I believe around 40,000 refugees that have fled from Kosovo into Montenegro. Then there are maybe 20,000 or so who have fled into Albania from Kosovo.

This refugee problem has been created by the attacks, by the Serb forces that both the VJ, the military forces and the so-called MUP or the police forces, who have been systematically attacking what they consider to be the Albanian insurgency, Kosovar Albanian insurgency in Kosovo. And what we have done is appealed to President Milosevic to sit down, and the Kosovar Albanians, to sit down at a bargaining table and try to figure out the diplomatic solution to the problem so the fighting can stop.

Q: Is it your assessment that the Serb government appears willing to allow refugees to return to their homes if they would?

A: In some cases refugees have returned to their homes. The problem has been if the insurgency breaks out again the military and police forces of the Serb side come back and clear out the insurgents. But in some cases we believe that refugees have been able to return home. In other cases they have not. In general, however, there appears to be a reluctance of the refugees to return to their homes because they're afraid that the fighting is not over and they're still at risk.

Q: Unlike parts of Bosnia, has the Serb attacks on the villages as they look for insurgents, have they leveled villages, destroyed houses? Are most of the structures, the houses, still intact?

A: My understanding is that most of the structures, not all, but most of the structures are still intact. They may be missing roofs or windows but they're largely intact, is my understanding.

Q: Do you know how many Albanian refugees went into (inaudible) and Greece?

A: I'm afraid I don't know the answer to those questions.

Q: May we have your assessment on the sale to Greece 60 F-15 planes?

A: I don't believe there is a sale at this stage.

Q: Can you comment then on Congressman (inaudible)'s letter of September 16th to Madame Secretary of State, Madame Albright, the sale of F-15s to Greece in order to protect the (inaudible) of Turkey?

A: I think I'll leave that to Jamie Rubin to comment on because it's a letter from a Member of Congress to the Secretary of State.

Q: One quick question on Kosovo. You've outlined what it is that NATO, the next steps. What are the next steps for the Administration? Is this merely up to the White House now in terms of ordering an air plan to be executed or saying that the U.S. is going to go along with that?

A: The Administration has been following this very closely, and we are in favor of having NATO move to the next stage which is the so-called activation warning to come closer to the use of military force if necessary. But this is, as I say, this is a NATO decision to make at this stage. NATO has been dealing with this. We're one part of NATO.

Q: In Bosnia, Mrs. Plavsic has conceded to her defeat. Mr. Poplasen will then become the head of the government in Serbian Bosnia, in Serbska. These are the same people, the same radicals that Gen. Clark's troops had to confront over a radio station and on several other occasions almost came to combat with. How does the U.S. see now this new leadership? Is this a threat to troops?

A: First of all the election results have not been formally announced, and I think that will happen in the next day or two, so I just raise that -- we need to look at the entire election results before we can comment on any one part.

My understanding is there are basically three parts of the election that are of interest to NATO and SFOR. The first is the RS presidency. That is the Republic of Serbska presidency that Mrs. Plavsic has said that she lost. She's conceded that she lost that.

The second is the Republic of Serbska Assembly. That's basically their legislative body.

The third is the representatives of the combined or unified presidency, the tripartite presidency of the country.

My understanding is, and I hasten to point out again that the election results have not been completely announced, but my understanding is that the moderate forces are likely to increase their margin in the RS Assembly, and that the forces of moderation may also gain a seat in the tripartite presidency in that a more moderate person will replace Crahisnik there.

So you have to look at all of the election results together, and we can't do that completely until they're announced. But that's what we have to do.

In terms of the RS presidency, Poplasen has said that he will honor the Dayton Accords, that he will follow the Dayton Accords, and we expect to hold him to that. We expect that he will.

Mrs. Plavsic started out as a nationalist but worked very diligently in favor of the Dayton Accords, and we assume that her successor will do the same thing.

Q: Will that be a great setback?

A: I think that we are disappointed that Mrs. Plavsic did not win, but I think we have to look at the total election results and we have to accept right now what Mr. Poplasen says about his willingness to honor the Dayton Accords and to work with the allies.

One thing that has become clear is that the SFOR forces, the NATO forces, are prepared to defend themselves and to defend the full implementation of Dayton. We've shown that in the way we've dealt with all sides in the former controversy.

Second, those who cooperate, economic aid follows cooperation. To the extent that leaders of the various factions, the various parts of the country want economic aid, then they get that through cooperation. That's the key to rebuilding.

Q: Rather than continue to leave it to the Pakistani press and others, can you give us a battle damage assessment of the recent Tomahawk raid? How many Tomahawks missed? How many Pakistanis in your best estimates were killed? How effective it was against the chemical plant?

A: I cannot.

Q: Can you give any figure on Pakistani casualties?

A: No.

Q: Because?

A: Because we're not talking about battle damage assessment. I think we've made that clear.

Q: Were there Pakistanis that...

A: We're not talking about battle damage assessment. We've made that very clear from the beginning.

Q: Is that forever?

A: Well, it's for today. Forever is a long time. I can't say that it's forever, but it's for today.

Q: In a similar vein, looking back at the missile strike in Sudan, some of the things that were said immediately after, what little was said, turned out to be somewhat inaccurate and you read in the paper where it's not just American adversaries but members of the Administration are questioning the quality of the intelligence, the way it was analyzed, the way it was used. Is the leadership of the national security apparatus reviewing this intelligence? Is there some sort of reassessment going on and should there be?

A: Not that I'm aware of. I think from everything I've heard and observed the leadership is convinced that there were very strong reasons for attacking that target and those reasons deal with the fact that we believe it was involved in some part of a program to develop chemical weapons. We believe there was some association with Osama bin Laden. We believe that Osama bin Laden has made it a goal to acquire chemical weapons. We think that the evidence we had from on-site and other sources was very firm evidence. So I don't think that among the people who made that decision, among the people who assembled the intelligence and acted on the intelligence, who have seen the full scope of the intelligence, that there's any doubt that it was the proper target.

Q: Can you give us the rationale? The bad guys know what the battle damage was. How come we can't tell the country it belongs to?

A: First of all, battle damage spread over... They may not know in terms of how many missiles did their job and they may not know exactly what our goal was. So we have made a decision that the less said about this the better, and the reason we have made that decision is because we see this as part of a larger engagement that's going to continue over time.

We hold open the possibility that there will be future attacks against us and that we will respond to those attacks. Therefore, we've made a decision that the less we say about how we reach our decisions, about how we assess the effectiveness of our strikes, and how we determine what weapons we use in our strikes the better off we and Americans will be around the world.

Q: I'm just making the point, though, that the damage opposed to the methodology... The damage inflicted is known to the bad guys, but why can't we share what we did?

A: I think I've explained this fully both today and other times as well.

Q: Speaking of future attacks, I notice the Ninja no longer apparently outside the entrance with submachine guns. Are we still on threat con alpha here, or has that been reduced?

A: I think there's a sign up outside that it is threat con alpha. It changes from day to day given the information we have.

Q: Back on Kosovo. The cease-fire monitoring plan. The U.S. says it supports the plan but it has not yet made a specific commitment of troops or equipment.

A: NATO hasn't reached the stage yet where countries have put down specific numbers or types of units.

Q: But has the U.S. made a commitment to put some unspecified numbers of troops and equipment on the ground in Kosovo in the event of a cease-fire?

A: We have supported this plan to send a cease-fire enforcement contingent to Kosovo, in other words, to monitor and enforce the cease-fire. What we have not done is said specifically what units or how many people will be involved in that plan.

I think it's pretty clear that we support, that if there's a cease-fire we will participate in the enforcement of that cease-fire. What is unclear is how we will participate.

Q: If there is a cease-fire we will participate on the ground in the enforcement of that cease-fire?

A: I said we will participate in the enforcement of the cease-fire. What's unclear is how we will participate. Those are questions that will have to be resolved once we get closer to a cease-fire. We're pretty far away from a cease-fire right now, so we've clearly got some time to work out the details.

Q: Will we be open then to the possibility that there could be a way to support the enforcement of the cease-fire that would not include U.S. troops on the ground? That might be one...

A: I am not trying to leave open any possibility except that I'm not going to make any specific statement about U.S. participation in a plan. We support a plan. We will do our part in making sure that a cease-fire is properly enforced. But I have no details to give you beyond that now.

Q: Is it fair to say that the Secretary will press his colleagues during this trip to Europe to go ahead and go to an activation warning?

A: I'm not sure exactly when NATO is going to get to this, when NATO plans to vote on this. If that's necessary, he will press them to do that. But I think what the Ministers are going to discuss in this informal defense meeting in Portugal is what are the next steps NATO should be taking and how soon we should take those steps.

Q: What if anything did you guys make of the report on the North Korean kamikaze pilots allegedly aren't getting trained? Did you guys make anything of that? It came out of South Korea over the weekend.

A: I wasn't aware of that report. We'll look into it.

Q: The activation warning, you said you're not sure when NATO is going to consider that. Is it on the agenda for tomorrow's meeting of the NAC?

A: It could be on the agenda for this week. What I don't know is specifically the timing of when that meeting will be.

Q: You did say, did you not, that the U.S. is pressing for NATO to take the next step, go to activation warning?

A: Yes.

Q: Can I just make sure I understand then, is that for activation warning order for the two options, both air and enforcement of the cease-fire?

A: First of all, we don't have a cease-fire. So if you had to... The first step I think would be to look at the air options at this stage.

Q: So this activation and warning is really for the air options?

A: Right.

Q: Does that also then include any humanitarian relief? Or is this strictly for the air options?

A: That would be a separate consideration.

Q: The question I have then is, have we now... What is the trip wire for actually invoking... You say to use military force is necessary, but by going for activation and warning for the air option, has that trip wire now been reached?

A: As I explained to you, the activation warning is just one step in a fairly length process, and so it would be a step closer to the possible use of force but it would not be a step to use force. That would come later on when there would be a specific order to use force called an activation order. That's four steps away from the activation warning step.

Q: Can you articulate any more then what is the trip wire? Will we know it once we see it? Do we know it only once we're past it?

A: First of all, remember NATO is an alliance so the members have to sit down and reach a conclusion on when it's appropriate to use force. At this point NATO has not reached that conclusion. We have not reached that conclusion either. We're still pressing for a diplomatic solution.

I believe Ambassador Hill spoke with Mr. Milosevic yesterday and those of you who are traveling with the Secretary will have a chance to meet with Ambassador Hill and you can get a firsthand account of what he's been doing diplomatically to achieve a solution here. But I think it's a combination of a number of factors, one of which is, you'd have to reach a conclusion that there's no chance diplomacy would work, and you'd want to look at the continuing activities of the Serb military and police forces. The rate of attack and the intensity of the attacks against the Kosovar Albanians. You'd also have to look at the size of the refugee problem and the humanitarian challenge that has to be faced and calculate how military action could help lead to a solution to that humanitarian problem. Those are some of the factors that have to be considered. I don't think that we have yet reached a conclusion on that.

Q: I don't mean this to sound... But do you put numbers next to that? What is the rate of attack that you'd have to see and the intensity of the attack before you'd say that trip wire has been crossed?

A: I'm not prepared to put numbers on that right now. That's what the policymakers will do.

Q: What incentive is there for Milosevic to agree to a cease-fire if the result of a cease-fire is NATO troops on his territory?

A: I think he would have to weigh what the cost of not agreeing to a cease-fire would be.

Q: Is the message to Milosevic at this point to lighten up and let the people come out of the woods and go back to their homes for the winter?

A: The message to Milosevic and to the Kosovar Albanians from the very beginning has been to sit down and resolve this diplomatically, and to stop the killing, to stop the attacks against one another, and to allow people to get back to their homes and back to their farms and back to their food supplies so there's not a humanitarian disaster. That's been the message from the beginning.

Q: And it could actually come to airdrops up in the mountains and bombing the Serbs down in the lowlands at the same time?

A: I think those decisions have not been made and that will depend on what happens next.

Q: On North Korea, do you have any additional information on the missile test or the attempted satellite launch?

A: I do not.

Q: Secondly, on Iraq. Given that the international community doesn't seem to be too concerned about Saddam's efforts to stop the inspections, has the U.S. given up? Can you give us some insight into what the Secretary's been doing on that issue in particular for the last couple of days? Is he trying to draw up support from allies to respond?

A: First of all, to the best of my knowledge Iraq has not thrown out the inspectors and the monitors. Some are there still doing their job.

Second, the degree of compliance by Iraq with the U.N. Security Council Resolutions is now an issue between Iraq and the U.N. Security Council. The agreement on the table was an agreement that was worked out between the Secretary General of the United Nations, Kofi Anan, and Iraq. And to the extent that Iraq decides not to comply with that, it's up to the Security Council to figure out a way to enforce compliance. The sanctions remain in effect and in fact the Security Council recently decided to discontinue its bi-monthly review of the sanctions which means that Saddam Hussein is one step further away from his goal of achieving an end to the sanctions, a lifting of the sanctions.

So that is one step the Security Council has taken to keep pressure on Saddam Hussein. There are other things the Security Council could look at in the future that might involve other types of ways to strengthen or improve the sanctions against Iraq, but those are questions the Security Council will have to answer.

Q: Given that the agreement itself was reached in large measure because of the U.S. military buildup, is there any movement on that front to send more forces to the region...

A: We have a very significant force in the region now. We've got about 20,000 people. We have a very powerful cruise missile force deployed in the region that can strike very quickly. And we have plans on the table to be able to augment our force very substantially within 96 hours. That's bringing in ground forces to marry up with prepositioned equipment in the area. We have a division's worth of prepositioned equipment there. And it involves bringing in expeditionary air wings and taking other steps to enhance our forces there.

So if necessary, we can do that, but this overlooks the fact that the issue before the world today is a dispute between Iraq and the United Nations Security Council.

Press: Thank you.

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