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DoD News Briefing: Captain Michael Doubleday, DATSD PA

Presenters: Captain Michael Doubleday, DATSD PA
October 31, 1995 1:30 PM EDT
Captain Doubleday: Good afternoon. I have just a couple of announcements. First, two general officer announcements. The President has nominated Army Lieutenant General Paul E. Funk to be placed on the retired list in his current grade. Lieutenant General Funk will retire after completion of more than thirty-two years of active service.

Since October of 1993, he has served as the commanding general, III Corps at Fort Hood, Texas. To replace General Funk, the President has nominated Army Major General Thomas A. Schwartz for appointment to the grade of lieutenant general and assignment as commanding general of III Corps and Fort Hood. Since October 1993, General Schwartz has served as the commanding general, 4th Infantry Division at Fort Carson, Colorado.

I know some of you have been out to the exercise at Fort Riley and I just wanted to note that the exercise portion of PEACEKEEPER `95 will conclude today at about 3 o'clock in the afternoon there in Kansas. The six- day partnership exercise assessed the soldiers skills while manning military control points and a stimulated buffer zone. The Russians and U.S. participants trained side-by-side while having to react to a number of peackeeping missions.

Wednesday, the Russians and U.S. soldiers will be touring the cities of Topeka and Abilene, Kansas, and familiarizing with one other's small armed weapons. A closing ceremony will take place Thursday at 11 [o'clock] at Fort Riley. The Russian soldiers will depart on Friday morning.

And with that, I'll be happy to try to answer your questions.

Q: Can you give us an update where the discussions stand between the Pentagon and the Russians in regard to the Russian troops taking part in the peacekeeping efforts?

A: Those discussions are continuing and we anticipate that the Secretary and the Minister of Defense, Grachev, will be meeting sometime in... Probably around the middle of November to get further update. But, the discussions are taking place at a lower level and a lot of the details to the overall framework that was announced over the weekend will be filled in -- probably at the conclusion of that meeting which will take place next month.

Q: Is the Pentagon still hopeful that something can be worked out so that the Russian troops can be part of the peackeeping forces?

A: We, indeed, are hopeful that something will ultimately be worked out. But, at this juncture, I have nothing to announce on that score.

Q: Mike, you said that they are going to meet. Where is Secretary Perry and Grachev supposed to meet?

A: Well, it has not been totally pinned down, but the Secretary indicated that he expected to go to SHAPE to get a briefing from General Joulwan along with the Russian general who have been working there with the SHAPE staff. It may be that there will be other stops as well. But, that is the likely venue for the next stage of talks. Yes?

Q: What's the reaction to yesterday's House vote which seemed to show a pretty wide majority against the deployment -- at least as it is understood now?

A: Well, the President spoke about that earlier today and I really don't have anything to add to what he said.

Q: Captain Doubleday, can you comment on the published report yesterday that suggested the Pentagon is planning to expand its espionage activities overseas?

A: I can't comment, of course, on any aspect of intelligence for you, Jamie.

Q: Okay. But, -- as I understand it, wasn't this information that was included in the budget about -- not intelligence per se, but how the intelligence operation is going to be structured and are there changes underway?

A: Well, previously, I think, it's been reported that, back in 1993 there was an implementation plan for defense human intelligence service to be established. And that was initiated after concurrence by the Service Secretaries, the Chairman, and the Director of Central Intelligence. And at the time, I believe it was Dr. Perry who was the Deputy Secretary of Defense and he signed the memorandum which essentially set in motion the process which ultimately will result in a consolidation of these services.

And the reason that is being done is so that we can have one budget and one joint manning document which will cover all of these activities and that we will also then be able to have -- consolidate the oversight responsibilities under the Deputy Secretary of Defense.

Q: Well, is it fair to characterize this consolidation as an effort to expand activities overseas?

A: Actually, because of the reduction in the number of members of the armed forces, all of the services have experienced a reduction in their intelligence services and this consolidation was to take advantage of the cumulative effect that will occur when all of them come together in one organization. It allows us to focus our activities on the requirements that the services have and that the warfighting commanders have.

Q: Do you have -- on a different topic. Do you have just a general idea of how much it's costing to host the peace talks at Wright-Patterson?

A: I have absolutely no idea. You might want to talk to the State Department on that.

Q: Back to about Bosnia. Other than the training sessions have been going on in Germany for the troops that could go to Bosnia. Are we taking any other preparations for a possible implementation of the IForce going there, prepositioning the equipment anywhere into the area?

A: I'm not aware of any prepositioning of equipment. But, I do know that, of course, there's a lot of planning that goes into any kind if operation like this and I think most of you are aware of that process and, of course, those plans which continue primarily at the NATO level and that is, both at SHAPE and at Allied Forces Southern Europe, in Naples. And they are, of course -- those plans involve a lot of Americans as well as other NATO member countries as they go through exactly what will be required and try to put it down on paper.

Q: You kind of lost interest in them since things has quited down. Are we continuing DENY FLIGHT operations over in Bosnia?

A: Yes, DENY FLIGHT operations are continuing.

Q: A new subject. On Capitol Hill today, a Senate subcommittee, chaired by Senator Sam Nunn, is looking into weapons of mass destruction, expressing concern about the movement of gases, chemical weapons into the United States. They focused on what happened at the Tokyo subway involving Sarin and expressed the opinion that this is something we can't bury our heads in the sand about it in this country. That it's something they could say could probably happen.

A: Let me just stop you there. What exactly did they say? "This would probably happen?"

Q: There was a possibility, a probability, that it could happen. I just wondered how prepared the Pentagon is -- the military -- to handle something like that, if an attack like that would happen, to protect U.S. citizens.

A: Well, first of all, I just want to point out that I personally believe that the likelihood of such an attack in the United States is very low, although the United States does possess diverse intelligence and certainly the law enforcement community which is actively involved in detection and prevention. I think that our experience in the Gulf War is evidence that our very swift and strong U.S. retaliation capability is a powerful deterrent to that kind of effort being launched against the United States.

In the Gulf War, you may recall that Iraq certainly possessed chemical and biological weapons, but did not use them during the course of that war because we made it very clear what would occur if they did. So, I think that it's certainly an issue worth exploring, but not one that should cause undue alarm.

Q: It was an issue enough to cause the Commandant of the Marine Corps to see the need to create a force -- some kind of ready unit that could respond to those kind of crises. And he offered to do it -- using the Marine Corps as the basis for that unit. So, if it's got at least one of the chiefs excited about it. It's not just a question of speculation.

A: Well, I'm not saying that it is a question of speculation. All I'm saying is that I'm advocating that it's worth exploring, but not worth undue alarm.

Q: Could you try to get from the Army a basic explanation of why that lone gunman in Fort Bragg shot those people? Was it espionage? Was it love? Was it financial problems? Exactly what the motive was. And did he leave any suicide note?

A: I don't have any answers to those questions. Have you talked to the Army on that subject? I'm sure that they have an ongoing investigation which will develop evidence in that regard, as soon as it's possible for them to make public that information, they'll do so.

Q: Mike, how soon can we expect --

A: Hold on just one second.


Q: Is there much concern in the building about the slow pace of the conference on the Defense Authorization. Bill and the possibility that there may not be any bill this year?

A: We're certainly keeping our eye on that.

Q: Can you give us any idea of when the Pentagon will make its decision about the purchase of additional C-17s?

A: Well as you know, this is a week in which the Defense Acquisition Board is meeting. In fact, they met earlier today and we anticipate, that at some time during the week, a decision will be made regarding the C-17 and, as soon as we can, we'll make that information public.

Q: Does that hold if the decision is made late in the day? I mean, is it a 4:30 decision, are we going to have to wait until 9 o'clock the next morning?

A: I don't want to make any promises except that our expectation is that we would have some sort of a public press conference at about 5 o'clock in the evening this because of the regulations that apply.

Q: Is that Wednesday or Friday?

A: I can't predict at this point. But as soon as we can make some sort of calculation on that, we'll let everyone know so that they can be in position. Yes?

Q: I thought is was o'clock tomorrow afternoon when they were supposed to warp up?

A: Indeed, there are meetings which could potentially occur in the next two days.

Anything else? Thank you.

-END -

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