Quigley: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. I have a couple of announcements to start things off this afternoon.
Secretary Cohen arrived in Manama, Bahrain, late last night our time to start his tour of the Middle East. Following meetings with senior officials from the Bahrain government, the secretary traveled out to visit with sailors and Marines on board the USS Abraham Lincoln, and next traveled on to Oman, where he will be spending the night.
Deputy Secretary of Defense Rudy de Leon will make remarks today at 4:00 during the closing session of the Fletcher Conference. The conference is being held at the Crystal Gateway Marriott. We released a press advisory on that yesterday. Most of it, for those of you who are interested in following this but are reluctant to head over to Crystal City, is being carried on Channel 15 within the Pentagon's cable TV system. And I think they're in a break right now, but most of the speakers, I think, have been carried live.
As we mentioned Tuesday -- as Mr. Bacon did Tuesday -- we're observing the Great American Smokeout today. Secretary Cohen has issued a very detailed statement to military members and their families in which he strongly urges them to cut down on smoking and tobacco use of all sorts as a key step toward a healthier life.
And finally, this the 16th consecutive year where Abigail Van Buren, "Dear Abby," has done a project around the holidays called Operation Dear Abby -- and this year is Operation Dear Abby 16 -- where she works with the postal authorities, both within the U.S. Postal Service and within the Department of Defense, to encourage literally thousands of letter writers to communicate with our service members deployed overseas over the holidays.
We have identified four specific addresses that were created specifically for this use, and this will be -- these addresses will be in force throughout the 2000 holiday season. We have a press advisory back there with those addresses and more details.
And it's something that, as I've mentioned, literally thousands of school children and patriotic citizens have communicated with our service members deployed overseas for the holidays. And we thank her for her efforts.
And with that, I'll take your questions. Charlie.
Q: Craig, is there any contention or controversy within military leadership here, the Army leadership on the Army's decision to get away from reliance on heavy tanks, especially with its new mobile brigades?
Quigley: You're referring to the piece, I'm sure, that ran in the Post this morning. I know that that whole process is undergoing an acquisition review as we speak. We do anticipate a decision and a contract award on that process soon. But I can't provide too many more details on that, nor a specific timetable, I'm afraid.
I know the process itself has been ongoing for many months, and it's been a study or an effort involving rigorous analysis, and that is nearing completion. But I can't offer you a specific date when that will be announced publicly.
Q: (Off mike) -- have the support of the secretary?
Quigley: Well, that process culminates eventually in a decision by the defense acquisitions executive, and that's Dr. Jacques Gansler, within the Defense Department. But this is certainly a process that the secretary is aware of. Like I said, it's a rigorous analysis over a period of many months that is coming to a close in the near future.
Q: Thank you.
Quigley: You're welcome.
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