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

Presenters: Rear Adm. Craig R. Quigley, DASD PA
December 05, 2000 2:30 PM EDT

Quigley: Okay, a couple of additional announcements today, and then take your questions on other topics.

As I'm sure you're aware, Secretary Cohen is in Brussels today for a series of meetings with defense officials from the NATO nations. This morning he met with NATO Secretary-General Lord George Robertson for a brief period. After that, he attended the Nuclear Planning Group meeting, the meeting of the Defense Planning Committee, and a meeting of the North Atlantic Council on Defense.

In addition, earlier today, the secretary and the Ukrainian minister of defense signed an Annual Plan of Cooperation between the U.S. Department of Defense and the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense. This bilateral plan sets out defense and military cooperation for 2001 between our two countries in eight major areas. And we've got more detail on that on DefenseLink, on the DOD website. [See http://www.defenselink.mil/releases/2000/b12052000_bt723-00.html ]

Tomorrow morning, Secretary Cohen is scheduled to meet with Russian Minister of Defense Sergeyev. And thereafter he will attend additional meetings before departing for the return trip home.

And I believe he had a press conference at 1:00 our time this afternoon in Brussels. And I would suspect that there will be wire stories, and the like, appearing from that shortly.

Q: I'm sorry, when did you say he was meeting with Sergeyev?

Quigley: Tomorrow morning.

Q: Tomorrow morning --

Quigley: Tomorrow morning Brussels time. Right.

Q: Wednesday morning?

Quigley: Correct. Wednesday morning.

And Dr. Rostker, who just departed the podium, was the principal participant this morning. We opened a Potomac Mills Mall Recruiting Station within that very large shopping facility just south of here in Prince William County. This is the first of 30 marketing-enhanced recruiting stations that we intend to open, with the intent to draw youth and adult influencers into these facilities in high-traffic areas, such as Potomac Mills Mall. And I believe Dr. Rostker swore-in five young men and women this morning from the delayed entry pool into service.

Tomorrow evening at 9:30, Secretary Cohen will speak and present the 6th Annual Architect of Peace Award at the Annual Architect of Peace Award Dinner. This event is sponsored by the Nixon Center, an independent foreign policy center here in D.C. with special emphasis on China, Russia, Europe and the Middle East. The event will be at the Ritz Carlton here in Washington. And we have an advisory out on that as well. [See http://www.defenselink.mil/advisories/2000/p12052000_p228-00.html ]

This Thursday, the 7th, in Camp Pendleton, California, they will host a national commemorative event marking the 50th anniversary of the Korean War and the Chosin Reservoir campaign. The commandant of the Marine Corps, General Jones, will host the event, and the keynote speaker will be General Raymond G. Davis, a retired Marine and Medal of Honor recipient. The ceremonies begin at 9:00 Pacific Time with a capabilities exercise to highlight the air, sea and ground capabilities of today's Marine Corps. Then the Chosin commemorative ceremony begins at 1:30 in the afternoon at the base's parade field. And again, there's more information on that at Camp Pendleton's home page [ http://www.cpp.usmc.mil/ ], or see the folks on the news desk.

A special welcome today to Major General Lungile Pepani, who is visiting from South Africa. He is basically Ken Bacon's counterpart in the South African Defense Ministry. Welcome, sir. He's taking a tour yesterday and today, I believe, of both the internal and external public affairs structure and practices here within Department of Defense. So, welcome to you and your party.

And for your planning, our last regular DOD press briefing for December will be on Thursday, the 21st, and we'll resume regular briefings on Thursday, the 4th of January, after the new year.

With that, ladies and gentlemen, I'll take your questions.

Q: Craig, there was a news report yesterday which said that an American citizen is detained in Jordan as a suspect in the Cole bombing. Do you have any information about that?

Quigley: I saw those reports, certainly, but I have no information to augment. I can't even confirm for you that the reports coming out of that part of the world were correct. Perhaps the FBI could shed some additional light on that. But that's not information that I've been able to find here in the building.

Q: What about -- it also said that this person had talked of additional plots against American military aircraft. Do you have anything on that?

Quigley: It's just not stuff that I've been able to find here within the Department of Defense. Perhaps those doing the criminal aspect of the investigation -- again, FBI -- might be able to shed some light on that, but I'm not sure. I don't want to send you on a wild goose chase. I can just tell you that I have not been able to find confirmation of that here within DoD.

Q: ITAR-TASS has reported, I think Monday, that the Yemeni government was done with the investigation. Has the Pentagon been notified of that?

Quigley: No, not --

Q: Identified six people and they were going to stand trial and they were done.

Quigley: I have not seen any announcements by the Yemeni government that they think that their investigation into this has been completed. I've read continuous reports that say that -- and clearly tell me -- that progress is being made. But I have not seen a Yemeni official in a position of authority to make such a statement. I have not.

Jamie?

Q: Can you tell us when the USS Cole will arrive at Pascagoula? And what is the current estimate for repairs, dollar estimate?

Quigley: I believe it will arrive sometime next week down at Pascagoula. The exact day, I don't think we know that quite yet. It's going to depend on the weather and the speed of advance of Blue Marlin in that weather. But pretty confident that it will be sometime next week down at Pascagoula.

I don't have a good estimate on the repairs. I'm sure that was probably a work in progress as Blue Marlin continued across the Atlantic with estimators and engineers and repair officials on board doing a further refinement. There's probably a better answer for that in Navy. I apologize for not having more definition there. But that's still probably a work in progress would be my guess.

Q: And do you have any idea whether we'll hear any time soon, like for instance this month, any results from either the Cole Commission investigation or the Navy's JAG Manual investigation of the Cole. Do you know what the timetable is for those reports?

Quigley: On the Cole -- let me start with the Cole Commission first under General Crouch and Admiral Gehman. The secretary did not give them a specific time by which he wanted a completed product. But I think that I would just take General Crouch and Admiral Gehman at their word from this podium when they started their endeavor that they are very much trying to have a completed project to the secretary before the end of this administration so that he can take action as he deems appropriate and not leave this hanging for the next administration.

So I think their goal on that remains the same. And I would be very, very hopeful that we could have something before the end of the administration. Now is it December? Is it January? I don't know that. I don't think they do either. But the goal is certainly to have something done.

On the Navy's JAG Manual investigation: After the JAG Manual -- as I'm sure you know the process here -- is completed, it begins a series of reviews ending here in Washington to be reviewed by the chief of naval operations, I believe. But I am not sure whether it has actually moved from the investigating officer doing that to its series of reviews to Vice Admiral Moore in the Fifth Fleet in the Arabian Gulf. Then I believe it'll move to Admiral Natter down at that Atlantic Fleet headquarters in Norfolk, and eventually then up here to Admiral Clark. But I don't know where in that process it is.

Toby?

Q: Have you heard whether there has been any definitive link made between the Cole attack and bin Laden?

Quigley: No, I have not.

Dale?

Q: It'll be two months since the attack, I believe, next week.

Quigley: Right. The 12th.

Q: And ships in the Gulf have been at sea continually since that time. Is there any plan to end that and to let those ships start making port calls again? And if not, are special arrangements being made to do something for those sailors and crews during the holiday season?

Quigley: On the first part of your question, this is something that is constantly being looked at, both by the -- by General Franks at Central Command, Admiral Moore at the Fifth Fleet, and other commanders in the region as well, not just the naval component commander.

But I don't know as -- if they've come -- I don't think they have come to a decision yet to relax that posture and allow those ships to come into ports in the region for port visits. All I can tell you, Dale, on that is when the time is right, and they think it's appropriate and safe for our sailors and Marines to do that, I'm sure those commanders will take that action and allow that to happen.

There's a great desire, of course, to relax that posture and to have a more comfortable and relaxed standard of living, if you will, for our sailors and Marines in that area. And yet the first priority has got to be the force protection issues that are there, and so it's a constant assessment of the threat that they feel against U.S. forces in that region. And when the time is right, they will change that posture.

Q: And just to follow that up, is there any effort under way now to harden or make more secure any particular port, with the idea that when we do feel it's comfortable or feel comfortable about letting people come in, that there will be a place that we have extra sense of security?

Quigley: I think you're going to see a review of all of the ports that we use to have Navy vessels visit either for brief stops or for extended stays, in a variety of nations overseas. This is going to end up being a series of bilateral discussions between the navies of the two nations involved and the embassy, the U.S. ambassador in those nations, to come to an agreement that would provide a continued presence in those countries overseas, for a variety of reasons, and yet trying to ensure the maximum degree of safety and force protection that we can negotiate with the nations around the world.

So I'm sure it'll probably have a little bit different look in each nation, depending on the circumstances, the physical layout of the port, the arrangements that we have with other nations' militaries, and it's going to be probably a very involved process. But it's one that we absolutely have to do.

Q: Different topic?

Quigley: Yeah.

Q: Do you have a final price tag on Secretary Cohen's Hollywood extravaganza?

Quigley: No, not yet. But we are committed to providing that. We should have -- we are working those figures, and we should have those in just a couple of days when all the final tallies -- we realize there is continued interest in that, and we want to have an accurate record. So we should have that in just a couple of days.

Pam?

Q: But you must have an estimate.

Quigley: I'm not going to provide an estimate. We're going to --

Q: But you do have an estimate.

Quigley: We're going to give you a very good answer --

Q: You're just not providing it.

Quigley: -- of the account once we have it tallied, Mik. That's a better way of doing it.

Q: Admiral, could -- just to clarify and making sure it's not just the cost of the dinner but the cost of providing the entertainment --

Quigley: No. We are going to try to incorporate all costs.

You know, we realize this is an issue of interest. And so we're going to try to be very specific and as accurate as we can be to provide a good answer to that. And it really should just be a couple of more days.

Q: And was the secretary's visit to IHOP a little bit of damage control?

Quigley: No, I don't know that he was there for sure. But I --

Pam?

Q: There have been news reports about Taiwan being interested in buying the Kidd destroyers. Has anything formal been requested on that, and is DoD talking with them about that?

Quigley: Well, we're very scrupulous to adhere to the particulars of the Taiwan Relations Act. And as you know, that process involves the Taiwanese doing an internal assessment of what they feel meet their defensive military needs. There is then an interagency process within the U.S. government that receives their request. There is a deliberative process that goes on, and eventually an answer is provided to the government to Taiwan. However, that deliberative process is not one that we share publicly, only the final decisions as they are announced prior to actual sales or what have you to the government of Taiwan. So I'm --

Q: (Off mike.)

Quigley: -- not going to be able to share what may be an ongoing discussion issue on either those destroyers or any other system that may be under discussion. I'm sorry.

Dale?

Q: One more thing on this force protection thing we were discussing a moment ago. In these discussions with countries in Southwest Asia that the United States is going to have or perhaps is already having --

Quigley: Let me stop you real quick. It will not be necessarily restricted to Southwest Asia. But go on.

Q: In these discussions, then, wherever they might be, is the United States saying to these countries, "We need you to provide certain steps to ensure the security of our ships if you want our ships to come calling." Or are we saying, "This is what we need, and we'll provide it, but we need your approval to put boats in the water and to take certain steps."

Quigley: No, I understand. I think it's probably going to take a very different form with each nation. I really was very specific in my choice of words when I said a series of bilateral discussions and, ultimately, agreements, because you find the circumstances different in different port cities even within the same nation, let's say.

So you're going to have to deal with the facts as you are presented them and the capabilities of any given nation, the physical layout of their port structure, what services do they have to provide that we could use. And you're going to find a different answer, I think, at each and every port, and treated as the unique place that it is. And you're going to very likely have very different answers in each and every port city.

Linda?

Q: Can you update the time line for the V-22 beyond LRIP [low rate initial production] decision? Is it still looking like -- one, has Cohen --

Quigley: I understand Dr. -- Go ahead. I'm sorry.

Q: Has Cohen seen Dr. Coyle's report? And then is Dr. Buchanan still on schedule to make a decision this Thursday?

Quigley: Dr. Buchanan had a meeting this morning, I understand, and he has asked for more data to be provided to him, and will reschedule, depending on the receipt of the data and if it's acceptable to him, for later this month.

I don't know still if Secretary Cohen has been briefed on Phil Coyle's report. As Ken said the other day from here, he knows that the secretary has been updated by General Jones on a continuous basis, but I don't know -- and he's just not been around to stay in very close contact with -- as to whether or not he's had a chance to have the Coyle work presented to him or had a chance to read it. I don't know.

Q: So the Navy has deferred a decision on production on V-22 until more information is --

Quigley: Dr. Buchanan is the Navy Department's acquisition executive, and what he asked for this morning is more data.

Q: Okay. And so he said, "I can't make a decision until I have more data"?

Quigley: Correct.

Q: Do you know what data -- at least what general category of data he's looking for?

Quigley: No, I don't.

Q: Admiral, on the question -- just another follow-up on the dinner in Hollywood. When you provide us the cost estimate -- or the costs, the actual costs for that event, could you also, for the purposes of comparison, provide us with what a typical dinner that's given here in Washington for, say, a visiting minister of defense typically costs the Pentagon?

In the previous briefing, Ken Bacon suggested that this event in California wasn't all that out of line with what is normally done by the Pentagon. So just for comparison purposes, can we get some figures on what these dinners typically cost?

Quigley: I will try, but I make no promises. You're going to have to have accurate comparisons. So we're going to have find -- see if there is a comparable event that offers you a realistic comparison, Jamie. I'll try, but I make no promise.

Q: Well, it was Bacon who made the comparison.

Quigley: Well, but if you say "this hotel in this city for this many people with these circumstances costs exactly this much money," that's one circumstance, and that's --

Q: Well, we're not looking for a per-person figure.

Quigley: But I want to make a realistic comparison here to --

Q: Well, just -- you might indicate whether this dinner in Hollywood was, say, twice as big as a typical dinner here in Washington; you know, how many people were -- I mean, just to give us some idea. This was -- again, it was Ken's characterization that this event was simply being held in a different location but wasn't out of line with the kind of dinners that were typically given here in Washington, of which many of us have attended. And so we'd just like to get an idea of what the cost for those are.

Quigley: Again, I will try.

Q: Can I follow up --

Quigley: Barbara?

Q: -- on Dale's Cole question? Have you yet to approve the request for additional Navy and Coast Guard harbor security in the Persian Gulf that's been made by the commanders out there?

Quigley: There has been a deployment order that Joint Staff signed out for the Navy and Coast Guard, I believe, port security forces. I don't know if -- I don't have a description of exactly which ones they were, but those units are authorized to acknowledge that they're being sent to that region, yes.

Q: Well, how many -- when was this signed, and how many troops are involved in it? The Navy and Coast Guard?

Quigley: It was Navy and Coast Guard, Barbara. And I want to say it was about the latter part of last week. Let me take that and we'll get those answers for you.

Q: I think the questions, at least for me, would be how many, when do they go, and anything you can tell us about where they're going to be based.

Q: And how they're going to be equipped.

Quigley: I think the latter two questions we will be quite vague on, exactly where they're going and how they're going to be equipped.

Q: And what their mission will be, if you can --

Quigley: It will be port security.

Q: But, I mean, presumably there already is port security, so what will they be adding to the mission?

Quigley: Additional security levels in the region, Pam. You know, if you have more people with additional equipment performing the same mission, you are, generally speaking, better served in that regard.

Q: And could you also tell us, in that deployment order is it a 60-day, 90-day, open ended?

Quigley: We'll take that.

[At the request of the commander in chief, U.S. Central Command, the secretary of Defense has ordered additional units to deploy to Southwest Asia. Regional commanders routinely assess their forces and request additional resources as needed to complete their various missions. Port security units, comprised of personnel and equipment from the U.S. Navy and U.S. Coast Guard, will deploy to the region in the coming weeks. For reasons of operational security, we do not discuss details such as the number of personnel being deployed, the specific countries to which they are being assigned or the deployment dates.]

Q: And I hate to ask, but could you also, when you look up the answers to Jamie's questions, could you tell us what the annual entertainment budget is for the Office of the Secretary of Defense?

Quigley: I'll try.

Q: Thank you.

Q: And I guess comparing that accurately, then, to Secretary Perry, the last secretary of Defense, just to have, as you say, some accurate comparison.

Quigley: Okay, then I need to probably -- I need to take a step back from my time frame, then. I don't have any confidence that I can do that historical research in the next couple of days.

Q: Well, give it to us piecemeal.

Quigley: We'll see what we can do.

Q: The dinner cost for me is the thing that you said you feel you could have in the next couple of days.

Quigley: Right. But that's more, when you start going into --

Q: No, I'm not asking you -- I would not ask you to step back from that at all.

Quigley: Okay. I may also not have Jamie's level of detail in the next couple of days. I mean, our focus till five minutes ago had been to answer the questions that were out there up until then.

Q: With all due respect, these are not all that difficult questions, and they all should be matters of public record.

Quigley: I have to have a bill, Jamie, from an organization that wants to charge me money.

Q: Right.

Quigley: If they don't have a bill to me yet, I'm guessing. And I will not do that. We're going to be accurate, or we're not going to provide an answer.

Q: But you don't go into these dinners with no estimate.

Quigley: We go in with estimates. Correct.

Q: Well, that seems to me that you should be able to provide that.

Quigley: I don't want to provide an estimate. I want to provide a clear answer to what it actually cost. Estimates sometimes change dramatically. And I want to get it right the first time.

Q: Is the Pentagon normally gouged by caterers? Do they charge more?

Q: Thank you, Admiral Quigley.

Q: Thank you.

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