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DoD News Briefing - Rear Adm. Quigley, DASD PA

Presenters: Rear Admiral Craig R. Quigley, DASD PA
October 04, 2001 1:30 PM EDT

Thursday, October 4, 2001 - 1:30 p.m. EDT

Quigley: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. I have one announcement today. We are pleased to welcome to our briefing today Mr. Paul Setsetsi and Ms. Joanne Collinge from South Africa, who are in the United States under the auspices of a Department of State International Visitor Program. Mr. Setsetsi is spokesperson for the Ministry of Justice, and Ms. Collinge has the same position at the Ministry of Health. They are here to learn about the organization and role of our government media offices.

Welcome to you both.

And with that, I'll take your questions.

Charlie?

Q: Craig, is there any indication that Ukrainian military accidentally fired an anti-aircraft -- or fired an anti-aircraft missile that accidentally struck the Russian airliner which crashed?

Quigley: I asked one question of our folks here in DoD this morning, and that was: Does DoD have any equities in this tragic accident over Ukraine? The answer was no. And I stopped asking questions at that point.

So I would refer you to the authorities in Ukraine and Russia to talk about this tragic accident.

Q: Well, certainly the United States knows, with its spy satellites and other things, whether or not an anti-aircraft missile was fired by the Ukrainian military.

Quigley: There's no "certainly" about it. And if --

Q: I'm sorry?

Quigley: There's no "certainly" about it. The appropriate folks to talk about the cause of today's accident are those in Ukraine and Russia.

Q: So nobody in this building knows whether or not a missile was fired by the Ukraine military?

Quigley: If we have any knowledge in that regard, it would be at a level that I certainly could not discuss here.

Suzanne?

Q: Could you, Admiral, say whether, though, military authorities in this country were attempting to contact military authorities in the Ukraine or Russia about such an incident, given nervousness about international air travel and --

Quigley: Not to my knowledge, no.

Q: So there was no attempt to get on the hotline or anything with anybody about --

Quigley: Not that I am aware of, no. Perhaps through the State Department level, through our ambassador and the country team there in country. But not that I know of from here, no.

Q: Excuse me. Was the Ukrainian military at that time, the Crimea Coast, the Coast of the Black Sea, were they conducting air defense exercises at that time, to U.S. knowledge?

Quigley: I believe that's a great question to ask the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense.

Q: Craig, you said today's "accident." Does that indicate that you --

Quigley: Well, by that I imply that there was an airliner lost today with a lot of people on board that certainly was not a planned event. So I use the term "accident" in the sense that this is a tragic event that occurred today that was certainly not the intent of the folks that walked aboard that airliner.

Suzanne?

Q: Is there any potential for U.S. citizens to be on board that aircraft, though? Given that it came --

Quigley: Certainly a potential, yeah. I have not yet seen a listing of the nationalities. I believe the airliner had taken off from Tel Aviv, if -- and I'm getting that from press reporting, so -- and had stopped, I believe in Bulgaria for refueling, or perhaps to take on and discharge passengers. So I'm sure you're going to have an international composition amongst the passenger manifest, but I have not seen that yet.

Suzanne?

Q: Aren't nations required to alert international airline authorities if a military exercise is underway, so that the airspace above is not --

Quigley: Our procedures in the United States would be to put out a NOTAM or something like that -- shorthand for a Notice to Air Mariners, or Notice to Mariners, if it's a maritime issue -- saying that such and such an exercise is taking place.

I'm not familiar with the procedures that the Ministry of Defense, nor their federal aviation authorities within the government of Ukraine. I don't -- I know they're similar amongst nations, but I don't know if they're identical.

Q: Craig, why can't you say whether you know whether or not the Ukrainian military was conducting an exercise?

Quigley: Because I don't think it's appropriate for me to talk about what -- the conduct of Ukrainian military exercise. It's a very easy thing to check with the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense to ascertain that.

Tom?

Q: Craig, you probably know that President Putin initially said this morning that it may have been a terrorist incident. Certainly at this time, the American people, you know, are going to want to know if there has been another terrorist incident or not, and I would think the United States would have an interest in wanting to know that as well, and trying to get, you know, some clarity.

Quigley: You're absolutely right. And that's not only true of the people of the United States, but of the world, certainly. If there's anything we can do to assist in the investigation that tries to ascertain the cause of this, we will certainly do so, I'm sure. But at this point there's also sovereignty issues involved and we must respect those.

Q: Craig?

Quigley: Alex?

Q: Very frequently when exercises are held, the U.S. has observers, other countries have observers. Was there a U.S. observer involved in an Ukrainian military exercise today?

Quigley: That was kind of a subset of the first question that I asked this morning, and again, the answer was no. We did not have any observers or participants or something in whatever may have been going on there.

Pam?

Q: Is there -- have there been in the past any concerns -- I know that there are concerns about loose nuclear material in the former Soviet states, but is there -- has there been any concern about positive control of weapons, say surface-to-air missiles or anything like that?

Quigley: There's always a concern about safe operation of military equipment. I think that's true around the world. Our focus, however, had principally been on the nuclear material, the nuclear weapons, the command and control procedures, the security procedures, all those sorts of issues surrounding the basic issue of nuclear weapons. A lot of the efforts on the cooperative threat reduction program, Nunn-Lugar, and things of that sort, in a variety of former Soviet republics, now independent nations, that has been the focus over the years.

Charlie.

Q: Craig, can I ask what you meant when you said that you asked today if the United States had any equities in that? Do you mean --

Quigley: No. If DoD. Yeah, if DoD.

Q: Well, what do you mean by "equities"?

Quigley: Well, kind of going along the question that was just asked about did we have anybody, any U.S. military involvement in this at all, did we have any airplanes in the region, did we have any observers of any activity that may have been going on in the region, anything. I just asked the question very broadly, and it came back no.

Q: So you didn't ask if the United States knew how this might have happened, and nobody told you whether the United States knew how this might have happened.

Quigley: I think that to give you a comprehensive answer to that, I'm rapidly treading on classified issues. And there's an appropriateness issue here as well. And the appropriate people to talk about this are those over whose airspace it occurred, and the nation that owns the airliner. And that's the Ukraine and Russia.

Q: But you're not denying that the United States might know or suspect how this happened, you're just not going to discuss it.

Quigley: Charlie, let me just start from scratch, okay? The appropriate people to discuss today's loss of an airliner are the governments of the Ukraine and Russia.

Yes.

Q: Yeah, you said that the aircraft stopped off in Bulgaria for refueling. As of at least a couple of hours ago Bulgarian authorities were saying it never stopped off and it never landed in Bulgaria. Do you have privy to some sort of information or --

Quigley: No, other than the press reporting that I had read. And if that's in error, then I should not have used that. It was my understanding based on press reporting that it had stopped in Bulgaria. But I don't have firsthand knowledge of that.

Bob?

Q: When you suggest that the government, the Ukraine government would have a role in discussing this, are you suggesting that it had a role in the downing of the airplane?

Quigley: No. I'm saying that in the context here that it happened in their airspace.

Yes.

Q: Have you had any conversations or communications with Israel, given that the flight originated there, about this?

Quigley: Not from the Department of Defense that I know of, no.

Yes.

Q: Another subject? About Afghanistan. According to the report I understand now the United States is not using Pakistan's airspace because some experts are saying that it cannot be -- Pakistan cannot be trusted. And due to unrest in Pakistan, and also closeness with the Taliban and Osama bin Laden.

Quigley: Well, I have -- President Musharraf made his address to the people of Pakistan -- two weeks ago, maybe? -- something in that ballpark.

We are most appreciative of the permissions that he has granted to the United States in that regard. We have not stated our intention to take advantage of any of the various offers of support from any of the nations around the world. We appreciate their offers; we do, in each and every case. But we have never made any comments as to whether or not we're going to use this offer or that offer in any regard.

Q: And just to follow, the Indian military experts and defense minister and national security adviser were here in the building this week and last week. Any agreement reached with India, or how -- what -- how the U.S. will get India's help or what India offered yesterday, day before --

Quigley: I would not take that any further than whatever the Indian government officials have said publicly.

Let me give you an example of a nation's offer. Prime Minister Howard of Australia yesterday, I believe, made available an Australian special forces unit, air-to-air refueling capability, and offered to extend an Australian frigate that is participating in the maritime intercept operations in the Persian Gulf as part of the international intercept ops. We very much appreciate that, and that is an offer that I can -- readily and gladly can comment on, because that is something that came from the head of the Australian government in a very public way.

But a lot of the other countries are simply not in a position politically, for their own internal reasons, to acknowledge the support that they have offered the United States and other countries in the world. So on the one hand, you've got that template, that countries have asked to be very circumspect in our comments on that publicly, and on the other hand, you've got the comments made by Prime Minister Howard yesterday that puts it in an entirely different light.

Yes, sir?

Q: Are there plans to supply the Northern Alliance with arms and supplies? And if so, can you detail those points?

Quigley: "No" is the short answer to the second question. (Light laughter.) I think that kind of takes care of the first question.

Q: Just to follow -- (inaudible) -- can you describe for us that in one hand the Taliban are saying that they are ready to negotiate with the U.S. and on the other hand they are getting ready to fight a holy war or jihad against the United States, and also some Taliban commandos are willing or ready or making a way to leave Taliban or going against the Taliban? What -- where do we stand? And can we --

Quigley: I can't sort that one out for you. I'm sorry.

There is certainly no shortage of reporting coming out of that part of the world right now, and I cannot help you sort that out.

Q: Craig.

Quigley: Yeah.

Q: Craig, on the subject of international help, are we satisfied with the level of support from Saudi Arabia? And in Secretary Rumsfeld's trip over there, has he made any specific requests to the Saudis? And have they been responsive to those requests?

Quigley: I think Secretary Rumsfeld's words from the transcript that came back from the stop on the trip in Riyadh were that he's very pleased and appreciative of the agreement on the part of the Saudis to provide assistance. He was not detailed in what that assistance would entail. And I won't be able to take it any further than his remarks.

Q: Craig, could I --

Quigley: Yeah.

Q: What role might the United States military be playing in the joint military exercises that are planned between the UK and Oman in the coming weeks? Does the United States have a role in those?

Quigley: I do not think so. I believe that's a bilateral exercise between the armed forces of those two nations.

Q: And there's an additional role that might have been added.

Quigley: Let me -- let me double-check. I don't think so, but let me take that, and if there's -- we'll let you know, but I don't believe so.

Pam.

Q: Could you tell us about the humanitarian food drops that the Pentagon has been told to get ready to do? What kind of timing? What sort of stuff you're talking about doing or like what's going to be included?

Quigley: Wow, let me try to take those in order. The president announced this morning a significant expansion in aid to the people of Afghanistan. He has tasked the Defense Department to be prepared to provide assistance in helping to deliver those emergency rations to the people of Afghanistan. We are making those plans now. We are prepared to carry out that mission. And we can do so in a variety of ways. If you choose the air drop method, which is one option available to you, you've got to do this very carefully, because of the effectiveness of the drop that you would try to put in place, of the safety of the aircraft and the aircrews as they carry out what would be a dangerous mission under any circumstances. So we're prepared to carry out that as well as other methods, but I won't be able to get into any details of that for you.

Q: Can you detail the other methods and what they would be?

Quigley: Well, you could provide some sort of assistance via ship to other nations in the region and haul it over land, if you'd like to do that. So there's options to do that. And we're prepared to do that in any way.

Q: Would the food be, though, humanitarian daily rations?

Quigley: Yes. Yes.

Q: And how many does DoD have on hand?

Quigley: I think the nation has something in excess of 2 million. You know, this would be a stop-gap measure by anyone's yardstick, to help alleviate the hunger in the refugees in that part of the world. But there would be a variety -- if this would assist as a stop-gap measure and stave-off hunger from the refugees in that part of the world, then we're prepared to assist.

The humanitarian daily rations provide enough calories, and there are also vitamins and minerals so that you can also build up your body's health -- each one of them is enough for one person for one day. And so they are very useful in the situation that we're faced with there.

Q: Craig, can we assume that you would avoid Taliban-controlled areas? And these drops, if they be drops, would be to areas where refugees have gathered? In other words, this is -- you're not going to supply the Taliban; you're going to try to avoid that --

Quigley: Oh, no. Absolutely. Yeah. You would take a very careful look at where refugee populations have gathered. You know, sadly, I think we have quite a bit of experience in that over the past 10 years or 15 years in the world, of how to deliver emergency rations to people that are fleeing unrest in their native lands. We've learned some dos and don'ts of how to do that over the years, and I think we're quite a bit better at it now than we were, again, 10 or 15 years ago. But the goal would not be in any way to support the Taliban, it would be to support the people of Afghanistan.

Barbara?

Q: Just to clarify, the 2 million that you say you have in inventory, are those Islamic humanitarian daily rations? I know you have special meals.

Quigley: They were described to me as "culturally neutral." (Laughter.) So, I'm -- you know, there are religious and ethnic sensitivities, as I'm sure all of you know, in a variety of parts of the world, and they're different. So we crafted the rations to be culturally neutral so that you would not be -- you don't want to try to be helpful and then end up providing food to people who it is against their religion or their cultural beliefs to eat it. So we're -- that's one of those things, I think, that we've learned over the last years.

Q: Just one other clarifying question. You talk about trying to target refugee populations that can actually use the assistance. Are you including refugee populations that have already moved into the border areas inside Pakistan?

Quigley: I don't have that level of detail. I mean that -- that would be something we would work -- we, Department of Defense, would work very closely with State and with non-government organizations to try to figure out the smartest way to do this.

Bob?

Q: Is it fair to say -- just to elaborate a little bit on the ethnically neutral, that what you're talking about is the "vegetarian's delight"? You're talking about a variety of vegetables and grains, period, no meat?

Quigley: I do not believe that there is any meat in there. I think it's largely a rice-based dish that's high in energy, high in protein. And like I say, it's enriched with vitamins and minerals as well. So that a person who is in an already weakened condition, probably, and would be very weakened and more prone to the taking on of disease or something, we'd like to build them up and give them some natural resistance to resist getting sick. And so that's the purpose of those things.

Q: And could I ask one follow-up question, which is, of the various delivery alternatives, is it fair to say that the favored approach is the airdrop approach, at this point in the planning?

Quigley: I don't think we're that far along to say that it's favored. Both have their advantages and disadvantages, and we could do either. And again, it's that trying to figure out the smart way to do that, and we're working with the other agencies to figure that out.

Tom?

Q: Were there lessons learned from the drops in eastern Bosnia? Are you talking basically -- one option is the very same thing you did there? And if so, were there any lessons that you took from that about what works and what doesn't work, et cetera?

Quigley: Well, if you -- I was thinking of going further back even than that and providing assistance to the Kurds in northern Iraq from Operation Provide Comfort in the early 1990s. That was -- again, a lot of people did receive food assistance from that program. But if you look back on it now, from the perspective of 2001, there's some things that we could have done much more efficiently and been more effective, simply more effective in providing more food to more people in a more timely manner.

So there's options of delivery from palletized to dropping from an altitude, and stuff like that, and scattering over an area. And you just have to take the geography that you're faced with at the moment and make your decision in concert with those other agencies, who probably have some recent experience as to what worked well and what didn't work well. And you can avoid stumbling in the early stages and get right to the most efficient way of providing the assistance.

Suzanne?

Q: Craig, can I just follow?

Q: Just to clarify, are you talking about strictly -- from Barbara's question -- people inside Afghanistan, or potentially also those refugee populations that have gone across the border, say even into Iran?

Quigley: I don't know of any that have gone into Iran. I think the focus of the president's announcement this morning was providing the food assistance and humanitarian assistance to refugees inside Afghanistan -- was the focus.

Can I go back with one previous question? There was a question on the Oman-U.K. exercise. It is bilateral, and there is no U.S. involvement in that exercise.

Q: Just to follow --

Quigley: Yes.

Q: There were reports of an ebola-type of virus that's been going around northern Pakistan. Is the United States -- have you sent aid, or is anyone in DoD doing anything to either help them with that or try to protect its own -- any particular troops, U.S. troops that might be going into that area?

Quigley: I had not heard that. Let me take that question, and we'll see what we can find out. [Army Medical Research Institute for Infectious Diseases indicates that World Health Organization has confirmed that the disease is an outbreak of Crimea-Congo Hemorrhagic Fever. This has not been independently confirmed. This is a seasonal occurrence of this fever in this area, not something new.]

Yes.

Q: Thank you, sir. Going back on the food assistance, in the past, most of the U.S. food assistance aid to Afghanistan was used by the Taliban, and they left their people to die. What is the guarantee now that you will keep away Taliban, not following the same thing what they did in the past with their own people?

Quigley: I guess we're very much aware of that. And we'll try our very best to not let that happen again.

Yes, sir.

Q: Yes. When do you think (inaudible) could be airdrops of this food, the supplies start? And the second question, have you started dropping leaflets to explain the U.S. position?

Quigley: I can't give you a time line. We're just not to that point yet in our planning to offer you a time line of when that might start occurring. And I am not aware of any leaflets. I think the focus here is the provision of food. If there would be the necessity for some sort of explanation commingled with the rations as to how to use it and how to open it, if it's difficult, that might be appropriate. I can't say that that's not a part of it. But I don't know of any other leaflets.

Q: I meant in terms of a different operation, of course, a military one, explaining the U.S. position and the campaign and the future -- future campaign.

Quigley: I'm just not going to get into any operational details in that regard.

Tammy?

Q: Craig, about the risks to aircraft that would perform this sort of humanitarian mission. Can you tell us what the major risks there are in that part of the world, in Afghanistan in specific? And also, if the air defense risk necessitates dropping from a much higher altitude, what would the accuracy be like?

Quigley: Well, you're very much sensitive to the weather conditions as to how you deliver that: crosswinds, downwinds, things of that sort. And you would just position yourself to accommodate for the weather conditions. You would simply have to factor that into your planning.

On the first part of your question, on air defenses, that is what makes this a particularly dangerous undertaking, should we choose the airdrop method. And again, you'd have to be smart in your planning. And generally speaking, we know the Taliban have anti-air capabilities. It's not at all clear what the specific capability of their systems is. But as best we could ascertain that through a variety of means, we would plan accordingly and help to plan the altitudes and the flight profiles and things of that sort to try to accomplish both objectives: be able to provide food in meaningful ways to the people of Afghanistan and allow the aircraft to get in and get out in a safe manner.

Q: Would you escort?

Quigley: Yes.

Q: The 2 million figure, is that -- are we willing to commit all of that, or do we have to hold some of the food in reserves in case there are other humanitarian needs that we might be committed to around the world.

Quigley: I don't know the answer to that.

Yes, sir.

Q: Aside from consulting with allies, is any part of Secretary Rumsfeld's mission to reassure governments and maybe even stress the need to stay on board? And secondly, in an exercise like this, in this kind of terrain, does the coming of winter play any role in the planning?

Quigley: Secretary Rumsfeld has described his visit to the four countries that he's visiting as to discuss a variety of issues that are relevant to Operation Enduring Freedom. And I think I'll leave it there.

And the coming of winter is very much an issue in that part of the world. It comes earlier than this part of the United States, let's say as an example. Afghanistan is at a higher elevation, and winter comes much earlier. Say, by the first of November, give or take, it's arrived for real. And it's arrived to stay during that part of the world.

Dale.

Q: And therefore -- how does that figure into any planning?

Quigley: The weather is a factor in the planning of every military operation since forever.

Dale.

Q: Different subject? Secretary Aldridge is quoted this morning suggesting that the department has pretty much made up its mind not to interpose any objection to the competing merger proposals involving Newport News Shipbuilding. Can you tell us that that is the case, and give us a little more than he provided on the department's read?

Quigley: I would read Secretary Aldridge's words from the article that appeared this morning exactly. He is quoted accurately, but there's an inference in the article that his words do not provide. But I will tell you that he is quoted accurately in the article.

Time line --

Q: (Off mike.)

Quigley: I'm sorry, go ahead.

Q: Do Secretary Rumsfeld and Secretary Wolfowitz share his views on this subject?

Quigley: This was an interview that he did, and this is an item that they have discussed, but I don't know the exact answer to your question.

Q: On the aid -- this aid package, since Afghanistan is a landlocked country, it would seem to me that delivering food aid via ship wouldn't really get it in there. So --

Quigley: Well, not directly, no, of course.

Q: So is there another way of getting it in there besides air drops, or am I making --

Quigley: Well, the example I gave, there are options, and the options would be to deliver it to a country with a coast and a port, and from there transport it over land. So there's always more than one way to carry out this mission.

Q: Can we go back on something? You were talking about -- and you, you know, kind of opened the door on the notion that you have to acknowledge the air defense issue if you're going to do food drops, because it's there.

So help us understand the Pentagon's thinking. Are you saying that one option on the table in fact is to -- under the president's direction, to begin humanitarian assistance prior to any consideration of actual military action in the way we might understand that to unfold? Because you're going to deal with the air defense issue as you drop, and that's coming first?

Quigley: It's a time line I can't provide. I'm sorry.

Chris?

Q: Is there any possibility the secretary will add stops to his trip -- say, in other places in Southern Asia?

Quigley: Not currently scheduled. I'll put it that way. Never say never, but not currently scheduled.

Yes, sir?

Q: Could you walk us through his itinerary?

Quigley: I can tell you in a historical sense where he's been. I will not project the last couple days.

Q: Do you know which units are involved in Operation Bright Star -- Exercise Bright Star?

Quigley: It's a large grouping of the units. I believe the aggregate is something like 70,000. I don't have a listing of those. You might want to give Central Command a call. I know it comes under their aegis.

The exercise starts Monday; I know that. We did -- I believe they're making a release on that today, I believe.

Q: They had a release today, but they didn't say which specific U.S. units were involved; it was just sort of --

Quigley: I'm sorry. I don't have that.

Q: (Off mike) -- 70,000 American, either?

Quigley: Oop, no. (Cross talk.) Let me take that. We'll get the numbers.

Q: Going back one more on APEC and the food aid package, if the U.N. or any other nation is playing part in this program, and number two, if anybody's in touch with the Taliban in Pakistan -- I mean ambassador -- if they will allow peacefully food aid for the dying Afghanis inside Afghanistan?

Quigley: I don't know is the answer to both questions. If other countries choose to participate -- and I believe they have, and have been over a period of time -- they would make their intentions known themselves.

Certainly nobody in the Department of Defense has any conversations with the Taliban. I don't know if there's any from other arms of the government.

Tom?

Q: Are the aircraft that you've got available for Enduring Freedom appropriate and adequate for the airdrop operations?

Quigley: If you -- I guess I'm thinking about it in two different ways. Enduring Freedom is very broad by design, but I'm really -- I guess I would look at the provision of humanitarian support as a subset of that, maybe not a direct piece of that. So you may very well find yourself with a very different mix of aircraft, configured very differently, and things of that sort. And you -- the duration of that would not be clear either.

But we would take a look at the needs, and they use the cargo -- heavy cargo-lifting type of aircraft to provide the food supplies that you need in this case.

Q: Do the aircraft that you've got there now include the ones that you would need like that?

Quigley: I won't be specific about the composition.

Q: Craig, would 17s and 141s more likely to be used than big C-5s or small 130s? Would it be 17s --

Quigley: I don't know if we've got to that level of detail yet either. I don't know.

Alex?

Q: Craig, earlier there was a reference to nuclear safety, and it got me to thinking, is the Department of Defense concerned about the safety of Pakistan's nuclear facility? Has it expressed any concerns to Pakistan? And were nuclear issues among the subjects that were discussed when the Indian minister was here this week?

Quigley: I would say in general that we are concerned about nuclear safety issues around the world, but I'm not going to get into the specifics of discussions with other countries.

Q: Not even a readout on the talks with the Indian minister?

Quigley: I will see what I can do.

Q: Is it possible that some of the forces involved in Bright Star would be diverted to Operation Enduring Freedom at the end of the exercise, or is that highly unlikely because it's a training exercise?

Quigley: I can't give you a good answer to that. I'm sorry.

Q: I'm sorry, just to follow up?

Quigley: Yes, sir?

Q: Secretary Rumsfeld, yesterday, I believe, said that he's seen satellite pictures of refugees streaming across the desert. I'm just wondering, is this information that you would share in detail with humanitarian organizations, NGOs? And are these kind of images that would be made available for publication at all?

Quigley: We have in the past shared locating information on concentrations of refugees, because the goal is to provide assistance to those people in the most efficient way. There has historically been a sharing of information. If a non-government organization has already been on the ground in an area of strife and can provide us, and other countries and organizations, that critical, "I'm there; I'm looking at it with my own eyes" sort of information, that's very valuable. And again, it goes back to an earlier question; it allows you to get assistance, whether it's food or medicine or what have you, to the people that need it most in a quick manner.

We have provided -- and the second part of your question, on publicly releasable, we have provided imagery publicly in the past. We're very careful when we do so. And it's a decision that we make each and every time on a case-by-case basis.

Can I go back to the Bright Star question a minute? There are 23,000 U.S. troops; 70,000 total from 10 countries.

Bob?

Q: Secretary Rumsfeld also said yesterday that he had some idea about the whereabouts of Osama bin Laden. Can you elaborate for us? (Laughter.)

Quigley: No, I can't.

Q: Craig?

Quigley: Yeah?

Q: On the question of the airdrop, if U.S. planes encounter hostility from Afghan air defenses, how would that change things in terms of would we then consider ourselves to be at war with the Taliban?

Quigley: We would take appropriate action, should that occur.

Pam?

Q: Is there a precedent for sending in armed escorts with a humanitarian aid flight?

Quigley: I don't recall having done that in the past. I certainly wouldn't rule it out. It's not something we would discuss publicly.

Yes?

Q: Have there been any discussions or actual redeployment that you can discuss from the Balkans that would involve troops that might be becoming involved in Enduring Freedom?

Quigley: Would you ask that again?

Q: Have there been any redeployments of troops that are currently in the Balkans or are scheduled to be going to the Balkans, in light of Enduring Freedom, or any discussions with NATO allies to allow for redeployment?

Quigley: We have not provided information as to the destination or identity of units that have received orders to deploy around the world.

Yes?

Q: What kind of lessons are you -- will you be using what you've learned from your humanitarian operations in Somalia that you would use here?

Quigley: I think you would use them all. I mean, from the various operations that you have -- that we have been a part of over time, it would be something -- you might choose this lesson learned from that operation, and these two from this instance over here. But each and every time, you're going to go back and take a look at the database and what is similar in the circumstances that we confront today, what's different, and pick and choose the lessons there that suit your needs. Again, always, always getting smarter each time you do this, with the goal of trying to more efficiently provide assistance.

Q: For example, can you tell -- all of them?

Quigley: I mean, the Balkans, both Bosnia, Kosovo, northern Iraq, Rwanda, Somalia; sadly, I could go on. I mean, but there's lots of geography types, lots of altitudes, lots of different cultures that have -- that we have provided assistance to over the years.

Dan?

Q: Secretary Wolfowitz said this morning that Secretary White's position as executive agent on the homeland security effort would be a temporary thing. Can you tell us any more about what he'll be doing, how long you expect he'll be doing it, and what uniformed commands he will be using?

Quigley: Sure. I can't give you any estimate at all on the duration. But I will tell you that Secretary White has already set about his task.

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