Secretary Rumsfeld Media Availability after the House Armed Services Committee Testimony
CONGRESSMAN HUNTER: Ladies and gentlemen, we just had a great hearing. I hope you had a chance to watch it, but we've got 62 folks on our committee and the Secretary completed his hearing that he started a couple of days ago, and we covered the waterfront from the warfighting theaters to the future of our aerospace capability and industrial base, and I think had a very thorough view of the department's plans to handle the exigencies of the war against terrorism and at the same time plan for the future.
So we've had a great hearing. Mr. Secretary, why don't we take a few questions here.
SECRETARY RUMSFELD: Fair enough.
CONGRESSMAN HUNTER: Since this lady down here hasn't had a question we're going to start from right to left, and come right on up this way.
Q: [Inaudible] capabilities would be [inaudible] looking at U.S. capabilities that might be [inaudible]. Do you [inaudible]?
SECRETARY RUMSFELD: No, other than to say the obvious, that one of the tasks that we have in a Quadrennial Defense Review is to look out into the future to the extent it's humanly possible and make sure that we're properly balancing near term needs with prospective capabilities that may or may not eventuate in a way that would require us as a country to have invested now to be able to deal with them. So it's a difficult job and we are a Pacific nation as well as an Atlantic nation. We have a wonderful Navy and it's important that we do because of our geographic and geostrategic circumstance.
Q: How are you responding to the suggestion that some --
SECRETARY RUMSFELD: Imperfectly, I'm sure. [Laughter].
Q: [inaudible] Church Report that Admiral Church [inaudible]. [Inaudible] a series of isolated abuse cases [inaudible].
SECRETARY RUMSFELD: We have, I should say I have and General Myers and our team have adopted from the outset of this issue a policy of transparency and full cooperation with Congress, and what we have done is initiated I don't know how many it is -- 10, 12, 15 different investigations. The Schlesinger Panel was an independent group of former Secretaries of Defense of both parties. I had a briefing some days ago from Admiral Church. I've not had a chance to read either the executive summary or his report which is a very lengthy report.
Every time we have seen a scene or some issue, a scene, something that maybe hadn't been addressed by a prior investigation we have initiated an additional investigation. The Church task was to review all of those and attempt to see that we had looked at every conceivable aspect of the problem.
Now the prosecution and final investigation, criminal prosecution in some cases, and adjudication of these issues under the Uniform Code of Military Justice is a process that goes forward at its own pace in its own way and every single time anyone has raised an allegation it's been investigated. That's our policy, and I think that anyone who looks at the hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of people who have been interviewed and the large number of investigations, the numbers of prosecutions, the fact that there are still cases that are still open and will be coming forward in good time, and all I can say is if anything else come sup in the future that would be looked at as well.
Q: Mr. Secretary, [inaudible]?
SECRETARY RUMSFELD: I have not had a chance to review what you're talking about. Sorry.
Q: Well, [inaudible]. Each area [inaudible]?
SECRETARY RUMSFELD: We had a good discussion with the Defense Minister of France today. The subject of the European Union's, I don't know quite how to characterize what they're doing, but they're obviously debating and considering lifting the arms embargo on the People's Republic of China. They've not done that yet but they're in the process of discussing that. That subject did come up. It's a subject that came up with Secretary Rice and the Defense Minister, and it's a subject, of course, that President Bush and President Chirac described in some detail their discussions. I wouldn't have anything to add to what they said.
CONGRESSMAN HUNTER: Let me just say too that the Congress will have a response to a European lifting of the arms embargo. We think it's an unwise move, but it's not going to be without a response from Congress. That will be manifested in legislation. It relates to our relationship with European defense companies.
CONGRESSMAN HUNTER: Did you get the question?
SECRETARY RUMSFELD: I did get the question. My problem is that number one, it's not something I've read, it's not something I've been briefed on. It is a matter that the Department of State deals with from a diplomatic standpoint, and therefore as I indicated to the earlier question, I'm afraid I've responded as fully as I'm currently capable of doing.
Thank you very much, folks.
CONGRESSMAN HUNTER: I appreciate it, folks.