United States Department of Defense United States Department of Defense

News Transcript

Press Operations Bookmark and Share

Transcript


DoD News Briefing - Rear Admiral Craig Quigley, DASD PA

Presenters: Rear Admiral Craig Quigley, DASD PA
November 18, 1999 2:00 PM EDT

RADM. QUIGLEY: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. I have only two announcements this afternoon and I'll take your questions.

The 21st Republic of Korea-U.S. Military Committee meeting will be held here Tuesday morning, November 23rd. General Shelton will host the meeting with his counterpart from the Republic of Korea Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Cho.

That afternoon Secretary Cohen will host the ROK Minister of Defense Cho for the 31st U.S.-Republic of Korea security consultative meeting, or SCM.

The MCM is a high-level annual meeting which addresses the ROK defense capability and bilateral military issues, and the SCM is an annual meeting and is an important opportunity to exchange views on the security situation on the peninsula and the coordination of U.S.-ROK security policies. The two sides will discuss a range of issues, including the combined defense posture, along with a range of other bilateral issues which underscore the cooperation between the two nations.

Secretary Cohen is scheduled to hold here a joint press conference with Minister Cho Tuesday afternoon from 2:40 to 3:00 p.m.

And next there's a bluetopper -- Secretary Cohen is in London today, as I think most of you know, and he is delivering a speech this afternoon -- I believe at 3:30 our time. We have an embargoed bluetopper for you on that subject, if you wish. He will speak on world leadership. And copies of that speech are available in DDI, again embargoed until 3:30 our time this afternoon, which is when he will be actually giving that speech in London.

And with that, I will take your questions.

QAdmiral?

RADM. QUIGLEY: Sir.

QThe European Parliament today approved a resolution calling on the United States and Russia to deactivate their nuclear weapons over the millennium change period, the Y2K period. Can you tell me what the DOD response is to that, and also maybe give us a bit a background on the processes and time line involved in any kind of deactivation and reactivation?

RADM. QUIGLEY: Well, I've not had an opportunity to read the particulars of what you describe. We are taking considerable steps, however, to reassure or to assure both nations of the Y2K preparedness, particularly as per regards to the strategic nuclear forces. As I think most of you understand, we've got a center set up in Colorado Springs, Colorado in which, during the rollover period at the end of December, we will have both U.S. and Russian strategic rocket forces personnel co-standing the watch, if you will, with that being a real-time center of information sharing with the goal being transparency and full shared knowledge by both sides. We think that will go a long way towards assuring the populations of both nations that we're serious about this. You've got the experts immediately on hand and that is definitely the right thing to do, but I'm sorry, I've not read the particulars of the announcement that you refer to, and I would want to do that.

QWell, would some kind of a deactivation process even be feasible? I mean, it's not like turning a switch, is it?

RADM. QUIGLEY: Again, I'm not sure what they meant by that. De-targeting has been in place now for some years. Deactivation -- I would just -- it's their term, and I'd have to understand what they mean, and I haven't done that. I'm sorry.

QTrying to make it so they can't be fired at all.

RADM. QUIGLEY: Again, we think de-targeting was a significant step, in the early 1990s in -- and again, just taking some of the pressure out of the whole system, where you've got the strategic weapons both in Russia and the United States with no targets loaded into their systems. And that is a long way in mutual confidence-building and reassurance, again, to the people of both of those nations.

Jim?

QHas Secretary Cohen forwarded his recommendations on Vieques yet to the president?

RADM. QUIGLEY: No, he has not. The dialogue continues amongst all the parties, but Secretary Cohen has not forwarded his formal recommendations to the president yet. Nor has Secretary Cohen spoken yet with Governor Rosello.

QHas the Navy notified Puerto Rico of its intentions, its beginning exercises --

RADM. QUIGLEY: No. You all were aware of the requirement under the 1983 memorandum of understanding to give 15 days' notice -- 14 or 15 days notice -- to the government of Puerto Rico before any such live fire would take place. We have not done that yet. We will do that at the appropriate time. But our hope is that this dialogue will result in a solution that we can all live with here in the days ahead.

QCould that mean that even if there is a resolution of this issue, that the exercises would be delayed there?

RADM. QUIGLEY: Well, one step at a time, I guess. We've said that the Eisenhower Battle Group intends to get underway for training in early December. And we're hopeful that the dialogue among the parties will have a successful conclusion in the near term here so that in the early part of next month, we can do that.

QThey were supposed to get ready the first week of December, weren't they, so presumably tomorrow would be the deadline to keep with that time?

RADM. QUIGLEY: Yes, as per the math, but we have not made that deadline -- we have not made the notification today. We will notify when the time is right. But this dialogue must continue and, hopefully, be successful to get to a resolution.

QAfter tomorrow, there will be a delay; correct?

RADM. QUIGLEY: I'm sorry?

QAfter tomorrow, there will be a delay if you don't notify Puerto Rico.

RADM. QUIGLEY: Well, we have said the early part of December is when the training would take place. Plus or minus a couple of days is not a critical issue. But we will comply with that notification process when the time is right.

QJust to clarify that --

RADM. QUIGLEY: Just one second. Jamie, you started to ask --

QWell, it's the same subject. But go ahead and clarify. I'll follow.

QWell, you'll notify even if there is no agreement? In other words, you'll go ahead and notify as a precautionary measure or a --

RADM. QUIGLEY: If you go back to the 1983 MOU, there was a procedure there that clearly called for this, but that was more of an automatic, sort of a mechanical process, I'll call it that. If the dialogue results in something in the next several days where it's obvious to all parties that there would be an agreed-upon start date, let's say, then that would obviate the need for the more formal, mechanical, 15-day, 14-day notification. But that's all part of this ongoing dialogue.

QThere's been some discussion of substituting inert munitions for live fire exercises. Could that be an acceptable compromise, or would that be a problem for the Navy, that's on the record as saying that there's no substitute for live fire exercises?

RADM. QUIGLEY: Jamie, all I can tell you on that is that's all part of the dialogue that's going amongst all parties. I don't know how much further I can take you on that because it's a very fluid thing.

QIf, for some reason, this were to drag out for a substantial period of time, are there any alternatives for providing training to the U.S.S. Eisenhower? For instance, is there any possibility of training in theater or some other sort of one-time place where they might be able to do the kind of training they can't do at Vieques?

RADM. QUIGLEY: Well, we would hope that that would simply not be the case, and we would not -- we're more hopeful than that that the dialogue will result in something that all parties can live with.

Elizabeth?

QIf Secretary Cohen hasn't been talking to the governor of Puerto Rico, has he been talking to the president? How is he part of this dialogue?

RADM. QUIGLEY: He is indeed a part of the dialogue. He has had conversations with the president on that, I think starting on Veterans Day, the 11th of November. And all the parties have continued to speak with each other on this issue over the last few days.

Jim?

QHas Cohen actually spoken with Rossello?

RADM. QUIGLEY: He has not. He has not.

QWhy has it taken him so long to sit down or even to talk to Rossello on the telephone about this? I mean, it's been weeks now since he said that he wanted to do that.

RADM. QUIGLEY: Well, I think a little over a week. And he's been on the road down to South America and now over to the U.K. during this time, and fully occupied doing other things. This is important; that's important too. You try to do the best you can with the time you have available to you.

QIsn't it true that Puerto Ricans have rejected inert bombs for Vieques?

RADM. QUIGLEY: Well, I did read that coming out of Puerto Rican media reporting from the governor's press conference, I think two days ago, three days ago. I will accept the accuracy of those media reports, but -- I will have to. Those are his words.

Barbara?

QHow does the military -- how does the uniform military feel about the fact that so far, after all of these weeks, neither the secretary of Defense nor the president has come out publicly in favor of the military position on this matter?

RADM. QUIGLEY: I think the uniform military completely understands that this is a difficult process, and making pronouncements and demonstrative statements and pounding your fist on the table is not the way to go. There is an appreciation that this is a difficult process, and I think the uniform military is supportive of the difficulty and fully understands that difficulty. Very interested in the outcome, of course. But this is a tough one, and it's hard work by all the parties concerned. Hopefully we're all headed toward the same place.

QWhen you say headed for the same place, does it remain the goal of the administration to get a resumption of live-fire exercises on Vieques in order to provide the sailors and Marines with the kind of training they need before they go into a combat situation?

RADM. QUIGLEY: That is the very subject of the dialogue that is ongoing now, Jamie.

QAnd just to clarify, if the Eisenhower battle group does not get to do this exercise there as part of its work-up, what will the state of its readiness be when it crosses the Atlantic?

RADM. QUIGLEY: We are simply hopeful that it will not have to come to that, John, and that the dialogue will be successful, would allow us to come to an agreement in the days ahead that would allow all parties to go away from this in a satisfactory manner.

QWould it be -- (inaudible)?

RADM. QUIGLEY: I don't know.

Barbara?

QTo follow up on Jamie's question, if it's a matter of a subject of a dialogue about whether or not your position is still live fire; if that is under discussion, then are we not logically to conclude that that is no longer the firm position, that you are willing stop short? I mean, you either have that position, or you don't?

RADM. QUIGLEY: I would not characterize it the way that you have. When you enter into an earnest dialogue amongst various parties, there is nothing that is exempt from discussion.

And that is where we find ourselves today. You don't set absolutes. You say, "Hey, we need to talk about this in a sincere and an honest manner with each other."

And the dialogue is far-ranging indeed. I would not attempt to characterize it in specifics. But that is the very nature of the dialogue that's been ongoing with the Puerto Rican government, the White House, the Pentagon.

QIf nothing "is exempt from discussion," that is substantively different than the Navy position, which is live fire?

RADM. QUIGLEY: Well, you have the Pace-Fallon report that says one thing; you have the Rush panel report that says another. Those are all the sincere works of intelligent caring people that did their very best job.

Secretary Cohen is fully aware of the contents of both of those products, but he has not yet formally presented to the president his views in that regard.

(Inaudible.)

Q (Inaudible) -- when is he going to do it?

RADM. QUIGLEY: We expect and hope that it would be soon, but I can't put a timetable on it for you.

Q (Inaudible.)

Q (Inaudible) -- the hurricane brushed by Puerto Rico, but it was on the Rosie Roads and Vieques side. Is there any reported damage to any of the naval facilities from the hurricane?

RADM. QUIGLEY: I don't know. I will take that. We should by now have a fairly good description, I would think, of what damage there may have been to that area. We'll check.

QThe uniformed Navy leadership is on record as saying that they need to have live-fire exercises in order to have adequate readiness. Is any pressure being put on Navy leaders, from the administration or the civilian leadership at the Pentagon, to change that position because of the inability to negotiate that outcome in Vieques?

RADM. QUIGLEY: I can't characterize the discussions that are going on within the government, Jamie. I'm sorry. There are many of them, but I can't characterize them for you.

QWell, what are we going to think when the Navy comes out and says they suddenly don't need live fire anymore, after months of saying that they did?

RADM. QUIGLEY: I don't know that they will say such a thing.

Yes?

QA question on the across-the-board budget cut, which the administration and Congress have now agreed on, I guess, which is going to be about .3 percent. Do you know if you have received any direction from OMB on how that's going to be carried out?

RADM. QUIGLEY: No, not yet. We've been following the reports very carefully. I think it's .38 (percent) or something in that regard. But we have not had the time to go through the detailed checking that we would need to.

We are pleased, however, to see that the personnel account, in its current form -- now this has not been signed -- but that specifically was exempt from the across-the-board -- I think it's .38 percent -- cut. And we think that's great because that has a very positive -- sends a very positive message to our men and women in uniform.

But beyond that, the thorough analysis that needs to be done as to the impact -- we are not there yet.

QAs a general rule, does the OSD tell the services, "It is your responsibility to find this money in your budget, cut it"? Or does the OSD send them directions, saying, "The money will come from these accounts," and do that?

RADM. QUIGLEY: I don't think that there's a standard answer to that question. Sometimes you'll find very specific legislative language once it's signed into law, and there will be very specific guidance in its public law, and you do whatever that language directs you to do. Other times it's different. So, again, we're going to have to take a look at the final version of this thing, once it's signed into law, to see what specifically is included there. But it really does vary year to year.

QThe last thing -- I'm sorry. Congressional add-ons are not exempt. Those can be eliminated from the budget. As I understand now, that was something that was negotiated late, that originally anything, you know, Congress had plussed up they, I guess, didn't want eliminated. You can -- the services could go in and eliminate that money that was added to the budget by Congress, that they had not requested?

RADM. QUIGLEY: I can't answer that one either. I'm sorry. We're just going to have to wait for the final language and see what it says.

QAny additional --

RADM. QUIGLEY: It can be a lengthy process to go through the fairly specific and detailed language within the law, and it is not yet signed into law. So we're going to really have to wait and see what it says and do the right thing.

John?

QAny additional close calls over Iraq for American pilots?

RADM. QUIGLEY: No, sir.

Jamie?

QI noted yesterday the Pentagon made an announcement about a proposed sale of JDAM conversion kits to Israel. Can you tell us what other U.S. allies are in line to get this latest state-of-the-art weapon?

RADM. QUIGLEY: Ooh. I'd have to go back to our blue-toppers announcing intended FMS sales. I know we were very happy with the performance of JDAM. So I'm not sure. We would never discuss what negotiations are ongoing, but not yet completed with other nations.

QI guess what I'm asking is, as you alluded to, the JDAM performed quite successfully during the NATO conflict.

RADM. QUIGLEY: We're very happy with that.

QIt's a capability that none, for instance, of our NATO allies have at the moment. I'm just asking, is -- now that I've seen that they announced the first sale of them to Israel, I'm just wondering if other NATO allies are lined up to buy these things as well?

RADM. QUIGLEY: I can't characterize it for you that way. That's typically not what you see on any weapon system as you look across the family of nations and our various friends around the globe. But I can't give you a sense of how many there may be with whom we'd be talking about the possible sale of JDAM. That's something we announce only when it's completed.

QIs the Pentagon looking at JDAM as a possible bridge or stopgap to the European or NATO lag behind on precision weapons?

RADM. QUIGLEY: No, not precisely so. The United States, and other nations as well, build systems, whether they be weapons or sensors or planes or what have you, to fill not only alliance requirements but also their own national needs. The United States military, in this case, felt that JDAM was the right system for its use, and clearly the Israelis feel the same way in this particular case. Other nations may feel that way and would approach the United States individually and there'd be discussions with those nations over time. But it's a little bit of both.

Barbara?

QBut as a matter of Defense export policy of keeping a relative balance of power in the Persian Gulf, does this now not open the door for the export of JDAM to Saudi Arabia?

RADM. QUIGLEY: Not -- I wouldn't call that a necessity in this case. An individual system must not be matched by individual system. There is an enthusiasm for keeping a rough balance or parity of military capability in that part of the world, but you can do that via different means. It doesn't have to be system-to-system, equal numbers, exactly the same.

QSo how will you offset this relative advantage that Israel will now have by having this advanced weapon?

RADM. QUIGLEY: I would say that that would not necessarily be something as an objective that the United States would set out to do. If countries would approach the United States with interest in buying that system, we would discuss that with them as we would any other system with any other friend around the globe. It's really treated individually.

QWill you take the question of whether or not Saudi Arabia has approached the United States and asked for JDAM exports?

RADM. QUIGLEY: No, I won't.

Q (Off mike.)

RADM. QUIGLEY: We will not talk about the not-yet-completed transactions with other countries around the world. There's a very specific process for this, and ultimately the Congress is notified --

Q (Off mike.)

RADM. QUIGLEY: -- and things of that sort.

QWill you take the question of whether they have requested and you have rejected a request?

RADM. QUIGLEY: Yes.

QThank you.

QYou do talk about pending weapons sales all the time. I mean, you have a pending weapons sale to the UAE which you talk about; F-16s. You have -- I mean, why would this be any different than -- (inaudible due to cross talk)?

RADM. QUIGLEY: Well, I think that the one that you note there, John, the F-16s to UAE, has been discussed openly by the authorities within the UAE. It's a little disingenuous to not acknowledge that, certainly. But many countries wish, particularly in the early stages of their discussions with the United States for various systems, to not have that be a matter of public record and we will honor that request.

Pat?

QCan you explain how introducing JDAM into this region doesn't upset the relative balance of --

RADM. QUIGLEY: Well, that's -- that's a good question, but it's a complex one to answer. For starters, there's a variety of issues and topics that need to be addressed on each and every foreign military sale. There's an affordability issue, there's a balance of power issue, there's an assessment of alliance requirements and alliance rules with bilateral, multilateral relationships. It's just a variety of factors go into that decisionmaking process each and every time. You then take a look at just what is this technology that's involved in this particular system that we're talking about here? What will be its impact in that nation's military? What will be that system's impact in the region's militaries? And you come to a different conclusion each and every time based on those many variables thrown into the equation. Ultimately, we try to do the best we can to satisfy the needs of our friends and allies around the world, but the needs of the United States' security always must come first. And so that's a very complex equation.

Otto?

QGiven a JDAM capability requires more than just a strap-on package for the bombs, you know, there has to be a cockpit -- you know, an avionics interface, are we also selling that to Israel?

RADM. QUIGLEY: Well, very few weapons systems today come with a simple thing to put under your wing or bolt onto your ship, or what have you. You're talking about spares, re-work agreements, fire control systems, perhaps radars, software upgrades, hardware upgrades over time. So yes, none of them are taken in isolation, they are all packages that have many parts.

QWill you take two other questions? Will you take the question of what countries you have already exported JDAM to, if any?

RADM. QUIGLEY: Yes.

QAnd what countries are cleared by the Pentagon for receiving JDAM exports, irrespective of whether they've requested it, which countries have been approved for export of JDAM?

RADM. QUIGLEY: Definitely on the first one, Barbara. I'll try on the second.

Jamie?

QJust another question. The Central Intelligence Agency has declassified some reports on the Soviet military from the last three years before the Soviet military collapsed. One of the reports said that the Soviet Union had enough intercontinental ballistic missile nuclear warheads to attack all U.S. missile silos and launch control centers with at least two warheads each. Do you know if they actually -- it says here that they had enough in number. Do you know -- do we know if during that time in history they actually targeted -- is that how those missiles were targeted; do we know?

RADM. QUIGLEY: I have not read this one either, Jamie. I'm sorry. I'd have to --

Q (Off mike.)

RADM. QUIGLEY: What period of time are we talking about?

QThis report was dated 1988.

RADM. QUIGLEY: Eighty-eight. Okay.

QAnd it was one of a batch of 24 reports declassified by the CIA and just released. I just thought maybe you -- I'm sorry I didn't prepare you for this one.

RADM. QUIGLEY: I'm sorry, Jamie. I'm weak on my 1988 history today. I'm sorry.

QYou and me both.

QThe two Chos are different people?

RADM. QUIGLEY: Yes. Yes. And it's not uncommon in Korea to have a common last name. Different first name, no relationship, familial relationship.

Jim?

QGetting back to Korea for a moment, we went over Agent Orange extensively in the last briefing, but one thing that wasn't addressed in the briefing that seems to be coming up in the South Korean press a lot. It's their impression that the United States ordered, demanded, pushed for use of Agent Orange. What's the U.S. position?

RADM. QUIGLEY: I'm glad you brought that up. If I was -- this was addressed by me two days ago from here. And I either need to clarify or correct myself and say that U.S. Forces Korea made the recommendation -- okay? -- to the Korean government that this be one method of this ongoing defoliation project. There were several considered, and several used, as a matter of fact, including burning, I think plowing, dragging, cutting and the use of defoliants. But this was not something that was -- the idea did not originate with the Korean government, it originated with us, with U.S. Forces Korea, made that recommendation as one system that could accomplish at least part of the mission of this foliage clearing. The Koreans accepted that up through the various levels of their government.

And then I think I got it right from that point on two days ago. But if I was fuzzy in that regard -- I read the piece, I think it was the Korea Herald that ran a piece this morning that was very thorough, and that is indeed the case.

QSo the U.S. position is, then, not that the U.S. government ordered or demanded or required.

RADM. QUIGLEY: No, but it --

QBut it suggested.

RADM. QUIGLEY: -- we initiated this, and we said: Hey, here is a system that we recommend you use. And we weren't in a position to demand, but this was something that we did indeed initiate, and it was considered up through the Korean military, the Korean government, and approved. And for a short time, I believe two years, it was used.

QAnd the termination was because of Korean funding?

RADM. QUIGLEY: Yes.

QSo this went on for two years.

RADM. QUIGLEY: Yes, I believe so. There were some figures in the Korea Herald piece this morning that gave two other agents that were used, defoliants, with specific quantities of them. And I mentioned two days ago that our records in this regard were sometimes spotty. A good example right here. Our records show that those other two agents were indeed a part of the mix, but we don't have the quantities in the records that we've been able to discover so far. So I have no reason to dispute the quantities that are shown there in that Korea Herald piece.

Dale?

QJust one other thing about Vieques. I'm sorry to prolong this. You said a minute ago that the secretary had not spoken to Governor Rossello. Is that simply a matter that the secretary hasn't had a chance to contact him, or with other matters, or has he tried to contact him and been rebuffed or --

RADM. QUIGLEY: No.

Q-- unable to get through to him or --

RADM. QUIGLEY: No. He has not -- that process has not started because he's been out of the country and, like I say, fully engaged in a variety of nations.

Jim?

QWith the president speaking to Governor Rossello, is the Defense Department irrelevant in this discussion?

RADM. QUIGLEY: Oh, no, not at all. I mean, this has been a very orderly process, and the president is fully aware of the contents of the Pace-Fallon report and of the Rush panel's report and has discussed it verbally with Secretary Cohen. But Secretary Cohen has not sent him the final recommendation in that regard. But I would not agree with your characterization.

QAnd he hasn't sent it because he wants to come to some kind of agreeable resolution before --

RADM. QUIGLEY: That is the goal.

QThank you.

THIS TRANSCRIPT WAS PREPARED BY THE FEDERAL NEWS SERVICE, INC., WASHINGTON DC. FEDERAL NEWS SERVICE IS A PRIVATE COMPANY. FOR OTHER DEFENSE RELATED TRANSCRIPTS NOT AVAILABLE THROUGH THIS SITE, CONTACT FEDERAL NEWS SERVICE AT (202) 347-1400.

Additional Links

Stay Connected