(Pentagon town hall meeting. Also participating were Tom Hall, assistant secretary of defense for reserve affairs, and Air Force Gen. Richard Myers, chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff. A photo from today's town hall meeting can be found on the Web at http://www.defenselink.mil/photos/Aug2003/0308014-F-2828D-009.html.)
Staff: Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome secretary of Defense, the Honorable Donald Rumsfeld, and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Richard Myers.
Rumsfeld: Good morning.
Audience Members: Good morning.
Rumsfeld: It's good to see you all. My goodness, it's a packed house. Look at that. I know that many of you, as others all across the country, are preparing for some vacation, and perhaps some have already gotten a little bit of vacation. I see a few sun tans in the crowd. (Light laughter.) You -- needless to say, I hope you get or have had a well-deserved rest with families and friends.
It's a good time to reflect on what you and your colleagues in this department have accomplished these past two-plus years. It has been remarkable. From the moment the Flight 77 hit the west wall of this building on September 11th, 2001, you and your comrades and colleagues around the world have performed magnificently and in so many ways, including the global war on terror. Our folks have worked long hours and under a great deal of pressure; often, under difficult circumstances -- I guess the temperatures out there have been running 115, 120 pretty regularly -- and often, working so hard to defend the American people against those who seek to harm this country. And there are a number of folks that do seek to harm our country.
The brave men and women in uniform have risked their lives to help liberate two distant nations. They have removed those regimes from power and they have ended the threats they pose to free people. Despite these successes, however, the global war on terror is far from over. It is -- it poses some difficult times ahead for us, as we've seen just in recent weeks and months since the end of major combat operations in Iraq.
However, make no mistake -- we will win this global war on terror. To do so, we're going to need to continue to transform our department, making our forces lighter, more agile. We're going to have to continue to try to create a culture that rewards unconventional thinking and thoughtful risk-taking.
We'll need to find ways to continue to attract the most talented people to the department, both military and civilian. It is encouraging to see that at the present time our recruiting and retention goals for all the services are at or better than the targets.
So we're making good progress on each of these challenges.
In the last two years, we've worked with Congress to pass pay raises for the troops. We're working to ensure that most troops will not have to pay out-of-pocket housing costs by the year 2005.
Today, with advanced technology and skills, our forces can do really even more than they were capable of previously. The successful campaigns in Afghanistan and Iraq took far fewer troops and executed, were executed quicker buildups than earlier conflicts.
Every day, more coalition forces and Iraqis are taking over the police and civil defense duties carried out by American troops, and that's a good thing. In addition, we're continuing to draw down our forces in Bosnia and Kosovo and the Sinai.
We're working to develop a more efficient and predictable deployment and redeployment process. Troops and their families need to have a better idea when they're leaving and when they're coming back. We're looking for ways to improve the way we call up the Guard and the Reserves. Unfortunately, our deployment process, as many of you who were involved in it know, is still rooted somewhat in the Industrial Age. It's like there's a huge lever that is either off or on. It's either peace or World War III, and not much nuance in between. Well, we're going to work on that.
Some regard -- Reserves and guardsmen were called up three or four months before they were needed, to find out they were not needed, and many were given only five days' notice, rather than the goal of 30 days, which really isn't fair to them. And it's not fair to their families or their employers. And that's not right. We need to fix it, and we're in the process of getting it fixed.
We also plan to shift a portion of some skill sets from the Reserves to active-duty forces and vice versa. This way, we will not have to continue to reach into the Guard and Reserves for the same set of skills, resulting in a situation where you call up the same people too frequently. That's not what they signed up for.
Today, I'm told, we have some 300,000 uniform personnel in positions that conceivably could be handled by civilians. Now, we don't know if that's true precisely. That's from some studies that dated back three or four years. But we're in the process of analyzing those studies and determining what numbers of those positions conceivably could be filled by civilians.
The goal, obviously, would be to reduce the stress on the force by having some of those positions that are currently filled by military personnel filled by civil service or contractor personnel. We need to be able to attract talented civilians to come to work for the department, and we're asking Congress to give us some flexibility to establish a promotion system for the civilian workforce that would reward excellence. The men and women in uniform already have a performance-based system. It's worked well for a number of civilians, in addition, in the demonstration projects that have existed now in one case for close to 2 1/2 decades, and the results from those demonstration projects have been good. Also, we have proposed somewhat more flexible rules for the movement of funds in the department to give us the ability to respond to urgent needs as they emerge.
So, we have a good deal of work ahead, there's no question. And we've got the war on terror to pursue and win. And we have a department that we need to continue to work to transform so that the armed forces will be able to meet the challenges that we face and to deter future adversaries from posing new threats to the people of our country.
So I hope you'll get some time off; have a well-deserved rest. You deserve it, there's no question about that. Come back ready and rested, after August, so we can tackle the task of making our department a still more dynamic place of innovation and opportunity, and where we can work to make our country stronger and safer. Please know that I thank each of you for all you do for our country.
General Dick Myers, who's just returned from South and Central America.
Myers: Thank you, Mr. Secretary. Thank you very much, and thank all of you for being here.
What I'd like to do is talk about some of the traveling that we've done this summer. I've had the opportunity to visit 17 different countries, including three where we're actively either engaged in fighting terrorism or helping others fight terrorism, specifically, Afghanistan, Iraq and Colombia. And I can tell you that I was very confident in our ability to win this war, but after visiting our folks in the field, I've got to tell you, my confidence has been bolstered.
First, as the secretary said, I'm absolutely confident we're going to win, that we are winning, this war on terrorism. There should be no doubt about that. And I'm confident that our men and women in uniform, including many great guardsmen and reservists as well as Department of Defense civilians, are an incredible force for peace and for freedom and democracy in the world.
In Afghanistan, I visited a provincial reconstruction team in Gardez. They're providing security, repairing roads, building schools, helping with medical clinics. They're accomplishing remarkable things in an area that has been plagued by poverty and violence for generations. In Iraq and areas patrolled by Iraqi police and coalition soldiers side by side, I saw schools and clinics and banks and stores that were open for business. In Colombia, with our help, counterdrug and counterterrorist operations have radically decreased drug production and kidnappings, and disrupted the narcoterrorists' economic and military power.
In each of these countries and many others I haven't specifically mentioned, our involvement has made a huge difference, whether we're conducting combat operations, civil affairs, training, or logistics support. The bottom line is that when people feel safe, they have hope; and when they have hope, democracy, freedom and peace have a chance and a place to grow.
Conditions are pretty tough. Many people are working in places, as the secretary said, that are very hot, that are dirty and dusty, where hot meals and hot showers are few and far between, and where they face very real danger each and every day. But I think a soldier I talked to in Iraq -- in the heart of where we're having most of our incidents, by the way -- said it best. I said, "This is really tough work." He says, "Yeah, it's tough, but we're soldiers and this is our job." He obviously knew what he was there to do and what his mission was and that the coalition mission would succeed.
When I speak to the public, to non-DoD audiences, I always tell them how proud I am of the professionalism, the dedication, the sacrifice of our soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, Coast Guardsmen and our civilians that they display every day, day in and day out. And the accomplishments I mentioned are proof of that professionalism.
But you're doing something else that I'm just as proud of, something that won't show up in any of the metrics that we typically track; and those things are your character, your values. These are serving as a model for everyone you come in contact with: honesty, integrity, tolerance, respect for human life, and the willingness to go into harm's way to protect those principles. Everywhere U.S. service men and women serve, they spread these values. I see them take hold at the highest levels of government and in the smallest village or military unit, and everywhere in between those two bookends.
In Colombia, we've helped the military learn how to collect intelligence and conduct counterterrorist operations, while at the same time respecting human rights. When we train Iraqi police so they can protect a bank, or a school or a hospital, we not only leave behind a safer community, we also train that police force in ethics, so we pass on values, not just tactics and procedures. In contrast, what terrorists try to do, what they thrive on and live for, is to spread fear, uncertainty, deception, intolerance, and most of all, an absolute disregard for the value of human life.
But I think you all are winning the war of values, as well. And that's why, despite the protests or whatever you may see in the news, you're absolutely trusted throughout the world. That's why Iraqi children flock to American soldiers for candy or a high-five or just a smile. And it's at least part of the reason why over 40 countries have joined the coalition in Iraq and sent troops to be with you.
In my mind, the terrorist threat we face today is the most serious threat in our nation's history, precisely because terrorists are directly targeting those values that are our very foundation. Their weapon of choice is fear, and we counter with courage, the kind of unselfish courage that you show day in and day out. And while we've had some great success against al Qaeda and other terrorist groups, we all know this war is far, far from over.
So, for all our successes, we need to put more focus and more energy towards transforming to defeat this threat, exactly as the secretary said. We need to reexamine how we collect and share intelligence, how we organize our forces, how we interact with other services and government agencies; we need to look at our equipment, our tactics. Everything we do has to be reexamined, and that's why I absolutely agree with the secretary that transformation is so important, even while we have all of these other challenges in front of us. And it's not technology so much, as it is the way we think.
And make no mistake, this transformation business is hard, and everybody in this room, I think, knows it, because you've all been part of it. And the audience out there, wherever they are, probably know it, as well. It's especially hard for an organization that -- with a great sense of tradition and a tremendous record of success. It's hard to do this transformation business, but it's imperative.
So whether you're out in the field or in a staff position, I'm sure you're working very hard; there's no question about that. As I said, I visited many of you here this summer. And I'm sure you and your families have endured many sacrifices, and for that, with the secretary, as he said before, we thank you. But also understand how important you are. While we can't let up or be satisfied with the status quo, we have a lot of work to do. There's just too much at stake.
Rumsfeld: Thanks, Dick.
Before we have questions, I'd like to introduce Assistant Secretary of Defense Tom Hall, assistant secretary for reserve affairs, who I see sitting here. I have a feeling he's here in case we can't handle the tough questions. (Laughter.) And I want you to know, I'm not insulted, I'm grateful that he's -- (Laughter.) -- that he's here. (Chuckles.)
Myers: (Laughs.) Me too!
Rumsfeld: Well, questions.
Q: Mr. Secretary?
Rumsfeld: Yes, sir?
Q: Danny Davis from the Army Operations Center. I have a question in regards to your vision for -- specifically Army transformation, speaking about that. In the first Persian Gulf War, I fought with the 2nd Armored Cav. Regiment, and before we went into battle for the first time, one of the things our leaders told us that gave us the most amount of confidence was, he said, "Fellows, the safest place to be on the battlefield is in an M1 Tank driving straight toward the gun tube of any enemy armored vehicle." And that just gave us the ability and the confidence to attack with reckless abandon because we knew we were going to crush anything we faced. (Laughter.) And in fact we did.
It's been widely reported that as far as this transformation to take care of the obvious necessity for more deployability and lighter armored vehicles to be able to deploy by air, that they're going to sacrifice in the armor protection. And especially for some of my brethren in the armored community, we're a little concerned about that because we want to maintain that ability to continue to attack with the confidence that we know we can still go with fire power and protection, as well as maneuverability to attack the future enemies.
And we just wonder what your vision was to be able to, I guess, have that balance to have more deployable vehicles, but still have the protection for the crew members.
Rumsfeld: Well, thank you. I think you answered your own question when you used the word "balance." The United States is going to have to have the ability to fight armies and navies and air forces of considerable magnitude for sure, and armor is critically important. However, the United States also has to be able to do things other than fight armies, navies and air forces because there we find that the -- most of the armies and navies and air forces of the world recognize the overwhelming capability of the United States and our allies, and as a result, they are dealing with us or addressing us with asymmetric threats that are not heavy tank forces coming across the north German plain, and they're not the kinds of major sea battles that we've seen in prior wars, and they're not the major air battles. Indeed, they're going for points of weakness. They're going to school on how we do things, and they will be attacking us in a variety of different ways, and we have to have the capabilities across that spectrum. And as a result, I begin as I ended (sic): the word "balance" is exactly right.
And the new chief of staff of the Army and the new secretary of the Army, who will be confirmed this fall, Jim Roche and Pete Schoomaker, will have on their desk the issues that have been so important and which General Shinseki and his predecessors have worked on, namely, the future combat system and the question of what the Army should look like in the period ahead. And they've got a lot of fine people working very hard to figure that out.
Q: Thank you.
Rumsfeld: But there will certainly be a role for armor. (Laughter.)
Staff: (Off mike.)
Staff: (Off mike.)
Rumsfeld: Right behind you.
Q: Good morning, Mr. Secretary. My name is Tracy Humphrey. I'm an attorney with Navy OGC (Office of General Counsel). My question is on the civilian personnel side of the house. Part of your transformation package is to replace the Merit System Protection Board appeal right for civilian employees with another internal DoD appeal right for adverse actions.
I am a former agency rep, and I just wanted to find out from you where we are in that process of coming up with that new appeals system. And what, if any, feedback will be garnered from the services as to how that system should come about?
Rumsfeld: Well, here's where we are in the process. We spent about a year, a year and a half, fashioning a set of proposals which are some reforms that are currently up before the Congress. The House of Representatives has passed, oh, I'm going to guess, roughly 80 percent of what we proposed. They passed a very good bill. And it is now in conference with the Senate.
The Senate did not address it directly in the Armed Services Committee. They addressed it in the Government Reform Committee and had then -- are in the process of negotiating with the House over which version should actually be passed.
We -- the Department of Defense overwhelmingly favors the House version, which -- on which there were hearings and a good deal of thought went into it. The Senate version was an amendment, and it is, it is not as helpful to us.
With respect to the appeal process, there will be an appeal process, obviously. And I am sure that David Chu and the others would, in the process of establishing it, if and when the law passes and we see what it is we have to work with, will be engaged in the kind of interaction with the services that you suggest.
Q: Thank you.
Rumsfeld: Let's have a tough one for Dick Myers now. (Laughter.) Question? I can't see. There's one. Yes?
Q: Last week I attended the chairman's lecture series with Dr. Hugh O'Neill, and he mentioned about --
Rumsfeld: With who?
Q: With Dr. Hugh O'Neill, who was talking about transformation. And one of the things he --
Rumsfeld: Who is Dr. Hugh O'Neill? I'm sorry, I don't know.
Myers: He was a lecturer that we invited up. He's one of the professors down at the Business School of North Carolina University, and he specializes in transformation.
Q: But he brought up the point that it's often very hard to change if you have a lot of entrenched people who -- can live through -- administrations. And I'm wondering how you, you know, will keep the change going. How have you set up the network to keep the change going once you and General Myers have moved on?
Rumsfeld: Very -- (Laughter.) --
Myers: Are we going somewhere? (Laughter continuing.)
Rumsfeld: Here's your hat; what's your hurry? (Laughter.)
Now, I serve at the pleasure of the president. Dick Myers, however, was just confirmed for another term, so he's not going anywhere. (Laughter.)
I guess the short answer to how we will do it is, very skillfully -- (Laughter.) -- we hope.
I think it's going to be easier this time. A lot of people thought, when the attack on September 11th occurred, that we had to set the transformation issues aside and forget it because you can't walk and chew gum at the same time. Just quite the contrary is the truth. The global war on terrorism has provided an impetus for the transformation. And more and more, people see it. They understand it. They feel the urgency of changing how we do things and seeing that we continue in a process of transforming ourselves because the world's changing. It's the 21st century, it's not the 20th century, and things are just notably different.
The, probably the single most important thing that will happen by way of assuring that things continue to move after, as you suggest, the departure of Myers and Rumsfeld -- (Laughter.) -- is the people that have been put in place, at all levels. When you appoint a combatant commander, Tom Franks, and he brings in the key component commanders under him, and then they fight a -- the most joint war in the history of the country, where the services were not out trying to keep out of each other's way and deconflicting, but in fact were adding leverage and value and synergy by the fact that they were working so intimately together, those people then become advocates for jointness.
They become -- they're placed -- I mean, you know, the air war leadership was General Moseley. He's going to be vice chief of the Air Force. He's bringing that experience in his head into this department and into the JROC (Joint Requirements Oversight Committee) process and will be a -- you know, in life, unless you are a genius, a Mozart or an Einstein, and you go off into your room and do something brilliant that for decades and centuries people admire, all the rest of us, we do what we do with other people. And that's how we function. We don't go off in a closet and be brilliant. We get up and we work with each other. And it's like putting -- dropping a pebble in the pond and watching the ripples go out. And that's what General Moseley will be doing. He'll be sending out ripples not just in the Air Force, but in the JROC and in this building and in the Air Force throughout the world in a way that will bring in -- right into their heads and their beings what took place out there and why it's important. And he's just one example. There are all kinds of people who have been through that. And they will come to their next assignments with that energy and that conviction and that dedication and that experience. And I just personally think you're going to see ripples and ripples and ripples.
Myers: Can I --
Rumsfeld: You bet.
Myers: Can I chime in and -- just emphasize one thing the secretary talked about, in addition to the people part of it. And it was in my remarks, but I think it's what's helping us right now in our transformation efforts and some of the amazing things that have taken place to date. And that is that if you believe as I do that our society and free societies everywhere have not been threatened like this probably since World War II, that terrorists are going after our fundamental values, that we've got to change and adapt to deal with that threat, and that's a very real threat -- that's what drives me every day, and it better drive you. It better drive you every day to figure out a better way to do business.
And we can't -- we can't surround ourselves with what makes us comfortable, what we grew up with. That's the problem. I've been in this business for 38 years, and I'm comfortable with a certain set of paradigms that I grew up with. But if we allow ourselves to do that, then this enemy, which is, and we found out, very adaptive, we're not going to be able to counter it.
And I think that's going to be another impetus for change that will stay long after the personalities are gone, as well, if people understand -- and I think most of you do -- the true nature of this threat and what it can do to our society. Just think about September 11th and what a ripple that put through our economic well-being, and not only our country, but almost every country in the world. If another attack were to happen of that magnitude, think what that would do. I mean, it's just -- this is a very serious threat to our values. And if we keep that in mind, what we're trying to change to in this new security environment of this century, as the secretary said, then it gives us all impetus to look beyond our own upbringing and our own sets of values that we bring to our current jobs, and we say maybe there's a better way to do it, maybe we need to think about this differently. And I think that will help.
Rumsfeld: Questions? Yes?
Q: Good morning, Mr. Secretary. Lieutenant Commander Harris. I'm with the OPNAV Staff N20. Recently reported there from Defense Intelligence Agency, and before I reported to the DNI Staff, I worked with the Defense Intelligence Agency and worked with Admiral Hall's staff developing the Continuum of Service proposal. I'm wondering what the status is of Continuum of Service proposal, and do you feel that it's going to be a reality, and what are the long-term benefits of Continuum of Service?
Rumsfeld: There he is! (Laughter.) Tom Hall.
Hall: We have briefed the Continuum of Service throughout the department. We have provided copies to members of Congress. They're enthusiastic about it. We have taken the principles of Continuum of Service and are implementing them in the transformation, also in our rebalancing.
So, we have moved from that document to taking the major portions of it. It's gaining wide acceptance, and we're going to integrate those into our future changes, particularly in the rebalancing efforts that we're in right now.
Rumsfeld: Thank you, sir.
Questions? Yes, in the middle, in the back.
Q: Thank you. My name is Specialist Putnam. I'm with Army News Service. And my question --
Rumsfeld: Do you have to look at your card to know your name? (Laughter.)
Q: No! No!
Q: My mind went blank, sir. I'm sorry.
Rumsfeld: I'm just kidding! Come on! That's all right! You go right ahead! You do it any way you want! (Laughter.)
Q: Thank you. My question concerns itself with the opium production in Afghanistan. It's been reported that it's higher than it was before coalition forces entered Afghanistan a couple of years ago. And as a result, the price of heroin is dropping around the world. I was wondering if you could relate to us what the coalition is going to do, and will do in the future to eradicate this dangerous drug from Afghanistan?
Rumsfeld: It's an important question. The opium production in Afghanistan has gone up and down over the years, and you're right, it currently is up from, I guess, three years ago or so. And your question is what's the coalition going to do about it? The United States has offered to help the U.K. As you know, the bulk of the Afghanistan materials go into Europe and Russia, as opposed to the United States. The U.K. has kind of taken the lead, because they have had the greatest concern about it.
And you ask what we're going to do, and the answer is, I don't really know. I think it's an awfully tough problem.
I -- my impression is that in a very real sense it's a demand problem. It's a problem that there are a lot of people who want it, a lot of people with money who will pay for it, a lot of people who steal from others to pay for it, and that you can squeeze it down in one country to zero and you don't change at all at the amount of the product that ends up in Europe or the United States, because it's demand that determines how much is going to get in there. You push it down in one country, and it goes up in another country. You push it down in four countries, and the price goes up because there's a shortage, and the higher the price, the greater the willingness of people to take risk, the greatest -- greater the willingness of people to buy the kinds of things they need to hide what they're doing and to protect them as they transport these materials. And it is a -- it's a vicious cycle.
So I know that the Karzai government's concerned about it. I know the United States government and the other coalition partners are. And I know they've tried various eradication methods, and they've tried to buy crops. They've tried to buy people out from planting crops. And what they find is that the value is high. Therefore, what you have to pay is high, and sometimes people don't stay bought, if you will. You can pay them, and you turn around, and you find that unless you've got some sort of a massive monitoring system, that they -- they're doing it somewhere else, in a neighboring plot. And it is a whale of a tough problem.
And I -- I'm afraid that the ultimate solution for that is going to be on the part of -- is going to be probably found by attacking it in all directions, not just the supply side, but the education and the demand side as well. I wish I had a quicker, better, easier answer, because it's a vicious problem.
Question? Yes, sir?
Q: Good morning, gentlemen. My question will be directed to General Myers. Sir, my name is Major Wagner, from Homeland Defense. As we envision warfighting in the future -- specifically, the transition from combat operations to post-conflict restoration -- what do you believe is the appropriate balance of our national power, diplomatic, economic and military, to be effective in executing the tasks that are now before our brave men and women in Iraq?
Myers: You mean a balance in terms of manpower --
Q: Capabilities, sir --
Q: -- military, economic and diplomatic.
Myers: Well, there are a couple of aspects to it. I think one is -- the secretary touched upon this in his remarks on one of the issues that we have work -- is that in the kind of operation we find ourselves in, in Afghanistan and in Iraq right now, that there's a premium for certain skill sets. And those skill sets -- often civil affairs, in the Reserve component and perhaps not enough in total Reserve or active-duty for the task at hand. So, that's one of the things that's being looked at, at the secretary's request, is to -- that's part of the balance equation. There's also the other piece, is do you have a -- there's a balance between active and Reserve, and also, do you have enough of a given skill set -- MPs, security forces are another example.
There's a bigger issue, though, I think, that you mentioned, and that is if you're going to be successful in these sorts of operations, it may -- we have to harness all elements of our national power and not just our nation's power, but every nation that wants to contribute. And that's a bigger -- it's a bigger issue, and it's how we -- to me, anyway -- and it's how we plan as a government for these operations. And it's not just the Department of Defense plan that counts, it's how that plan is integrated with the State Department and Treasury and FBI and CIA and everybody that has to pull at this harness to get the job done.
We have a very good example of how that worked reasonably well in Plan Colombia. Anybody that's been associated with that -- there was an interagency plan put together, developed with the Colombians, and somebody of fairly high stature put to supervise that on a day-to-day basis here in Washington. That phase one of that plan worked as it was envisioned. So, we have a template out there on how to do that.
As you know, we're trying to do similar things in both Afghanistan and Iraq right now. We're working on a plan for Iraq where we can -- where everybody -- you lay out the tasks that need to be done and who should do them and who's the office that's responsible. So, we can actually do better than we've done, I think, but I think we know what needs to be done. We do have previous templates.
Rumsfeld: Question? Yes.
Q: Good morning, Mr. Secretary. Senior Airman Pilzer (sp) from Air Force Pentagon Comm Agency. I have a question about the outsourcing efforts that are going to happen across the military as far as career sets. What will be the incentives for people to enlist or stay in if their professional opportunities when they separate or retire aren't really there for them?
Rumsfeld: I don't know that I see a direct connection between outsourcing and that question. But for -- let me start, and Dick, you may want to respond.
It seems to me that if you've got the kind of demand -- if you've got an all-volunteer force, which we believe in, and it works -- and we've got wonderful young men and women stepping forward and saying, "I want to do this" -- if you begin with an all-volunteer force and you look at the demands we've got and the costs of the force, we want to make sure that we have the kinds of incentives to attract and retain the people that we see we need over the period ahead. Now, that costs money. And so putting military people into positions that are not military tasks, it strikes me, is not a good use of the military person. They didn't sign up to do that.
And I'll give you just one example. I was -- I don't know if these numbers are right, but they're going to be close. The prison system that the Army operates is costing, per prisoner per year, something, for the sake of argument, between $20,000 and $40,000 per prisoner. It's costing about $14,000 per prisoner for Kansas State to manage their prison system.
Now, I don't think of running a prison as a core competency of the United States military. So the question comes, can we have -- can we outsource, to use the phrase you used, a function like that and have people who are in that business doing it, whether it's a state or whether it's a contractor or whatever? And if you can do it and have significant savings, it seems to me it's a good thing to do.
Now, that's only true of something that is not a core competency of the services. So I would think there would not be the problem that you're thinking of. I would think that when people come in the beginning stages of the armed services, that they would be coming in because there were tasks to be performed that they wanted to perform, and that they would be disappointed to be in one of those non-core- competency activities, rather than be disappointed when that was outsourced because that specialty that they developed wasn't needed by the service. Do you follow that logic train?
Myers: I would only -- and I don't know exactly how this relates to your question, because I'm still thinking about what you were really after there, but clearly, any actions taken to convert military to civilian would take into account the career path flows of those folks that are in the career field. I mean, it would be a career field look at it, not just, you know, a certain set of folks, which -- so if people want to volunteer, they could be assured that there is some path for progress. I think that's another piece of what we'd need to be looking at as we -- as we convert and so forth.
Rumsfeld: Questions? Yes?
Q: Good morning, sir. My name is Lynne Caroe. I'm a Department of Army civilian. I work on the Strategic Planning and Budgeting Domain under the BMMP Program (Business Management Modernization Program). I'm a detailee from the Army. But more importantly, I'm a mother of a brand new Army transportation officer. He's at OBC (Officer Basic Course). And they have concerns about how we protect those supply chains in Iraq and other places, and those lone soldiers who are out on watch, and what can we do to help them with that?
Rumsfeld: Well, tell him hello and we appreciate what he's doing.
I talked to Dick Myers, and Pete Pace and I talked to John -- General Abizaid this morning, the combatant commander for the Central Command, and we talked about that problem, because you're quite right, a number of the individuals who have been killed or wounded in Iraq have been individuals who were not on patrols but were involved in the supply aspects and supporting aspects, and the obvious reasons, because they were seen as easier targets by the people who were out to kill our folks.
And I know that -- I mention that because General Abizaid is attentive to it; he's aware of it, and he is -- he and General Sanchez, who was also on the phone call, are taking steps to address it. They're very sensitive to it.
Q: Thank you, Mr. Secretary, and thank you for having this meeting this morning. I'm Colonel Bob Fishman (sp). I'm a drilling Army reservist, although not today, as we speak. And I'm grateful to be here. One of the issues, I think, that has come before all reservists and their families and employers has been the enhanced OPTEMPO and utilization of Reserves in all the services, and Guardsmen. And I think to the great credit of leadership and the ranks, we have acknowledged the importance of families with a great enhancement of family support programs.
But I fear that we are falling into the comfort zone that the chairman just spoke about in terms of relating to employers. And I'd like to get your comments, if I can, about what we can do to make the value proposition to employers around our country that reservists and guardsmen are the very finest employees they can possibly have.
Rumsfeld: Well, you're right on the mark. And I'm not quite as sanguine as you are about the family support. I think it's very good in the active force. I think it's less effective in the Reserve and the Guard, and that there might be ways we ought to be thinking about improving the family support in the Guard and Reserve.
But you're quite right on the employers. To the extent our system operations in a way that the Army at one point was averaging five days notification, that's just not fair to an employer. And you're correct, I think. It's funny. When I was chief executive officer of a couple of companies -- a pharmaceutical company, electronics company -- and I was reading a resume, I'd always look to see if somebody had served in the military. And why? Because it told me something about him. It just did.
Now they are good employees, and people who are out -- the marketplace, hiring people, ought to be darn proud to have people who have served in the military and who are in the Guard and Reserve working for them.
We have to see that we don't keep calling up the same skill sets, as General Myers said, excessively, because that's not fair to the service person, nor is it fair to the employer, let alone the family. So we're going to rebalance this thing, so that we do a better job.
We also have to find ways to see that we recognize -- I met within the last six weeks with some of the -- oh, I think there are probably 30 or 40 of the top employers in the country who are supporting an effort to see that employers around the nation recognize the contribution they're making and that -- the appreciation the department and the country has for what the employers are doing in making the kinds of opportunities available for Guard and Reserve people to be able to work with them and also to serve their country. So your finger's right on an important point.
Myers: Can I chime in and -- one of the things the secretary has insisted that we all do -- his staff, the Joint Staff, the services -- try to put as much predictability in everybody's life as possible. And it makes a world of difference to somebody on active duty if you can tell your family you're going to be gone on a certain date and you're coming back on a certain time frame. That -- that's very, very useful for all of us; we know that -- even more important, I think, in the Reserve component, when you're dealing not just with yourself and your family, but the employer piece of it.
We have been more or less successful in that, but our goal is -- everybody's very aware of that, and the secretary makes sure that we try to put as much predictability -- an example would be the rotation plan for forces in Iraq. As you probably know, there are a couple of enhanced separate brigades from the Army Guard that are going to be part of that. I don't think they get called up until later this fall. But my guess is -- I'm not for sure on this, but my guess is, they already know who they are. They were picked specifically because they hadn't been called up in the previous five years. And we'll put some predictability -- they'll know when they'll come on active duty. They'll know when they'll go off. And they'll know ahead of time, so they can make those kind of arrangements. And that's -- at least in the short term, that's probably the most important thing we can do. At least that's what I've been told, and that's what I believe, from my experience.
Rumsfeld: Way in the back.
Q: Good morning, Mr. Secretary. My wife's an avid fan of yours. (Laughter.)
Rumsfeld: Give her a hug for me. (Laughter.)
Q: Oh, okay. (Off mike.)
Rumsfeld: I need all the fans I can get. (Laughter.)
Q: My name is Jim Thomas, and I'm a part of your staff. I have kind of two parts.
The first part has to do with the protection of our civil aircraft from MANPADS (man-portable surface-to-air missiles). The news media seems to imply the Department of Defense will be the rescuer of the civil community, because of what we have on our military aircraft. That's part A.
Part B was an article I saw in the -- I think the Times yesterday that talked about constraining the operations of our Special Operations Forces; that a presidential order would, perhaps, have to be in place. Comments, please.
Rumsfeld: Let me answer the second part, and possibly Dick would want to answer the first part.
I checked into that article that was in some newspaper, and at least thus far, I'm told that it's not accurate. That is to say that the -- we do not believe there is a constraint that's operative at the present time. It's complicated, because it involves two senatorial committees, and -- I was not in any of the meetings, and there is nothing in the law that constrains us and -- beyond where we're currently constrained, and obviously, there are constraints, and we live within them, and that's fine. But the implication in the article was that there was some new constraint that would inhibit the special operators from being capable of doing the kinds of things they've been doing in the past. And I'm told in discussions with the Armed Services Committee that that's not the case; that there was some side language in a report in the Intel Committee that suggested that, but the Armed Services Committee seems not to think that's a problem, and I certainly hope that's the case.
And if it's not the case, we would have to have more discussions and figure out how we sort it out, because the -- in the global war on terror and the kind of an environment we're in, the security environment we're in, there is no question but that the Special Operations people have been utilized to a much greater extent than previously and undoubtedly will be prospectively.
(To General Myers.) Do you want to talk about the surface-to-air --
Myers: You bet. The man-portable surface-to-air missile threat to airplanes, civilian airplanes, has been around, as I think most people know, for several decades now. There have been 35 to 40 attempts on various types of aircraft -- some successful, some not successful -- around the world.
Clearly, it's a threat that the DoD worries about it -- worries about. And our main role is getting the intelligence on where these assets are. A good example would be a recent trip. Nicaragua has about 2,000 SA-7s and some later versions of surface-to-air missiles. The president down there has agreed that these will be destroyed. In the meantime, they have been secured in a facility that we have helped with in terms of the technical means of security to make sure they don't fall in the hands of the wrong types of people. And that's sort of the department's role, is to try to scoop these up where we can scoop them up.
There are lots of them, for that matter, in Iraq. And as we go after these arm caches -- that's why getting intelligence on those from the Iraqi people who say, "Here's another arms cache" -- we've found lots of these weapon systems. And it's important we scoop them up so they don't wind up on the black market in the hands of terrorists.
As far as what the commercial fleets can do about it, obviously, I don't know that we've been asked. My guess is if they wanted the technology that we have on some of our military aircraft to defeat this threat, that would be made available. It's widely available technology, although sometimes fairly sophisticated. But to my knowledge, they haven't asked for that at this point.
Rumsfeld: And it's expensive. It would change the economics of commercial flight to some extent in that they'd -- obviously, the ticket prices would go up to support those kinds of capabilities.
I'm told we're over time, so why don't we take one last question right there.
Myers: Please make it a hard one for the secretary. (Laughter.) Very hard.
Q: Sir, I'm Major Ann Stafford (sp), Office of the Chief of Army Reserves. After 9/11, our country embarked on a global war on terrorism. I noticed in the last few weeks the administration is now referring to it as a global war on "terror," which greatly broadens the nature and the scope of the war that we're fighting.
My question is, is from a military standpoint, how do you envision the end state for the global war on terror?
Rumsfeld: Well, I don't draw a distinction -- maybe I should, but I don't draw a distinction between calling it the global war on terror or on terrorism. Maybe I should.
But the purpose of terrorism is to terrorize, and terrorism is effective even without a shot being fired, if in fact the threat of terrorism terrorizes people. And therefore, I don't see much difference between the two phraseologies.
But what's the end state? I guess the end state in the shortest response would be to not be terrorized. That is to say, as Dick Myers says, the American people's values persist and we're able to get up in the morning and go and say what we want, and do what we want, and live where we want, and have those freedoms and not have them infringed upon by fear; not have the state of the world be such, and the state -- the success of enemies be such that we are dramatically inhibited from how we live our lives, how we behave, what we think, what we say, where we go.
We're such a fortunate people with these two oceans and two friends on the north and south, that we've always been able, for the most part, to get up in the morning and walk out a door and not have to look both ways and see if we're going to be killed. And if you live in places like Beirut, when it was under terrorism, and in places elsewhere around the world today, you can't do that.
And so I think the -- what we see going on is a very serious problem. We see people are being drawn into these so-called madrassa schools, the ones that teach the worst things -- there are many madrassa schools that teach fine things, but -- and we ought not to mistake that. But there are a lot of people being brought in to training as a terrorist -- to kill other people. They're not being taught languages, they're not being taught mathematics, they're not being taught how to function in a society or what a civil society is, how to be a doctor or a nurse or a lawyer or a policeman or a fireman, they're being taught how to kill people. And they're being led to believe -- enough people have hijacked these schools and the religion and are trying to pervert it to teach people that they -- for whatever reason, it's their role in life to sacrifice themselves and to kill people who are not like them.
Now, what's the end state? The end state is that there are fewer of those people coming into that process than there are being arrested or captured or killed for doing terrible acts.
And that means that, as successful as we are on the defense side, it seems to me, we have to be even more successful in the battle of ideas, in the war of ideas, if you will; in encouraging the countries where this kind of training is taking place to stop it, to stop the people who are funding it, to stop the people who are encouraging it, to stop the people who are so fearful of it for themselves that they're afraid to do anything about it; to give them courage and to give them heart and encouragement.
The world would be a terrible place if they win. If they're able to so intimidate nation-states around the world that the nation-states become tolerant of the fundraising and tolerant of the teachings of terror and killing, tolerant of allowing them to use their real estate for terrorist training camps and transit, it will change the nature of the world, and -- which is why Dick Myers said what he said. This battle we're in, this war we're in is as important as any other because it is, quite apart from the reality of the fact that it's a war that involved kinetics, it is also a war that involves people's minds and ideas, and that's terribly important.
Have a good rest of August. Nice to see you all. Thank you.
Myers: Thank you.
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