(Special briefing on the 2002 Unified Command Plan. Also participating: Gen. Richard Myers, chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff; Dr. Stephen A. Cambone, principal deputy under secretary of defense for Policy; and Lt. Gen. George W. Casey, director, Strategic Plans and Policy, Joint Chiefs of Staff. The briefing slides are available at http://www.defenselink.mil/news/Apr2002/g020417-D-6570.html.)
Rumsfeld: Good morning. Chairman Myers and I are pleased to announce the 2002 Unified Command Plan, which realigns and streamlines the U.S. military structure to better address 21st century threats. The plan we announce today is undoubtedly the most significant reform of our nation's military command structure since the first command plan was issued shortly after World War II. Chairman Myers and his staff and the OSD staff are certainly to be commended for their work on this plan.
In 1946, the United States faced the challenges and dangers of a new and unexpected era. The first UCP addressed those issues. Today our country faces an era of the unexpected. We're involved in a war unlike any that our country has ever experienced. We must be ready to win today's global war on terror, but at the same time prepare for other surprises and uncertainties that we will most certainly face in the 21st century.
The men and women in uniform quickly, skillfully and successfully responded to the brutal attack on September 11th. The spread of weapons of increasing range and power into the hands of the world's most irresponsible regimes threatens to create dangers and instabilities around the globe and we, as a country, have to be ready to defend against, and where possible, prevent even worse attacks in the days ahead. The 2002 Unified Command Plan is fashioned to help do that. It has some historic firsts. This is the first time that the continental United States will be assigned a commander for the Northern Command, or NorthCom, as we'll undoubtedly call it. The new commander will be responsible for land, aerospace and sea defenses of the United States. He will command U.S. forces that operate within the U.S. in support of civil authorities.
Pending the necessary studies, which are required by law and appropriate for such a decision, the preferred alternative for the Northern Command Headquarters is to be Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado. As you know, the command is scheduled to begin operating on October 1st of this year.
NorthCom will help the department better deal with natural disasters, attacks on U.S. soil, or other civil difficulties. It will provide for a more coordinated military support to civil authorities such as the FBI, FEMA, and state and local governments.
Some, in the past, have worried that creation of a command that covered the United States of America could be inward-looking. Nothing could be further from the truth. The creation of NorthCom means that we now have a command assigned to defend the American people where they live and work, and it will be functioning in a supporting role to civil authorities as occasions arise. NorthCom complements the other nine regional and functional commands dedicated to defending the United States and our interests abroad, as well as our allies and friends.
Under the UCP, the Joint Forces Command will no longer have responsibilities for homeland defense. NorthCom will take up those responsibilities, leaving the Joint Forces Command free to focus on its exceedingly important mission to help transform our military, including experimentation; innovation; improving interoperability; reviewing, validating and writing joint doctrines; preparing battle-ready joint forces and coordinating joint training simulations and modeling.
Another change is that, for the first time, the United States commanders will be assigned responsibility for contingency response and security cooperation in every part of the world -- that is to say, land and sea. Similarly, the responsibilities of the commander of the European Command will now include Russia, which had not previously been the case. He will be responsible for such things as security cooperation with Russia and nations in the Caspian Sea region and other countries in that part of the world.
The UCP reflects the new defense strategy that was outlined in the Quadrennial Defense Review last year. The QDR's goal was to preserve our security while preparing for the inevitability of uncertainty and surprise. And we recognize that that is, indeed, our future. The highest priority of our military is to defend the United States. To do so, the military must sustain its forward commitments to allies and partners, and to meet emergency challenges the United States military must transform. The changes made to the Unified Command Plan will help us to defend, to transform and to stand solidly with our allies and our friends across the globe.
After General Myers' remarks, we will be happy to respond to questions, and then we have asked Dr. Steve Cambone and (Lieutenant) General George Casey of the Joint Staff to respond to additional -- come up and respond to additional questions, which I am sure there will be. It's an important document, and we want to provide as much information as we can to you.
Myers: Thank you, Mr. Secretary, and good afternoon.
The Unified Command Plan or UCP establishes, as the secretary said, the missions and responsibilities of each combatant command within the United States armed forces. It's important to just note here that it only applies to the U.S. armed forces, to no other armed forces.
And as the chairman, I'm required by law to review the UCP at least every two years and recommend to the president, through the secretary of Defense, any changes that we feel will better serve the nation as we carry out our military efforts worldwide. And I concur with the secretary; the two staffs here, the Office of the Secretary of Defense staff and the Joint Staff, as well as our Unified Command staffs, have done a good job in putting together these changes.
This 2002 Unified Command Plan basically does three things. First, it takes the various homeland security missions being performed by various combatant commanders and some agencies and puts them under one commander, and so we bring unity and focus to the mission. Second, it will continue to advance our transformation efforts. And third, it prepares us for the future by assigning every area of the globe to a combatant commander's area of responsibility, thereby streamlining and facilitating our military relationships with respect to all nations.
The following changes will take effect on October 1st.
As the secretary said, we're going to create a new combatant command, U.S. Northern Command, and assign it the mission of defending North America and supporting the military's responsibilities to civil authorities.
The commander of Northern Command will also be the commander of North American Aerospace Defense Command, or NORAD. NORAD's missions to deter, detect, and defend against air and space threats to North America will not change.
U.S. NorthCom's geographic area will include, as the secretary said, the continental United States, Alaska, Canada, and Mexico, portions of the Caribbean, and the contiguous waters out -- in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, out to a minimum of 500 miles, so they can defend in depth.
No new missions or roles are being created here for the Department of Defense in creation of this new command. It basically does three things. It takes the NORAD mission. It combines it with the Joint Task Force for Civil Support that currently resides in Joint Forces Command, that is responsible to civil authorities for chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, major conventional explosives events. It takes that and moves it under Northern Command. And it's looking at potentially the relationship it might have with Department of Defense support to natural disasters -- hurricanes, floods, and fires.
Next, U.S. Joint Forces Command will transfer its geographic area of responsibility to the Northern and European commands. Joint Forces Command will then change from being a combatant command with geographic and functional responsibilities to a functional combatant command to carry out, as the secretary said, the critical missions of transformation, joint experimentation, and joint training.
We think these changes recognize the need to have someone bring a laser focus on transformation and experimentation. If we are to remain engaged in the world and defend our homeland, we must continue to adapt to the rapidly changing security environment. Having a command like Joint Forces Command, with an eye on the future, will allow us to rapidly integrate new ideas and concepts into our forces, into our doctrine and our strategy, and our tactics, and it will help keep the edge we need to quickly adapt to the uncertainties that lie ahead.
European Command will increase its geographic area of responsibility. EUCOM will now include the remainder of the Atlantic Ocean area from 500 miles off the U.S. East Coast all the way to the shores of the European continent. And additionally, as the secretary said, EUCOM will pick up primary responsibility for Russia. Previously, Russia was not assigned and most efforts with Russia were handled out of the Pentagon. Russia's new status will give them the best of both worlds; they will have a command close by geographically that can deal with our military-to-military relationship on a daily basis and still maintain the dialogue with Washington. This change allows for more cooperation and coordination between our militaries. I also think it is one more signal that our post-Cold War relationship is improving. I should also note that Pacific Command will assist EUCOM in work issues with Russia that deal with their Far East Military District.
Central Command will not change its geographic area, nor will Southern Command, except in those areas of the Caribbean that will shift to Northern Command. At the current time, none of the functional combatant commands will change any responsibilities. Space Command, Strategic Command, Transportation Command and Special Operations Command will all remain as designated in previous UCPs. We are, however, looking at and into the possible merger of Space Command and Strategic Command, and a study of this idea is underway and those results will be brought to the secretary later this year.
Finally, I think September the 11th showed us the threats we face today -- in today's world are extremely complex and require changes in the way our military thinks and reacts. The changes reflected in this Unified Command Plan I think we believe go a long way into preparing us for the future, and I believe they constitute a very major change.
And with that, we'll take your questions.
Q: Mr. Secretary, could you first address the reports today that some in the government have come to the conclusion that bin Laden was present in Tora Bora at the time of the battle there in early December, that he got away, and that this represented a failure by General Franks not to take the initiative.
Rumsfeld: Well, first, I know -- I knew of, nor do I know today of any evidence that we -- he was in Tora Bora at the time, or that he left Tora Bora at the time, or even where he is today. We have seen repeated speculation about his possible location, but it has obviously not been verifiable. Had it been verifiable, one would have thought that someone might have done something about it. So that issue, it seems to me, is speculation. And I don't doubt for a minute that there are people who will speculate about a lot of things, and may even believe their speculation. But in terms of any solid evidence, there wasn't any, there isn't now.
Q: And they're supported by remarks made by detainees who have been interrogated about what took place at that time?
Rumsfeld: Not to my knowledge, although I don't doubt that that's the case. We have had three or four, five different stories from the same detainees in any number of instances. They change their stories frequently. It is entirely possible that that is the case, that he was there. And I would not suggest that he might not have been, or that he might not have left. He could still be there. But it's the -- there wasn't any evidence that we had then that would give us a high degree of certainty about it.
Now, that being the case, it seems to me that it is entirely possible that we will find from detainees information that we did not know and may not have been knowable at the -- with respect to events that occurred weeks and months ago.
Q: What about the assertion that the U.S. should have put more conventional forces, or more forces period, into Tora Bora, because as you say, there was fairly authoritative speculation, there were a lot of indicators that he could have been there, were there not?
Rumsfeld: Were there any more indicators that he was there or could have been in some other location? I can't recall that that's the case. We literally see speculation about his location and rumors on a regular basis.
Q: Mr. Secretary --
Rumsfeld: Everyone who watches the intel knows that that is the case.
Q: The assertion was that this was the worst failure of the Afghan campaign. Can you address that assertion?
Rumsfeld: Well, first of all, who made the assertion?
Q: Well, Mr. Secretary, there are senior members of the military in this building who believe that the U.S. blew the opportunity to get bin Laden at that point. And the argument is that whether or not you knew for certain he was there or thought he might be there, that there was an over-reliance on our Afghan allies, and that an introduction of a large number of U.S. troops, so the theory goes, at that point might have increased dramatically the chances of getting bin Laden if he were there. Can you address this story?
Rumsfeld: Okay, sure. Let me talk about it, and then maybe, Dick, you'd like to comment on it.
First of all, what we're dealing with is several anonymous people, apparently.
Q: Well, they're anonymous to you, but we know who they are.
Rumsfeld: Good. (Soft laughter.) That's nice. And I'm sure they know who they are.
Q: They know. (Soft laughter.)
Rumsfeld: Yes. That's helpful when you get in the morning -- to know that.
The -- you've got people speculating -- I don't think there's ever been a battle or a war or a conflict where there haven't been people sitting around in Washington, D.C., or out of the zone, opining on how it was being done. Is that useful? Well, sure; sometimes it is. Sometimes we -- I hope we learn every day, and I hope that all of us learn every day. Does it mean that because some anonymous person is musing that they think this was an error on the part of somebody? Is that possible that they're saying that? Yes, it is possible. Is it true that that's been the case in every single battle in every single war that I've ever heard of? Of course it's true. And --
Q: (Off mike) -- just armchair quarterbacking --
Rumsfeld: What would you call it?
Q: -- second-guessing, or is it an indication that, in fact, in retrospect, probably a mistake in judgment was made about how to approach this problem?
Rumsfeld: Well, let's use -- go to the word you used, "over-reliance" on Afghan forces. We have to begin with the facts, and the first fact is, if you're not doing something, yourself, somebody else might do it imperfectly or in a manner that might be slightly different than you would do it. We all know that's the case. We made a conscious decision, the United States government, that there were organized Afghan forces on the ground that could be helpful to us. Did we think they would function exactly the way United States armed services organized units would function? No. We knew they would function differently. And we said to ourselves, "Okay, on balance, how do we feel about that?" And the answer was, "Well, we feel pretty good about it. Let's go ahead and use them."
And how did it work out, all in all? Well, not bad! The Taliban is gone. The al Qaeda are on the run. It was done with a -- the rather, I would say, effective use of Afghan forces; I would say rather effective use of coalition forces, and all in all, it seemed to happen rather rapidly and rather successfully.
Now is it possible to say that in the totality of everything that took place, there were some things that in retrospect somebody might do differently? The answer is yes. There are always are going to be things someone might do differently. Is one of those going to stand out above others? And the answer is: Well, probably. People could sit down and give a weight to them and say, "Gee, this might have been different. That might have been different. And of all of those, this is one that I would elevate as being" -- and I forget how you phrased it -- "the most serious mistake" or something -- error -- "in the campaign."
My view of the whole thing is that until the lessons learned are known and have been developed -- they're still being worked on -- I wouldn't be able to answer a question like that. And it impresses me that others can, from their pinnacles of relatively modest knowledge. (Laughter, cross talk.)
Q: Mr. Secretary --
Q: General --
Rumsfeld: Just a minute. Just a minute. I haven't finished. I'm just getting warmed up. (Laughter.)
Q: That's what we were afraid of!
Myers: Want me to hold your jacket?
And I think we're going to keep learning more as we go along. But I really think that while it really doesn't bother me at all that people make that kind of speculation, and it is -- it is, however -- it has to be put into balance with what actually has taken place. And what has taken place has been, under General Franks, a very successful effort in Afghanistan. And it seems to me that when one is putting things in order, that ought to be pretty high on the list.
Q: General Myers --
Q: Mr. Secretary, I'd like to quote --
Rumsfeld: Just a -- I'll be with you. I'll be with you in a minute. I won't forget you.
Q: I actually have a question that relates to today's events, but also relates to Tora Bora. That is that one of the criticism(s) we heard was that the command structure for Afghanistan complicated the Tora Bora problem enormously. You didn't have a Joint Task Force commander on the ground in Afghanistan; the chains of command came 7,000 miles, all the way back to Tampa, and so that nobody on the ground was in a position to make a judgment, to quickly say, "We're riding a horse that's no longer underneath us. We need to change quickly here." And it took three days before U.S. forces began to move. Could you speak to that, please?
Rumsfeld: Sure. Why don't we put it on hold? I forgot to give Dick Myers a chance to respond to the first question, and I think it's -- we really did come down to talk about the Unified Command Plan. You all may not know that, but we did. That's why these signs are --
Q: We'll be the judge.
Rumsfeld: All right. (Laughter.) I don't doubt that.
(To General Myers.) Do you want to comment on the first question?
Myers: Sure. I'd be happy to. And I agree with the secretary's -- the way he laid this out. And at the strategic level, he's absolutely right. I would go on record and say that the operation at Tora Bora -- I think Jamie used the word "failure," and I would disagree with that. I don't think it was a failure. I think we -- all the elements the secretary talked about were in play there. We had an operation -- if you remember that timeframe, we were trying to get some toeholds into some logistic bases where we could stage U.S. troops. The Taliban were on the run, but we still had worries in the Kandahar region and other regions; we didn't want people to escape to the east, the west, the south. We had a tactical operation in Tora Bora that is in one of the most inhospitable parts of Afghanistan, I think. Throughout history that's where a lot of the conflict has taken place and where success has not been notable.
And so as a tactical commander and from General Franks' view, you're trying to balance all this, you know? And I think he did a good job of balancing that. And I think the information on what we missed or what we got, certainly what we missed, will never really probably be knowable. So to speculate on that I think is wrong.
And so I disagree with this notion of failure. I think you have to look at the big picture. I think we've been extremely successful. And you have to understand what else is going on, and everything you do when you make decisions like General Franks has to make every hour of every day entails trade-offs and risks. And I would say he's done a fine job to date.
Rumsfeld: And he knew the truth, and the truth is that the United States was then willing and is now willing to use whatever levels of U.S. forces are appropriate to the task when one balances the advantages and disadvantages that you can gain by maximizing the effort by using Afghan forces and coalition forces.
Now, the command structure question. Fair enough. There are times in the past when that charge is made about a command structure being too long, and historically there have been many instances where I think one could, with the benefit of 20/20 hindsight, come to the conclusion that that might be the case. In this era there's an awful lot that can be done with communications. And it seems to me that it is less likely to have validity in the 21st century given the speed of communications and the number of instances, for example, that General Myers and I and the president fashioned rules of engagement and authorities that were delegated down very, very low.
So do I -- I read an article by somebody that referenced the fact that there was just a lieutenant colonel on the ground and then that that suggested that had there been a more senior person there that decisions might have been made differently. I have not gone back and addressed that, but a lieutenant colonel is not that junior, in my view; that there were more senior people in relatively close proximity to Tora Bora, and there were certainly very senior people in Tampa and up the line in other countries who were available at a moment's notice to make decisions and judgments.
So I question whether that -- when the dust settles and everyone has a chance to look at it and analyze it, I guess whether that will be felt to be, after the fact, a problem.
Myers: Let me -- just one more tag onto that, and that is that we've said from the very beginning -- I think the president said it and we've said it -- that this is a very different kind of war. And you can't take command structures that we've used in the past and put that on the -- overlay that over Afghanistan and expect it to work like it did even in Kosovo, certainly like it did in Desert Storm. I mean, that's not what we're talking about here. And I think everybody has a pretty good idea of why this war is different.
And so I -- as we were working this different kind of war, you would expect command relationships to be very, very different, at least through the initial portions of that war. And you can probably expect in the future that, you know, it might gravitate or might move to something else.
Q: Mr. Secretary?
Q: Can I have a follow-up --
Rumsfeld: I do happen to be a fan of standing joint task forces. So there's no question but that if you -- if an event occurs and there is not a standing joint task force that is organized, arranged, staffed, well-coordinated, familiar with everybody, available to deal with something, which is the case in almost every instance that they're not available, as we know, throughout history; but if it is not available, it may not get started quite as fast as it otherwise would.
In this case, the CENTCOM command really was a standing joint task force. That's how it began, not as a CINC-dom. It began, as I recall, years ago -- isn't that true?
Staff: A Rapid Deployment Force.
Rumsfeld: As a Rapid Deployment Force, excuse me. Of a kind with a standing joint task force.
Q: Can I also follow on that?
Rumsfeld: You bet.
Q: Is there --
Rumsfeld: The next question after this is going to be on the Unified Command Plan --
Q: I've got one.
Rumsfeld: -- and we'll be with you in a minute.
Q: Well I'm asking questions on command structures. Is there a U.S. commander in Afghanistan for all forces in Afghanistan, you know, special forces and regular forces? And if not, does that violate the principle of unity of command?
Myers: At the current time, the structure is -- it's -- I'd have to review because there have been some changes made. And with the introduction of General Hagenbeck in there as the land component commander, I think lots of those forces have come under him; I don't know if all of them have at this point. But --
Rumsfeld: I know some have not.
Myers: And I think some have not. And so --
Rumsfeld: There's a category that has not, and it's because of the demands that exist elsewhere in the CINC-dom.
Myers: And special responsibilities. So that is -- it's moving in that direction. But again, it's a different kind of war. You might want to start out different than you wind up for the piece where you're in the training business and so forth. So --
Q: And unity of command, is it -- are we in violation of that, then?
Myers: No, because -- no. The commander was General Tom Franks. And General Tom Franks was connected real time to the people that he needed to be connected to.
Rumsfeld: And now most of the pieces are under a single person, and a couple of pieces are still with Tom in what Dick and I have concluded are good and valid reasons for doing that.
Q: Mr. Secretary --
Rumsfeld: Way in the back, on the Unified Command Plan.
Q: Sir, the NorthCom that will be created, can you speak a little bit more detailed, in a more detailed way about the way in which that command will help develop technology and systems that can contribute to homeland defense, perhaps being involved in missile defense and other things? Can you -- can you talk about --
Rumsfeld: Well, the missile defense issue has been left for the future since we're not in the deployment mode. In terms of technologies that could be developed, they would be more department-wide, and they might very well be at the request or the instance of a Northern Command commander. But needless to say, the department has already gotten a good head of steam up looking for various types of technologies that we either have or conceivably are in development stages that might have homeland security implications.
Q: Mr. Secretary, back to Tora Bora briefly --
Rumsfeld: No, no. Unified Command Plan. Way back there, way in the back, way in the back. We'll come back to you. We're going to balance it out here.
Q: On the Unified Command Plan, if your plan -- if your study recommends the merger of SPACECOM and STRATCOM, would that entail the moving of SPACECOM to STRATCOM?
Rumsfeld: We don't anticipate a big move, if you're talking about people and buildings and communications systems and that type of thing.
Q: In other words, it would entail perhaps a CINC being in charge of both of them.
Rumsfeld: We have not come to a conclusion with respect to those -- that question. So it's not been fully addressed as yet.
Q: Mr. Secretary --
Rumsfeld: Excuse me, right -- yes, you had one.
Q: Oh. Yes, I did. (Laughter.) Caught me by surprise. I'm sorry.
Rumsfeld: (Off mike, laughter.)
Q: No, I -- Mr. Secretary, I'd like to quote somebody who's willing to be identified.
Q: This morning at VMI, President Bush said that al Qaeda is --
Rumsfeld: He's right. (Laughter.)
Q: -- that al Qaeda is no longer plotting or planning. Has al Qaeda been so disrupted that they are no longer able to communicate or carry out operations effectively? Is that what the president is saying?
Rumsfeld: Oh, I didn't hear the exact words, but I suspect what -- he was referring to the fact that they simply do not have Afghanistan as a place to do their planning and their plotting and their training of terrorists and their organizing and their shipping people off to the rest of the world. Are people, individuals someplace, thinking and trying to get ready to do something? I don't doubt that for a minute, and the president certainly knows that well.
Q: And the president also said that Abu Zubaydah would quickly be joined by other al Qaeda leaders in custody. Sometime soon, he said. Is there something he knows that we don't know about this operation and what may be in the planning?
Rumsfeld: You can be sure he knows a lot more than you know. (Scattered laughter.) He -- what he is saying is a fact: that every week or so we end up gathering up additional individuals. Within the last week or two, there were some 60-plus in Pakistan. There have been individuals elsewhere. There have been some that picked -- been picked up in other countries. And I think what he was saying is exactly correct: that given the amount of pressure and the amount of intelligence that's been gathered, and the amount of -- the number of nations that are cooperating so fully, we can be absolutely certain that each week, as it goes by, we very likely will be gathering in additional individuals who ought to be helpful in providing information, so that we can do a still better job of trying to prevent additional terrorist acts.
Q: Mr. Secretary --
Rumsfeld: But if you were looking for daylight between what the president said in his speech today, which I did not hear, and that which the two of us think, you won't find any --
Q: Well, I was looking for amplification, and I didn't get that either.
Rumsfeld: Didn't you? What would you look for? What would you like?
Q: Well, in terms of al Qaeda operations, he seems to imply that in fact al Qaeda has been pretty much dismantled and unable to operate as a terrorist organization.
Rumsfeld: Well, we all know that it's been in 50 or 60 countries, and it will take some time to do that. You can't say what he seemed to imply I haven't seen the speech. So I mean, how can I answer a question about what you think he seemed to imply? I can't respond to a question like that. He knows the facts. The facts are that al Qaeda's spread around the world. It's well financed. And as he's said repeatedly, it'll take time to get it rooted out, and that's what we're working to do.
Q: On Northern Command, could you all describe in detail how the U.S. response to another September 11th-like attack, if something like that were to happen again, would be different under Northern Command than it would -- as it was in September? I'm thinking in particular about the scrambling of the jets because none of them got anywhere, where they needed to be, in time to do anything.
And, General Myers --
Rumsfeld: Stop there. Let's answer that first.
With respect to the combat air patrols and the AWACS, we've announced, to the extent we plan to announce, how that is arranged, and it is arranged in a way that provides vastly better security than existed prior to September 11th.
We are attentive to aircraft flying in and out of this country. We're attentive to aircraft that are moving around within the country. We have radar that enables us to keep track of a great deal. We have aircraft on strip alert that enables us to respond within reasonable periods of time to threats as they are analyzed.
The same organization that did it on September 11th would be doing it today -- the NORAD. And the chain of command would be exactly as it was on that day, and it would be through NORAD to the secretary of Defense, to the president of the United States.
Q: So nothing has changed?
Rumsfeld: Well, a great deal has changed since September 11th. If you're asking what would change, Dick Myers explained what would change in --
Q: No, I understand that. I'm just saying, if we're going to explain this to someone --
Rumsfeld: -- the head of NORAD is now going to be the head of the Northern Command.
Q: So is this just an organizational reshuffling or do you expect something tangible to come out of this with regard to homeland defense. For somebody who's sitting at home watching this.
Myers: Sure. Yeah. I would go back to -- the -- you want me to focus on the issue of how we respond. Let's take the NORAD situation, and the secretary explained that, and let's set it aside, and let's look at the other support that the Department of Defense provides to civil authorities. I think that's going to change pretty dramatically because today it's done by various agencies.
Probably if you looked back at how the department responded to needs up in New York after the World Trade Center, you might find that while not confusion, there was not good unity of effort in that case. There was a lot of well-meaning folks trying to do things in a -- do the right thing. And I think in this case we'll have a focus on that that will allow us to provide what's needed at the right time to the right federal agency or perhaps a state agency, as the case may be. But that's where I think you'll see a difference.
Also, you know, we have trained certain units to respond to chemical and biological attack. A lot of those are in the Reserve component. With this new command, they'll take a look at that more broadly. They'll say, "Well, what else? What other kind of training do we have to have out there in specialized units?" perhaps. I mean, the implementation plan's not done yet, Pam, so we're still working on that. But what other things might we want to train for and so forth to be ready for other events. So that's --
Q: What other things? Chemical, nuclear, biological. What else?
Myers: It could be -- it could be just quarantine, just -- you know, let's say you have a quarantine situation. I mean, this can go on and on and on to support the civil authorities, and where they need expertise, where they need manpower and so forth.
Q: Mr. Secretary, may I follow up on her point? Basically, if you were to try to make this unified command relate to the average person out there who wouldn't have a clue what you're talking about when you say "unified command," can you make this plan relate to them of why they should care about it, particularly since the September 11th attack, but why should they even understand it or be interested in it?
Rumsfeld: Let me take a stab at it. It is an organizational issue, and organizational issues tend not to have a great deal of interest broadly out in the public. They can make an enormous amount of difference internally. And I thought that General Myers pointed -- his response pointed that up. If you think about it, historically in modern decades we have been looking out. We have been oriented to the outside world as the way to defend the United States of America. On September 11th, things happened inside the United States that were dramatic and involved the death of thousands of people.
Immediately the phone call rings at the Pentagon, even though the Pentagon's job had been to look out, not to look at internal threats but to look outside. So our radars were pointed out, our eyes were looking out, and the people looking here were the state and local law enforcement officials, the FBI, the various first responders, the FEMA and the other organizations of government, HHS and so forth. When an event occurs in the United States, however, while everyone knows that the Pentagon is not in the business of providing an armed force for the United States, but when an event occurs, we get the phone call. And why do we get the phone call? Well, because the Department of Defense is considered the Department of Defense. They know that they've got troops, they've got people who respond, they're organized, and they can be of assistance.
So when the phone call comes in, the Department of Defense is not in a first-responder role, it's in a supporting role to whoever needs that. Imagine that there's an event in City X, and it involves the need to deal with large numbers of people -- water, sanitation, quarantine, as Dick said, movement of things, for whatever reason. The call would come here. And the first responders would say, "Who can give us a hand?"
And in this new organizational arrangement, we will have a four- star military person who will be the Northern commander, who will be responsible for being ready to function in a supporting role and assist all of the other elements of the federal government, as well as the state and local governments, to see that those assets and those capabilities that are distinctive and unique to the Department of Defense are in fact promptly put into play to be of assistance to deal with that crisis in City X, if and when that occurs.
Myers: So I think it goes -- it's just like this: Today we have at least three entities responsible for the sort of things the secretary was talking about. We're going to do -- we're going to have one entity, and that means -- that's why we say unity of focus, unity of command -- very important in this case.
Q: You said that you see speculation cross your desk every single day on where Osama bin Laden is. It seems a little implausible that there aren't some of the reports that you would not have given more weight to than others of them. So if you can't be specific on time, date, and place, can you at least tell us you feel that the United States, over the last seven months, has ever come close to understanding where he is? Even if you cannot tell us time, date, and place, has it all just been rampant speculation, or is there anything that you have taken more seriously than others, in terms of weight and credibility?
Rumsfeld: Yeah. I am sure that the answer to the question is yes. There have been things that I've given more credibility to than others. Does that mean that that was well-placed on my part? No. It may very well not have been. It may have been that I was young and foolish -- (laughter) -- young and --
Q: The last seven months?
Rumsfeld: Hardly, huh?
Q: (Off mike.)
Rumsfeld: I'm serious.
Rumsfeld: In the early stages of something, you tend to look at it and follow it, and you may respond more with greater interest early on. After you've been through it for month after month after month, and you've seen all of these things, and they haven't been actionable, they haven't been provable, they haven't resulted in our ability to track something down and actually do something about it, which is the case -- and let's be honest; I mean, that's the fact. The fact is, we've been looking, and we haven't found him.
Now, as I've said, if you're chasing a chicken around the barnyard and you haven't got him, were you close sometime? I don't know. Maybe you were. Maybe you weren't. But we don't know. And I'll keep saying that. I'm not ashamed to say we don't know. We don't know.
Q: Sir, in the last several months, your feeling is, you have -- you said, you know, none of it's been actionable recently. You just don't --
Rumsfeld: I said recently? Period, it hasn't been actionable, or we'd have him. But it has not been actionable. And there are constantly people saying, Gee, maybe this, maybe that, a person from another country, a local person, a neighbor, someone heard something, someone thought something, someone has a scrap of intelligence from this country or that. If it had been good, we would have been there; it hasn't been.
Q: Mr. Secretary --
Q: Getting back, was the analysis of the Tora Bora --
Rumsfeld: Getting back to what?
Q: My question --
Q: You went to another question.
Rumsfeld: Oh, okay.
Q: Was the analysis of the Tora Bora fighting the reason or part of the reason for the change of strategy to rely less on Afghan forces?
Rumsfeld: I don't know. You'd have to -- I mean, General Franks is the combatant commander. He is the one that is making those calibrations. We talk to him every day one or twice, Dick and I do. What has led to him fashioning each element as he's gone through the last seven months, you'd have to ask him. He's available from time to time.
Q: But do you believe that factored in?
Rumsfeld: I would hope that everything that has gone before has been factored in and has improved and informed our work as we've proceeded.
Q: Mr. Secretary?
Q: Mr. Secretary? Just going back to Osama bin Laden tape. It might be the best --
Rumsfeld: Did you say the Unified Command Plan? No -- (laughter).
Q: Sir, it might be the best of the best military in the world; still again we do not have Osama bin Laden. Now, last week when I asked you, sir, that why you are not talking any more about Osama bin Laden and your answer was that because we do not have any more tapes of him, we have not heard about him or saw him. Now we had a tape this week, which you said maybe it's speculation or not -- part of --
Rumsfeld: Well, first let me say --
Q: But to my -- the question is, sir, that you think somebody's holding him somewhere in that part of the world and they are misleading you and the United States, and maybe time comes they might bring it to you?
Rumsfeld: Well, first you said I'm not talking about UBL much; it seems like that's all we've talked about. (Light laughter.) I admit that I don't come in each day and say 'Today I'd like to make a few remarks about Osama bin Laden'; I don't. If I ever have anything to say about it, I'll bring it up, you can be sure of that. And I haven't yet.
With respect to the tapes, I don't know that your characterization is accurate. I don't know that those tapes are recent tapes. My impression of them, from what I've been told -- and I've only seen a little bit of one. So don't -- and I don't understand Arabic. So I'm not your authority on those tapes. But there's nothing in any of the tapes I've seen or heard of that suggests that they are current with respect to UBL even in this year; that is to say, they all seemed -- anything involving him seems to have preceded this year.
Now, why people might be doing something, I don't know. It may be that some people decided to put out those tapes because they wanted people to think he was alive and he isn't. It may be that they put out the tapes because they wanted people to think that he's alive and he is alive. It may be that he put out those tapes, as opposed to some people. I just don't know.
But all I can say is I've not seen any evidence in recent months that persuades me --
Unified Command question?
Rumsfeld: There we go.
Q: What is going to be the relationship between Northern Command and Tom Ridge's office? Who's going to have a bigger say, I guess, or how are you going to --
Rumsfeld: Well, there wouldn't be any relationship between the Northern Command and the Homeland Security Council because it is a combatant commander. And the way statutes are written, and laws, the president, the secretary of Defense and the chain of command is to the combatant commander and there's no intervening people or events, except for the chairman, who gives military advice.
The Department of Defense will -- has had, is having and will continue to have a very close relationship to the Homeland Security Council and Tom Ridge. I mean, there's meetings every day; we're constantly linked. But the linkage very likely would continue to be as it is, at the civilian side as opposed to the combatant commander.
Q: So then how would that work if you have Northern Command that's supposed to be in charge of, you know, homeland --
Rumsfeld: No, it's not in charge of anything. It is a supporting activity, as any activity that the Pentagon does today is a supporting activity. We are not the people responsible for any of these things in the United States in the first instance, we are -- well, there is one instance where we are, and I won't get into it, it's a detail. But calibrate what I said -- almost in every instance we're not the first. And our relationship is extensive with the Homeland Security Council, but it tends to be at the civilian level in the Office of the Secretary of Defense and the secretary of the Army.
Q: What will the relationship between the Northern Command commander and the National Guard?
Myers: It would have to be very, very close because that's where a lot of our first responders are today, and that's were they're trained. So that relationship -- it will be defined -- like I said, we've started the implementation planning but we've not finished the planning; it's being worked by many people right now. But since the Reserve component, both the Reserves and the Guard, would probably play a major role in any response, there'd have to be a very close relationship there.
Rumsfeld: When Dick said "our first responders," he was using the term in a totally different way than I was using it. He's talking about the Department of Defense's people who would respond in a supporting role --
Rumsfeld: -- to support the first responders for our country --
Rumsfeld: -- who are federal, state and local, but not military, for the most part.
Q: When National Guard units are federalized, would then they come under the Northern Command commander?
Myers: Well, it would probably be on a case -- it would be on an event-by-event basis, and so they're still going to have the capability to be, you know, federalized or under state authority. So --
Rumsfeld: Sometimes they're under the federal government, sometimes they're under state authority.
Q: Mr. Secretary, could I ask you a quick question? A related issue that's current to the Tora Bora debate about whether enough U.S. troops were used is the question of whether enough U.S. troops are in Afghanistan given the instability there. Given the Tora Bora experience, do you have any second thoughts about your opposition to having a larger U.S. presence?
Rumsfeld: Well, first of all, let's get the facts straight. I don't have opposition to a larger U.S. presence.
Q: Pardon me.
Rumsfeld: I haven't from the beginning. We've decided, as I've said repeatedly here, that the president of the United States, the secretary of Defense and the combatant commander are perfectly willing to put in as many U.S. forces as is necessary to get this job done in the most efficient and effective way. And we have been doing just that. And if at any moment it looks like it would be appropriate to put more in, we are ready, willing and able to do that, as is General Tom Franks.
Q: I did a bad job of formulating the question. I was talking about peacekeeping, for peacekeeping.
Rumsfeld: Ah, peacekeeping. Well. I noticed there was an editorial today that opined that this department has been opposing an expansion of the International Security Assistance Force. That is not correct. This department -- the important thing to think about of the International Security Assistance Force is that it exists; it is currently being headed by the British; they have asked to no longer head it. That is their choice and they have announced that, and they said that from the very outset. They've done a wonderful job of heading it up.
We looked far and wide for someone else to head it up, and the Turkish government has announced that they would be willing to do it. They've also announced that they would not be willing to do it if it's going to be expanded to other cities. A number of terrific countries have stepped forward and offered up people to serve in the International Security Assistance Force, close to 5,000 people overall in, I'm going to guess, five, six, seven countries. And God bless them for doing it, and they're spending their money to do it.
Now, the people who are talking about increasing it dramatically, to 20(,000), 30(,000), 40,000 people, and going to six, seven or eight more cities, haven't offered any troops, they haven't offered any money, they haven't offered to lead it; and therefore, the excuse because it hasn't happened when some people would like it to happen -- the excuse is, "Well, somebody's opposing it." But I'm not opposing it. If the International Security Assistance Force wants to be expanded, fine. If it wants to go to other countries, fine. Who's going to lead it? Who's going to pay for it? All I've said is that the Defense Department -- and it's not my decision, anyway; it's the president of the United States' decision, and he is where he is. And it's exactly what I'm saying.
Our first task is to try to find the terrorists and the terrorist networks. And we've got some 70,000 men and women in the Reserve and the Guard that we've called to active duty, pulled away from their families, pulled away from their normal jobs. And they're serving our country because they voluntarily decided to serve in the Guard and the Reserve. We've got some 30 or 40,000 people -- I don't know what the number is today, but it's something in that neighborhood -- people who we've stopped from getting out. Maybe it's 25. They were people who served; their time was up. They were going to go off and run the family farm, and they were going to go to law school; they were going to do something else -- get married. And we said, "Nope. Can't get out. We're stopping them from getting out."
Now we've also got forces that have been deployed for long periods. We've got a situation where we are doing a lot in the world, and if additional peacekeepers are appropriate -- International Security Assistance Force -- then it seems to me that it's important for the people who believe that they're important to come up with the troops, come up with the money. We're happy to help; we're happy to cooperate. We're not against it, and it's a misunderstanding and misinformation for people to suggest to the contrary.
Q: So it's not true that U.S. troops would be just targets for terrorists in Afghanistan if you added more? It's just a matter of not having the resources?
Rumsfeld: No, we've got the resources. If we need more people tomorrow, they will go in. It would be a misunderstanding to say we don't have the resources. We do. And we are putting in the number of people in warfighting tasks that we believe are appropriate, that General Franks believes is appropriate, that the president and General Myers and I believe are appropriate. I'm afraid there's some misunderstanding here.
Q: But it would seem that the United States, then, is one of the countries which is saying it's not willing to commit money or troops to this.
Rumsfeld: Oh, we are. We're in the process of spending money right now. We've committed to help the International Security Assistance Force. We have a memorandum of understanding with the Brits. We have been supplying intelligence. We've been supplying logistics. We've been assisting with quick-reaction forces, in the event they have a problem. We've agreed to undertake a memorandum of understanding with the Turks when they take over. And even beyond that, United States is in there helping to train an Afghan national army, which is what the Afghan interim authority has indicated they would like to have done. So what are we doing? We're in there helping 'em. We're paying our taxpayers' money from the United States, helping 'em develop their own national army.
Q: You know the arguments of many Afghans that they want more international peacekeepers, at least until this army is trained. It sounds like you're saying you feel that that is not appropriate. Why is it not --
Rumsfeld: No! How could I be any clearer?
Q: You said if it was appropriate, you'd do it.
Rumsfeld: You're talking about if it were -- I said if it's appropriate to put in more forces for war-fighting tasks, the United States will do that.
Q: For war-fighting.
Rumsfeld: Yes. And there is a distinction. We've got a lot we have to do in the world to track down terrorists. And there are plenty of countries on the face of the earth who can supply peacekeepers. And for the United States, with all we're doing, to in addition to providing all that assistance to the International Security Assistance Force, in addition to trying to help Mr. Karzai develop a national army, and we're training people if not this week, in the next week or two --
Myers: By early May.
Rumsfeld: -- by early May -- which is in the next week or two.
Myers: Happens to be the same thing, sir. (Laughter.)
Q: What I'm asking is do you think it would be useful to expand the peacekeeping force if a way could be found to do it, or are you rejecting it strictly on the grounds of practicality, that there's no country to do it, or is this something that should be done?
Rumsfeld: I don't know, it seems like we're ships passing in the night. (Light laughter.) I have said it would be fine to increase the International Security Assistance Force.
Q: But is it advisable to?
Rumsfeld: That's -- it's --
Q: Is it your opinion that it should be increased and --
Rumsfeld: That is a decision for the Department of State, it's a decision for the president of the United States. Peacekeeping is an issue that is being discussed in the U.N., it's being discussed in the EU, it's being discussed in Afghanistan. And as far as I personally am, I would be just perfectly fine if countries stepped forward and decided they wanted to increase the International Security Assistance Force. If you say to me, if the president said to me, Gee, what do you think? Do you think we ought to put more, you -- we ought to get more people out of the Guard and Reserve and put them over there, we ought to put more people who want to get out of the services, are scheduled to get out of the service and stop them from getting out of the service and put them in as peacekeepers, I would say, Gee, I'm eager to do that, if we want ground forces in Afghanistan. I'm happy to do it if we need trainers in Yemen, or trainers in Philippines, or trainers in Georgia, or if we are faced with going after al Qaeda in some other country. We need to do that. That's what we do best.
Now, does that -- when I say stop and I don't say another word, are you going to come back and say to me "Does that mean you're against peacekeeping in Afghanistan?", and the answer is no. We're helping the peacekeepers in Afghanistan.
Q: But sir, you're against --
Rumsfeld: Wait, let me -- let me -- I want to make sure we really run this to ground. (Laughter.)
Q: We can try this one last time. I mean, is it a failure of our allies to come with more troops to do this?
Rumsfeld: Look, everyone's a sovereign nation. They can make their own decisions. I don't know. Is it a failure because Germany's helping to train policemen and border guards in Afghanistan? No, by gosh. They've stepped up and they're doing that. They're doing a good job. Is it a failure because the Brits are heading up the ISAF? No, they're doing a very good job. I think a lot of countries are doing a good job.
There are -- the -- there's a gap, and the gap is that there are people on editorial boards and people in international organizations who think there ought to be an expansion of the International Security Assistance Force, and that's fine. Everyone ought to have their own view.
The problem is, they don't have troops, and they don't have money, at least that they're willing to spend on International Security Assistance Forces. And when somebody who has money and troops steps up and says, "By golly, I think we ought to expand it," then we say, "Terrific! Come on. Let's do it."
Myers: Can I add one --
Q: Sir, you are against using U.S. troops as peacekeepers in --
Rumsfeld: No, I said four times that's a presidential decision, and if I'm going to give advice, I will give it to the president.
Myers: Can I -- let me just add one thing to this debate. And I hope --
Rumsfeld: Although I think you've got a hint. (Laughter.)
Myers: In the conversations that I've been around or that I've had personally with Chairman Karzai, his number-one priority has been training the Afghan national army. I've never heard him say -- or any of his folks ever say -- that a priority was to expand the ISAF. Now I may have missed it somewhere in the fine print, and it's possible. But I've just never heard that requirement.
I have heard loud and clear, on several occasions, both in his country and in this country, that he wants to set up that national army for his -- for security.
Q: Can I also ask a question about the Unified Command, believe it or not?
Rumsfeld: Before we do, is there anyone who thinks that we're against expanding the International Security Assistance Force? (Scattered laughter.)
Q: Certainly with U.S. bodies. (Chuckles.)
Rumsfeld: That's a different issue.
Q: Okay. (Scattered laughter.)
Rumsfeld: And I didn't say what I thought about that.
Myers: And he hasn't given his opinion on that issue.
Rumsfeld: That's right.
Q: You raised the issue of quarantines as a situation where a lot of U.S. ground forces might be required. I'm assuming -- tell me if I'm wrong -- the scenario you're talking about is maybe someone uses smallpox as a weapon; maybe you have to seal off an area or a city, and a lot of troops are involved. Are you saying the NorthCom CINC is going to be the guy who's going to be in command of an operation like that? Is that something --
Myers: We said all along -- (to the secretary) -- can I take --
Rumsfeld: You bet. (Scattered laughter.)
Myers: We have said all along --
Rumsfeld: I start shaking my head right off the bat. (Chuckles.)
Myers: Yeah. We have said all along -- and this should not be misunderstood -- there is no change to the roles or mission of the Department of Defense, which means we are in support of civil authorities. Okay? So there is -- there will be no -- but the person in charge of that event will either be a state entity or a federal entity.
Rumsfeld: That's for sure.
Myers: They'll be in charge. They'll be in command, to use a military term.
Q: That part is understood.
Q: But the NorthCom guy is the guy who would actually get the resources --
Myers: He'd figure out who's going to go, who ought to go, respond, and that sort of thing. Yes.
Q: But in every circumstance, he would be underneath a state or local person? The governor of Indiana would give him orders or something like that?
Myers: Could be.
Rumsfeld: And no, he wouldn't give him orders. The only orders that a CINC will ever get will come --
Myers: Come through the chain.
Rumsfeld: -- through the president or me. Sure.
Q: So the governor of Indiana would ask the federal government to intervene, and the federal government would intervene?
Rumsfeld: As is always the case, they all say, "We need some assistance in this regard." And the military then, in a supporting role, offers up what assistance we have. What's different is, we have a focused capability and competence in the Northern Command that will be prepared, trained, exercised and equipped to do those kinds of things in a supporting role.
Now, for example: We had a lot of troops in Salt Lake City. We did not take over the state. We did not take over the city. We were not in charge of the Olympics. What we did was, there were civil authorities in that region that asked for our assistance. That assistance was offered up, and it was done in coordination with them, in a supporting role.
Q: Is that a command failure? (Laughter.)
Rumsfeld: Seems to work out pretty well.
Myers: I think we've about exhausted --
Q: But still, you didn't tell us -- you said there's one exception -- (inaudible) -- military -- God is in the details.
Rumsfeld: Oh, I'm sorry. There is -- I can't pull it out, but there is one instance -- Steve Cambone knows -- (laughter) -- is one instance -- he knows all that stuff; he's a Ph.D. in -- something. (Laughter.) The answer is, I think, my vague recollection is that there is an instance in the National Capitol District where, in the event there's a chemical, biological or a nuclear event, that the Department of Defense --
Q: in federal district?
Rumsfeld: And it is a federal district. And in that instance, we are a first responder, I believe.
(To Dr. Cambone.) And you can clean up any inaccuracies in what I've said. (Soft laughter.)
Rumsfeld: All right! Wow. That was a marathon! (Laughter.) Golly.
Q: Did you enjoy it?
Rumsfeld: I did! (Laughter.) These are --
Staff: These are getting much better.
Cambone: I'll do my best, sir.
Rumsfeld: Go get 'em, George! Keep him straight.
Cambone: I don't know.
Q: The other example is defending the shores. You're a first responder. If there is an external attack --
Cambone: Yeah, the combat air patrols are flown under direct military authority by direction of the president to the secretary down to NORAD. So that's done in that line. And then, to the extent that there would be patrolling offshore, Navy ships, things -- so those things which are in that context -- unique defensive missions on the part of the department -- would be done by direction of the president down to the secretary for that purpose.
The others are civil support functions. And that's really what he's trying to get to. And the Salt Lake City instance is a very interesting one. We had civil authorities in the state, federal authorities -- the FBI and so forth -- but we also had the National Guard, which was operating in a state capacity there. And they were then lashed -- you talk about command failures -- I mean, they were then lashed to the -- those troops which were under federal authority -- U.S. forces -- and then there was a joint headquarters, whose job it was to sort of oversee all that. And all that gets done in the ordinary course of affairs.
But what the Northern Command commander adds is that person who, like any other commander, is responsible for seeing that his -- the forces assigned to him or for which he will have responsibility or control in some event are properly trained, they're equipped, they're ready to do the jobs that need to be done.
Q: Could I ask you a question about maritime defense? You've now taken and dual-headed NORAD with the new Northern Command, taken a command that's been focused on air defense and made it the focus of this new command, and you've moved that -- you've taken that responsibility away from Joint Forces Command, which I guess going back to the days when it was Atlantic Command has been thought of as focused on the sea. Does that say something about where you think the threats are, that you think the greater threat is from the air? And should we read into that that there's a --
Cambone: No, we haven't -- and George can tell you more about it, but what we haven't done -- finished yet is making the decisions about the types of forces that are going to be assigned and how many and which ones he will have direct authority over. The reason for doing the air defense is the ongoing requirement for the operation of the air defense. And so that will come into effect on the 1st of October, just like the command will, and at that time there will be other forces that will be assigned to him for whatever missions then he will have for that purpose.
Q: So some -- let me see if I understand that. So it's still possible, then, that some coastal defense kinds of forces, if that were to be needed, those --
Cambone: And those will be (Inaudible) and the Coast Guard, which has the responsibility for the bays and harbors and approaches and inland waterways and so on and so forth, which in that capacity is operating at civil capacity, and then a relationship with the Navy, which would have some other sort of longer-range patrols if that were deemed to be important. So the northern commander would come say, "Look, there looks to be a threat, looks to be circumstances we need to look after; shouldn't we put some ships?" They come in to the Joint Staff, that washes around, goes up to the secretary, he makes his decision, that order goes back down. And the Northern Commander says to whoever supplies the forces, if it's Joint Forces Command, he would say, "Send me over two squadrons of aircraft for patrol purposes," or "Send me a ship for this purpose," and then they would fall under his control for that purpose.
Q: Otherwise he would have no control of any forces?
Cambone: They're still -- we're still sort of deciding. I mean, the question is how much -- you know, there's only so much force to go around, and so the question is, how do you apportion it across all of the responsibilities that all of the commanders have? So the other reason for wanting to have this commander is he needs to be able to articulate what is a reasonable size of force in order to be able to perform the missions that he's being asked to perform.
Q: So you want to have ACC, for example --
Cambone: ACC is the Air Force component, and they would -- they could supply those forces. They'd fall under Joint Forces Command for the purposes of assignment. So if he says, "I need umpty- ump in the way of air capability through NORAD," those forces would get assigned in that fashion.
Q: So Joint Forces Command is not losing their day-to-day control.
Cambone: No. No, they will retain those responsibilities as the joint force provider.
Q: There's obviously some sensitivity to Posse Comitatus when you put this all together. Correct me if I'm wrong; doesn't the president have the authority to suspend Posse Comitatus in certain cases, such as the discovery of a nuclear device, in which the U.S. military has a particular knowledge on how to deal with that, that he can suspend Posse Comitatus in a case like that?
And for example, the example raised earlier; if in fact there's a city that perhaps the federal government decides should be quarantined for some reason and the governor decides it shouldn't, would the president have the authority to suspend Posse Comitatus and in fact put U.S. armed forces into that region to quarantine an area?
Cambone: That is too technical a question -- and I mean this sincerely -- for me to sort of answer from the podium. I'd like to make -- can we make sure we sort of take you through all that?
But the broad answer is -- it's on the details of it. I mean, the law is very specific and I don't want to misspeak. But the broad point I think is true, and that is that the president can, under his constitutional responsibilities, say this is a federal matter and I want this authority to be in charge of a particular matter. And he can -- yes, there are circumstances under which that can happen. But we need to get the exact -- I mean, if you're interested, we'll get you the exact --
Q: Fine. Absolutely. Yes.
Cambone: Yeah, it's important to get that right.
Yeah, in the back.
Q: Other than NORAD, what do you expect Canada's relationship will be with Northern Command?
Cambone: The Canadians are -- as you know, NORAD is a binational command. It's been around -- it's had its origins in the earliest days of World War II. It continues to function in the way -- and it has been updated and renewed periodically over the course of its existence.
I think the -- Canada, we expect, will continue in its binational relationship with NORAD, and we will continue conversations that we have been having with our Canadian friends for a period of time now about how we might evolve that relationship over time.
Q: Is there any other place on the Earth that hasn't been under a combatant command besides Russia? And why had Russia not been under a combatant command, because it was a superpower and that would be minimizing it?
Casey: I'm Lieutenant General George Casey. I'm the director of Strategic Plans and Policy --
Cambone: Do it here.
Cambone: In the microphone.
Casey: Sorry. I'm still Lieutenant General George Casey. (Laughter.)
The question was, were there any other areas that were unassigned, and the answer is yes. Russia was unassigned for the obvious reasons of the Cold War. Canada and Mexico weren't assigned, and Antarctica was unassigned. All of those now have been assigned out to the -- to a combatant commander.
Q: You said the last one was what?
Q: Thank you.
Q: Why is Alaska --
Q: Can I get into sort of a nitnoid thing, and that's -- (to colleague) -- I'm sorry, Bob.
The Space Command -- General Eberhart is commander of Space Command. Now he's going to be the commander of NORAD, he's going to be the commander of NorthCom. Is he still going to be the commander of SPACECOM, too? And the second question is, General Kernan in Joint Forces Command is also the Supreme Allied Commander Atlantic. Is he going to retain that job, too?
Cambone: Well, as far as I know, General Eberhart is -- I mean, nobody's told me that. I mean -- so, if you know something I don't know, that's a good thing.
Q: I'm sorry the guy in NORAD?
Cambone: General Eberhart at the moment is the commander in chief of U.S. Space Command, and he is the commander in chief of NORAD. When this change takes effect, the commander of U.S. Space Command will no longer be dual hatted, as he is today, as the commander of NORAD, the U.S. commander of NORAD. That job will shift, the dual hat now will be between Northern Command and NORAD. So it just moves in that sense. Okay? So it's still a dual-hatted command. But rather than being Space Command, it's now going to be Northern Command.
Q: All right. So SPACECOM will be subsumed in --
Cambone: No. SPACECOM will continue as an independent unified functional command.
Q: Okay, but they --
Cambone: They will no longer have the NORAD hat.
Cambone: And you'll have a four-star commander.
Q: And -- General Kernan, I'm sorry.
Cambone: General Kernan. What we plan to do is to relieve him of the responsibility for his SACLANT responsibilities.
Q: And that will shift to where?
Cambone: Where -- that's a negotiation we will engage the allies with, because that's an allied position.
Q: But that's a big issue with the allies. Having a NATO presence in the United States to them is very important.
Cambone: Yes, indeed.
Q: So you're taking Kernan's job away from him and his title and that whole NATO command structure goes back to Europe. And that -- that's --
Cambone: No, that's not the conclusion. That's not the conclusion we've drawn at all. What we have done and will now continue to do is to talk with our allies in Brussels and in capitals to talk about an alliance decision about the disposition of SACLANT, both in terms of its mission and how we're going to arrange that command given that the alliance as a whole is in the process of, as you know, working on its command structure and where it's going to be after Prague.
Q: Could it go away?
Cambone: But that's a conversation we're having with them. That's a conversation that has to take place in the allied context. It's not a U.S. decision. That's not a U.S. decision.
Q: If the Northern Command has no forces, is its role simply to draw up contingency plans for things like, I don't know, humanitarian or relief situations? Except in those instances where forces are actually deployed for an operation within the --
Cambone: I'll let George follow on this. But let me -- I don't know that it won't have any forces. I mean we haven't made that decision yet. All right? It could be given a small number of forces for those missions which are pressing day to day. So those would be clearly under his command. We have an arrangement today where -- and this is where I'll ask George to -- because he was the head of the organization. There is a thing called the Joint Task Force-Civil Support that is currently operating under Joint Forces Command. You heard General Myers and Secretary Rumsfeld say that would likely shift over to Northern Command. So there's a set of forces, and planning and headquarters.
But why don't you -- ?
Casey: Okay. And as the secretary and the chairman both said, the implementation plan is still being developed. So you don't have any certainty on this. But as Steve mentioned, there are some organizations specifically focused on homeland defense and support civil authorities that could be placed under Northern Command. The Joint Task Force-Civil Support that's currently under the Joint Forces Command is the best example of that.
Q: Is that the couple hundred people, general? Is that right?
Casey: It's several hundred people.
Q: Seven hundred?
Casey: Several hundred. Several hundred people. And they have -- they've worked their way through identifying some units that are not permanently assigned but have a -- with whom they have a habitual relation so that they can work together and train together so when they do need to respond they will respond more effectively.
Q: But the naval and air forces would --
Cambone: Well, the air forces would remain for the time being in the NORAD channel. I mean, that -- right? I mean that's how that has worked. And the maritime forces, to the extent that he would require them, we need to make a decision, and it hasn't been made. There are teams looking at this question about how much would you want to give them in the way of assigned forces for the purposes of maritime patrol. Right? You can do it in one of two ways. You can say you have some number of assets -- three destroyers. Or you can say, I don't know on a day-to-day basis that this command requires those three destroyers. However, there will be circumstances under which he may require as many as 10. And so what you set up is that relationship with the command through Joint Forces Command down to the components to assure that there is within that component a set of ships, a squadron of destroyers, that are trained for the mission. That's Joint Forces Command's job. And so then if the commander, Northern Command commander calls the secretary and says, Mr. Secretary -- or calls the chairman and says, Mr. Chairman, I have a threat that I think we have to deal with, I think we ought to do it in the following way, then Joint Forces Command goes to the naval component and says you -- that squadron now works for the Northern Command commander for whatever period of time to perform the following missions. And that's how that can work.
Now, can you imagine that the command might have some number of ground forces on a day-to-day basis to do the kinds of civil support missions that were just talked about? Sure. He could. And would -- is that -- but the question you have to ask is, how many, and is that an efficient use of their time, their training time, all right? And that's the reason for having a Northern Command commander. We have to have someone whose day-to-day responsibility is to work through all of that and make those kinds of recommendations for the secretary.
Q: Has the future of the Coast Guard been considered in all of these deliberations, both its role in coastal waters and its relationship to the Defense Department versus --
Q: -- the current arrangement, and have you thought your way through that?
Cambone: And I think the conclusion we drew is that the relationship as it stands works very well; don't mess with it.
Q: The National Guard.
Q: The two examples being the -- I'm sorry. National Guard question. I'm still a little confused. The two examples that would come to mind are the folks who are in the airports and the few hundred folks that got sent up to the border.
Q: Explain how those -- ?
Cambone: The airport -- and here I'll turn to Pete Verga.
The airports are on 32 or 10?
Staff: Title 32.
Cambone: They're under Title 32, which means that they are -- they have been mobilized on -- I'm going to get this -- on federal service but under state authority.
Staff: State active duty for a federal purpose.
Cambone: Which is the protection of the airports, under federal authority. I mean the federal authorities were there for that. So they had been mobilized through the Guard process for that purpose, and remain there for -- in their Guard status but working under federal direction.
Q: Therefore, under the governors?
Cambone: They remain under the governors, that's correct. And so they make the decision about how to balance that out.
The borders is yet another set of arrangements, and there -- this is where it gets interesting. In the case of the airports, they are -- they are in states; there is a federal interest in seeing how they are taken care of, and so there is a reason for going to the arrangement that we did.
With respect to the borders, the agencies in charge of the borders are federal agencies, and so what we have done there is we have taken those folks, put them in a Title 10 status, which is a federal status, and sent them to work with a federal agency in detail.
Q: So in that federal status, do they also --
Cambone: You need somebody every day dealing with this.
Q: -- ultimately report to NorthCom?
Cambone: Say again?
Q: Would the folks at the borders, then, ultimately report to NorthCom?
Cambone: Ah! Now how would that have happened if we had NorthCom in place? Interesting question. And again, we're sort of working our way through it because there are other civilian, believe it or not, agencies that get themselves involved in the process of all of this. But I think where we'll end up is the Northern Command commander would be the one who would do the assessment, and he would say, "All right, the Border Patrol people want umphety-umpth, now INS want another handful; what's the best way to do this?" And he would work that through a staffing process; he would make sure that any assignments wouldn't conflict with other wartime missions or other domestic missions that we were -- and he'd make that recommendation to the secretary, and then that would go forward on the secretary's order.
Q: Sir, as far as this new change in planning concerns, any change as far as the war in Afghanistan or in South Asia, in that part of the world, if this has anything to do with the U.S. forces in Afghanistan?
Cambone: No, not -- if I understand your question, does this command have anything to do with what's done elsewhere, and the answer is no --
Q: Any change in that part of the world?
Q: Did the UCP affect it in any way?
Cambone: No. No.
Casey: No, not that part of the world. CENTCOM and PACOM AORs don't change.
Cambone: Yes, please?
Q: Will the Northern Command be supporting any law enforcement authorities with intelligence and surveillance?
Cambone: Northern Command, as such, would not do intelligence. I mean the intelligence comes through other channels. There will, undoubtedly, be a staff what will be an intelligence staff. That staff, undoubtedly, will cooperate with and share information with its parallel and opposite numbers in the other agencies. But the authority for doing that doesn't come from Northern Command, the authority will come from either the DCI or from the secretary of Defense, or by the president directing that -- or the attorney general, in the case of the FBI. So those are the people who give the authorities, and then they will tell the folks who are cooperating with Northern Command what they can share.
And let me just finish the law enforcement thing. On the law enforcement, again, the same kind of an arrangement would take place. We do things with the FBI, the law enforcement people in bureau -- in Customs and -- the Coast Guard. I mean we do that all the time in a supporting role. And so again, he would be assisting them in the performance of their job, not doing any kind of law enforcement.
Q: What kind of relationship do you expect that Mexico will have with Northern Command, since as far as I know they don't have a defense relationship with the U.S.?
Cambone: We have had a number of very, I think, interesting and fruitful exchanges with counterparts in Mexico. They understand why we are looking to make this kind of an arrangement, given the events of the 11th of September. And I think that they're looking forward -- I know we're looking forward, I can't speak for them -- I know we're looking forward to the opportunity to now have a military commander whose task it is, like other commanders, to engage with the regional partners. And so that's probably what will take place. There will be, over time, discussions back and forth on how we handle the problems that we share. And by the way, they go on all the time now in civilian channels between the United States and Mexico.
Q: Computer networks --
Cambone: Let me get the guy behind you.
Q: I just had a quick question about Antarctica. You noted that --
Q: -- that was one of the areas that had been added this time around. I think beforehand, SOUTHCOM had had responsibility for helping to support the operations at McMurdo and at the Polar Ice Station. Can you explain why you've added Antarctica to Pacific Command's responsibilities? And how does this fit in with the treaty that says, you know, no militarization down there at the pole at all?
Casey: It's a fair question. I don't recall it being assigned to SOUTHCOM. Right now the operations that we perform in support of the National Science Foundation we do out of New Zealand with U.S. Transportation Command. We felt that because of that -- New Zealand is in Pacific Command's area of responsibility -- we felt that's where we needed to put it. And that just allows -- again, what that does is, Pacific Command is responsible for coordinating any type of military activities there.
Now, to the militarization treaty, we are very much aware of the treaty. We have no intent to militarize Antarctica. An example of what this might mean for PACOM is, if we had to mount a search and rescue operation, for example, CINCPAC would be the guy that we'd point our finger at and say "Go get 'em." Okay?
Q: Anybody objecting to your plan?
Casey: Anybody objecting? No.
Q: I object. (Laughter.)
Casey: Who objects? You object? (Laughter.)
Cambone: Can we take one or two more?
(Cross-talk and laughter.)
Q: What's the deal with Alaska? You have that striped hybrid there.
Casey: Here's the reason. As we said -- you heard the chairman say, U.S. Northern Command will be responsible for the North American land mass. Alaska is part of the North American land mass, and we believed that it was important for the CINC to have the authority for that land mass and the air and the waters surrounding it. Hence the green stripe.
The blue stripe, for Pacific Command, designates that the forces in Alaska will remain assigned to U.S. Pacific Command. The force projection capabilities of those forces are not necessarily needed in support of the U.S. Northern Command. So hence the blue stripe for PACOM.
Q: What about --
Q: Does the same apply to West Coast Pacific forces? The Marines and the Navy on the West Coast now are assigned to PACOM, and your line looks like, you know, the people -- he loses those.
Cambone: Right, but --
Casey: That's a --
Cambone: Go ahead.
Q: Does PACOM still have control of the West Coast forces?
Casey: They do. In fact, we just completed what we call a Forces For Document, assigning those forces a little over two weeks ago. And they remain U.S. PACOM.
Q: How do you defend the United States, if what I'm hearing here -- you're responding or you're supporting civil authorities? It doesn't seem to me like you're protecting an attack, you're defending the homeland if all you're doing is acting as a support. And to me, that would be after the first responders respond. So it would be after we had been attacked. I'm wondering, how will this command act as protector -- defender of the United States?
Cambone: Well, it is -- and let's go back to the other questions here, about the assignment of forces. It is -- it will, when it stands up, be dual-hatted with NORAD. NORAD is the command that flies the combat air patrols. So that is a direct-defense operation.
We talked about the maritime issue. If the commander believes that there are threats that he needs to defend against in the active sense, then he will request the assignment of those forces for that purpose. It is sometimes hard to come up with the land forces' role in these operations, because, for the most part, within the boundaries of the United States, what we are dealing with are law enforcement. Civil authorities are responsible for doing those kinds of things.
Now there is the odd circumstances we discussed here, where the president could ask for those forces to be directly engaged and so on. But they would be the odd circumstance. Under day-to-day life, the constitution of the United States, the laws of the states, it is the governors and those other federal agencies who are responsible day to day for those kinds of operations. So if we're talking about sharing intelligence, for example, if we're chasing down terrorist cells in the United States in a -- in the sense of being active in our defense, that's a role for the FBI or for the people in the Drug Enforcement Administration or whatever.
Now, can we lend support to them through this command structure? And the answer to that will be, according to applicable laws, we will be doing that. And if people think that the laws don't let us do it and we should do it, my guess is, they'll change the law. All right. So that's the way in which we would give that kind of support, in the sense that you're talking about, in an active sense, in that supporting role within the United States, other than those special circumstances that Jim made reference to.
Q: Do you have a cost estimate for any of this?
Cambone: The command structure will be set up out of the existing TOA, the monies and people we presently have. The facilities are not -- we're not going to go build new -- you know, new facilities for doing that.
In terms of the actual mission costs on the day-to-day basis, I think the Air Force can probably give you some sense of what the CAPs have cost us.
Q: Will you be seeking a change in any law?
Cambone: Hang on.
Q: Just to follow up on the question before and what you just said about intelligence and surveillance, NorthCom won't be involved in that, but of course it can in some cases pass on information, intelligence information. In terms of current congressional restrictions, how is that being interpreted? What, for example, couldn't you pass on?
Cambone: Another question I've got to get you in detail. I don't want to make a mistake on that, I mean, but the point is --
Q: I mean, vaguely, could you --
Cambone: No -- well, the point is that whatever the law permits, he will be empowered to do.
Q: Because that's the question. What does the law permit? Because no one really --
Cambone: And I don't want to make a mistake on that. That would be terrible, to do that.
Q: Will you be seeking a change in any law as part of this?
Cambone: Not for the purposes of setting it up. Whether there will be, as we go through this now -- and Northern Command commanders start saying, "Look, these are the kinds of things which, if we're to be effective, we would have to alter or change or adjust," at that point, we'll be able to come forward with some kind of question.
Q: Is the NorthCom CINC going to be always Air Force, or are you going to have Army, Navy --
Cambone: No, no. The commander will be the best qualified officer. There are no restrictions that are imposed upon it.
Q: Could I ask you again who is the director --
Q: Can I ask you again about SACLANT, just to clarify? You said that that's a decision for the alliance --
Q: -- where SACLANT is. But the U.S. is the biggest kid on the block in that alliance. Is it going to be the U.S. preference that that be dual-hatted with EUCOM, or are we going to be open to the idea of having that be somebody here in --
Cambone: We have had discussions with the senior leadership over at NATO headquarters, and we have told them that we are prepared to go down the list of options from top to bottom, and that we understand the kinds of interests and concerns that our allies have, and want to engage with them and see if we can come up with the right answer.
Q: Do we have a preferred option?
Cambone: When we get closer, we can talk about it.
Q: What does NorthCom have to do with the direct -- what is going to happen to the director of military support and battle --
Cambone: Director of military support -- good question. DOMS today is located inside the Army. The secretary of the Army has an executive agency that he is authorized to use. Its purpose, for those of you who don't know, is primarily to do the hurricanes, fires, floods -- things like that. When the Marines or the Army guys go off to the Idaho National Forest, it's usually done through that process.
(Staff): We need to go upstairs.
Cambone: I know we do. And I think we will probably -- we're thinking about adjusting its place to more appropriately accord with what the Northern Command commander's responsibilities are going to be. And that's a detail that the implementation guys are working their way through, and I don't want to prejudice it here. I mean we're just trying to figure out how to best do it.
Q: I got confused on all of the new hats going around. Do we know which ones General Eberhardt will be wearing on October 2nd? Will he be wearing his SPACECOM hat or his NorthCom hat?
Cambone: I can't answer that question. I mean as far as I know, he's going to be wearing his SPACECOM hat. Nobody's told me that he's not going to be doing that.
Q: Can you talk real quickly before you go about why Peterson?
Cambone: I think that the view was that, given the criteria that they laid down -- and George's people did that -- I don't know; they were five, eight, 10 --
Q: Anything in particular about that area that makes it suited for the --
Cambone: There was a range of criteria that we laid out. Location was one of them; existing command and control facilities; facilities in general; ability of the local community to assimilate the headquarters. And we're -- and cost was a significant -- as we racked and stacked all those, that came out.
Q: You talked about putting in the capital area. Is there a reason that it wasn't placed in a local area?
Cambone: Thanks, guys. Got to go.
Casey: That's based on a range of criteria.
"THIS TRANSCRIPT WAS PREPARED BY THE FEDERAL NEWS SERVICE INC., WASHINGTON, D.C. 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."