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Media Availability With Defense Secretary Rumsfeld and Norwegian MoD

Presenter: Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld
July 29, 2002

(Media availability with Norwegian Minister of Defense Kristin Krohn Devold.)

Staff: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. It's my pleasure to welcome you here to Joint Forces Command at our Suffolk campus here. And it's also my honor to introduce to you the Honorable Kristin Krohn Devold, Norwegian Minister of Defense, and Donald Rumsfeld, the secretary of Defense. They'll each begin with a brief statement and then take your questions.

Secretary?

Rumsfeld: Do you want to start?

Devold: No, I think you should.

Rumsfeld: I should start. All right.

There's Buck Kernan. General, thank you so much for your hospitality today and for the really truly outstanding job that you and your team do for our country. We appreciate it a great deal.

I might also say that standing next to him is Vice Admiral Ed Giambastiani, who may very well be moving in this direction some day, the good Senate willing.

And folks upstairs, hello. (Laughter.) Thanks for what you're doing.

The fact that Kristin, the Minister of Defense of Norway, is here I think says a great deal about both her dedication to her work and her country's determination to be a strong and effective NATO partner, but also the new security environment in which we find ourselves -- the need to transform and the importance of joint and combined forces and coalition capabilities.

Norway has been and remains a very valuable ally in Operation Enduring Freedom, contributing Special Operations forces, clearing mines, providing tactical airlift, leadership, transport; contributing dollars to aid the interim government and a back-to-school campaign and much more.

So I'm delighted that you could be with us today, and welcome.

For well over a year now, the Joint Forces Command and the Department of Defense have been working on transformation, discussing what it is and why it's so profoundly important to our country.

This exercise will test the forces and equipment that will help us judge and define both near-term and future capabilities. It will not only test the effectiveness of the force, but also the progress we have made thus far in transforming to produce the combat capability necessary to meet the threats and the challenges of the 21st century.

MC02, as I'm told it's called -- sounds like fizz water in the old days -- is also a testament to Joint Forces Command, which has been leading the transformation effort at many levels, including developing new concepts of warfighting, testing those concepts through joint experiments, and training both forces and leaders to operate effectively in joint operations. The most powerful example of their success is the war we are now waging against terrorism, which has tested a good many of the methods envisioned early on, which is why experiments like Millennium Challenge is so important to future battlefield successes.

It will help us create a force that is not only interoperable, responsive, agile and lethal, but one that is capable of capitalizing on the information revolution and the advanced technologies that are available today. Of course, as every military leader since the beginning of time has understood, ultimately it all comes down to the troops, the men and the women in the service, those who are out there fighting for our freedom. We owe them the very best, the best tools, the best technology, the best organization, the best training and the best leadership. That's what we're testing here today.

And with that, I will turn the microphones over to the Minister of Defense of Norway.

Devold: Well, first of all, I'd like to thank General Kernan for inviting me here. I'm going to spend three days in his exercise, or experiment as he calls it. I hope to learn a lot from that.

At the same time, I'd like to thank Secretary Rumsfeld. The way he has behaved, the way he has included Norway into his future plans, into his actions in Afghanistan, has made the relationship between our two countries better than ever.

One month ago, I visited Afghanistan. I was in Bagram. I was in Kandahar. I got the opportunity to see with my own eyes the extremely good cooperation between Norwegian soldiers and American soldiers.

I know that if we are going to cooperate as good as that in the future, we have to train together. We have to exercise together. Norway was the host nation of the last NATO exercise, Strong Resolve, in March. But the exercise you have here now is the future way of exercising or experimenting. That's why I'm here. I'm here to learn. I'm here to make sure that Norway will be a even better and more important NATO member in the future and that we are interoperable and able to do a job together with the United States in NATO in future operations.

Thank you very much.

Rumsfeld: Thank you.

We'd be happy to respond to questions.

Yes, sir.

Q: Mr. Secretary, one of most novel aspects of this experiment entails setting up an interagency coordination center. And it's something you've talked about in the past, where you've taken all the aspects of a federal power and put them into one place. How would such an asset help regional commanders and yourself?

Rumsfeld: Well, one example of where it's worked well already, prior to the global war on terrorism, is in the drug war, where, you think about it, we have law enforcement, intelligence, military, friendly liaison services and -- involving State. And the lower down you can push the coordination responsibility, the quicker the ability of the local activities to react and to be successful in arresting people or in interdicting drug activity. And the interagency process located down at the combatant commanders' level has proved to be quite successful there.

Clearly, it -- drugs are a global problem. So, too, is terrorism. So when you're bringing all elements of national power to bear on a problem, it includes the economic, the political, the diplomatic, various types of sanctions, intelligence from all sources, as well as military power. And having the interagency process does not have to get burdened down in Washington and -- which, you know -- it could slow anything, if it has to go through that process -- is a big help. And I think that we've found we're having some success. We have an interagency group that's functioning in the Pacific Command. We have one that's in the European Command. We have one that's functioning in the Central Command.

Q: Are you pleased with what you've seen of that group?

Rumsfeld: Yes, indeed.

Questions? Yeah?

Q: Mr. Secretary, this morning, I interviewed two sailors and asked them what they would ask you, their boss. I'm from a local CBS affiliate, by the way, in Norfolk, Virginia. And one of the sailors asked, what does the Navy need in terms of ships, submarines, ordnance to fight the next wave of the war on terrorism? And what does the Navy need to sort of address this asymmetrical threat that you've talked about so often?

Rumsfeld: Well, the Navy clearly has to maintain a blue water navy, as a deterrent against other nations. And second, the Navy has the important responsibilities of bringing firepower to bear, both from the sea and from the air.

The asymmetrical threats are going to cause some new challenges to be faced by the Navy. When I use that word what I really mean are things other than armies, navies or air forces, those threats: cruise missiles, ballistic missiles, terrorism, cyber attacks, a host of things that take advantage of technology that we've developed that's readily available to the world that can then be used against us in ways that advantage the attacker.

And there are any number of things that -- for example, we're in the process of converting I believe it's four strategic submarines to conventional capabilities over the coming, what, several years?

Staff: About five years.

Rumsfeld: Five years. And so, that's a modification of a role. We're looking at ships that are somewhat smaller and can operate in areas close to shores.

One of the problems we face in this world is we're going to have to be able to cope with people who are using ungoverned areas. Normally, you're competing against a country with a government. In the period we're living in, we see that Afghanistan had big areas that were not governed. There certainly are portions of Pakistan that are governed in a way that's different than the normal government is governing it. Somalia is not governed. There are pieces of Colombia that's not governed. Clearly, Basilan Island in the Philippines was not being governed, except by the Abu Sayyaf terrorists. And many of those areas are near water, and so the Navy has potentially a role to play there as well.

Q: I have a follow-up question to that. Can you talk a little bit about the F-22 Raptor that the Air Force is looking at? I know that it's sort of been scaled back, the program. It's also been accused of sort of being a Cold War relic. As a former aviator yourself, can you comment on that program?

Rumsfeld: I could. (Pause.) (Laughter.) I don't think I will. (Laughter.) I'll tell you why. This is almost August. We completed the defense planning guidance. Out of it came a number of studies that had to be performed. Those studies are under way, one of which involves the F-22 as well as many other of our weapon systems. And what we have to do in this period immediately ahead is to let those studies get done, take a good look at them, and then see how they all fit into the capabilities we need in the new security environment of the 21st century.

And if I start talking about one weapon system, then I'm going to be asked about another, and I would be doing it without having had the benefit of the studies that are under way. And so not only am I disinclined to talk about a single one, it is not possible to talk about them together, which is what my job is, is to look at them together and fashion a budget that would go to the president sometime in November or December and then go to the Congress in January or February, because you don't know what those studies are going to produce.

Q: Mr. Secretary, over the weekend, yesterday, U.S. and British warplanes bombed a communications site in Iraq. I understand that six times there's been some sort of skirmish in Iraq in the last month alone. What do you attribute to the step-up in hostilities there? And moreover, we keep seeing this war plan and that war plan; what's the future hold? What's next?

Rumsfeld: Well, as to what's next, needless to say, you'd be -- (chuckles) -- the last one to know. (Laughter.) Not you personally. (Laughter.) You collectively.

The -- I'm trying to think what one could say. I do not believe -- I'd have to go back and check, but I do not believe that there have been a notable pickup in the number of response firings that the Northern and Southern no-fly-zone watches have been engaged in the last two, three, four weeks. What they are there for, those U.S. and British aircraft flying out of the region, is that Saddam Hussein had several UN (United Nations) resolutions where he agreed not to have weapons of mass destruction, where he agreed to not fly in certain areas, where he agreed to not reinforce his troops down south, where he agreed not to attempt to intimidate his neighbors, the Kurds or the Shia or others, and to not increase his military capability in certain ways.

What's been taking place is they have been firing at coalition aircraft, U.S. and British, from time to time, and when they do, we fire back. And we fire back at those things we can find which seem appropriate. And clearly one of the things that's appropriate are communications systems, because it's the communications and the fiber optics that they've been putting in that enable them to cue a variety of radars and have a better success rate of tracking our aircraft.

So you can expect that there will be, on a weekly basis, these exchanges. And our purpose would be to punish and destroy things that are of military value to him, that are in many ways inconsistent with the UN resolutions that we're enforcing.

Q: (Inaudible) more punishment in the future?

Rumsfeld: Well, we'll just have to see.

Q: What do you think about -- Mr. Secretary, if I could, just on that subject, what you're talking about is this policy of containment that has been ongoing for some time. Some of your -- some of the brass at the Pentagon appear to be very comfortable with that, as opposed to planning for something much larger. I'm sure you saw the report in Sunday's Post. What do you think about --

Rumsfeld: You don't believe everything you read in the newspaper, do you? (Laughter.)

Q: Not in the comic's section.

Rumsfeld: (Chuckles.)

You know, the Pentagon's a big place -- hundreds and hundreds of thousands of military personnel, hundreds of thousands of civilian personnel. Any reporter who wants to can go find one or more and -- that'll have a position on any issue, all the way across the spectrum.

Then what they do is they write stories that seem to fit what they feel might make a good story. And they go around and ask questions until they find people that say those things, and then they print.

Now I don't know. I -- they don't say who those people are. So I can't go and say, "Gee, have you got a better idea?" Can't seem to do that. Who they are no one knows. It's a big mystery, and life's like that.

All I can tell you is that the senior military have every opportunity in the world to work with the senior civilians. In fact, I probably spend more time with General Pete Pace and General Dick Myers and the chiefs of the services and the combatant commanders than I do with my wife. I'm on the phone with Tom Franks, I would guess, two or three times a day. I probably meet with him once every two weeks, including tomorrow. Don't draw any conclusions from that. (Laughter.) We've got a lot going on and he's got a big area of responsibility.

But they all have every opportunity in the world to express their views, to discuss things. And they do, and they do it intelligently and they do it constructively, and they don't do it to the press. Now, if they're not doing it to the press, somebody else is doing it to the press, and it's obviously somebody who knows a heck of a lot less than they do.

Q: If I can follow. There's this concern about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Why not just go hit them? Why wait for something -- for the future?

Rumsfeld: The Iraqis have a great deal of what they do deeply buried. The Iraqis have benefited from American spies defecting to the Soviet Union or Russia and providing information as to how we do things, and then they proliferate that information on how another country can best achieve denial and deception and avoid having the location, precise location, actionable locations of things known.

Third, there is enormous flow of things across the Iraqi border. They've got billions of dollars from their oil for food. Instead of buying food for the children, they're buying weapons. They're buying dual-use capability. A biological laboratory can be on wheels in a trailer and make a lot of bad stuff, and it's movable, and it looks like most any other trailer. So the idea that it's easy to simply go do what you suggested ought to be done from the air, the implication being from the air, is a misunderstanding of the situation. They have chemical weapons. They have biological weapons. They have an enormous appetite for nuclear weapons. They were within a year or two of having them when the -- Desert Storm got on the ground and found enough information to know how advanced their program was. They've kept their nuclear physicists and scientists together in a kluge, and they're continuing to work. So it is a bigger task than that suggests.

Moderator: Ladies and gentlemen, we have time for a follow-up.

Rumsfeld: You going to ask the minister a tough question?

Devold: (Laughs.) You take all the tough questions.

Q: (Inaudible) -- reports from Afghanistan that another assassination attempt on leadership there has been foiled. Do you have information on that and if it involved anyone -- U.S. troops that are protecting?

Rumsfeld: I have not heard it. I've been in meetings all morning, and -- but I think one has to know that there are people, there are al Qaeda and Taliban still in Afghanistan. There are also people who for nothing to do with Taliban or al Qaeda would prefer to be in power and that therefore, they may do things that are unhelpful to the interim government. What's taken place is that the Taliban is out of that country. The al Qaeda are dispersed and no longer functioning in large groups or training terrorists. The loya jirga, the grand council, met. Hundreds of people got together and decided who they wanted to lead that country. And Chairman Karzai is the presiding person for the next two years or 18 months now of the transitional government. And we can expect that there will continue to be firefights and people shooting and things happening. It's an untidy place. But -- and it's not unique to that country. There are plenty of countries where people get shot at. I'm mean, I'm from Chicago. (Laughter.)

Q: (Off mike) -- personal.

Rumsfeld: I didn't mean it, Mayor Daley. (Laughter.)

Q: General Clark, other U.S. officials saying today that Osama bin Laden's son, Saad, had been more active, rising in importance in recent months as his father's activities have faded. Does this sound correct to you? And how much are you concerned about the possibility of another bin Laden on the rise?

Rumsfeld: Well, I have said from the beginning that if Osama bin Laden disappeared, which would be nice, that it would not change greatly the al Qaeda operations; that there are three, four, five, six, seven people who could -- who know where the bank accounts are, who know the key players, who know the key planners, and are perfectly capable of running that operation. Whether the son ends up being one of them, one never knows until there's a sort that takes place.

Q: But you haven't seen an increase in his power or --

Rumsfeld: I didn't say that.

Q: Have you?

Rumsfeld: I didn't comment on it.

Yes?

Q: Mr. Secretary, how will experiments like Millennium Challenge help achieve the goal of transforming the military and help us be better able to take on these asymmetrical threats?

Rumsfeld: What this exercise or experiment is doing is it is pulling literally hundreds of people into a process where they are required to connect with each other, to talk to each other, to be interoperable, to be joint, to think joint, and to focus on goals that are not service-centric but nation-centric, combatant commander-centric, and -- as opposed to service-centric.

And one of the most difficult tasks we have is that we have these services that have wonderful histories and traditions and they used to go off and fight and do things. An Army could fight, and a Navy could go fight someplace, and an Air Force could go fight someplace. Those days are gone. These services -- the combatant commander couldn't care less where the power came from, which service it came from, that he needs to put on a target. He doesn't care if it's Army air or Navy air or Air Force air. He wants to take care of a target and he wants to impose lethal damage on something, he wants to stop some bad people from doing something.

And the problem we've got in the service, in the defense establishment, is each service tends to come straight up, and they've got their Navy things and their Army things, their Air Force things, their Marine things. And that's nice, but that is not how anyone's going to fight. And it is an exercise like this, and it's the work of the Joint Forces Command, it's the work that Buck Kernan and his team have been doing to bring in all kinds of people from these four services and put them in that process so they understand that; that they begin to think that way and they recognize the value that accrues to our country, if they are able to think and behave and, in the last analysis, fight that way.

We simply have to find ways to get more people joint earlier. We cannot allow each service to come up with their own weapons systems that have not been thought through in the context of how we're going to use them in the battlefield. We cannot let individuals grow up and not have fine officers, talented, brave, dedicated, patriotic, and have them service-centric and not understanding the linkages that have to exist between the services. We can't let that happen.

What happens in the Department of Defense -- and it runs me up the wall -- is each service comes up with their things, and then I look out here to a combatant commander who's got to go do a job, and how in the world do you get those four things into a single fighting force at the end? It's a train wreck right in here; right in that area is a train wreck every year when you're trying to do the budget, every year when you're working on things. It's just a meat grinder trying to pull things together because they didn't start coming together earlier at a lower level. And we're going to fix that. I'll be the meat grinder. (Laughter.)

Thank you. (Applause.) ####

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