Town Hall Meeting with Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld at Maxwell-Gunter Air Force Base, Ala.
Presenter: Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld
October 18, 2006
SEC. RUMSFELD: Thank you very much, folks. (Continued applause.) Thank you. Thank you so much. I appreciate that very much, General. Give your father my regards. (Laughter.)
We just had the Air Force memorial celebration in Washington. I -- did any of you have a chance to see it or go to it or watch it on the Pentagon channel? (Non-verbal response.) It was quite a day, and when I saw all those old planes coming over, it made me feel right at home. (Laughter.) All the planes I flew are in museums these days.
How many here have served in Iraq or Afghanistan or in the war on terror at one location or another? (Non-verbal response.) Goodness gracious, look at that. Thank you. Well, we appreciate your service. We appreciate what you've done and what you are doing.
General, members of the faculty, mayors, commissioners, councilmen, students, members of the armed forces -- how many here are international and serve in the militaries of other countries? (Non- verbal response.) Look at that. I'm told there's something like 70 or 75 different countries that are represented here. Well, a special welcome to you. I am very pleased to see that you're here. I'm a strong advocate of exchange programs of this type, and I certainly hope this will prove to be a valuable experience for you not simply during your time here, but for the rest of your careers.
I had an unusual experience as a relatively young man. I was in the Cabinet, and I think it was 1970, and I was asked by the president to go to represent the United States at President Nasser's funeral of Egypt. And I went over with John McCloy, who'd been high commissioner of Germany, and with Robert Murphy, who'd been the famous diplomat among warriors, and we flew over to Cairo. And we went in to meet the acting president, and the acting president was -- we were briefed -- was kind of not going to make it, that he was -- that Nasser didn't like to have vice presidents who were there too long, and that he very likely would not succeed President Nasser.
His name was Anwar Sadat, and he did succeed him. And he -- when we landed, there were Soviet airplanes all over the airfield. There were missiles, there were Soviet troops, and the place was just like that with the Soviet Union. We went into see Sadat, and he said to us that he had gone to school in the United States at one of the Army's young officer schools and had never forgotten it, that it had a big impact on him, and he'd traveled in the country and he wanted us to know that he had no issue with the United States of America other than Israel. And this is at a time when the Soviets where just all over his country. And within a matter of months, he'd asked them out. And I personally attributed in part to the reception he had in the United States of America in a military school, and I think it's important to recognize that those relationships that the Americans here are having with the -- what did you say? -- a hundred and --
SEC. RUMSFELD: -- 150 plus or minus folks from other militaries from 70 or 73 countries -- the relationships you have are relationships that are going to last for a long time, and that they're important to you to be sure, but they're important to all of our countries. And I say that because there are practically no problems today that we face or that our friends and allies around the world face that can be dealt with by a single country. They just -- I mean, whether it's counternarcotics or terrorism or hostage taking or trafficking in humans, whatever it is, it can't be dealt with -- counterproliferation -- no one country on the face of the Earth can deal with those problems because they're global in scope. And the relationships that you have and that we have as a country are critically important, because if we're to be successful in this world, we have to have a degree of cohesion and cooperation that is quite different from that which has existed in previous decades.
You folks have been training airmen for some decades, I guess even a bit longer than the Air Force has been in existence. I certainly thank the faculty and the staff of the War College and the other training commands here for carrying on in a proud tradition and for your contributions to our country's security.
I'm told that circling the college is a road named after Claire Chennault. And I remember when I was in school, my professor in 1951 or 1952 who taught Asian Studies was a very close friend of Chennault's, and he had a picture of Chennault right on his desk. And we would go in and have a precept, a meeting once a week with this professor, and I'd sit there and look at that face.
I suppose all of you have seen a picture of Claire Chennault. It's memorable, his face. And his fame, of course, came largely from his time leading the Flying Tigers, who, along with the Doolittle Raiders, kind of electrified the American people with their courage and their daring during what was a terribly difficult time for our country.
Chennault is remembered as a leader who pushed the envelope, who challenged assumptions. He was also a man sometimes described as demanding and difficult, who shook up the establishment a bit. Sounds to me like a valuable contributor. (Laughter.)
The innovative spirit that defined Chennault and others like him still defines the Air Force. It's inspired a series of generations in the Air Force. If you think of the early days in Afghanistan, they rode horseback along steep, narrow trails in Afghanistan during Operation Enduring Freedom. To go from days of mission planning on the ground to minutes, even seconds of planning in the air, and to shift from a garrison mind-set to an expeditionary force rapidly delivering everything from fire power to supplies to humanitarian relief around the world, these achievements could hardly have been imagined when folks started thinking about a separate air service. But they've been invaluable in making the Air Force an integral element in the joint force keeping our country safe today.
It's now more than five years since we suffered the worst attack -- terrorist attack on our soil in history. We came to realize that a war had been declared on our country, on our free people, a war that was certainly not of our making and not of our choosing. This war was not declared on September 11th, 2001.
It really began years, even decades earlier. If you recall, the World Trade Center was attacked by terrorists the first time not in 2001, but nearly a decade earlier with the bombing in 1993. It was followed by attacks on the Khobar Towers in `96, the embassies in Kenya and Tanzania -- Tanzania in 1998 and the USS Cole just about six years ago. Yet through it all many remain persuaded that terrorism was essentially a law enforcement problem, not an act of war; that terrorists really ought to be treated like criminals -- investigated, prosecuted after the fact. The problem is that the folks we're dealing with, the terrorists, are not like bank robbers or common murders. They're something quite different.
People think of terrorism as the purpose of terrorism to kill people. It often has that effect. But the purpose of terrorism is not to kill people, it's to terrorize people, it's to alter their behavior, it's to cause them to do something fundamentally different than they otherwise would be doing; that is to say to do exactly what the terrorists want them to do and to live a life and to behave in a manner consistent with what the terrorists want.
Even as the Cold War ended our military services remained organized to defend against large armies, air forces and navies. America, it was said, had taken a holiday from history, where Americans were persuaded that emerging threats were exaggerations or were somebody else's problem or would eventually go away if we left them alone. That sentiment was popular in the decades before World War II until the attack on Pearl Harbor, which awoke many Americans, most Americans to the harsh reality and caused them to rally to their country's defense and rally they did. Americans defeated the forces of fascism, nurtured West Germany and Japan on a long, slow, difficult journey to representative government, to democracies and created new institutions to combat the menace of Soviet tyranny.
Over the past years, Americans have come to know a new and different threat, an enemy that is even more ruthless and more lethal, as weapons are more lethal today; with no territory to defend, no treaties to honor, that measures progress in terms of decades not days or weeks or months, as Americans seem to; and who are seeking -- let there be no doubt -- the world's most dangerous weapons.
With this sort of enemy, we cannot afford and indeed could not survive another holiday from history. We've seen the nature of the enemy every day since September 11th. They target women and children and use them as human shields. They've murdered thousands of civilians, tens of thousands, Muslims and mostly -- mostly Muslims, but non- -- Muslims and non-Muslims alike, in places like London, Madrid, Morocco, Bali, Beslan, Baghdad, New Delhi and dozens of other places across the globe. They train their supporters to claim torture when they're apprehended. They manipulate the media. They doctor photos of casualties to inflame Western public opinion. They seize every opportunity to lie and distort the coalition's missions in Afghanistan, in Iraq and elsewhere. And they're good at it. They're very skillful at it. They have media committees that meet to decide how they can fool people as to what's taking place.
Their battlefield is not just Baghdad or Kabul, but American living rooms and television screens. We talk about where's the center of gravity of the war. The center of gravity of this war is very much in Washington, D.C., and it's in the capitals across the world.
There's no way our forces can lose, militarily. There's also no way they can win by military means alone. It takes more than military means. And it takes some time.
They live in our country. They live in countries that are our allies in the war on terror. Some 90 nations today are allied with us in the global war on terror. And they live in diffuse cells around the world.
And with an enemy that is not dissuaded by the threat of prosecution or by reason, our free societies have really two options. One is to be terrorized and to alter our behavior; and the other is to decide we will not be terrorized, we'll not alter our behavior, which strikes at the very essence of free people, but to attack them and to stop them at their roots.
The government of some -- these 90 nations that we share intelligence with and cooperate with have made the strategic decision to go on the offense, because there really is no other choice. It is not possible to defend in every location, at every moment of the day or night, at -- against every conceivable technique of violence.
That can't be done. So the choice -- it is a clear choice that one must be on the offense.
Since 9/11, two of the world's leading sponsors of terrorism, the Taliban in Afghanistan and Saddam Hussein's regime in Iraq are gone. A third, Libya, has renounced its nuclear programs and its ties to terror. Nations such as Pakistan and India are much closer allies today than they were in 2001. Some 10 terrorist attacks against America and our allies have been thwarted to our intelligence community's knowledge. It did not happen by luck. It did not happen by accident. It happened because an awful lot of people worked very hard to prevent those attacks. It was the result of strategies and the result of close cooperation from a great many other countries.
This war, like other wars, has not been a steady, smooth, upward path. To some, that's a surprise. To those who study history, it is not a surprise. The enemy has a brain. The enemy adapts, just as our folks adapt continuously and must.
Consider Iraq. At first, Saddam's forces tried to meet coalition forces in the field, and they lost, so the regime remnants and other extremists began to attack military supply convoys. As convoys became better protected, they began to use the explosive devices, IEDs. And as commanders shifted convoy tactics and increased armor in response, the type and size of the IEDs changed and the method of actuating them changed. And as the effectiveness of the attacks against military targets declined, the extremists obviously, using their brains, shifted to more attacks on civilians in attempts to incite sectarian violence. I mean, the classic example was the attack on the Golden Dome Mosque.
Today the enemies are fighting an Iraq unity government by trying to further sow the seeds of sectarian violence. Coalition forces have and will need to continue to adapt, making adjustments as they see the needs.
Each of you here in one form or another is a student of history. You know better than many that what is being undertaken in Afghanistan and Iraq has to be understood to be one of history's most difficult tasks. It is not simply a battle of one big navy against another big navy or one air force against another air force with a signing ceremony on the Missouri when it's over. Those are not the kind of people we're dealing with. Afghans have risked their lives to support and defend a representative government that's now been in existence for less than two or three years. Iraqis have given up a great deal to form a unity government, and it's been in place, I don't know, plus or minus 160 days, with the new prime minister and the new ministers -- that's less than a baseball season. Think of that. And yet we're impatient. I'm impatient. Everyone's impatient. We can't help but be impatient.
But think of that. That government's been there less than a baseball season. And these are people who lived in that country. And Saddam Hussein did not reward people for being entrepreneurs and taking decisions on their own. Those people were put in jail or killed. They don't have the experience, the base that's needed yet, and it will take some time for them to develop that. To achieve long-term success in this struggle, we're trying to help their governments, their ministries to offer an alternative of hope and promise for a brighter future.
Last, I think, Saturday, I think it was Saturday, we went to Bethesda Naval Hospital, and there was a Marine. He'd been -- he had multiple wounds and he had a tube in his nose, and he looked up and he said, "If the American people will just give us time."
I said to him, "What do you do? What were you doing over there when you got wounded?" He was an embedded trainer. He was one of the ones that was put into the Iraqi units, slept with them, ate with them, worked with them every day, worried about the leadership capabilities, worried about the equipment, worried about their linkages to the police forces, their linkages to intelligence, their linkages to local government, worried about them behaving in a proper way. And he said, "They get it, and they're doing well."
He was with a military -- a Ministry of Defense unit as opposed to a Ministry of Interior unit, and they're farther behind in their progress, as many of you know. Have any of you been embedded trainers over there? There's one. This fellow is absolutely convinced, as so many people who've been involved in it are, that the capabilities of those Iraqi security forces are improving every day, that they're getting better at what they do and that they're going to be able to assume responsibility for the security of their country.
If you think about it, for every student that attends a school that coalition forces help build, there's a parent who sees some potential for their children. For each house that gets clean running water or electricity for the first time in years, there's a tangible incentive to keep that house free of terrorists and extremists or weapons that could put them at risk. The more they see other people gaining a better life, the more they will want it for themselves and the more they will take steps necessary to build a better life for themselves.
And in the last analysis, it will be the Iraqi people who will provide for their own governance and their own security, as they must. It will not be foreign troops and foreign forces. And the more that Afghans and Iraqis take the lead in securing their countries from the nation's enemies, the more encouraged the people will become that the wave of violence in their country ultimately can be defeated, as it has been defeated in other nations over time in the past.
The overwhelming majority of Afghans and Iraqis do not want a future determined by extremists, by violent extremists -- they just don't. Think of it -- 12 million Iraqis went to vote, and it was dangerous. There were signs on the walls saying, "You vote, you die." They don't want the terrorists to win. They don't want to be turned over to the beheaders and the hostage takers, the terrorists and the 21st-century fascists who seek to do them harm.
This is a global struggle against violent extremism. It is -- it will be long, and it will be hard. I wish it were otherwise. They're certainly seeing the violence on television. There's a temptation for people to wonder how will it end, how can it be done in a way that it will end favorably? And of course, as in previous periods, as I have mentioned, there are those who say, "Well, it's somebody else's problem," or "It'll just go away and not to worry."
British Prime Minister Tony Blair the other day summed up our challenge this way. He said, quote, "We will not win until we shake ourselves free of the wretched capitulation to the propaganda of the enemy that somehow we are the ones responsible. Terrorism is not our fault," he said. "If we retreat now, we will not be safer, we will be committing a craven act of surrender that will put our future security in deepest peril," unquote.
Many of you have experienced firsthand the successes and setbacks of this war. You've witnessed what the enemy is capable of, and I think you know we cannot afford to take a holiday from history.
Not long ago, a group of men gathered to remember a similar time in history when they were young, when the world's future seemed clouded by the advance of tyrants across the globe. Those men were volunteers for a mission that seemed foolhardy to some and was very likely to end their lives. But in those famous 30 seconds over Tokyo, the aviators who become known as Doolittle's Raiders stunned an empire, rallied a nation and gave America a needed lift in a world war that at that time we were losing and seemed lost. It's hard to remember that, but that's what it was. Month after month after month another loss.
Those last surviving Doolittle Raiders gave a toast to that past glory, to the legacy they'd forged and to the generations that would carry that legacy into the future. That legacy, that daring, that vision is a hallmark of your service.
And I believe -- I have every confidence that one day you will look back on your service, back on this time, back on your place in history, and take pride in the fact that you contributed to a safer world and to the cause of freedom.
The great sweep of human history is for freedom. (Pauses.) And that's the side we're on. Thank you. (Applause.)
Now, I'm told you folks ask a bucket of questions. And I'm told there are several mikes along the right side and several mikes along the left side. And I would be happy to listen carefully to your questions -- (laughter) -- answer those I know the answer to and respond carefully to the ones I don't -- (scattered laughter) -- and maybe even heave a couple to the general back here.
So if you want to move over to the mikes and get in line, I'll try and keep my answers reasonably short. And I'm -- there's -- it's a little hard for me to see, so if someone could just -- are you at a mike?
Q Yes, sir.
SEC. RUMSFELD: Terrific! Swing out.
Q Army Strong, sir. Lieutenant Colonel Joe Myers. I'm the Army adviser, Air Command and Staff College.
First, sir, I want to thank you for being here --
SEC. RUMSFELD: You're the Army adviser?
Q Yes, sir.
SEC. RUMSFELD: Do they need it? (Laughter.)
Q (Off mike.)
Q They need quite a bit, and I give it to them, sir. (Laughter.)
SEC. RUMSFELD: (Chuckles.)
Q No, we have a very good relationship here, sir, and we got the best Air Force in the world. And I'll go on record saying that.
AUDIENCE MEMBERS: Hoo-ah!
SEC. RUMSFELD: There you go.
Q Well, first, sir, I want to thank you for being here today and likewise thank you for your service to our country during these challenging times.
SEC. RUMSFELD: Thank you.
Q Sir, I'm sure you anticipate some questions on North Korea's nuclear activities, and I'd like to approach that issue this way. And that is that our strategy and statements on nuclear deterrence need adjustment in the era we're living in today. You alluded to that, that we are in a world of terrorists of global reach, rogue nuclear states proliferating nuclear WMD capabilities and expertise, and terrorists or proxies that may use those weapons against us.
So I'd suggest we must recast our nuclear deterrent strategy and rewrite it in more unambiguous terms and make clear that it's unacceptable for there to be a catastrophic WMD event on U.S. soil under any circumstance or relationship.
And as part of our counterproliferation strategy, we need to hold at risk the entire network of proliferators, from states to individual actors -- and we know who they are, A. Q. Khan, Iran, North Korea, and possibly even China, sir, I would submit -- and translate the intelligence burdens from us onto them for counterproliferation, make them police themselves and make them understand that they may well be held strategically culpable if there's a nuclear detonation on U.S. soil.
SEC. RUMSFELD: Well --
Q That was my easy question, sir. (Laughter.)
SEC. RUMSFELD: That's a thoughtful question. (Laughter, applause.) But I'm going to answer it.
The world is different. If you have countries with nuclear weapons and everyone knows they're nuclear countries, and they have governments to protect, populations to protect, industrial base to protect, deterrence of the classic types tend to work. They have worked. Conversely, if you have countries that are nuclear countries and one of two things happens -- they transfer those capabilities, their illegal capabilities, to non-state entities, terrorist organizations of one type or another, or they're led by somebody who has a martyr complex and believes that it's okay to have great catastrophic events occur in the world, in those cases, standard deterrents don't work.
And I quite agree with you, and the president agrees with you. And within the last -- in the days since the North Koreans tested a nuclear device, the president indicated that a -- I'm going to try to use his precise words -- that were a nuclear country to transfer nuclear capabilities to a non-state entity, that they would be held fully accountable for that. And that's the first part of your question.
And the second part of your question had to do with counterproliferation, and you suggested there's some way that they could police themselves. I don't know that they could police themselves with that type of declaratory policy, but clearly they would have -- the nuclear powers would have an incentive to be quite careful about proliferating.
That does not mean they wouldn't. This is one of the hardest things we do. You can proliferate via land, sea or air. We now have the Proliferation Security Initiative where the president's fashioned some 70 nations as part of that activity, and there's so much moving around the world by land, sea and air that it is practically impossible -- not impossible, but certainly it would take a lot of countries cooperating with a high degree of cohesion -- but if you think about it, think of the countries of the world that are viewing with alarm the Iranian and the North Korean nuclear programs. They are concerned about lowering the nuclear threshold. They're concerned about having more countries become nuclear countries -- North Korea and Iran. And they obviously look at the world and realize that if Iran and North Korea become fully operating nuclear-capable countries, there's at least a reasonable likelihood that some other countries will decide that they need nuclear weapons. And you could have -- in a relatively short period, you could have two, four, six other countries decide that.
So the effect of what's happening in the world is exactly the opposite of what the international community wants to have happen -- a lower nuclear threshold, more countries with nuclear weapons, a greater likelihood that one of the countries or more might transfer those weapons to a non-state entity. I mean, think of what Iran -- just gave all these weapons to Hezbollah is a classic example. Now, they're resupplying them right now.
The only thing that will do it will be a high degree of cohesiveness and cooperation on the part of the international community, and that has been something that has been lacking. We have not seen that kind of cooperation that would have a high probability of being able to prevent a continued proliferation moving from conventional capabilities into unconventional capabilities. And it seems to me that the world has to look at that problem and ask itself if it's comfortable going down the path we're going with a sufficient -- with an insufficient degree of cohesiveness to apply sufficient leverage on North Korea and Iran that they would discontinue their programs.
Q Good afternoon, sir. Major Delio Narsis (sp), Air Command And Staff College student, Flight 21. My question is: With the Navy and the Air Force supporting many Army taskings in Operations Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom, could you share your thoughts on increased troops levels or not in the U.S. Army?
SEC. RUMSFELD: You bet. First of all, the Air Force and the Navy have been just stellar. Mike Mullen and Buzz Moseley and their teams have leaned forward to provide all kinds of assistance in Iraq and Afghanistan and around the world, and taking over more missions that they never would have imagined they would have taken over, to relieve pressure on the ground forces. And it has just been a terrific performance by the Navy and by the Air Force.
The problem with ground force -- well, you mentioned Army, I believe, specifically. But there are several things happening. We started four years ago with -- I dictated a memo, I think there were some 36 different items on ways we could better manage the force, meaning the ground force, and relieve stress on that force in the event we came to a point where we needed to do so. And they began the process of shifting in the Army people -- military, uniformed personnel out of civilian jobs that civilians can perform every bit as well and move them into military functions. So they're increasing the size of the operational Army at a fixed level, they're increasing the size of the operational Army at the expense of the institutional Army, and that's a good thing.
Second, we've increased the size of the Army. Under the emergency powers the president granted the secretary of Defense, we've authorized the Army to go up, as I recall, something like 30,000 above their statutory end strength.
Third, we have been modularizing the Army and reconstituting it as brigade combat teams as opposed to divisions, so we're able to mix and match units much better and have a more flexible and a more deployable force.
We can increase the size of the Army, and I must say I was very pleased the Army met its retention and recruiting goals the highest they've ever done. Their targets were up, and they met or exceeded them. But in terms of dramatically increasing it, it's difficult.
So what we're doing is we're also looking at the Marines. The Marines have a different type of force. They bring people in and move a lot of people out of the Marines fairly fast, within a four-year tour, and they're in and they're out. We think it's going to be easier to possibly create another regimental combat team in the Marines more rapidly than it would be to constitute an additional brigade combat team in the Army.
We're looking at four, five or six different ways of doing it. It's important that we have the ground forces we need. It's important that we don't overstress the force. It's important that we give people reasonable certainty as to what their dwell time will be if they serve overseas and then come back. The pressure right now, that General Casey had hoped to be able to reduce the number of brigades in Iraq by last summer, and instead he requested additional forces, which the president approved, so the rotation flow had to be adjusted.
On top of that, we had to take two Army brigade combat teams off line, out of the rotation, because we had stripped out of there the senior noncoms and the junior officers and moved them into these embedded training teams that -- I don't know what we've got over there now in Iraq; I'm going to guess we have 3,000 of them -- we started with the Defense Ministry's forces and then moved to the Ministry of Interior forces and started embedding with them. And when you strip out the leadership teams out of a couple of brigade combat teams, you've got to take them off line, obviously.
So we're now in the process of looking at filling that back in and getting them into the -- in fact, I met with the secretary of the Army this morning about it -- a way that we could try to get one of those brigade combat teams back in.
The short answer is we're looking at six or seven or eight ways. We've been doing it for three or four years. We've got a lot of things going on, and we recognize the risk to the force, but we feel we're in a position to meet the -- at least what we can reasonably expect to be the demands.
Does that do it?
Q Thank you, sir.
SEC. RUMSFELD: Not bad for government work, huh? (Soft laughter.)
Q Good afternoon, Mr. Secretary. Major Brian Winkus (sp), Air Command Staff College, 3rd (Herd ?). And my question to you is along the lines of transformation. We are currently engaged in a war, and as the president has stated several times, with no foreseeable end -- well, not really an end, but it's going to be a very long war.
What are you, the OSD staff and the Joint Chiefs of Staff doing to prepare us for the next war after the war on terrorism?
SEC. RUMSFELD: The -- (pauses) -- the Joint Chiefs, under General Pace's leadership, review war plans and look at all the combatant commanders' reasonably foreseeable contingencies, and they review them. And they look at our capabilities and our resources. The -- they are comfortable that to the extent one can look out and see what the future might hold, that we currently have the capabilities we need to meet those challenges.
War plans get changed. For example, Korea was a poor country 50 years ago. Today it's the 10th-largest economy on the face of the Earth -- South Korea. And we had visions of dozens and dozens of U.S. Army brigade combat teams assisting with the ground war, and of course today the Republic of Korea has vastly greater capability than it did when those plans were originally set. So we're constantly reviewing those plans and making sure we have the kinds of capabilities we need.
Second, the military does probably a better job of lessons learned of any government institution that I've seen. And there is a continuing process of asking ourselves what was done, what worked, what didn't work, and how we can get better at it, and that process is constantly renewing the armed forces of the United States.
The lessons learned in Iraq, for example -- General Petraeus has been involved, came back to the United States, and he's been involved in taking lessons with respect to the tasks of training and equipping of foreign countries' armed services. And doctrine has been evolved.
And so there are a great many things going on to better enable us to not just be capable of doing what this Department of Defense is so obviously capable of doing -- in fact, it's so capable at doing it -- that is to say, fighting big armies, navies and air forces -- that the deterrent effect of that capability reduces the likelihood in the near term that we would find a near peer competitor and be required to use large armies, navies and air forces, which means we must focus on the asymmetrical activities and the irregular activities and, just to give one example, cyberspace.
I mean, we are so dependent that we're vulnerable. We're so dependent on electronics and a variety of things that we've thrown away our shoe boxes filled with three-by-five cards that we can always go find. You probably are all so young you don't remember shoe boxes with three-by- five cards, but in the old days that's how we did it.
So I guess the short answer is that there's a lot going on. I -- we started -- we put out a little thing called the Quadrennial Defense Review that the senior -- (laughter) -- it's a barrel of monkeys. If any of you want -- (laughter) -- I'm the only man in history who's been through two of them, and if it weren't for the honor, I think I just assume not do it. (Laughter.) But we -- our guys worked hard on it and it's good, it's worth looking at. And the preface is this -- it's longer than this, but this is what it is -- and what it talks about in terms of transformation is not going from untransformed to transformed because life isn't like that. It's a process; it's a continuum. And the world is constantly changing, and the enemy has a brain, and we must keep adapting and adjusting. And what this talks about is shifting our weight or shifting our emphasis, if you will, from this to that.
And if you get the Quadrennial Review, you'll find in the preface things like this -- just I'll give you a couple of them.
Build a peace-time tempo to a war-time sense of urgency. That's a very short phrase, but it is a big deal. How do you get an enormous institution, all the millions of people involved -- the contractors, the civilians, the military, the Guard, the Reserve -- how do you get them to get up every morning and say to themselves, "Our job is to protect the American people?" And if you knew of certain knowledge there was going to be a September 11th six months from now or twice that or three times that, what ought we to be doing today to prevent that and to protect the American people? How do you get that sense of urgency when the country is not mobilized, when people don't have victory gardens like they did during World War II when I was young, where people aren't running around collecting hangers and old rubber so that they can reconstitute it and use it for the war?
How do you get that sense of urgency when you look around you and you know that some people have it and some people don't? But we have to have it because the lethality of the weapons today is such that the carnage, the damage to the American people and to our friends and allies -- it'd be so much greater than ever before in history.
From a time of reasonable predictability to an era of surprise and uncertainty; from a single-focused threat, nation-states, to multiple complex challenges, terrorist networks; from a focus on kinetics to a focus on effects; from 20th century processes to 21st century integrated approaches.
On planning. From threat-based planning to capability-based planning; from peace-time planning to rapid-adaptive planning; from one-size-fits-all deterrence, as we talked about earlier, to tailored deterrence for rogue powers, terrorist networks, and near-term competitors.
On equipping. From single-service acquisition systems to joint portfolio management; from broad-based industrial mobilization to targeted commercial solutions.
On organizing. From a U.S. military performing task to a focus on building partner capabilities. How do you fight a war in a country you're not a war with? If you know the enemy's there, you've got good intelligence, and you have the ability to find them and fix them, what do you do about it when they're in a country you're not at war with? Well, you've got two choices. Either you infringe on their sovereignty -- your ally, the people that you're working with -- or you start trying to build partner capability and help them with the kinds of mobility that they're going to be able to need to finish. Help them with the night-vision capabilities that they don't have. These are tough things to do, and they take time. From Department of Defense solutions to interagency approaches; from static alliances to dynamic partnerships.
On operating. From massing forces to massing effects; from set piece maneuvered and mass to agility and precision; from static defense garrison forces, as we were organized in Europe at the end of the Cold War, to mobile expeditionary operations; from a battle-ready force in peace time to battle-hardened forces; from major conventional combat operations to multiple, irregular, asymmetric operations.
I urge you to read the preface. Confession's good for the soul. I wrote it -- (laughter) -- and I've fallen in love with it. (Laughs, laughter.) And it's undoubtedly not as good as I think it is. (Laughs, laughter.) But get the Quadrennial Review. Read that preface. It's relatively short, but it gives you the proper sense of shifting from our weight here to our weight there. We don't stop doing everything we've been doing. All that would do would be to invite people to compete with us with big armies, navies and air forces. We can't afford that. So we have to be able to do what we do, but we also have to be to do some new things.
I didn't go way back there. Excuse me.
Q Sir, Major Sean Williams, Air Command and Staff College, student, Flight 19. Sir, could you please discuss, give us a vector check on how you think we're doing with achieving your transformation objectives and maybe provide some of the largest challenges you see in the near term and far term as far as transformation goes?
SEC. RUMSFELD: The president of the United States asked General Pace and me that question in the Oval Office about six months ago. And Pete shot right back and said, "On a scale of 10, I'd give us about an eight on --" I forget the word he used -- "attitude" or "culture" and "orientation" -- "and about a four or a five on accomplishment." I don't know that I agree with that necessarily, but I think that it's never going to be finished. I am genetically impatient, so you're asking the wrong person if you're looking for a high grade. I can't help myself.
And I think that the culture's the most important thing. I think it's -- the people -- leaders in the military today, if they aren't bold, if they aren't comfortable with change, ought not to be leading. We need people who have that attitude. We need people -- you know the old story, A's hire A's and B's hire C's. Well, the same thing's true with people who are innovative and willing to take risks and willing to change what is and do something different if there's good arguments as to why it should be done different.
And people like that become centers of excellence. They become people who hire people like that. And to the extent we've been successful in putting the right people in the right schools and moving people up through this system and creating a culture of transforming, then we will have accomplished a lot, because this is an enormous institution. You don't run this place by command. You all know that. You do it by consent, by persuasion and by -- and by -- and no one's smart enough to be secretary of Defense or chief of staff of the Joint Chiefs or chief of staff of one of the services. You simply have to work with other people and you have to talk to them and understand what in the world you need to know so that you can give some vectors and help them go in the right direction.
Well, if those people are transformational in their attitudes, then we're going to be fine. The things that have been accomplished have been -- in the last six years have been amazing. And what's also amazing is how much we still have to do. Every once in a while I turn around and I look at -- I process, and I think to myself, "Oh, my gosh, how in the world did we let that happen? It's doing exactly what it was doing four years ago." Things in motion remain in motion. Things at rest remain at rest. It's basic physics.
I mean, I'll give you an example. The -- I guess the press is back there; I'm not going to give you an example. (Laughter, applause.) I could, but I won't.
Q Good afternoon, sir. Major Mike Fonda (sp), Air Command and Staff College, Flight 5 student. With the shift to joint operations, the move toward joint basing, and considering the current budget and manning issues that are facing most of the services today, do you think it's time to further unify and economize the military, perhaps combining them into one service organized by functional components?
SEC. RUMSFELD: No. (Laughter.) Sometimes I look at the chaplain corps and notice there's one for each service. Sometimes I look at the medical corps and notice there's one for each service. Sometimes I ask myself that same question. But I think that it's a balance. The progress that's been made in creating more of a joint force than has ever existed in the history of our country is significant.
And it is sufficiently advanced that I am increasingly comfortable that that would be a bad idea.
And the -- you know, the guy on the ground today is not male or female, Army, Navy, Air Force or Marine, doesn't give a darn where the lethal power comes from that he needs put on a target. They don't care if it's from the Army. (Chuckles.) They don't care if it's from the Navy or the Air Force. They just want it done, and they want it done fast, and they want it done well.
And that's getting backed up in the system. We still don't have sufficient joint CONOPS, and we need it, do more of it, and the Joint Staff is working on it. But I'm encouraged. I think we're making some darn good headway.
And today when you hear -- I was secretary of Defense 30 years ago, and I'll tell you that 30 years ago the services were very insular. And you'd be in a meeting, and they would talk about their service, and they wouldn't want to talk about another person's service in front of them -- a little later, maybe, but not in front of them, because then they might talk about your service. And it was a very stilted, unconstructive process.
Today that just doesn't exist. Today they are -- we pull them together. We have a Senior Level Review Group, where the chiefs from the services are there, and the service secretaries and the undersecretary for the department. And there isn't a big issue that the department wrestles with that isn't put on that table and examined. And anyone who pulls that stuff that I used to hear all the time 30 years ago about this or that, that's service-centric, they don't make it. They don't make the cut, and they shouldn't.
Yes? Is there a question down here? No. Back there? No. There? Good for you. You're not going to let the general put you off, are you? (Laughter.)
Q Sir, you have two options. The officer from El Salvador or the professor from AU. (Chuckles.) I was going to -- (laughter, groans) -- yes.
SEC. RUMSFELD: Yes.
Q Sir, I have a question. I'm a professor --
SEC. RUMSFELD: Could you put the mike a little closer to your mouth?
I got an aviator's tin ear.
Q Yes, sir. Professor Richard Andres from the school's Advanced Air and Space Studies. In your talk earlier, you mentioned that the center of gravity and the current unpleasantness in Iraq is probably very possibly in America. It's in Washington. And I just wanted to follow up on that for a second, if I could. You know, there's quite a bit of worry that this war might end up the same way Vietnam did or a host of other insurgencies with the politicians pulling out the rug. And it seems like as long as our operations over there are extremely extensive both in blood and treasure -- you know, that's a possibility that somewhere down the line that could actually happen. And a group of us here have been at least starting to think about how maybe to use an indirect approach -- maybe pull down troops, use substitute technology and so forth. In fact, my friend Mike Vickers has coined that term and used it quite extensively, and I think there's something to it, but it's a very unpopular view that this might even be possible.
But, sir, my question is, what are your thoughts on that? Is there a constructive way to preserve democracy in Iraq over the long term while at the same time pulling down our large forces there?
SEC. RUMSFELD: Well, we think so. I talk to Mike Vickers also, and I'm familiar with his thoughts, and he's a very thoughtful person.
The -- (pauses) -- if you think about it, I was with President Bouteflika in Algeria not too long ago. What did they go through, 12 years -- people were being beheaded in the streets? It was a horrible, bloody insurgency. It was a ghastly period for that country. Today they're fine. How did they get there?
Was it easy? No. Was it bloody? You bet. Did it cost lives and money? Yes. And time? Yes.
Think of other countries that have gone through an insurgency. In the last analysis, it was Algerians, and in the last analysis, it's going to be Iraqis.
And the task we have is to do what you suggested, and that's to find ways that we can help them do -- provide the quality of governance and the quality of security in their country that they can incrementally repress that insurgency. And that will mean that the people of that country will have to decide that the tips they're giving to the police and the military will go up four, five, six times. It's already in the thousands.
But it means that they're going to have to get better at their security. It means that they're going to have to -- that we're going to have to continue to try to train equip them and work with their ministries so that they will increasingly take over province after province.
I mean, if you think about it, two provinces out of 18 have been passed over to the Iraqis. There's a schedule, and the other 16 are going to get passed over. The last two are going to be tough -- let there be no (doubt ?) --last two or three. But they're going to be passed over.
We had, I think, 110 bases in Iraq. We're down to 55, and we're heading down to a lot fewer.
The Iraqis had no new divisions. They now have a lot of divisions, and they have a lot of people -- Iraqi units in the lead. And they now have stood up their command -- chain of command from the prime minister to the minister of Defense to the units. And I believe two divisions have been put under the Ministry of Defense and the prime minister -- Iraqi divisions -- at the present time. And there's a schedule that they're -- the others, as they come on line, are going to be transferred over as soon as the -- General Casey and General Dempsey believe that they've arrived at a point that they can do that.
What -- the reconciliation process -- it -- this isn't going to be solved by the military, ultimately. There has to be a reconciliation process. It has to be something that the government accomplishes in a way that the different elements in that country decide, "Fair enough. I'm not comfortable with it, but I'm sort of comfortable with it." Before Saddam Hussein killed of thousands in -- people, put them in mass graves, put them in jails, and instead we're going to rely on holding this country together with a piece of paper, a constitution. Now, that's a big bet. That takes a lot. And that reconciliation process is going to have to have that effect, that it takes the Shi'a and the Kurds and Sunnis, and they nod and say, "Fair enough. Let's give that a good try."
They're going to have to see, you know, the federal -- federalism decision announced and completed through their parliament and feel, "Well, that's fair enough."
There's going to end up being an amnesty program of some kind, and not people with a lot of blood on their hands, but people who were against the government.
And it's going to be a combination of political and economic and security, and it has to be increasingly the Iraqis and not the coalition forces that are taking responsibility for what's taking place in that country.
Will it be a peaceful, nonviolent activity? No. There's going to be violence in that country, I suspect for some time. But if we do our job well, and if we are doing a good job in training and equipping the Iraqi forces, we ought to be able to reduce down our forces in the months ahead as we pass off more and more responsibility and as they develop more experience and more capability.
I think most of the people here will agree that the people who were running around saying the Iraqi security forces weren't willing to put their lives at risk were wrong. The Iraqi security forces have taken a lot of losses. They're taking losses at a rate that's doubled than the coalition -- at least doubled -- more than doubled the coalition on a regular basis, and it's because they're not hiding in their barracks. They're out there doing a job.
Are there any Iraqis -- I don't want to ask that -- I guess there are some Iraqis here, and welcome. We're glad you're here, and we wish you well.
Is that close enough to Mike Vickers that you're comfortable? (Laughs, laughter.) All right.
Folks, we appreciate what you do for the country. It's important. And I hope you sense what I sense, and that's that it's deeply appreciated by the American people.
God bless you. (Applause.)
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