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Deputy Secretary of Defense Hamre and Vice Admiral Clark Briefing

Presenters: Deputy Secretary of Defense John J. Hamre and Vice Admiral Vernon Clark, Director, Joint Staff
July 08, 1999 4:05 PM EDT

Captain Doubleday: I think you all know that after every military operation we traditionally do a review to gather all of the lessons learned, and the recent operation involving Kosovo is no exception.

The Secretary has designated Deputy Secretary John Hamre and the Vice Chairman, General Ralston, to oversee this gathering of data. Here today to give you an update on that is Deputy Secretary John Hamre and also Vice Admiral Vernon Clark, who is the Director of the Joint Staff.

Sir?

Deputy Secretary Hamre: Good afternoon.

Just to let you know, we have started the process that the Secretary directed in his memo to the Chairman and to the rest of the building. This is a normal process, although there are a couple of important dimensions to it for us this year.

As I said to our organizing session when we met last week, I think there are three products that we need to be thinking about. We need, of course, to develop a product that will help us do our job better if we ever have to go to war again.

Second, if there are important things that we need to incorporate in the next budget that we build, and we are in the process of going through the program review, we need to know that now. So during the next five to six months as we're building a budget we also need to incorporate whatever we've learned here that does require some resource decisions.

Finally, we need to put in place the foundation of knowledge for the next Quadrennial Defense Review. While that is certainly beyond my tenure, we wouldn't be good stewards in this job if not to put in place what it takes to make those sorts of decisions in the future, and that also is a very important dimension to it.

So those are the three primary goals of the after-action review. We have just started.

What I'd like to do is turn it over to Admiral Clark, the Director of the Joint Staff. He is going to be coordinating the bulk of the work. So let me turn it over to Vern for his comments.

Vice Admiral Clark: Thank you Dr. Hamre. Good afternoon.

I would start by just reviewing very briefly the groups again that were established. I would tell you that we briefed the Executive Review Group -- the After-Action Review Board established by Secretary Cohen and chaired by Secretary Hamre and General Ralston. We briefed them a few days ago and they approved the structure that we've put in place which is basically three major groups.

These three major groups, for those of you who -- some of you may have heard this, but let me just say very briefly, a deployment/employment group. There are a number of subsections here, but basically this is getting the force to the field, deploying it, sustaining it, and then the various operations, strike operations, logistics support, precision strike, those kinds of things.

Secondly, the intelligence support for operations. That area includes obviously intelligence preparation of the battlefield, but then also very important things, subsets like surveillance and reconnaissance issues and those kinds of things.

The third group, alliance and coalition warfare.

So the Executive Review Group approved the establishment of that structure.

Then what we have been doing at the worker bee-level, we've been populating those groups. Each of the sub-elements -- those groups are chaired by flag officers. Each then working group under those three major headings, the individuals have been selected to lead those groups and we have put people on the working groups that represent the services, that represent the Joint Staff, which by its nature, the joint effort, we want this to be a joint look [and] members and players from the Office of the Secretary of Defense. So that is taking place as we speak.

Then the other part that has occurred is the tasking of the inputs. The tasking has been signed out by the Chairman to the CINCs, to the services, and to the agencies that will have input on these particular subject areas. Frankly, we have not limited it to those. If there are other things that need to be addressed we've made it open enough so that they can input on those issues.

So that's the basic structure. We will have working groups that prepare, and our task is consolidation.

What we expect to have happen, and we looked at this kind of in a matrix way. We want to get an operational -- first of all tactics, techniques, procedures, these kinds of things that we have to learn from this, and we want to learn them quickly. We want to assimilate them quickly. Those are coming from the field, from the CINCs, so I view those kind of coming down this way. We want more than one view of that.

The CINC will go to his service components, his functional components, and get their assessments and their impressions.

Then the services have also, of course, been tasked. We're going to get another, potentially a different vantage point from their input.

Our task then is to put it together, bring this to the executive review level like Dr. Hamre and General Ralston, hear the inputs and then decide what follow-on actions are required.

That's largely where we are today. Sir, subject to any other comments, I think we're ready to address your questions.

Q: Mr. Secretary, could you tell us, have you all any preliminary figures at all -- preliminary figures, estimates, whatever -- on how many Serb tanks, APCs, mortars, and all you destroyed in and out of Kosovo in this operation. Preliminarily. And if you haven't, why not?

Deputy Secretary Hamre: First of all, I don't think we do have and I think that's exactly why we needed to have a Department-wide process to bring it together, because you get so many facts that are out there.

I learned from previous experiences, for example in DESERT STORM, that one set of facts can tend to change over time, so we really have to come together in a systematic way.

I have not seen them, and I don't know that you have, Vern. I have not seen anything come forward. But that will be one of those things we'll produce as soon as we can.

Q: So you just don't have any idea now?

Deputy Secretary Hamre: I do not.

Vice Admiral Clark: We have the information that we developed from our intelligence and collection mechanism during the conduct of the operation. That's always subject to -- that's never perfect knowledge. That's what you get from your sensors and from overhead and from pilot reports and so forth. And that information, some of that was shared in broad terms with you by Admiral Wilson.

We do not have information further to that at this time. You couldn't get information further to that without people on the ground, and of course, some of that will develop in the future.

Q: How are you going about data collection on the ground? Is the Executive Review Group laying out what data you want collected and how it should be collected? Or are you leaving that to the...

Vice Admiral Clark: Our principal focus isn't, if that's tied back to the last question, is not to go and get into that particular counting mechanism. But our principal focus here is learning the operational lessons. Interoperability issues. I mentioned tactics, techniques, procedures. Those are, at the tactical and operational level of war, [where] this input starts. It grows to the strategic level.

In Washington we are not going to present to Dr. Hamre and General Ralston a lot of tactical-level lessons. It will move to a strategic level discussion as it comes here. But the way we're collecting the data is we're utilizing our chain of command and the component structure. It's coming directly from them.

Deputy Secretary Hamre: And the normal lessons-learned process that exists in the Joint Staff. We have the JULLS [Joint Universal Lessons Learned System] process that already has that. That's how the data's being recorded.

Q: How can you [find] anything meaningful or useful about tactics and techniques unless you know what actually worked? That implies looking at what actually happened on the ground.

Vice Admiral Clark: The whole -- and I don't want this to suggest that we have no knowledge of what occurred on the ground. What we have tasked the CINC to do is to collect in the time frame that we've given him, get the best information that he can, provide it to us in an assessing kind of a way of what they saw that worked, what didn't work. You look at -- in broad terms you apportioned resources to this particular task and you were successful. It helped you stay on your campaign time line. Or that didn't work. Those are the kinds of things we're going to get from the field, and they're going to give us the best information they have based upon the intel and understanding of facts that they have as they submit this report to us.

Q: The big congressionally-mandated report after DESERT STORM didn't really focus much on deployment and employment, yet you folks say it's one of your big three areas. Can we deduce from that there are going to be tough questions asked about the Apache deployment, about the ability to flow land forces to the theater in a smart amount of time? Or is that just a random third of your work?

Deputy Secretary Hamre: I think the answer to that is yes, but it will be beyond that. It's going to be looking at...

Q: Why is...

Deputy Secretary Hamre: ...assets, looking at the airlift...

Q: Why is deployment one-third of the chunk of the report?

Deputy Secretary Hamre: It isn't one-third by content, it's just one of the major thrusts that the Secretary wanted studied. And it wasn't, again, just the issue of the Apaches. I think people focused on it, but we're looking at our tanker assets, we're talking about the time, having to operate off of forward operating locations, the complexity of having to do that in a theater. This was a brand new experience compared to what we did in the past. So there are an awful lot of things that are beyond just the Apaches.

But this was a big part of the deal, was getting there. Getting a force in place quickly. Being able to operate it. And I can also say, despite -- everybody talked about all of our readiness challenges. The force did a terrific job. We got in theater, they were able to undertake their missions. I know of no major failing in terms of our deployment in getting forces there. It was a struggle, and I think that's part of what we have to look at. But it's bigger than just the Apache issue.

Q: Can you educate me on why you're not attacking the central question of this whole bombing campaign, which is did we hurt the Yugoslav military or did we not? Today a number of former Defense Chiefs in Britain are asking for an inquiry. There are all kinds of questions about how many tanks did we really destroy given all those we saw being taken out. You seem to be dancing around the problem.

Why don't you appoint an independent inquiry to clear up this question which is on everybody's mind?

Deputy Secretary Hamre: George, I don't want people to conclude we're not going to look at it. I don't think that's what Admiral Clark said. We are going to be looking at that. That indeed is one of the issues that's on the table. How effective was the Yugoslav army's deception campaign tactically? Those are very important issues and we will be studying that.

Q: Are you ruling out an independent body so that you'd have more credibility in the Department investigating itself?

Deputy Secretary Hamre: In all candor, the goal of this is not to satisfy you that we've done an independent review, it's that we have to figure out what did we do well, what did we do poorly, how can we fight a better war the next time? That's our goal. It isn't really just to answer press inquiries. And I don't mean that in a critical sense. We've got to figure out what worked and what didn't work, and we had lots of things both ways.

Q: At the end of the day will you tell us how many tanks were destroyed?

Deputy Secretary Hamre: I sure will. I'll tell you everything I find out as long as it's not classified. And if it is classified I'll try to find a meaningful way to discuss it.

Q: But the Admiral suggests here that you all aren't specifically going to go after that kind of thing. And in all candor we wonder about you all's candor. When you say repeatedly that this is the most accurate air war in history, and yet you may have dropped 3,000 GPUs at tanks and destroyed 500 decoys and hit 50 tanks, and we won't know that unless you tell us honestly.

Deputy Secretary Hamre: Believe me, I'll tell you, Charlie. I'm not trying to hide it. I honestly don't know the answer right now because I haven't seen the data from it.

Q: But you all are going to go after those kind of figures, right, Admiral?

Vice Admiral Clark: I wanted to not mislead you that part of the team that we had set up here was somehow conducting that specific activity.

We expect the CINC to utilize all the resources he has at hand. That's what we've tasked him to do. We expect he's going to bring us the best information that he has available. I can't speak to exactly the way he's organizing. I have some information, because frankly, they're working hard to meet this kind of quick time line.

If you talk about speed, speed and agility is important to us on this one. We don't want to wait a long time for the solutions that we can glean quickly from this experience. So that's what we have tasked him to do. He will come back to us with the best information that he has, and there are people there on the ground now that are gaining additional pieces of information different from what we had without people on the ground during the actual conduct of the operation.

Q: Having mentioned the time line, what are the deadlines? Do you want the tactics, techniques, procedures early and the budgetary aspects later?

Deputy Secretary Hamre: Let me take a first cut and then I'd ask Vern to follow up.

The Secretary would like to get a quick look and a briefing by the end of the summer, early fall.

My goal is to make sure that we submit a budget in the spring that reflects, to the best we can, the knowledge we've garnered from this review. I don't want to confront a critique in March that we're asking for a budget that left open a hole that we learned through an after-action review on operations over Kosovo.

So you're going to see an initial product, we will see an initial product in the form of a briefing, but as much of that as possible that we can bring in and incorporate and make budget decisions on it, we will.

Then there will be a longer term effort, as I say, that we're going to have that will be used for those who come after me who will be involved in the next Quadrennial Defense Review. That I think is going to be much more of the detailed kind of questions that historically have been in the middle of after-action reports.

Q: Will the review look at questions along the lines of do we need more of certain types of platforms like an EA-6B replacement, or more F-16CJ airplanes, or more long-range bombers?

Deputy Secretary Hamre: I think what the review is going to do is not to postulate the answer up front -- we need more of this kind of airplane or that kind of airplane, but operationally what happened and what would we have to do in the future, and what are alternative ways of getting at that.

Now I don't know that the after-action review will postulate the alternative ways. That's what we'll have to do in the program review to the extent we can.

Q: The Gulf report has write-ups on all the systems. Will there be some kind of write-up for weapons...

Deputy Secretary Hamre: Right now the Secretary said I want to have a report from you all at the end of the summer. As much work as we're trying to do, we're going to have a briefing for him. We're not going to have detailed write-ups. We haven't thought that through yet, and I think that's going to downstream.

Q: Will it be done by Labor Day roughly?

Deputy Secretary Hamre: I think that's a fair thing. He hasn't given us a precise time, but that's for all practical purposes when we have to start forming up our recommendations to him on the budget, as well for the program review.

Q: How will the Chinese embassy bombing figure into this? What aspects of that -- have you already done some work on that?

Deputy Secretary Hamre: We've done a fair amount of work. As you know, we've had two hearings in the Congress already on the subject. I had to testify at one, and Director Tenet testified at the other. Director Tenet did for the entire government a review of it the first time, and then there were questions that followed up from that about our involvement and what it meant from a targeting standpoint, things of that nature. I had that hearing.

I don't know of any further facts that are missing. From the review that we've undertaken, I think we have all the facts on the table.

Our view, of course, is that this was a terrible accident, but it was an accident. And it's very clear from the record that it was an accident. It is only one of 30 instances where we had collateral damage. We want to study all 30 of them. So to your question are we looking at data, yeah, we're looking at each one of them that we can to try to find out what happened.

In this case, as I said, I think we have most of the facts now. And there are definitely some things we're going to have to do about that. I have not had a chance to come back and make recommendations to the Secretary, but that will be part of the review.

Q: So there will be a lessons learned?

Deputy Secretary Hamre: Oh, absolutely. Yes. And in candor, that's part of the reason why the Secretary wants a quick look is because he knows questions like that are being raised by members of congress. We're going to have to answer those questions.

Charlie, we're going to have to answer the question you raised. People are going to say, did you hit decoys or did you hit real tanks? We know we're going to have to answer that question.

Q: Do you have any assurances from the national intelligence agencies that they're going to be open and candid with their information?

Deputy Secretary Hamre: On the China Embassy thing?

Q: No, just in general. They're going to be able to answer some of the questions on BDA issues and a lot of other things, but a lot of that information was so compartmentalized after DESERT STORM that it never really got thoroughly analyzed. Do you have that problem solved beforehand, or that information at hand?

Deputy Secretary Hamre: Director Tenet has said he'll give full cooperation as we undertake this. I don't personally think there's going to be any problem whatsoever.

Now as to what data is there and can be released, that I don't know yet. I'll have to figure that out.

Vern, do you want to add anything on the intelligence piece?

Q: Can I, returning to that. You know that you're going to have to answer questions about one specific incident, the Chinese embassy. If we just look broadly at intelligence, about the information you got, the speed with which you got it and so forth, what other specific problems or areas came up during the course of this campaign that you already know you're going to have to find answers for about how things happened, why they went wrong, and that sort of thing?

Vice Admiral Clark: There are a couple of areas to focus on there. First of all, it's not just what went wrong, it's what went right.

There was the new introduction of systems in this operation used in manners and techniques that we haven't used before, and specifically I'm talking about UAVs. Then I'm talking about how you process that information and how you make it available to the user. That means, as you look at the progression of war and the introduction of technology -- and I can go back just ten years, getting information into the cockpit is a huge issue. A lot of improvements have been made.

Now you introduce a system like this. What difficulties did they have in turning the product and getting it to the point so that it could effectively be used?

Those are the kind of things that we've got to digest thoroughly and turn that around rapidly so that it affects our whole training cycle and process and so forth.

With regard to specific difficulties, we expect the same kind of input to come to us, and let me reinforce one thing Dr. Hamre said. That input won't necessarily say hey, I had trouble with area X so I need four more of these and two of these. When you look at the art of the possible, those kind of trade-offs require analytical rigor.

What we expect to hear from the field is, this is the area where I had difficulty. I need solutions here. I tried this and this and I still didn't get where I want to be. That's the kind of report I've got to have them taking up to Dr. Hamre.

Q: That's what I'm curious about...

Deputy Secretary Hamre: Let me give an example. I remember back in DESERT STORM, and at the time I was working up on the Senate and doing the after-action hearings, and General Schwarzkopf complained about the difficulty of getting timely intelligence data down into the field. We have spent an enormous amount of work trying to get the national intelligence capabilities transparent to each other and information available down into the field. We think that worked pretty well this time, but we don't know where there were problems. We don't where there were bottlenecks. That's one of the kind of questions I know I'll want to find out answers to.

Yeah, I think there are a fair number of things that we'll want to look into on the intelligence side.

Q: Just regarding even finding Serb forces and that kind of thing. I'm just curious if you can, if there are questions you already know. I mean I understand what you're saying, but if we can get any more specific, for example, in that area. Finding tanks. Finding artillery. That sort of thing. Or were there not problems that you know of at this point?

Deputy Secretary Hamre: We know because there have been public discussions about the difficulty of finding them and because of very concerted deception efforts on the part of the Yugoslav army. That's one of those questions we'll have to figure out.

I think there are questions, for example, on signals intelligence and cueing and things of that nature. There are a fair number of things as to how do you map out the air defense environment that we were flying against, for example. A good number of questions. But I don't have them. That's part of what...

Can I just say one thing? You want to be very careful not to send out to the entire Department all the questions you want answered, because then everybody thinks that's the only thing that's relevant. There's an awful lot here. They would just not report things if they said well that isn't one of the questions they're asked so knock that out. We're just trying to strike the appropriate balance between getting forward genuine information from the field we don't know, that we wouldn't hear any other way, and focusing it in this kind of a review. So that's why it's a little ambiguous.

Are we going to give them precise questions to answer? I'd argue no. I don't think you want to do that because you're going to constrain what you're going to hear. At the same time, we want to give them some guidance.

Q: Can you say anything at this point about whether you were surprised by the amount of heavy equipment the VJ had in Kosovo? You sort of extrapolate from some of the figures that were released right afterwards on June 10th by the Chairman, for instance, I think you said there were about 450 artillery pieces destroyed, yet estimates during the war were that they only had about 400 artillery pieces in Kosovo. That 450 destroyed supposedly represented what they now believe was about half of what was in there, which would be about 900.

So was that a surprise?

Deputy Secretary Hamre: I don't have anything in that regard, and that's exactly why you have to have a disciplined review looking at it rather than just the anecdotal reports. I do not know. And you wouldn't want a snap reaction from me because I don't know right now, but we'll try to be forthcoming when we do know.

Q: How about the impact study? Is that going to be part of it? In other words, there's a lot of unhappiness [about] the way the air war was waged. Are you going to make any attempt to see what had impact on Milosevic and what did not? In other words, did pecking away at his tanks vis-a-vis knocking out power plants, is that going to be part of your assessment?

Deputy Secretary Hamre: George, it's very hard for us to know what was influential on Milosevic. We will try to reconstruct things as best we can. We also have our view of how you would have to fight a war, and it was different fighting as an alliance. I think everybody's talked about that. That was a very different thing for us.

Some people would say it was a mistake for us to fight this war the way it was fought. We had to hold this alliance together because the alliance had to be together when it was over so we could go in together and do the peace enforcement. So that's part of the review, but...

Q: When the report is finally made public, will that have any kind of judgmental thing about given the hindsight, if we had waged the air war differently, specifically this way, it would have had more impact. Will we get any kind of a judgmental, big picture...

Deputy Secretary Hamre: There's only one person's judgment that matters, it's the Secretary's. He hasn't decided how he will approach that. We will make sure he has all the information, or we'll go out and get further information for him and evaluate it for him.

Q: Don't you think that would be of value?

Deputy Secretary Hamre: You asked me are we going to have a report released to the public that goes into that. I'm not going to prejudge the Secretary's judgment on that.

Q: What worked, what didn't?

Deputy Secretary Hamre: What worked and what didn't work is different from a judgment as to what changed Milosevic's mind and how would we fight the war differently. I'm going to have to defer to the Secretary on what he's going to choose to present when he goes in a broader way. He knows he's going to come up and do hearings. We know we're going to get asked those kinds of questions. But how we address that, I'm not going to pre-judge what he's going to do now.

Q: Could the review result, in your mind, in any change in the traditional split in funding between the services?

Deputy Secretary Hamre: Contrary to what everybody thinks, everybody thinks we start and say okay, each service gets X amount and we just, they build a program that way. We really don't do it that way. People build programs up from the bottom and you go through the process of making changes on the margin if you want more of this or less of this. I think there are some very large issues associated with the Kosovo air operation.

It's very clear that we were using a very high proportion of our reconnaissance, intelligence, early warning, jamming aircraft in this. Does that mean we have to have more?

Tony's question is are we going to buy more of those. I can't tell you that that's going to happen because we may want to buy a more modern solution to the problem.

Back at the end of DESERT STORM when we talked about the difficulty with mines, the answer would have been more minesweepers. That's not the solution we have now in dealing with mine warfare. The Navy has, through a great deal of analysis, come up with a much stronger way to do mine clearing. We could get an entirely wrong solution if we were to say let's take what we currently have and buy more of them or a different combination. Could it conceivably? Sure, it could. But it's pre-judging it without knowing the answers yet.

Q: You mentioned that certainly you will look at some strategic aspects of this. How far will that go in addition to the coalition warfare? There have been some comments that as a result of Kosovo the efforts DoD has going in stopping the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction could get worse given some of the lessons that others will take from it.

And as part of that question, how much interface will there be with the State Department, with other agencies of the government, given some of the real strategic issues?

Q: The Secretary's direction is for us, for the Department of Defense, to improve our ability to fight a war, to change our resource allocation. So it's largely what we're going to be doing internally.

There are larger issues. There's an after-action review that NATO has underway right now. I'm sure there are discussions going on with the State Department. But our review is -- we fought, I thought, a very good operation. I think the troops did a terrific job, the airmen did a terrific job. We know we can be better. We know there are places where we can improve, and that's the focus the Secretary wants for this review.

Q: A question on India and Pakistan conflict. Are you getting briefed on what's going on?

Captain Doubleday: Let's just stick to this one.

Deputy Secretary Hamre: Let's do.

Q: Well actually I'd like to shift it slightly if I could also, but one of your predecessors, Dr. Deutch, is chairing a commission taking a look at threats to the United States and has come up with sort of a usual list of suspects of chem/bio and the eroding situation in the former Soviet Union and so on. They've concluded also apparently, according to reports at least, that they feel that the government is not well organized to respond to this type of situation and they're recommending a centralized organ to deal with coordination of situations like this one.

If I can get you to respond not necessarily specifically to the report, but generally speaking, to this type of threat. Are we well prepared for this type of situation? Are we falling behind? Would it be helpful to have a centralized authority for situations like this? And I suppose importantly, where are we right now when it comes to this sort of threat?

Deputy Secretary Hamre: First of all, I think the threat is very real. I think we know that, and I think the threat is likely to get worse. We have to, I think, be very realistic that this country is vulnerable to the small number of actors that could use either a chemical or biological or a nuclear device to try to intimidate the country. We have got to get ready.

How well are we prepared? There are two parts to the problem. There is trying to stop it so it doesn't happen, and there's trying to deal with the consequences should it happen.

How well are we prepared to try to stop it? We have been working a long time on the nuclear problem and I think we're in pretty good shape on the nuclear problem. On the chemical and biological problem, that's a good deal harder and we're not nearly as well prepared for that as we need to be.

On coordination for before, I don't think we need anything further on that. We know exactly how to deal with that. We've had a fair amount of experience working on incident management. We have very strong working ties with law enforcement. We know how to do that part of the problem.

After the fact, consequence management, we're not as well organized as we need to be as a federal government. We need to do a lot better.

We, DoD, are only in a supporting role for that process. There are a lot of Americans that are apprehensive about the Department of Defense getting involved in civil defense, as it were, or consequence management. There are people that make movies like "Siege" that imply that they can't trust their own military. I don't agree with that, but I can understand people are apprehensive. We understand that's a backdrop.

Our role is to provide that useful, constructive role for the federal government so that we can respond constructively. The best thing we can do to both protect civil liberties and to be ready for this event is to start planning and coordinating now in advance.

This job belongs squarely with law enforcements, with the Attorney General, with the Director of FEMA. There isn't any ambiguity about that, and I personally don't think creating yet another czar for this subset of the problem is the right answer. As soon as you do that, what part of the law enforcement problem is only a WMD problem? When is it clear that it's a WMD problem only?

If we have an explosion, you don't know if a chemical or biological agent was also there. At what point do you say, okay, don't call the Attorney General for this. Now call the WMD czar. I don't think that it's feasible to have some other agency who does it.

I understand the thinking behind the commission. They would like us more heavily involved. We will be involved, but we will be involved in a supporting role, and I think that's the right thing for the Department.

Q: How about inside the Department? Any changes that you're hoping to make with the way that...

Deputy Secretary Hamre: Yes. And I'd ask Admiral Clark to speak to this as well.

We do need to change some of the way in which we're structured for a large-scale incident where it involves civil support. Currently, we have an instrument that does it, it's called the Director of Military Support from the Army Staff. But that is an organization that is traditionally suited to responding to natural disasters and things of that nature. It doesn't have the kind of robust planning capability that we know we're going to need to get ready for larger scale incidences.

The Secretary asked the Chairman to tackle this problem. Let me turn it over to Admiral Clark to give you some insights into where we are on that.

Vice Admiral Clark: I won't define the whole organization because the product has not been signed and sent forward, but let me tell you we are in the final stages of doing that and sending the product for the Chairman to send to the Secretary of Defense.

Basically, what it seeks to do, the underlying principle is this. How does the Department organize so that it can best respond, do exactly what Dr. Hamre said? We need to make sure that our organic and inherent capability is properly postured so that we can operate in a supporting role to the civil institutions that would have the lead in this kind of a challenge.

We have organizations that do this as a primary mission. We have other organizations that do this as secondary and alternative missions, but have inherent capability.

So the proposal that will be coming forth and will then be subject to review at the Office of the Secretary of Defense and ultimately by the Secretary, will include recommendations that will put us in a better position to be able to do that within the Department.

We expect to forward that within the next few days.

Q: I have a coalition question. One of the lessons that came out of the Kosovo operation was the need for better interoperability between the allies and the U.S. Dr. Gansler yesterday suggested greater trans-atlantic mergers between some of the top U.S. companies and European companies might be a way to help bridge that gap, that issue.

Can you talk a little bit about whether he overstated the case, though, for the need for trans-atlantic mergers yesterday?

Deputy Secretary Hamre: Let me just put it a bit in a broader context, if I may.

It's very clear from this air operation that our allies have not invested in what it takes to fight a modern war the way we do it, and the way I think that Western democratic societies want wars to be fought -- with a great deal of precision, minimal collateral damage, intense operation, so you can quickly get it over with. And it's very clear that our allies have got a fair way to go.

Now that isn't new news. We didn't need to fight this air war to learn that. The Secretary put that marker down to his NATO counterparts in Spain a year ago. And indeed in the summit that occurred in May, we reaffirmed that all of the alliance has got to do a better job.

Now I think that means several things. One is the allies have to, frankly, have stronger defense budgets.

They do need to rationalize their defense industries, but we think it would be a serious mistake that there would be a rationalization that created just a European entity, and then it becomes a European fortress and an American fortress. That would be a serious step in the wrong direction for the alliance.

So we do think, and American business is going global. Industry is going global. So we have to accommodate that. But we can't accommodate it with just closing our eyes to the security challenges that come.

So I think what Dr. Gansler said, and I read his comments as you reported them, that we are open to trans-atlantic alignments. That could be joint ventures, it could be purchases. I'm not sure that that's near term. Joint projects. Those things are all on the table and we would encourage them.

We, the Defense Department, our primary concern is going to be can we manage the security associated with that. That's where we will come into the question and that will be how we will review any proposal that comes to us.

Q:...Northrop, TRW and General Dynamics is possible. Those are huge companies that do a lot of sensitive technology for the U.S. Is it conceivable that the U.S. would allow parts of those major companies to be bought?

Deputy Secretary Hamre: That's a hypothetical and a specific at the same time that I can't answer because we would have to absolutely see the details.

Security is our number one concern. When you have companies that are involved in the most advanced technology that we're involved with, the very things we want to win wars with in ten years, we want to know that we can protect that.

Now, I'll also tell you we work collaboratively with various NATO countries and partners right now on very sensitive projects, so it is possible that we could have alignments. I do not know what they could be now. I would forecast no formula right now. That's not possible.

It is possible to say that we have to confront it, it is a reality, we do want our alliance to grow together not grow apart, and that does mean we have to confront the industrial side of it. But our first concern is going to be security.

Press: Thank you.

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