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Transcript : DoD News Briefing : Secretary of Defense WilliamJ. Perry

Presenter: Secretary of Defense William J. Perry
April 23, 1996

Monday, April 22, 1996

[This activity takes place during Secretary Perry's visit to the

U.S. Marine Corps Recruit Depot at Parris Island, South Carolina]

Secretary Perry: Thank you Sergeant Major Moore. I'm just delighted to beat Parris Island on this beautiful spring day.

There are nearly 25,000 Marine recruits trained here at Paris Island eachyear. And today, I've had the opportunity to see the training that's underway;this is some of the best and some of the toughest training of any militaryanywhere in the world. It's the best because it's designed and does instillMarine Corps values: honor; courage; and commitment. But it's also thetoughest and I've seen how tough it is first hand, today. It's tough becausethese Marines are going to be going into tough jobs and this prepares them forthose tough jobs.

For instance, in just the last few days the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit hasarrived off the coast of Liberia to provide whatever security support is neededfor our embassy in Monrovia. These are the same Marines that were off-shore inBosnia, just a few weeks ago, ready to undertake any emergency, any militarycontingency that they would be called upon there.

I make this visit as part of the periodic visits I make with the seniorenlisted. This time we're coming to a Marine base, but we've cycled throughthe Navy, Air Force, Army, Coast Guard.

This is the second time I've been to a Marine base. The last time we went toCamp Lejeune as part of my management philosophy of what we call, ManagementBy Walking Around. You meet, talk with people, see what they're doing, learnthat way so you can learn what you can do to make it better.

So, with those introductory comments, I would be happy to take questions.Yes.

Q: What are some of the way that you feel it needs to be better, what are youhearing?

A: One of the very basic points, which General Krulak felt, specificallyfocused to Marine training, was he wanted to get a focus not just on thepreparing for combat -- the physical conditioning -- but he wanted to instillthese core values. I mentioned that in my earlier comments, but this is a veryimportant point with General Krulak: the focus on honor, courage, commitment.

When I was out this morning watching the Marines go through this verydifficult task of pulling themselves up hand-over-hand on the rope. And thedrill instructor told me part of this is physical -- part of it is upper bodystrength -- but a lot of it is just the confidence that comes from knowing theycan do this and trusting their leaders. These are the kind of commitmentswe're talking about. Any other questions?

Q: I understand there's some talk about extending the Marine Corps training[inaudible]?

A: General Krulak is considering adding another week to this

11-week program down here. I believe he's not made a final decision on thatyet, has not made the final proposal on that, but I will be very open to anyproposal that he makes on that because he is dedicated and committed toachieving these values that I talked about -- instilling the basic core valuesof the Marines. And, I will do everything I can to support him in that. Anyother questions?

Q: [inaudible]

A: This visit was not focused, specifically, on those points. Although partof Management By Walking Around is you do see the infrastructure, you do rideon the CH-46s. We are a long way away from being able to replaces CH-46s, I'msorry to say. But we did see a significant amount of renovation going on atthe base here. And, our first emphasis has been -- and will continue to be --on the readiness and the training of the forces; and a second emphasis, veryclosely behind that, is in the quality of life for our military personnel. Wehave a major objective also to modernize and replace the weapons systems in ourinventory including the CH-46s. And, by the end of this decade, I expect tosee substantial funds being diverted for that purpose. In order to shake thosefunds free, we have to make some important improvements; just one of them,which is, I think, most obvious to you is we have to close down that part ofthe infrastructure which we're not using; that's what the base closing processis all about. We're closing down almost a quarter of the bases around thecountry. That corresponds with the fact that we've made about a one-thirdreduction in the size of the Armed Forces. And, we have to close down thatinfrastructure to free up the money so we can do our modernization, forexample.

Now, for the last five or six years, with these base closings that have beengoing on, it has cost us money, it's not saved us money. And, this year,fiscal `96, was the first year that the savings we made equaled the cost of theclose-down, that is, we will break even this year. Next year, fiscal `97, wewill actually save about $2 billion. That money will roll-over into more andbetter modernization of our equipment. And, by the end of this decade we'll besaving $5 to $6 billion a year just from infrastructure closing -- just frombase closing alone.