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DOD News Briefing - May 29, 1996

Presenter: Secretary of Defense William J. Perry
May 29, 1996 11:30 AM EDT

Wednesday, May 29, 1996 - 11:30 a.m.

welcoming Minister of National Defense Oltan Sungurlu, of the Republic of Turkey, to the Pentagon.]

Q: I'd like to ask the minister. Mr. Minister, you said at a press conference in Ankara this month, that you wanted Turkey -- the Turkish Air Force -- to take control of Operation PROVIDE COMFORT, and to exclude U.S., British and French forces from that. Are you here to press that request? [To Secretary Perry] And Mr. Secretary, are you willing to do that, or would you hope to reach a compromise?

Minister Sungurlu: [Through translator] I have said -- and you're saying part of the things I've said at the press conference. At the press conference I had said that, if we agree with our allies, we're in a position to take care of this on our own. But of course, we are in an alliance, so we have to get an agreement from our allies.

Secretary Perry: Operation PROVIDE COMFORT is a joint operation and it provides joint benefits to Turkey, the United States and to other allies. The decisions that are made on its operation will be made jointly; and yes, we will discuss those today. I would not forecast for you all the details of that discussion, but we will have a discussion on that today. I'm confident that we will arrive at an agreement on how to proceed jointly on that operation.

Q: Mr. Secretary, we're all familiar with the problems going on in the Navy right now; and today the Army also has revealed an internal report that says, quote, "The state of ethical conduct is abysmal. Few battalion commanders can afford integrity in a zero defects environment." Do we have a 'zero defects' environment in the military and is there a crisis in leadership in our military?

A: I have great confidence in the leadership of our military, including the leadership of the Navy. All of the military forces deal with the same problems as society deals with today -- social problems, sexual harassment issues, drugs, discrimination. It is my judgment that they deal with them in general, much better than the public as a whole; but that is no reason for us to be complacent. We have to continue to work, and we do continue to work. I would not use the term 'zero defects,' Jamie. In general social problems, we use it, as you know, in the area of drugs. We have zero tolerance for drug use in the military.

Q: Mr. Secretary...

A: Thank you very much. We have to go on with our discussions now.

Q: Thank you, Mr. Secretary.

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