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DoD News Briefing, Tuesday, February 23, 1999 - 2:15 p.m.

Presenters: Mr. Kenneth H. Bacon, ASD PA
February 23, 1999 2:15 PM EDT

Mr. Bacon: Welcome to our briefing.

Let me start with a few announcements here.

First, the Secretary of Defense, William Cohen, announced today that President Clinton has nominated Air Force Major General Michael Hayden to appointment as the Director of the National Security Agency and for promotion to the rank of lieutenant general. He'll replace Lieutenant General Kenneth Minihan who has directed NSA for the last several years.

During his tenure at the National Security Agency, General Minihan concentrated on a number of things, but I think he'll be most remembered for implementing a national cryptologic strategy for the 21st Century and looking at ways to keep our code or cryptologic architecture at the state of the art level.

Secondly, I'd like to announce that there are a group of students here from American University, I guess, interns. Where are you out there? Welcome. They're here as part of a two-week internship program in Washington.

Finally, I'd like to say that just before I came in here I saw a TV report that said that Secretary Cohen was opposed to the 4.8 percent pay increase that is part of Senate Bill 4, or S.4. That is not correct. Secretary Cohen has said to members of the House and the Senate and also in a number of press conferences recently that he is in favor of paying the men and women in the military as much as possible. But he wants to make sure that any pay increase is in fact fully paid for in the budget so we don't get into a situation of robbing Peter to pay Paul -- that is of passing an unfunded pay and benefits liability that would require the Pentagon to take money out of procurement or out of readiness in order to pay for a salary increase.

As you know, the Clinton Administration has proposed a pay increase of 4.4 percent in fiscal year 2000 followed by annual pay increases of 3.9 percent. S.4, the Senate bill, proposes 4.8 percent and a different formula for the subsequent years.

We are in favor of paying the men and women more, but that money has to be included in the budget and has to be identified as paying for that pay increase. We estimate that S.4 would cost at least $7 billion more than the current budget provides and could cost as much as $10 billion more, depending on the geometry of the pay increase and whether it also covers civilians.

So we're for a robust pay increase, but it has to be fully paid for.

With that clarification, I'm ready to take your questions. Charlie?

Q: Ken, are the military units, military forces going to stay in place or on alert during this two-week hiatus period until the next meeting? And secondly, how much is it costing, and who's going to pay for it? Are you going to ask for a supplemental for sending those planes over?

A: First of all, we haven't made a decision on how long the planes will stay there. We've sent over more than 50 planes including seven B-52s. That's six B-52s plus one trainer; 12 F-117 Stealth fighters, Nighthawk fighters; and we've also sent 10 EA-6B Prowler electronic warfare aircraft over there; along with 29 tankers. Indeed, I think there may be actually more tankers that had already gone over there, so there are more than 60 aircraft there.

We'll evaluate the situation. As you can appreciate, the announcements were just made several hours ago in Rambovillet and it will probably take us a couple of days to decide whether they should stay or whether they should come back.

In terms of cost, I can't give you an answer to that. The cost is not high for keeping the planes over there. We have calculated or estimated the cost of what it would be to send the U.S. portion of a peacekeeping force into Kosovo. That would be about $1.5 to $2 billion a year; but no decision will be made on sending peacekeepers in until there's a peace agreement. And as you know, there is not one yet.

Q: What was the figure...

Q: $1.5 to $2 billion a what?

A: A year. That would be the cost of maintaining a U.S. peacekeeping force of approximately 4,000 people in Kosovo and with the supply network that would keep them provisioned, etc.

Q: What's going to happen to the U.S. contribution during these three weeks?

A: Well, they're on an Amphibious Ready Group, and they'll continue to do what Amphibious Ready Groups do, which is to exercise and be ready and be a presence in the area. So they'll remain there as we -- they'll remain on their normal deployment schedule.

Q: The mayor in the town where the Marines are going to come ashore was under the impression that the Marines were going to go ashore and pre-position in Macedonia with or without a peace agreement.

A: That's not my impression. I haven't heard anybody in this building say that.

Q:...signed deal before the Marines go ashore.

A: They may go ashore for exercises in various places, including places in Greece. But it's my understanding that we were going to wait until there was a peace agreement, because we will only deploy peacekeepers to enforce a peace agreement.

Q: What happens during this approximately 20 days? If, for example, the Serb forces decide to pound the KLA and try and clean out strongholds, NATO at this point has said it will do nothing. Is that right?

A: No, I don't believe that's what NATO said. I think Foreign Minister Cook and Foreign Minister Ve and Secretary Albright were very clear about this. The NATO activation order, the so-called ACTORD remains in effect. We have a lot of planes stationed in the area, U.S. planes in Aviano, planes of other NATO allies around, and we, it's up to Secretary General Solana, the head of NATO, to make a decision about invoking that ACTORD. We don't have to go back to the North Atlantic Council again.

But the point is that we believe that this is a real opportunity for both the Serbs and the Kosovar Albanians. It's an opportunity to put war behind them and to live in a period of peace. It's an opportunity for the Kosovar Albanians to reach a settlement and a degree of political autonomy that they haven't had for ten years. And it's an opportunity for both sides to end the killing.

We expect them to take that opportunity. We hope they will. And we hope that both sides will show restraint over the next couple of weeks.

Obviously if violence breaks out on either side it makes the chances of peace more remote. It would be a step backwards and a step away from the end state we hope will come. But should there be vicious or aggressive actions by the Serbs, then it's up to the Secretary General of NATO to make a decision about calling on the use of air power.

Q: But the conditions have changed for using air power, have they not?

A: Well, the conditions -- I think we'll just have to wait and see what the conditions are. I hope this question doesn't arise. I hope it's an issue that Secretary General Solana doesn't have to face. I hope that both the Serbs and the Kosovar Albanians will show restraint, that neither side will provoke the other.

Q: Is it your impression that American's NATO allies, and I'm not talking so much about the British, would favor aggressive use of air power during this interregnum?

A: It's my impression, and I think the Rambovillet conference made this clear. I think the contact group meetings that led to the conference made it clear that NATO allies and Russia are united in wanting peace in Kosovo. We want an end to the fighting, and we hope to achieve this through diplomacy. We also -- the NATO allies are united in trying to bring an end to the violence there, and we hope this can be done through negotiation. That's the whole point of the cooling down period, of the education period, to allow both sides to go back and talk to their people and try to present them with a choice. We think it's a choice between violence and peace. It's that simple.

Q: Just to clarify. For the next two weeks, what are the ground rules or conditions under which the United States would participate in NATO-led airstrikes?

A: As you know now, Secretary General Solana has essentially the go-no/go switch on this. He has to consult with other allies. We hope this is an issue that won't arise.

Q: But my question is, normally there are rules of the road, terms or whatever, under which the U.S. clearly states if this happens we will. What are the conditions in the next two weeks that would -- what is the basic ground rule under which we would participate if Solana came to us and consulted...

A: This is a decision for NATO to make. Obviously we've made it very clear that we want both sides to show restraint. If the Serbs were to launch a vicious attack, a massacre as they have in the past, I think NATO would take that very seriously and would react. But I don't want to forecast right now what's going to happen in response to a situation that one, has not occurred and two, we hope doesn't occur. I think that we need to know the specific facts before decisions can be made.

Q: What about the permissivity that has come out of Rambovillet? What I'm getting at is have the Albanians said you'd be welcome, NATO, to come in? Have they given a green light? We think we know that the Serbs have not. But has anything changed in that permissivity picture regarding the deployment of ground troops?

A: I thought that Secretary Albright in her statement was very clear in saying that the Kosovar Albanian delegation has accepted NATO ground troops in Kosovo. But that's not the end of the story. The challenge here is to get the Serbs, the Yugoslavs, to realize that they would be better off with NATO ground troops patrolling a demilitarized Kosovo.

Mrs. Albright also said that the Kosovar Albanians have agreed to a demilitarization. Now that's what they have to go back -- they haven't signed an agreement -- but they have to go back and pulse their people and convince them that this is the way to go. That's what's going to happen over the next two weeks.

Q: And another angle on it. Henry Kissinger wrote yesterday that he believes very firmly from his Vietnam experience that the United States should not be involved in picking up any part of the ground forces, and that it's strictly a European job. Can you rebut that?

A: I don't agree with that, and the Clinton Administration doesn't agree with that either.

This is -- it would be a NATO force that would go in. The United States is a leading member of NATO. We would play an appropriate role in the force.

I think that it was clear that the allies wanted U.S. participation and that the Kosovar Albanians wanted U.S. participation in any peacekeeping force. That was one of the aspects that was necessary to get us as close as we are to a deal.

It should be very clear that U.S. participation would be much smaller than it is in Bosnia, for instance. I think that 4,000 people would constitute about 17 percent of the force. In Bosnia we constituted about a third of the force, more than a third of the force, when we first went in. So it would be a much smaller participation in an operation led by the Europeans.

Q: A question about Iraq?

Q: A last one. Is it your understanding, Ken, that the ethnic Albanian negotiators are still looking for some assurance that at the end of this three-year period there will be an opportunity for a referendum on independence?

A: I can't answer that question right now because I haven't had a chance to hear what they've said. Obviously that's what they wanted going in, and I don't know what their final position is on that now.

Q: Do you understand what the U.S. position is in terms of a referendum on independence?

A: I don't believe that the agreement -- that's the text -- that they were negotiating from provides for a referendum at this time, and I don't think it was changed to have a referendum added.

Q: Is that a deal breaker?

A: I think it's unclear that there is a deal breaker at this time. We'll know more in mid-March when the talks begin. This is a cooling off period, an educational period, to give each side a chance to go back and talk about the agreement.

Q: Can you tell us anything about or describe this command and control bunker that was hit by U.S. war planes today in northern Iraq? What kind of facility is it? Does it represent any change in the types of things that are being targeted?

A: I can't give you any specifics on it except to say this: That in response to attacks from Iraq against coalition aircraft flying over the no-fly zone, we have been targeting Saddam Hussein's entire air defense system in the no-fly zones. That involves missile sites, anti-aircraft sites, command and control sites, communication sites, relay stations, and some intelligence gathering sites as well. It's all part of the integrated air defense system.

This is a very robust system, and we think we've degraded it quite significantly, but the system continues to function although I think at sharply reduced effectiveness. As long as the Iraqis continue to attack the coalition aircraft, we will respond by attacking the system that he's using to confront our planes.

Q: Can you say where this facility...

A: I can get you that information, but I don't have it now.

Q: Are you saying this is not an additional escalation in terms of the rules of engagement over there? What occurred today, this...

A: I'm saying that from the very beginning General Zinni in this room said that we were attacking the integrated air defense system, and that's what we're doing. We are trying to reduce his ability to attack our planes, and I believe that we have had a significant impact, and we will continue to attack the parts of his integrated air defense system that threaten our airplanes.

Q: Does this imply significant impact in any way? Is there a percentage of how much the U.S. believes it has degraded his air defense system?

A: We believe that we've degraded his missile, his SAM systems by about 20 percent, eliminated about 20 percent of his SAM systems.

Two things have actually happened. The first is that he has removed many of his SAMs from the no-fly zones back into central Iraq in order to shield them from attack. He had surged air defense systems into the no-fly zones right after DESERT FOX, increasing by about three-fold the number of surface-to-air missiles in the southern no-fly zone and approximately that much in the northern no-fly zone.

We have probably reduced the total number of surface-to-air missile systems he has by about 20 percent -- eliminated about 20 percent of what he had. And then he's moved back many of those that he had moved, that we had not eliminated -- he's moved back across the line so they're no longer subject to attack.

What he's done primarily is replaced the surface-to-air missiles with less effective weapons, either anti-aircraft weapons, 57mm, 100mm anti-aircraft weapons, or he's been using multiple launch rocket systems which are primarily designed for ground combat. He's been shooting them into the air against airplanes, and they have not proven to be particularly effective.

So he's replaced effective surface-to-air missiles, potentially effective surface- to-air missiles, with less effective armaments.

Q: In desperation?

A: Well, I think he's clearly worse off than he was prior to DESERT FOX. First of all, he's incurred significant losses from DESERT FOX and from the subsequent attacks made in response to his attacks against our airplanes.

Secondly, I think he's demonstrated to his own people and to people in the region that he can't defend his own territory or his installations.

I think that he's lost support in the Arab world in part by calling for the overthrow of the heads of some of his neighboring countries. So I think he's lost a lot of support that he once held from neighboring countries in the Arab world.

I think that partially as a result of that there's been perhaps a limited or partial reversal in the move to repeal the sanctions against him. That movement does not seem as robust today as it did last fall.

There are signs of domestic instability in Iraq. We don't know how seriously to take them, but in the last couple of weeks, the last couple of days following the assassination of the Grand Ayatollah Al Satr, there have been demonstrations and unrest in Iraq. Coincidentally the Grand Ayatollah Al Satr is the third Imam, third Shiite Imam to have been killed in the last ten months in Iraq.

And I think, finally, his activities have clearly triggered a shift in U.S. policy to become openly supportive of movements to replace Saddam Hussein.

So for those reasons, I think he's worse off, and I think his actions do reflect his understanding that he's worse off. If you want to call that desperation, that would be your word.

Q: Ken, you're saying he has a very robust air defense system despite years of economic sanctions and sanctions against military trade. As you know, there are reports out of London that Russia through front companies in Eastern Europe has actually been upgrading and supplying, repairing his air defense system. What do we have on that?

A: Well, we've seen those reports, and they're obviously very worrisome. This is something we monitor very closely.

We do not have evidence that these reports are true. We are looking for evidence to see if they are true. We have raised this with the Russian government and said this is a matter of concern to us.

Obviously Iraq is under U.N. Security Council sanctions, and trade with them in weapons or weapon support activities would violate those sanctions, and it would be a matter of concern not only to us but to the U.N. Security Council as well, presumably.

Q: The reports are that the technology that is being sold from Russian trading companies will enhance the effect of SAM activities against U.S. planes. Do you have any comment on that?

Then I would like to ask about how many sorties did it take to degrade how many SAM sites.

A: Well, in terms of increasing the effectiveness of the SAMs, we did achieve something very significant during DESERT FOX, which was the severe degradation, perhaps elimination of his major missile repair facility. So his upkeep on his missiles has become much more difficult at a time when he is absorbing damage if not complete losses of surface-to-air missiles systems.

We do not have information to confirm the stories that there are transfers taking place. As I said, we're worried. We would be very upset if that were happening. We have raised that with the Russians, and we are doing our best to find out if there is information to support the stories, but so far we haven't found that.

Q: And then the matter of -- can you express in terms of number of sorties and number of sites...

A: I cannot.

Q: Ken, would you talk about AAA and multiple launch systems moving into the southern zone? Is that additionally happening today? Is that simply the movement after DESERT FOX, or are you seeing more of that going on?

A: We're seeing less reliance on missiles and more reliance on anti-aircraft [artillery] and rockets.

Q: Right. But are they in fact continuing to move anti-aircraft and multiple launch into the southern zone? Or are you still simply working off the inventory that's been in that region since DESERT FOX?

A: No. There seem to be some rotations of units, particularly in the anti-aircraft [artillery] area.

Q: So my question is, again, is this not a threat? Excuse me. Is this not a violation of the rules of the southern no-fly, and why are you just not taking it all down?

A: I think that it's pretty clear that we are responding, and we're responding on almost a daily basis when the threat presents itself.

Q: Does there continue to be movement of Iraqi troops in the south in connection with that unrest?

A: No, not significant movements. The reports of the last few days have been unrest, have been of unrest in and around Baghdad. There was a story on the front page of the Los Angeles Times today that was quite detailed about unrest in Baghdad and around Baghdad.

I hasten to point out that many of these stories come from Iraqi opposition groups, and we do not -- the Los Angeles Times didn't have an on the scene advisor and observer. In fact the Los Angeles Times, as other news reports, have pointed out that the Iraqis have not allowed the press into areas where these demonstrations have been taking place or reported to have been taking place.

The Iraqis, of course, claim that there have been no demonstrations, but they haven't allowed the press to go into the areas so they can see for themselves that there have not been demonstrations.

Q: Have you been able to corroborate reports that there has been reluctance on the part of some air defense artillery units, for example, to open fire on American planes when it has now become relatively certain that if they do that they're going to get a bomb on their head? Is there any intelligence to indicate reluctance or resistance on their part? Or orders to make them do it?

A: Certainly it would be wise for the Iraqis not to fire on American planes, but then they might have to suffer other consequences from less than sympathetic commanders. So that's something they have to weigh for themselves.

There is a lot of firing going on against our planes. I can't get into specifics about whether people are firing as much as they are ordered to or not.

Q: But you haven't seen them suffering any consequences from their commanders that you know of because they have decided not to fire?

A: Not that I know of, but there are commanders who pay heavy prices in Iraq for a variety of infractions from time to time.

Q: New subject?

Q: One more. Ken, these daily skirmishes leave a clear appearance, anyway, that the U.S. and Iraq are engaged in a low grade, undeclared war. Is that a fair description? How would you describe it?

A: I would describe what we're doing as aggressive enforcement of the no-fly zones. We've been policing the no-fly zones since 1991. The vast majority of days, the overwhelming percentage of days, we have policed the no-fly zones without incident -- U.S., British, and previously French planes without incident in that they flew, they observed, they saw no violations of the no-fly zone by Iraqi aircraft, and they saw no attempts to shoot at them. That includes turning on radars.

It's only in a small percentage of times that the Iraqis have violated the no-fly zone by flying into it or by shooting at coalition aircraft flying through the no-fly zone. It so happens that they are doing so now with some regularity, and they've started doing that since DESERT FOX.

I can't explain why they're doing that because they have suffered substantial losses of equipment and presumably of forces. But they continue to do that.

We are merely protecting our aircraft and enforcing the no-fly zone by firing back. If they don't fire at us, we don't fire at them. That's been our rule from the beginning. If they fire at us, our pilots have the right to protect themselves, and protection should be seen broadly as attacking the air defense systems that are being used against our pilots.

Q: Isn't this all a bit frustrating? We patrol and occasionally we bomb, and nothing seems to be happening. Saddam Hussein is still in power, the minorities are still where they are, and yet day in, day out, this goes on and on. What's the end game?

A: Well, I think one end game is that if Saddam Hussein wants an end to sanctions he has to comply with U.N. Security Council mandates. He has to stop fighting, stop firing at planes that are flying in support of the United Nations Security Council resolutions. And he has to basically accept the international community's rules of fair play, which he has not done.

From our standpoint, we are continuing to do what we've been doing since 1991, which is to patrol the no-fly zone with coalition aircraft and to protect the pilots when they're fired upon, and we'll continue doing that.

Q: It was asked earlier, and it's been asked in a lot of briefings recently, whether we could be provided with something of a score card with the number of sorties, the number of weapons dropped, the number of targets struck or not struck, and as I understand it we still can't have that today. Is that correct?

A: That's right. I do not have that information.

Q: Is there some reason we can't have that information?

A: This is, as has been pointed out, an ongoing operation. And...

Q: But it's been ongoing for several years now. Are we going to have to wait until the end of the ongoing operation before we get these numbers?

A: I don't anticipate it will go on for several years, but the fact of the matter is that we basically have been wary of providing information that might show operational patterns. And...

Q: Iraq ...

A:...this is something...

Q:...It's those of us in this building that are asking these questions.

A: Well, we put out releases every day from both EUCOM and CENTCOM.

Q: Without any bomb damage assessment, for example. We're told today that approximately 20 percent of the SAMs have been degraded or destroyed since the end of DESERT FOX, is that correct?

A: That's correct.

Q: Then why is it impossible to get... Why every Tuesday and Thursday do we not have a running total of sorties, munitions delivered, targets struck or not struck, and so on?

A: We think for operational reasons it's better to do it this way. We evaluate it from time to time, and at the proper time we'll give you an accounting, but this isn't the proper time.

Q: On the... Change the subject?

A: Sure.

Q: On the sale of commercial satellites to China, realizing that the Pentagon, of course, hasn't got the final vote and doesn't make the final decision -- it's made by Commerce -- why did the Pentagon in effect turn thumbs down on it and vote no in the interagency process?

A: First of all, let me make it very clear that you're absolutely right. In the current interagency process we have a voice but not a veto. The decisions are made by a majority vote and the Pentagon and the State Department both voted against this latest sale. So the two of us did have a majority.

The issue here was not all satellite sales to China. The issue was whether this particular sale met our standards. We continue to maintain an export policy that will allow satellites to be sold to China or launched by China -- I should say launched by China -- under certain conditions.

In this particular case, the military, the Pentagon and the State Department decided that this did not meet the standards for those sales. The standards are that the sales have to be for commercial use.

The Defense Department decided that the coalition that was going to control the satellite was largely a military-run coalition rather than a commercial coalition, so the purposes of the satellite would have been largely for military rather than commercial purposes. That's the reason we decided that it was not in our national defense interests to allow the sale to go forward.

Q: Can I ask a followup to that?

A: Sure.

Q: Was this a close call for the Pentagon? Or was it a consistent view throughout this interagency process?

A: My understanding on this is that the details of this deal or contract had changed significantly over a period of months, and that the ownership, the makeup of the consortium had changed and some of the technology had changed as well. And as we looked into it, it was the decision that it was not appropriate to allow the sale to go forward.

I can't tell you was it 51/49, 60/40, 70/30. My impression was that we reached that decision fairly clearly.

Q: Is it fair to say the Pentagon felt that the consortium was basically a front for the People's Liberation Army or had close ties to the PLA?

A: Just suffice it to say that we felt, given the makeup of the consortium, that the use of the satellite would be largely military rather than commercial.

Q: On the [unintelligible], do you know how many U.S. Marines have been deployed by the DoD in the compound for [residence] of the Greek embassy, or the Greek [unintelligible] in Nairobi [unintelligible].

A: Well I don't believe any have been deployed. I don't believe any.

U.S. Marines, their job at embassies is embassy security. It's the security of U.S. embassies that they're charged to protect, not other embassies.

Q: According to reports, there have been [unintelligible] from your embassy in Nairobi to the compound of the Greek embassy for unknown reasons. I was wondering if it's true...

A: I don't believe that's the case. I don't believe that any U.S. Marines were deployed to the Greek Ambassador's residence or embassy in Nairobi.

Q: Also it was reported that the [unintelligible] sent extra U.S. Marines to your embassy in Athens, and I was wondering why.

A: I'm not aware that that's the case, but I think we just have a normal contingent of Marines in Athens. We have Marines at all our embassies. They provide the perimeter security of our embassies and the inside security. They provide the security in our embassies. They man the doors of the embassies and provide other security functions, and I think we have a normal contingent of Marines in Athens today, and we have had for some time.

Q: So there isn't any connection with the recent events with Ocalan over Nairobi or in Athens?

A: That is my understanding, right, that we have not increased our contingents of Marines in Athens.

Q: How about Navy SEALs or Army Special Forces or Air Force Special Forces? He's only been asking Marines.

A: Well, what about them?

Q: Were any U.S. military personnel sent to these locations?

A: In terms of Nairobi, no U.S. personnel participated in Ocalan arrest, transfer or transport. So that would apply to Marines or any other types of people.

In terms of the security of the embassy in Athens, I can't comment on that, because I just don't know. We'll ask if other people were sent over there, but I'm not aware that they were.

Q: I was told that Turkey is moving today further along the Med coast in the Greek islands of the Aegean. Since you are monitoring the area due to the crisis in Kosovo I was wondering if you could comment.

A: We have seen no evidence that that's the case.

Q: There is no evidence that...

A: We have seen no evidence that the Greeks have moved -- that the Turks have moved forces along the coast near the Greek islands.

Q: And in Kosovo, could you comment on reports that you are using the Aegean Sea and the port of Thessaloniki for your approach to...

A: First of all, nobody's been sent yet, and we will not send American troops in until there's a peace agreement, or unless there's a peace agreement. It is true that we and other nations do plan to use the port of Thessaloniki as the area for disembarking.

The British have already sent heavy equipment over in ships. I don't know whether they have arrived yet, but they should be arriving soon, and we would use the same port for the Marines.

Q: Ken, is the Pentagon continuing to press Scott Ridder to turn an advance copy of his book over before it's published? Or have you given up on that?

A: You mean since it's gone out to the media?

Look. I think there's been some misunderstanding on this issue.

Mr. Ritter is an American, and he -- but he worked for UNSCOM. He signed a contract with an agency that used to be called the On-Site Inspection Agency and was provided by that agency to UNSCOM, but he worked under UNSCOM's control. He didn't have U.S. security clearances. He worked directly for UNSCOM. And UNSCOM, as you know, is an independent agency.

He did have a contract, because he was provided -- he was one of the experts provided by the U.S. government to UNSCOM. Under that contract, he is free to release without any pre-publication review information that's already in the public domain or that is unrelated to his contract. So if he has information that's in the public domain or that's unrelated to his contract, he can release that information in articles, on television, in books, without any pre-publication review.

It's his duty under the contract -- it's his obligation under the contract to decide whether information he releases meets these tests. That's what we wrote to -- most recently in February -- wrote to Mr. Ritter's lawyer to make clear, that it was up to him to come forward for pre-publication review if he felt that he had any information that met these tests.

Q: But you're not demanding copies of the book in order for the Pentagon to make that decision.

A: We are not.

Q: The Pentagon has no plans to attempt to block the publication?

A: We have no plans to attempt to block publication of the book.

Q: Ken, your description of his obligation is relevant even though he's no longer under contract.

A: He signed the contract. In fact, the agency with which he signed the contract doesn't exist. It's been folded into another agency.

Q: He's no longer under contract to anybody in the U.S. government.

A: I believe that's correct.

Q: Are you still obliged to...

A: The contract said that it was his responsibility to come forward if he felt that anything he was publishing violated those or met those standards. It's his job to make that determination.

The fact of the matter is that an awful lot of information has come out in the last couple of months from UNSCOM, from Mr. Ritter, and from various government officials here and abroad. So a lot of information is already out.

Q: I understand that Marines recently deployed to Guam, and I'm wondering what you know about it. Exactly how many and what the reason is for them to be there.

A: I'll take that question. I'm not aware of -- I mean Marines go from time to time to Guam. Guam's part of the United States, so it's not surprising that Marines would go there from time to time, but we'll get the answer to the question.

Q: Ken, can you tell us how soon the Department expects to complete its review of General Dynamics' proposal to buy Newport News Shipbuilding?

A: I'm afraid I cannot tell you that. I believe there is a set period of time, it might be 30 days from the time we get a formal proposal. I'm not positive that there is a formal proposal at this stage. I'd have to check on the details. But I can't give you a deadline on that. It's something that we're obviously going to look at closely, but I can't give you a clear idea of the timing.

Q: Just to be perfectly clear. Does Secretary Cohen support or oppose the 4.8 percent pay increase included in the Senate bill?

A: Secretary Cohen stood right here at this podium and proposed a budget that included a 4.4 percent pay increase in fiscal year 2000. He has said in conversations with Senator Warner and others on the Hill, and also in press conferences, that he will support -- he would support a higher pay increase for the men and women in the military because he doesn't think they can be paid enough for the job they do.

Q: The 4.8?

A: Yes. If it can be fully paid for within the budget arrangements and without forcing the Defense Department to take money out of procurement or out of readiness or out of operations...

Q: Would you say he supports it conditionally? Is that fair?

A: What I've said is that he -- what he has said is that he is in favor of paying the men and women in the military as much as possible, but he thinks it has to be fully paid for. And this, right now, is not. If there's an arrangement made that can be subscribed to by the administration to pay for this fully, he would support that.

Q: At the moment he doesn't support it then. Is that what you're saying?

A: I'm saying that he supports a fully funded pay increase, and that's what the administration proposed was a fully funded pay increase.

Q: One more on Iraq. I wanted to revisit the issue of gun camera video from these strikes in Iraq. No video has been released in quite some time. We've requested repeatedly that some video from these strikes be released, and no luck so far.

A: Some has been released. That's not entirely true that there's been no luck so far.

Q: Not since several days after the end of DESERT FOX, I believe. Can we get some more video released?

A: We will look into it.

Q: Is there some reason that that video has not been released on a regular basis?

A: As I said, we see this as an ongoing operation, one where we want to preserve the maximum capability to respond with speed and surprise. We have run the operation with that in mind and will continue to do so.

Now, having said that, there may be some video of some old shots that we're able to provide, and we'll look at that.

Q: Why is it not being released on an ongoing basis as it was, say, during DESERT FOX or in the immediate aftermath...

A: DESERT FOX was only four days long, and we released several clips. We didn't do any the first couple of days, as I understand it, at least until the second day. But as I say, I'll take the question, and we'll get back to you.

Q:...video misses and hits? Or just hits?

A: We'll concentrate -- we have so many more hits and misses that it will be much easier to find the hits than the misses.

Q: Richard Butler has said that -- anyway, Butler has said that the Iraqis are showing total defiance at the present, and that Iraq may have restarted its weapons of mass destruction program. Can you comment on that? And is the United States in a position to monitor from satellite or by other means, to tell?

A: This is difficult to monitor because of the nature of the program, just as it was difficult for UNSCOM inspectors, when they were on the ground, to discover the full dimensions of the program. It's extremely difficult to discover means if we don't have people on the ground.

Obviously, it's something that we spend a lot of time and resources looking at, but I can't comment specifically on Mr. Butler's fears.

We, obviously -- we share Ambassador Butler's fears that this is something that they may do, left to their...

Q: The U.S. does share his fear that this may be going on?

A: Of course we do. The whole point of the inspection regime was to dismantle the weapons of mass destruction program.

Press: Thank you very much.