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DoD News Briefing - Rear Adm. Craig R. Quigley, DASD PA

Presenters: Rear Adm. Craig R. Quigley, DASD PA
February 06, 2001 1:30 PM EDT

Tuesday, February 6, 2001 1:30 p.m. EST

Quigley: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. Two quick announcements today.

As a follow-up to kind of police things up, a follow-up to last Thursday's announcement, we had a total of four C-17 aircraft carrying tents, blankets, sleeping bags, forklifts, water trailers and a two and a half ton truck, grand total. And all of those products arrived in Ahmadabad on the third of February. And this equipment has been consigned to the Indian military there in Ahmadabad as well as to the U.S. aid organizations that are coordinating U.S. assistance both in Ahmadabad and in Bhuj as well for further distribution.

Now, today the U.S. Pacific Command still has a total of six people on the ground, and this is an assessment team that they will leave there for the indefinite future to assist the U.S. embassy personnel there in India and any U.S. relief agencies in evaluating any potential for further DoD assistance. As we speak, we have no outstanding requests from the Indian government for any further DoD assistance. But that could change tomorrow. And so we will keep our six people from the Pacific Command there for the future, at least, near future to continue to coordinate any follow-on requests that come. So I just wanted to bring you up to speed on that.

And second, DoD will recognize African American History Month during a ceremony this Thursday at 2:00 in the Pentagon auditorium, room 5A1070. The acting Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, Charles Cragin, will host the program, and the guest speaker will be the Deputy Commanding General of the Marine Corps Combat Development Command, Major General Cliff Stanley. The theme for National African American History Month 2001 is Creating and Defining the African American Community: Family, Church, Politics and Culture. And again, that's this Thursday at 2:00 in 5A1070.

And with that I'll take your questions. Charlie.

Q: Craig, is the Pentagon, the secretary, or anybody else doing anything to relieve, reprimand or otherwise punish General Hailston?

Quigley: No, no. There's a knowledge and a variety of folks here in the Pentagon of his remarks. I think he has expressed his regrets for comments in the e-mail that was shared publicly. And there is wide support for the efforts and the hard work he has put into his position over his -- the last year or so since he's been assigned to that position. And while, certainly, I don't think people would think that the words he chose were appropriate, General Hailston among them certainly, he's expressed his regrets and apology for those words and we'll move on from there.

Q: But he said in his message of regret that he apologized if there was any "misunderstanding." He said he wanted to make perfectly clear he had the greatest admiration and respect for the governor and vice governor and he apologized for any -- I mean, how can that term be misunderstood to call these people "nuts and wimps?"

Quigley: Well, I don't think I can characterize General Hailston's words any better than he can. I think I'll just let them stand as they are.

Q: Has the secretary been made aware of this? Have you discussed it with the secretary?

Quigley: I have not.

Otto.

Q: Craig, Lockheed Martin and the Air Force say that the F-22 has completed all the requirements for the DAB [Defense Acquisition Board] and the additional requirements imposed by the Defense Appropriations Bill last year. And the question is, are we likely to see the release of that $2.1 billion for production or are they -- is that program going to be effected by the president's comments over the weekend that they will not authorize any of the big -- not fund any of the big programs until Secretary Rumsfeld completes his review?

Quigley: Well, I think you've got a little -- quite a bit, actually -- of homework to do here before you schedule the DAB. I mean, the flights and the testing have just been completed. You've now got to collect all that data, put it in an orderly fashion to prepare for the Defense Acquisition Board process. From that board, then there is a decision ultimately as to whether or not to proceed to the next phase in the acquisition of this program.

So, the Defense Acquisition Board has not yet been scheduled, Otto. We still have quite a bit of homework to do. I can't predict for you when that will take place. We're just not there yet, that I do know.

Q: You don't know the impact yet of the president's comments as to that program or any of the other big procurement programs that are coming up for funding decisions?

Quigley: No, Secretary Rumsfeld has simply not stated whether he intends to do the F-22 somehow separate. I would be hard-pressed to see how you could do that. You must do that as part of a comprehensive approach to this because it's a major program with major dollars. And there's -- it's a very one that's been a long time under development. But he has not made a specific reference in any of the remarks that I've heard that he's going to do it this way or that way. That process still has some homework to do.

Q: But does that mean that effectively all of these major programs are on hold until the completion of this review by Secretary Rumsfeld?

Quigley: I think you'd be hard pressed, Jamie, to make any significant acquisition decisions for big dollars absent an understanding of where they fit into the overall picture.

Q: So how long is this review likely to take? And when will some of these decisions likely be made?

Quigley: Some number of months. He's not put any more boundaries on it than that. "Not days and not years," were his words. And it would be some number of months.

Q: And this review is different than the Quadrennial Defense?

Quigley: Yes. The way he described it, John, is they are separate paths. QDR [Quadrennial Defense Review], of course, has a very -- a fairly strict process described by law; this effort does not. This is the president's desire to have this review done. And as the QDR process moves along in the months ahead, the knowledge gained from this different and separate review, the way that he put it, could be dropped into the work ongoing into the Quadrennial Defense Review.

Q: Well then help me understand what this separate review is.

Quigley: The president's charter is to have Secretary Rumsfeld take a look at the defense programs across the board and to take a top-to-bottom look at how we would structure defense as we move into the 21st century; what programs make sense, what quality of life initiatives make sense; how do we structure the American military as we move ahead.

Q: Excuse me for being -- not understanding this, but don't you have to figure out sort of what your strategy is first before you figure out some of the things that you're talking about? Aren't they in reverse order? Isn't that why you do a QDR, to figure out what you need?

Quigley: This review is not just about hardware and equipment, it is more encompassing than that and broader than that. It is more of a description of a proposal to what should the American military be about? What should be our charter in the world of the early 21st century? And then, what sort of equipments do you then buy to make that strategy work.

Q: If this review is going to take a matter of months, what does that mean in terms of, for example, a supplemental request? Does it mean that all budgetary decisions and planning is sort of put on hold for several months, or for as many months as it takes to complete that review, then?

Quigley: Well, the final decisions on the budget will be made by the president.

Otto?

Q: More immediately, the F-22 program has been on incremental life support funding, and there's contractors, sub-contractors hanging out there, you know, and supposedly the authorization runs out March 31st.

Quigley: Correct.

Q: If this program is not going to have a funding decision until the top-to-bottom review is done, you know, what happens to those contracts?

Quigley: Sure. Yeah, good question. We're aware of the -- March 31st is correct; the funding that's in place right now for the contractors and the sub-contractors, very importantly, runs out at the end of March. We're very much aware of that, and that's an issue that we must address here in the better part of the next two months.

Q: That's only for the F-22 that you're talking about, is this deadline?

Quigley: Correct. Right.

Q: And are there other programs that are affected by this review? And if so, what are those programs?

Quigley: There are no programs that are exempt from this review.

Q: So everything that's in the pipeline is --

Quigley: His charter is very broad from the president.

Q: -- he'll take a hard look at, and nothing's moving forward until this review is completed?

Quigley: There's a lot of things that go forward, Chris, every day. I mean, we have work to do around the world every day. But this is more of a pause, step back, take a look from the day-to- day activities around the world, and where should we be investing our money, to accomplish what, in what systems. That is a broad definition of Secretary Rumsfeld's goals in accomplishing this review.

Q: Is this kind of a -- I'm sorry, is this kind of a speedy, bottom-up review, or top-to-bottom review, I think the secretary --

Quigley: Well, the president had expressed his enthusiasm during the campaign and since in doing a top-to-bottom review of the defense strategy, processes, structure of the department, and that is what Secretary Rumsfeld is setting out to do.

Q: So the brakes have been thrown on, or these programs -- that the funding line for these programs are, in effect, on hold until this is completed.

Quigley: Well, I know of no other near-term major acquisition decision other than F-22, and as Otto had mentioned, that goes till the end of March. I know of no other major programs like that that are coming up on near-term decisions in that regard.

Q: So the decision is just pending on continued funding for the program.

Quigley: Right. I mean, we're very much aware of the 31st of March as the date by which we need to either arrange for further additional temporary funding for the F-22 or make a decision in a DAB sort of a setting for an actual decision on procurement. So you have a couple of options. But we've made no decisions on one of those.

Q: Craig, has the secretary issued a formal directive to slow down on F-22 and other programs, or are we --

Quigley: No.

Q: -- sort of reading tea leaves here?

Quigley: He has issued no formal directives to come to all stop or slow down on any particular program. But there is wide understanding, I think, throughout all of the military services that this review will be going on. And you really can't kind of have it both ways, Jim. You need to take a look at where you're going before you make decisions on equipment purchases as to how you're going to get there.

Q: Has he told the acquisition shop, "There will be no decision on this until I can look at the program"?

Quigley: No, he has not yet. He has not yet.

Q: Craig --

Quigley: Again, we're not to that point yet. We just finished the testing. We have not yet compiled the data that is -- we're not ready for a DAB quite yet. There's quite a bit of homework to do before you can have such a detailed sort of a setting. And that has not been done yet. We have not yet scheduled the DAB.

Q: Craig, has he established an internal task force or some group of people to do this, what sounds like a very extensive review, or is he doing it himself, or --

Quigley: No.

Q: -- given that he doesn't have any appointees in the building yet?

Quigley: Well, yeah, it will ultimately be a group, Bob, but he has not yet decided on who the members of that will be or who will head it.

Q: So it hasn't started, then, or --

Quigley: Not in a substantive way, where you can say, "Here's the office, here's the person in charge." This is something that he's working very hard to get started and set up and proceed in a quick manner. Nobody wants this to go on for a very long period of time. But you need to have an understanding and do it thoroughly, so you want to do it as quickly as you can, but you need to be thorough while you're doing it.

Jim?

Q: Bob asked my question.

Quigley: Oh. (Laughter.)

George?

Q: At the risk of dragging it out ad infinitum, is he going to revisit such contracts as the $4.3 billion award to the Army for the light armored vehicle that was awarded last November and now is under protest, with GAO supposed to rule on it next month? Is he going to revisit anything that was awarded in the past administration and perhaps is under protest, or is that --

Quigley: Well, I think need to -- in that particular program, I think you need to let that protest play itself out. And the GAO will come to its decision, and he'll factor that into his decision from that point. First things first.

Q: I mean, he's not reviewing the past awards, is he? Or is he?

Quigley: No. No.

Jamie?

Q: New subject?

Q: Hang on.

Quigley: Pam?

Q: If you were writing an article, say today -- (laughter) -- and you needed to explain to your readers, as few as they may be -- (laughter) -- that -- the difference between the QDR and the Rumsfeld review, how would you say it in, say, you know, a lead? (Laughter.)

Write my lead for me! (Laughter.)

Quigley: Let me borrow your pen for a second. Let me see if I can work with this for a second.

I would say that the review of the overall defense programs that the president has tasked the secretary to accomplish will be done probably prior to the Quadrennial Defense Review --

Q: Too many words there! (Laughter.)

Quigley: I know. That's not a good lead. (Laughter.)

But if you're looking for a time line, I would look for that one to be done or essentially done first, so that elements of its findings can literally be dropped into the Quadrennial Defense Review as that process proceeds. Now that won't be done until the fall, as you know.

Q: Compare and contrast: how are they different?

Quigley: Don't have that level of definition yet.

Q: President Bush also spoke of the comprehensive strategic review and immediate review of overseas deployments. Is that the Rumsfeld review?

Quigley: I don't think that there have been any bounds to his charter that he has received from the president in that regard. If he feels that that is an issue that needs to be addressed in his conversations with the president, he has complete freedom to do just that.

Q: But there's not a specific charter for --

Quigley: Correct. Correct.

Q: And just one more on this subject. We talked about the funding line for the V-22. But are we also talking about --

Quigley: F-22.

Q: I'm sorry, F-22. Are we also talking about the V-22, the Osprey, the DD-21, the LAV, the Crusader? Are all of these sort of --

Quigley: Well, again, each of those programs is unique in the truest definition of that word. The V-22 has a whole separate bunch of issues going on simultaneously. There's not going to be any acquisition decisions on the V-22 until the IG completes its work, until the review panel that former Secretary Cohen had put in place completes its work. You just can't make acquisition decisions in isolation of the knowledge that those organizations will give you. So that's again a unique circumstance. And the others, if you're talking about making a decision on a major acquisition program, again, I just don't -- you must complete your vision of where we're going in the early 21st century before you make decisions on the tools that we will buy to get you there.

Q: So all of these programs are essentially under review.

Quigley: Yes. Yes.

Q: Can we assume that -- for example, there's been speculation about different kinds of, different varieties of NMD would be a completely separate thing, even though there's ultimately a resource question that goes completely separate.

Quigley: Sure. Well, the president has been very unambiguous here in his desire to pursue a missile defense system for the United States, and perhaps for our allies. When Secretary Rumsfeld was at the Wehrkunde conference this last weekend in Munich, that was a frequent topic of conversation in his bilateral meetings with his counterparts from other nations, a topic of several speeches in the main conference floor. But the specific description and the parameters of the type of missile defense system that you would put in place is still a work in progress.

Q: Is the current project continuing on the schedule it's been on since before he took office?

Quigley: Yes. And the secretary has had two or three meetings, three, I believe, with General Kadish at the Ballistic Missile Defense Office to make sure that his understanding of the program as it's currently structured is complete and he understands, you know, what the near-term goals are and the near-term test objectives and what have you, funding streams, time frames. And his guidance to General Kadish at this point is to press on.

Q: A leftover question from your report on the Deutch possible compromise of secret information. Is it not true that if a hacker had penetrated his home computer, which was unguarded, that we would never know whether any secrets were obtained? Number one. And number two, the inspector general is on record as saying they weren't able to recover all the computers which Deutch had stored Pentagon secrets on. So the bottom line would seem to be that we'll never know whether special compartmented information or any other secrets were compromised by Deutch's sloppy use of his information on computers. Is that correct?

Quigley: I think the strongest statement that we could leave people with, George, is the very last sentence in the report, that we have no evidence of compromise. But neither can we say absolutely, positively that there was no compromise, because our knowledge is not complete. What we did for the review that took these many months, with a combination of intelligence folks and computer techs and whatnot, is we were not able to uncover specific evidence of compromise. But that's not the same thing as saying there was no compromise.

Q: So we'll really never know; right?

Quigley: Perhaps.

Jamie?

Q: On a different subject. What have you told military personnel of families who have served in Europe about any possible threat of health effects from consuming British beef during the time of this mad cow disease --

Quigley: We have tried to share as much knowledge with them as we could. The philosophy here is to tell them everything you know, try to keep them informed as that knowledge changes over time, working with the Food and Drug Administration and other organizations, health organizations here in the United States, to put out a couple of things that we think are very important.

One, if you served in Europe -- okay? -- and particularly, I think, was it the United Kingdom? -- between 1980 and 1996, for now you are precluded from donating blood. And that hits, amongst the services, that hits the Air Force particularly hard at this point because they're the service that has the preponderance of personnel that's stationed in the U.K. So that's about 10 percent of the Air Force, Jamie.

And for now, those people cannot donate blood just because our knowledge is not yet complete on this. We have no evidence to date of any adverse health affects on any service member from consuming beef that was possibly tainted with this variant of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.

But we'll continue to work with that. We'll continue to study that and get the information form the Food and Drug Administration and follow their lead on this, quite frankly, both on the donations of blood as well as the actual impacts on human health.

Q: Was any --

Quigley: So it's a heads-up, but it's don't get overly concerned because we have no evidence that says that there's an adverse effect on you.

Q: Was any of this potentially-tainted British beef either served in U.S. dining facilities or sold on U.S. military installations and commissaries or anything?

Quigley: I don't know if our record on that is complete. Yes, it is. Let me take that and we'll post that for you. [Update: No British beef has been served in U.S. military dining facilities in Europe since 1980. No British beef has been sold in U.S. commissaries in Europe since 1996.]

Q: And, I mean, realistically here, I mean, is there a real concern that some servicemen and their families may develop this fatal, you know, brain disease, or was this just a very precautionary thing? How would you characterize the risk?

Quigley: We want to inform our people of the possible impact here, and not have it be a surprise. But by the same token, we have no evidence of any adverse affects on their health, so far. This is something that we continue to watch very carefully, again, working with the FDA and other medical authorities. But it's something you can't dismiss either. And so we want to continue to share as much information with them as we can as quickly as we can as it develops.

Q: Have they been told to stay out of butcher shops or eat fish or --

Quigley: Well, I think since '96 -- and there's been a very, very small number but a lot of publicity on the impact of this and the European population, but the actual numbers of cases have been extremely small. So they are being told -- and make sure that the information that is available through the news media and health authorities in Europe is available to our folks that are stationed overseas as well.

Q: And you said 10 percent of the Air Force is affected by this, hundreds -- in that time period hundreds of thousands of Army troops also went through Europe, though not specifically Great Britain, necessarily. Do you have numbers on the other services, or -- ?

Quigley: I don't have an absolute number on the Air Force either, Chris. But the focus has been those personnel in the U.K., stationed in the U.K. between '80-'96. And within that time frame you are describing a population that is very heavily Air Force as opposed to the other services.

Q: And a lot of that meat went from Great Britain to Germany, for example, didn't it?

Quigley: I -- I don't know.

Q: When was the decision made about no blood donations with that?

Quigley: Late '99, I believe. Late '99.

Pam?

Q: Are blood stores -- I don't know if they're kept that well in our blood stores that were -- blood deposits that were taken before that being tested?

Quigley: We have tested them. We have found nothing so far. And again, it's precautionary. I mean, go back to Jamie's point before. It is a precaution right now. You can't rule it out. And if you can't rule it out, we're going to need to hedge things on the side of caution here until we know more about it.

Despite the impact of 10 percent of Air Force personnel who are precluded at this point from donating blood, the military blood supply itself is in good shape, both in quality and quantity. I am also not aware of a larger impact, although you -- I would ask you to check with the Red Cross, perhaps. But I don't think nationally it has a significant impact, either.

Q: With those taken questions, could you just also make sure that you provide us with some sort of estimate on total number of people, of personnel and dependents that would be affected by this --

Quigley: Yeah. Do the best we can. I'm not sure how good our numbers will be, but we'll --

Q: Exactly, exactly. If there's some sort of --

Quigley: -- we'll do the best we can.

Charlie?

Q: Has the secretary made any decision on whether to continue with the anthrax vaccination program?

Quigley: No, he has not. I heard him specifically address that question the other day, and he -- the answer was no, he has not gotten around to that topic yet. He is not inclined to make any major changes in that or other programs until he has had a chance to review them and come to an independent decision. So he specifically said that he has not -- just not gotten to that one yet.

Pam?

Q: The Pentagon IG issued a critical report on the Army-led WMD assist program this week?

Quigley: Right. [On the Web at http://www.dodig.osd.mil/audit/reports/01043sum.htm -- no longer available ]

Q: Could you tell us a couple of things: how much money was spent on that, when teams will be ready to deploy -- they're -- I guess, according to reports they were supposed to be in January 2000 and they're still not ready -- and how that program is now being managed and organized. In November there was that memo that went out dismantling, or starting to dismantle the --

Quigley: COMPIO [Consequence Management Program Integration Office]?

Q: Yeah, the COMPIO. Who is in charge now, and what --

Quigley: Well, the Army is still the executive agent of the program, and with oversight by DoD, and specifically in this case, the assistant secretary for Reserve Affairs. And the goal with the COMPIO organization was always to ultimately disband it and to farm-out its responsibilities to other elements of the Defense Department. But in order --

Q: Yes, but --

Quigley: Well, but in order to get the program started on a fast track, which is what we wanted to do some years ago, you needed to have a focus that could be brought to the program; hence, the creation of a consolidated office to do that. But once you had the program up and moving at least in the right direction, the goal was to then disperse those responsibilities to other elements of DoD.

The question on timetable, the shortcomings that were noted in the IG audit report have been assimilated; a couple of them are actually already done; others are not. And when they are completed and you have the teams that are ready to be recommended for certification to the secretary, then that recommendation will go forward.

I know it's a priority, but I can't put a time frame on it for you.

Q: Do you have confidence that all of those teams that -- I think nine of the 10 were getting ready to be certified. Are they actually qualified?

Quigley: I think it was seven of the 10 where the original recommendation was made, but we still found shortcomings.

Q: Are you going to go back and review their readiness before --

Quigley: Oh, indeed. Absolutely. That's all part of the whole, using what we already knew, what the IG found, of blending the two together and making sure that the teams are in fact ready to be forwarded to the secretary for his consideration to certify them ready for use. They're a long ways down the road of their training, of their equipment, and have had many exercises at the local level with first responders. But are they ready to be certified yet? Clearly, they are not. Progress is being made in that regard, but we're not there yet. We set pretty high standards for these teams, both in equipment and in training, and we're not there yet. I think you just don't want to have anything lower than you absolutely have to in the way of quality of training, type of training, amount of training, equipment that the teams are proficient with. And until all of those criteria are met, they're not ready to be certified.

Q: Is DoD pleased with the way the -- (inaudible) -- program, and so it's just a standard transition?

Quigley: If we could look back, I think, right now, would we do some things differently than we did them initially? Yeah, I'm sure we would have. But there was a great sense of urgency in getting this program going on a fast track. And the Army, as the executive agent, was tasked with a pretty tall order here, in retrospect. And could there have been things done better, in retrospect? Absolutely. But we all learn from that. And the IG report is a very good blueprint on the way ahead, and we're looking at it in that regard.

Q: There was apparently an incident in Kosovo today in which a convoy containing some U.S. officials, including the ambassador, was -- came under fire. Do you have any information on this incident?

Quigley: I had not heard that. I'm sorry. KFOR might.

Q: Thank you.

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