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13 September 2001

Transcript: Wolfowitz says Military Retaliation To Be Sustained

(Bush seeks supplemental funding to support operations) (3940)
U.S. Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz says the United States
will respond to terrorist attacks in New York and Washington with a
sustained military campaign.
"One thing is clear, is that you don't do it with just a single
military strike, no matter how dramatic," Wolfowitz said September 13
at a noon Pentagon briefing. "You don't do it with just military
forces alone, you do it with the full resources of the U.S.
"We're going to keep after these people and the people who support
them until this stops. And it has to be treated that way."
Wolfowitz took note that President Bush on September 12 asked Congress
for a $20,000 million emergency supplemental appropriation for 2001 to
help pay for military, emergency and civil support operations, and for
a mission to combat global terrorism. The request comes in the wake of
terrorist strikes at the World Trade Center in New York and the
Pentagon in the Washington, D.C., area carried out by suicide teams of
hijackers, and the crash of a hijacked commercial jetliner 130
kilometers southeast of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
"It's government-wide, it's not just the Defense Department" that is
seeking these emergency funds, he said. "But obviously, a very great
portion of those needs are to prepare our armed forces for whatever
the president may ask them to do."
Wolfowitz said the anti-terrorism campaign will be multifaceted.
"These people try to hide, but they won't be able to hide forever," he
said. "They think their harbors are safe, but they won't be safe
forever. I think one has to say it's not just simply a matter of
capturing people and holding them accountable, but removing the
sanctuaries, removing the support systems, ending states who sponsor
That, he said, is why the anti-terrorism campaign has to be broad and
sustained. "It's not going to stop if a few criminals are taken care
of," he said.
(Note: In the text, billion means 1,000 million.)
Following is the text of Wolfowitz's briefing:
(begin transcript)
United States Department of Defense
Sept. 13, 2001
DoD News Briefing -- Deputy Secretary Wolfowitz
Wolfowitz: Good afternoon. This is a grim week.
President Bush and Secretary Rumsfeld have made clear that as a
country we are entering into a campaign against terrorism that has to
be sustained and broad and effective. And as the president said in his
remarks yesterday [at] the National Security Council meeting, the
enemy that has struck has attacked not just our people but all
freedom-loving people everywhere in the world. The United States of
America will use all our resources to conquer this enemy. We will
rally the world. We will be patient, we will be focused, and we will
be steadfast in our determination. Make no mistake about it; we will
As a first step in that direction, the president yesterday sent to the
Congress a request for a $20 billion emergency supplemental for the
year 2001. And I'm here just to sketch in broadest terms our thinking
on that supplemental. It's government-wide; it's not just the Defense
Department. But obviously, a very great portion of those needs are to
prepare our armed forces for whatever the president may ask them to
There are obviously other needs as well. There are needs of the
victims, both here and in New York. There's rebuilding to be done,
both here in and in New York. There are costs already incurred with
the air -- combat air patrols that have been maintained over a
significant number of American cities, including Washington. The costs
mount rapidly, and they will mount more rapidly as this campaign
We appreciate the indications we've had from the Congress of strong
support for this request, and we of course will work very closely with
the Congress as we develop the details of how this money may be used.
I think the most important point to stress is that this is a message,
to those who support terrorism, that the United States is serious
about the president's words. This is an indication of America's
purpose, a projection of our will, and I think it's a message to
friends and adversaries alike that this is a completely different
ballgame that we're in now.
I'd be happy to take questions, but I'm probably going to not get into
a lot of details.
Yes, sir?
Q: Mr. Secretary, how much of this 20 billion is for -- first of all,
for the military? And how much involves cleanup and current operations
-- as you say, such as air CAP -- and how much involves preparing the
military to strike back? Can you break -- give us any sense of how
much involves preparing for a strike --
Wolfowitz: I don't think we know the breakdown yet, partly because the
needs are so enormous. It basically includes all of the above, and not
-- as I said, not just for the Defense Department. There is help for
the victims and their families -- I mean, even things as simple as DoD
mortuary teams that have gone up to New York to help with the disaster
up there. You've seen the disaster in this building, and we still have
major work to do.
But obviously, a significant piece of this is going to be to bring our
armed forces to the highest level of preparedness, to be able to
execute whatever it is the president may ask them to do.
Q: How much of the 20 billion would be for the armed forces, the
Wolfowitz: That remains to be worked out.
Q: Oh, it has not been  -- 
Wolfowitz: Yeah.
Q: Secretary Wolfowitz, it kind of rolls off the tongue pretty well --
"sustained and broad" -- against terrorism. But doing it, most people
concede, is a totally different issue. According to polls, the
American public supports military action against those who conducted
the attack on Tuesday. But what do you hit? And how do you go after
it? If it is Osama bin Laden or somebody comparable, there don't seem
to be any hard targets, nothing comparable to the damage done here.
What kind of a war do you wage?
Wolfowitz: Well, I think we're going to see how this unfolds, and it's
going to unfold over time. I think one thing is clear, is that you
don't do it with just a single military strike, no matter how
dramatic. You don't do it with just military forces alone, you do it
with the full resources of the U.S. government.
It will be a campaign, not a single action. And we're going to keep
after these people and the people who support them until this stops.
And it has to be treated that way.
Q: Mr. Secretary, what support will you be getting from the allies in
this effort? NATO has expressed support. Are you talking with your
Russian counterparts? Will we see a different alliance striking at
Wolfowitz: I think the while civilized world has been shocked by
what's happened, and even some elements of the uncivilized world have
begun to wonder whether maybe they're on the wrong side here. The
president's been in close contact with a number of world leaders,
including our allies, including President Putin of Russia, including
our friends in the Middle East, in the Gulf region. I think everyone
understands that we have, unfortunately, entered a new era. We are all
going to be tested.
We're going to be coming to each one of them, I'm sure, with a variety
of different requests. Some of those are being developed, many more
we're going to develop as we proceed. And I think so far we've seen
indications from a wide variety of sources that people will step up
when asked. And believe me, they will be asked.
Q: Does this mean there's an end to any kind of drawdown of the
Wolfowitz: I'm not sure which drawdown you're referring to. We were
talking in the context of the QDR about major investments to build up
our military for the next decade. I think what this means is there are
also going to be some huge requirements to build up our military for
the next year, and maybe longer.
Q: Mr. Secretary, you have a Quadrennial Defense Review that's due to
Congress in just a few weeks, and certainly this changes the whole
perspective of it. It changes everything -- (inaudible) -- program,
what you're going to put your money in. Do you still intend on meeting
that [September] 30th deadline, or what do you plan on doing with the
Quadrennial Defense Review?
Wolfowitz: I don't think a final decision's been made on that. I
wouldn't agree that it changes everything. It changes a great deal.
And as I just said in answer to the previous question, we now have
requirements that we didn't contemplate two weeks ago. But I don't
think that means that the requirements that we contemplated for 10 and
15 years from now are necessarily all that different.
Q: Sir, a question about the budget process as it stood on Monday
before the incident. Have you or anyone else at [the] OSD level issued
different guidance, different directions today or yesterday as to the
disposition of the development of the next POM cycle in the budget as
a result of the tragedy?
And can you give us any visibility about where you stand in building
that next fiscal perspective for the military build-up that you've
discussed? Have you put that down in writing to the force --
Wolfowitz: Well, as I think you probably understand, because it's a
well informed question, that the budget process is a great big
machine, and you don't sort of turn it on or off or steer it quickly.
And I think that machine continues to work in a lot of fine-grain
detail on our out-year requirements. Clearly there are going to be a
whole range of new requirements, and we are already working with the
services and defense agencies to start to identify a range of what
those near-term requirements may be. As you probably realize, this $20
billion is '01 money, and so it doesn't even begin to address the
question of amended requirements for '02 and beyond.
We are in a different era. I think the president has made that clear.
The secretary of Defense has made that clear. Everything is going to
change. But we hope that with this $20 billion initial move forward,
that particularly our enemies will get a message, and the people who
have to be with us will get a message as well that we're serious.
Q: The president had said that the United States intends to find those
who are responsible for these attacks and hold them accountable. But
he and others, including you today, have also spoken about a much
broader campaign that would seem to go beyond, in terms of targets,
beyond those that may have been responsible for this particular
attack. How should we look at that?
Wolfowitz: Well, I think the president's words are pretty good, so let
me say, these people try to hide, but they won't be able to hide
forever. They think their harbors are safe, but they won't be safe
forever. I think one has to say it's not just simply a matter of
capturing people and holding them accountable, but removing the
sanctuaries, removing the support systems, ending states who sponsor
terrorism. And that's why it has to be a broad and sustained campaign.
It's not going to stop if a few criminals are taken care of.
Q: Do you anticipate -- given the devastation in New York, I mean $20
billion looks like it's just going to be a down payment on repairing
what was destroyed. Do you anticipate having to shift around any of
DoD's internal resources in the 2002 budget to cover some of the bills
here and to begin work on any of the kind of anti-terrorism or
counterterrorism measures?
Wolfowitz: I anticipate, and the indications from the Congress are
that my anticipation is well-founded, that we will have new additional
resources to cover not only the damage that has been inflicted, but to
start to begin to build the military capability we need for other
So I don't envisage shifting resources around, as your question
Q: So that for the money that you all have asked for now would stay
where it is, and then you expect to get additional resources in the
2002 budget for added work -- restoration --
Wolfowitz: That's my expectation, yes.
Over here?
Q: Secretary Mineta talked today about his request to put military
personnel aboard civilian airliners when they start flying again to
supplement the sky marshal program. Have you received that request
from the Transportation Department, and do you think that's something
you're going to be able to take on now?
Wolfowitz: I'm not sure what Secretary Mineta said. The question of
marshals is a complicated one; the question of putting U.S. military
personnel who may or may not be trained in law enforcement techniques
on planes is a difficult one. We're obviously going to work with the
Transportation Department and with the FBI and Marshals Service and
anyone can use our expertise to provide what capabilities are needed.
But it is a complicated issue.
Yes, in the back.
Q: Just to follow up  -- 
Q: Just to follow on that question, if I could, Secretary Mineta also
said that he was going to request personnel from Delta Force to come
in and train air marshals in a speedy fashion to get them up and
running quickly. I'm assuming, I guess, that you have not received
such a request. Are you willing to entertain such a request? Is this
something that would be appropriate for the Defense Department?
Wolfowitz: There's definitely been discussion, and I don't know
whether you want to get into a semantic -- (laughs) -- discussion
about what's a request, what's not a request. What is needed -- and I
think we all agree on it -- is a plan for training up civilian air
marshals. And if U.S. military expertise is useful in that, obviously
we want to make it available. At the same time, this is fundamentally
a civil function. It doesn't require all the exotic training that
Delta Force members have. And on the other hand, it requires law
enforcement training that our people don't have. So we're going to be
working closely.
I hope you understand. I mean, there's a great deal that we're
improvising here as we go, trying to improvise as fast as we possibly
can --
Q: But it's something you're looking at that may or may not be deemed
appropriate, there may be some other avenue that would be more
Wolfowitz: I think the exact way forward hasn't been decided yet.
Yes, in back?
Q: And to follow, you said some of the money will be to start to build
the military capability we need. You then identified terrorism as a
threat now for 10 years. What is it that you envision when you say
that? What is the capability that we don't have that we need?
Wolfowitz: The capabilities to sustain -- we have enormous capability.
That's no secret. But it's also no secret -- go back 10 years, we had
enormous capability when we actually deployed several hundred thousand
troops for Desert Storm. We needed sustainment; we needed munitions;
we needed logistics; we needed fuel; we needed things that you don't
plan for because you don't plan for that level of operations on a
day-to-day basis.
So across a wide spectrum, there are certain to be increased
operational costs, even though I couldn't tell you today exactly what
operations, and therefore, it's a matter of trying to plan ahead to
think about those things that will be strained.
There are also some, obviously, heightened awareness about force
protection measures, and some that might have been considered lower
priority in previous budgets have suddenly advanced to being high
priority as well. There are intelligence needs. And again, you know,
there's always a question -- there are always needs that you'd like to
fund that you can't fund. When you view the world through the
perspective of what happened on Tuesday, some of those things look a
heck of a lot more important than they looked a week ago.
Q: Secretary, there's been a discussion in Washington before Tuesday
of whether to dip into the Social Security or Medicare trust funds to
fund your $18.4 billion for 2000 -- the addition. Do the events of
Tuesday pretty much wash out any concerns that we're going to have to
dip into Social Security and Medicare to pay for these additional
Wolfowitz: I think that's really a question that the White House or
OMB would have to answer. But I think the president has made it clear
all along that there are certain conditions under which his concerns
would -- about the Social Security trust fund would -- would not
apply, and I believe we're in one of those conditions. But you'd have
to ask the White House, not me.
Q: Follow-up. You mentioned civilian -- a combat CAP [combat air
patrol] over a number of cities, including Washington. The FBI today
refused to rule out the possibility that an F-16 shot down that
airliner over Pennsylvania. Can you address that at all?
Wolfowitz: I have no information on it at all. In fact, that's the
first I heard, and I'm going to look into it. Thank you.
Yes, sir?
Q: Mr. Secretary, there were ongoing concerns that the attacks were
just the beginning or perhaps the middle -- perhaps the beginning
phase of a longer operation. Have you come to any conclusion as to
whether that's true? What kind of posture do you think they're in now?
Wolfowitz: I think we're operating on the assumption that we haven't
seen the last of these criminals, and that there may be things
anticipated, planned, as part of this operation. And in that case,
we're quite certain that they, and people like them, have the
capability and the intent to do this kind of thing to us as a country
in the future. But we're on a very high state of alert, and we
continue to be on our guard against a number of possibilities.
Q: Just to follow on that. In terms of where your attention was
directed -- or where the intelligence community's attention was
directed before the events, it seemed to have been external. There was
the alert in Jordan; there were alerts in various other places. Has
there been any conclusion as to whether or not those in fact were sort
of red herrings and that the United States was diverted to looking
abroad when it should have been looking inside?
Wolfowitz: I think -- I mean, this is really -- I'm going to send this
one over to George Tenet to answer. I think we are looking everywhere.
And obviously, one of the things these guys have demonstrated is that
as hard as we look, they can hide some things from us. And that's why
we're going to try to deny them the sanctuaries and the places from
which they do hide things.
Q: Mr. Secretary, you mentioned -- you know, there's been a reluctance
from people from that podium to tell the American people what we're
doing, what the American military is doing to protect them at this
time. We all are aware that there's a heightened danger, but you all
seemed to be willing to say, you know, "Trust us, we're taking care of
you," but you won't tell us what it is that the American -- the
military is doing to help ward off another one of these attacks.
Wolfowitz: I'm sorry, I didn't really come prepared to answer those
questions. I don't know what's been said from this podium. It seems to
me that what's quite clear, though, is that we do not want to write a
road map for some future hijacker to figure out what we're doing and
what we're not doing. And I think the American public fully
understands the need for secrecy in military operations, and we are
engaged in military operations when we're defending the airspace of
the United States.
Q: Can I do a follow on that just very quickly?
Wolfowitz: Yes.
Q: I know you don't discuss operational details. However, can you tell
us, regarding the purely military aspect of this broad and sustained
campaign, when will it begin? Are we talking about hours, days, weeks?
Can you give us any indication at all?
Wolfowitz: No. I think the more important point is, it's not going to
end until these people are defeated. And as the president said, that's
going to take time and it's going to take patience. And I think that's
what people have to be ready for.
Q: We've got a fairly elaborate structure in this country to keep the
military out of civil affairs. Is the Pentagon now anticipating that
that's going to be restructured in a permanent way, that there's going
to be a permanent role for the service branches in domestic policing,
in domestic security? Are we going to reconstitute the Army or the Air
Force in some way to give them a new role in domestic security?
Wolfowitz: We're certainly not anticipating that. I mean, we are
working hard at trying to figure out how to do better the role that's
already assigned to us, which includes a great deal of support to
civil authorities in the event of disasters of this kind or even worse
ones. And there's a great deal of work that has to be done in that
department. I think it's -- we certainly understand our role and our
relationship to civil authorities. Unless civil authorities change
that role, we're not planning to go beyond it.
Q: Both you and the secretary have both used similar phrasing,
"different kind of ballgame," "21st century battlefield," that sort of
Can you give the American [public] a sense, sort of an elaboration,
again without the specific details, of what you're talking about? Are
we talking now about, don't expect [the] sort of antiseptic missile
strikes that you've seen in past situations. We're talking now,
bracing the America people for troops on the ground, hand-to-hand, in
trenches. I mean, can you give us a sense on that?
Wolfowitz: I am not here to discuss military options, and the
president has a whole range of options in front of him. What I am
here, and I want to repeat this, and it's not just to tell the
American people, but to tell the world, $20 billion is a lot of money,
but for this country, it is just a down payment on what we're going to
do. The people who have done this horrible deed against us and who
plan other deeds better realize that the American people are aroused.
And as observers from Alexis DeTocqueville to Winston Churchill have
observed, once this country is aroused, we mobilize the resources. And
$20 billion is a good start.
Thank you very much.
(end transcript)
(Distributed by the Office of International Information Programs, U.S.
Department of State. Web site:

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