26 June 2002
Pentagon Briefing Transcript
(Death of longtime DoD employee "Doc" Cooke, Philippines:
anti-terrorist training/results/phase 2, defense policy: merger of
Space Command and Strategic Command, Iraq: air strikes/maritime
interceptions, Pakistan: firefight/U.S. forces alerted, Mideast
policy: terrorist organizations/U.S. response, Afghanistan: Wolfowitz
testimony/support for regional leaders, Homeland: air defense around
Washington, D.C., India-Pakistan: recapitulation, International
Criminal Court: possible U.S. measures to protect personnel, missile
defense: Senate spending cuts, Iran: vessel diversions) (6900)
Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld and General Richard Myers,
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff briefed reporters June 26 at the
Following is a transcript of the briefing:
United States Department of Defense News Transcript
Presenter: Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld
June 26, 2002
(Also participating was General Richard Myers, Chairman, Joint Chiefs
Rumsfeld: Good afternoon. First, let me say that we certainly mourn
the passing this weekend of an old friend and a wonderful American and
public servant devoted to the Department of Defense -- my friend of
over 27 years, Doc Cooke. When I came back to the Pentagon after being
gone for a quarter of a century, why, many things had changed, but one
thing remained the same, and that was Doc was still here.
I know that many of you know that he came to the department in 1958.
And every secretary of defense since has relied and depended on his
advice and the leadership he has provided. For some 44 years, Doc
Cooke helped to ensure the safety, security and smooth operation of
this department, earning him the nickname of "Mayor of the Pentagon."
And after the events of September 11th, when his Pentagon came under
attack, he helped lead the effort to rebuild the damage in record time
and oversaw the development of an impressive interior memorial that
honors those who died in the September 11th attack. And if you've not
seen it, you might want to make a point of seeing that memorial.
Doc also served the country in uniform as an officer aboard the
battleship Pennsylvania during World War II. He dedicated his life to
the defense of the country. And certainly to his family, we send our
deepest sympathies, even as we in the Pentagon family give thanks for
his life and his many, many years of faithful service.
The global war on terrorism continues on many levels and different
fronts. In the Philippines, U.S. Special Operations Forces and
advisors have not only been working with Philippine forces to help
root out the Abu Sayyaf terrorists and prevent the country from
becoming another haven for terrorists, but the U.S. is helping out in
other ways as well. Through construction and civil assistance
programs, Navy Seabees and Marine engineers are helping to restore a
climate of safety and security in some of these stricken areas. On
Basilan Island, the numbers of Abu Sayyaf terrorists, we're told, has
been reduced fairly significantly and displaced persons are returning
to their homes in a more secure environment.
We expect to continue our current efforts through July 31st, and then,
in cooperation with the government of the Philippines and the armed
forces of the Philippines, transition to a security assistance and
Last, I'd like to announce that as part of our continuing program and
the president's commitment to transform the military, it's our
intention to merge two of our major unified commands -- the U.S. Space
Command the U.S. Strategic Command -- into a single entity that will
be responsible for both early warning of, and defense against, missile
attack as well as long-range conventional attacks. The department has
been working on this possible merger as part of the Unified Command
Plan for some weeks and months now. The president has approved the
arrangement, and the delegations from both Colorado and Nebraska have
been briefed on the matter. And we expect to be making a nomination
for the new command sometime in the period ahead.
The missions of SPACECOM and STRATCOM have evolved to the point where
merging the two into a single entity will eliminate redundancies in
the command structure and streamline the decision making process. The
new command, which will likely be based at Offutt Air Force Base near
Omaha, will also be responsible for information operations.
Myers: Thank you, Mr. Secretary. And good afternoon.
First, I'd like to add my condolences to those of the secretary for
Doc Cooke and his family, and the condolences of all the men and women
who have ever been stationed in the Pentagon over the last 50 years.
While we in uniform are transient personnel that come and go, Doc was
the permanent fixture, always welcoming us to his building. And we're
sure all going to miss him, I can tell you that.
As a personal anecdote, I've got to go back to September 11th. As the
secretary and I were in a couple of smoke-filled command centers, the
other person there that I can remember vividly was Doc Cooke, because,
after all, his building was attacked. And he took that very personally
and was right there by our side through all of that. He was a real
trouper, added so much to the Department of Defense, and we, as I
said, will miss him.
In Afghanistan, Operation Mountain Lion continues. There were no
unusual operational events inside Afghanistan. We did, however, put
some forces on alert to respond to the firefight in Pakistan had the
Pakistanis asked for help. And while U.S. forces were not involved in
the fight, we appreciate the Pakistan army's efforts to locate the al
Qaeda. And our condolences go out to the families of those members of
the Pakistani army who lost their lives in that endeavor.
In Iraq, coalition aircraft flying in Operation Northern Watch dropped
precision-guided munitions this morning on elements of an Iraqi
integrated air defense system in the vicinity of Talafar, 40 miles
west of Mosul. There have been nearly 10 separate instances over the
last three days of Iraqi firing on coalition aircraft in the north, in
Northern Watch, and that's a significant number. In the south, over
the last seven days, coalition naval forces, including the 5th Fleet,
had diverted 21 vessels trying to smuggle oil out of Iraq. Our
maritime intercept operations are boarding and diverting vessels that
may be violating U.S. sanctions. While this is an increase, most of
these vessels were dhows, not tankers. The owners of the tankers have
resorted to trying to put the oil on the dhows, believing that these
smaller vessels will have a better chance of sneaking past our
maritime interception operations.
And on the SPACECOM -- and lastly, on the SPACECOM-STRATCOM merger
issue, I'd just like to say that I'm very comfortable with this new
structure that we are creating. The merger should, and in my view,
definitely will increase the military effectiveness providing the
appropriate support to our combatant commanders around the world and,
for that matter, responsiveness to the president and to the secretary
And with that, we'll take your questions.
Q: Mr. Secretary, on the Philippines, have U.S. Special Forces begun
training at the small-unit level and taking part in patrols,
Philippine patrols, on Basilan Island? And you said that -- I believe
you said counterterrorism operations might extend beyond July 31st on
a smaller scale, when the bulk of the troops are removed. Might that
include training -- continued training by Special Forces, and perhaps
continued patrolling by Special Forces with Philippine troops?
Rumsfeld: The answer is no and yes.
Q: So they have not begun --
Rumsfeld: The first question, they have not begun. That section ends
later this month or next month. And there will be a full stop. And
then a new period will begin when in fact they might very well begin
training with lower-level units, and very likely entering the new
Rumsfeld: Well, it depends on how you describe it. I mean, in training
and exercising, you end up being around. And if that's a patrol, it's
a patrol, and if it's not, it's not. I don't know quite how the
government of the Philippines wants to characterize it. But it will be
of a kind with what we were doing previously, but at a lower level.
Q: Mr. Secretary, as the general mentioned, Pakistan has released some
details about that morning raid that left 10 of their soldiers dead.
First, do you see that as an effort -- that Pakistan is stepping up
efforts to track down al Qaeda in those tribal areas? And second, has
the U.S. added more Special Forces teams there to help the Pakistanis
in that hunt?
Rumsfeld: We don't talk about deployment of those teams. Second, I
don't know that I'd call it a step up or not. The Pakistanis have been
cooperating with us, and we've been sharing intelligence, and they've
been undertaking raids, as you know, periodically, as the intelligence
permitted and enabled us to do so. But whether the level, the tempo
has changed, I don't know. I do know that they've been helpful, as
we've said from time to time.
Q: The Pakistanis said that a U.S. military team was nearby but didn't
help in that raid. It is just a reconnaissance effort that U.S. teams
are doing inside Pakistan?
Rumsfeld: Oh, we don't want to discuss what we're doing.
Q: Mr. Secretary --
Rumsfeld: And the Pakistanis can describe it any way they want.
Q: Mr. Secretary?
Q: You were at the president's side the other day when he announced
his new Middle East policy. And I'm just curious. Why was the
secretary of Defense there when it was clearly a foreign policy issue?
And the other question is, since you were there, is the United States
thinking about stepping up or increasing the war on international
terrorism by taking on the Middle East terrorists, such as Hamas,
Hezbollah and Islamic Jihad?
Rumsfeld: The organizations that the United States government
considers terrorist organizations are all listed and public, and some
of the ones you mentioned are on there.
My presence there was nothing complicated. The National Security
Council meets on these things. We've been meeting on Middle East
matters, as well as war on terrorism matters and Afghanistan matters
and Philippine matters, on a continuous basis for some 17 months now.
It happens that in that instance, all of us have been involved in
working on those issues. And I was asked by the White House to come
over and be present, so I went.
Q: Just to follow --
Rumsfeld: But I wouldn't read anything into it. It's essentially a
Department of State matter.
Q: But it's nice to read to read things into it, if we can. Anyway,
just to follow up, if I may, the United States is principally going
after the al Qaeda and the some of the affiliated organizations, such
as the Abu Sayyaf. But to my knowledge, as yet, we haven't really gone
after the other organizations in the Middle East, the ones I mentioned
and others. Is there any plan to do that now?
Rumsfeld: Well, I'm trying to think how to say this. We have been
engaged in a global war on terror. We've been involved in a number of
countries. We're working on -- with other countries in a number of
instances. And I do not think of this effort as restricted to al
Qaeda. I've said that from the outset, that it is a -- that the
process of terrorizing the world is to make threats and to force
people to alter their behavior, and if you decide to actually engage
in a violent act, it's to kill innocent men, women and children for
the purpose of terror. It's done by organizations that cross over
borders. And it's -- that is what it is that we have identified. Those
are the organizations whose finances we've been trying to cut off.
Those are the organizations whose members we're trying to arrest all
over the world. The last number I saw was something in excess of 2,000
people who've been arrested. So, I think it -- thinking of it as al
Qaeda is too narrow.
Q: General Myers, you mentioned regarding the Pakistan raid that U.S.
forces, I think you said in Afghanistan, were put on alert in case
they were called, if the Pakistanis needed them. Air and ground
forces? And what kind of support role would they have played? Is this
a routine arrangement you have with the Pakistani military?
Myers: We were responding to a Pakistani request. Without going into a
lot of detail, you can imagine it could have been both types of
forces, air and ground. And what they would have done would have been
up to what the Pakistanis requested help in. They did not request that
help in this case. But it's -- right, we're in this fight together and
we've been cooperating together.
Q: Is it a one-of-a-kind arrangement, is what I'm asking, or is it --
Myers: I'd rather not go into all the details of our arrangements.
That can give too much away to potential adversaries if they know that
this is one of a kind or this is normal. I'm just not going to go into
that. But we are in this together. We're partners in this together.
Q: Is the alert over?
Myers: Yes, it is at this point.
Q: And the raid is over? Everything about that is over, as far as you
Myers: I'll check on that. I think so, but I -- I'll have to get an
update for you. We can provide that later.
Q: General, those 10 separate instances in Iraq, anti-aircraft sites
trying to hit U.S. forces, was that -- the one that you hit the other
day, was that the one that was doing all those 10? Or are they all
Myers: Possibly part of it. This was really two days where we had
these 10 firing incidents that were a high number. And the one that I
talked about in here was part of the 10. The previous ones -- I'd have
to check on that to make sure.
Q: Regarding Iraq, you referred to it as a significant number, I
believe. What do you make of that? What are the Iraqis up to? Is there
an increased capability? What does it mean? What is the significance?
Myers: Well, it's -- I think -- the first point is that while we have
coalition forces over there enforcing the U.N. sanctions, we have a
country that is firing at our pilots and putting them at risk. I mean,
that's the most significant thing that we -- and one of the reasons I
mention that is I think that's important for people to understand that
we have Americans and other countries' aircrews at risk trying to do
what the U.N. has said we ought to do. And the second point was that
this -- in two days 10 separate firing incidents is a little bit
larger than normal. But we'll have to look at the trend over time. I
don't know if we can read anything more into it than just what I've
Q: An increased capability?
Myers: No, it's not increased capability. We know they have pretty
good capability, actually.
Q: A little bigger picture question of Afghanistan. It has to do a
little bit with Secretary Wolfowitz's testimony on the Hill. One of
the things that the Karzai government is up against in his nation is
the stability of his regime and his ability to extend power out from
Kabul to the farther reaches of the country. And thus far the reaches
are controlled in large part by war lords, most of whom have U.S.
Special Forces with them, or some kind of U.S. support. And there is a
sense over there that the continuation of that support only slows down
the possibility of Karzai being able to gain control over his country.
Could you talk a little bit about U.S. involvement with war lords and
what the reasons are for and maybe the extent to which you all provide
equipment, training or funding for them?
Rumsfeld: Well! I assume when you say "war lords" you're talking about
regional leaders. (Laughter.) So -- I thought that's what you meant.
You asked about our relationships. Obviously we have had relationships
with many, if not most, throughout the country, and they've been
enormously helpful in helping to throw out the Taliban. And that's
been a good thing. And the country is a whale of a lot better off
today than it was before we had that assistance.
In terms of what kind of help we are providing them now, I don't
really know that we are, in terms of the Pentagon. I -- we're
providing food in the country, but that's to all kind of people and
organizations. We have -- do, in fact -- have some people embedded in
some of their organizations. It's been very helpful from a
communications standpoint. Those forces have in some parts of the
country provided a level of security that has been helpful to the
country so that NGOs could move around and start providing
humanitarian assistance and we could.
I don't disagree at all that it's important for the transitional
government to begin to assert authority over the entire country. And
one of the ways that can be done is, obviously, through the
coordination that we help provide with the communications in those
organizations that exist around Afghanistan. Second, money that's
coming into Afghanistan can begin to flow through the central
government out to the regions, and as a result of that, the
international assistance that's coming in can help to provide the
transitional government a degree of influence and effectiveness in the
regions which will begin to do that.
Third, the German government is helping build a police force that
would be functioning around the country. And as that takes hold, that
will be helpful in asserting central control. And fourth, the United
States, France and a variety of other countries are stepping forward
and training, as rapidly as we can, a national army, which will,
again, for the first time give the transitional government some
So it is -- you don't tear down what is until you substitute something
better, one would think. And that means that as the central government
gains the advantages and the weight and the heft and the strength from
the things I've just cited, that there will be less need for the
regional political leaders to maintain large armies, one would hope.
Q: One thing that is -- this idea that they're helping provide
security, I think probably in Herat -- maybe Ismail Khan -- has a
fairly strong grip on that area, but in Mazar-e Sharif, Lakhdar
Brahimi took to the floor of the Loya Jirga to complain about the acts
of violence that are being perpetrated by warlords and their solders
against NGOs and the people they're giving aid, including the gang
rape of an American woman working with one of the nongovernmental
organizations. So, you know, not all security work that's going on --
Rumsfeld: Oh, I didn't -- I hope there was nothing I said that
suggested that Afghanistan was a perfectly peaceful, placid place. It
isn't. It's untidy and there's crime committed there. There's drug
trafficking taking place, one would imagine. And there are periodic
dust-ups between regional factions. But there are -- you know, there's
crime in the cities of America, as well. And I don't know how -- if
you take where Afghanistan's been and where it is today, the security
situation is so dramatically improved and people's lives are so much
better. And food is being distributed, and people are going to school,
and refugees are returning. And they're not doing it for no reason.
Something like 2 million people have returned. Why are they doing it?
They're voting with their feet, because they've made a conscious
judgment that life inside Afghanistan is one whale of a lot better
than it was outside of Afghanistan. That's why they're coming in.
And so I think that it is perfectly possible to almost forever, in
perpetuity, to look around that country and find problems. I think,
however, it is important to put it in balance with what preceded and
what takes place in other parts of the globe. If anyone was looking
for perfection in Afghanistan in terms of a perfectly peaceful,
non-violent era instantaneously, I think they've misplaced their
Q: Mr. Secretary, given the incursion last week of a small plane, how
much -- into the restricted airspace over Washington -- how much
thought have you given to doing something to either increase the
response time of U.S. fighter jets or to provide some additional
measure of protection for the White House or other potential targets
in Washington that might be attacked by terrorists from the air?
Rumsfeld: We, of course, give a lot of thought to that. And one of the
things that can be done is to reduce the response time by improving
the connectivity between the FAA and the Department of Defense. It
happens in matters of minutes, and one would like to think it could
happen in matters of somewhat fewer minutes; in other words, reducing
by some modest number the number of minutes. And I think that we've
found ways to do that.
Second, we do have -- constantly reviewing those kinds of issues. We
are purposely maintaining random activities as a deterrent. And we
feel -- we feel pretty good about the level of response and the level
of capability that we currently have.
Q: Well, what about -- what about if -- and perhaps General Myers
could address that. I know it irks you when he doesn't get his share
of the questions!
Rumsfeld: Well, I would like to interrupt, since you brought up
General Myers. (Laughter.) Do you remember the day in here when
General Myers said, "Even my wife understands it"? I'd like to
introduce his wife.
Mary Jo, would you stand up? There she is. Look at that lovely lady!
Q: Why didn't you bring cookies, Mrs. Myers? (Laughter.)
Q: I wanted to ask --
(Cross talk; laughter.)
Q: Some people have talked about returning to 24/7 combat air patrols
over Washington or other cities. Is that simply not really a practical
thing that would be doable indefinitely because of the wear and tear
on planes and crews and everything else?
Rumsfeld: We wouldn't discuss it if we did.
Myers: Yeah. The exact -- you know, the tactics and techniques, we
probably wouldn't discuss with you. But as the secretary said, this is
something we're taking very, very seriously, and we have from day one.
And we're working all sorts of things. He talked about the better FAA
coordination with the Department of Defense. We have military
individuals in the radar approach facility here in the area that are
going to facilitate our communications for some of these flights that
-- like that Cessna that came down and so forth, so we can --
Q: What about -- what about air defenses or anti-aircraft missile --
Myers: It's all being looked at. It's all being looked at. And again,
without -- I think it's really inappropriate to go into detail on the
specifics of that because that would be the first step to figuring out
how to counter it.
Q: Mr. Secretary --
Q: Which command will control the Combat Air Command, the new
Strategic Command or Northern Command? And also
Q: Northern Command?
Rumsfeld: Right. NORAD is -- the commander of Northern Command will be
dual-hatted as commander of Northern Command and the commander of
Q: Okay. Could you clarify about the Philippines? After July 30th,
will U.S. troops go out on small-level training patrols, or they're
only going to be doing that soon -- until then, but not after?
Rumsfeld: I can clarify it to this extent, that I think it's July 30th
Rumsfeld: The current session ends. And the government of the
Philippines has a process, just like we do. We've gone through our
process. We're now in discussions with them. And they then will decide
with us what kinds of things make sense for phase two. And those
discussions are reasonably well along and developed.
My policy, as you know, is to allow other people to explain what
they're doing and how they're doing it in their country because they
do have sensitivities that are different from ours. In good time, in
good time, there will be an announcement by the Philippine government,
I would think, that will characterize what it is we're going to be
doing. And as I indicated, I believe to Charlie or Bob, we very likely
will continue in -- not continue, but have some arrangement with
respect to operating with somewhat smaller levels.
Q: Mr. Secretary, since you returned from India and Pakistan, few
things have changed. One, India is still saying that infiltrations
have not stopped on the border. And two --
Rumsfeld: India is saying what?
Q: That the terrorist activities on the border did not stop. The
Indian prime minister has said that infiltrations did not stop on the
border. And General --
Rumsfeld: Could I just comment on that?
Q: Yes, sir.
Rumsfeld: I don't think anyone ever thought they could be stopped
instantaneously. They have been drawn down substantially, and I think
both sides have agreed to that. But there already were militants and
terrorists that had crossed the line, and there undoubtedly are people
who will continue to try to cross the line, quite apart from the
efforts of the Pakistan government and the Indian government to stop
it. It is a very rugged, difficult line of control between those two
Q: And sir, General Musharraf said that he never told his two
top-level, high-level visitors from the U.S., Deputy Secretary
Armitage and Secretary Rumsfeld -- that's you -- that permanent --
that the infiltration will be stopped permanently. Now -- in a
Newsweek interview. Now what is the real story, Mr. Secretary? What
did -- he told you, or what he -- what do you know about this Newsweek
Rumsfeld: Well, I know quite a bit about it. The deputy secretary of
State met with the senior leaders of both countries, and some eight or
10 days later I did as well. And the -- there's been an interview in
Newsweek that is now being compared with things that other people have
said -- not me, but others. And my guess is, in another week or 10
days, that whole story will calm down, and people will sort it out and
find that there's probably not a big difference between what people
Sometimes things get carried in the press in a way that they look like
there's a stark contrast. I had that experience in India and Pakistan
myself, where I in a press briefing said that there were smatterings
of information about something, but not hard evidence of the presence
of certain types of people in certain places, which I won't reexamine.
I went to the next town and said exactly the same thing, and it was
carried in three or four papers that Rumsfeld had retracted what he'd
said the day before. And it was -- the words, if you look at them side
by side -- you were -- some of you folks were there -- the words are
just almost identical, and there was no retraction. People see and
hear what they want.
So I'm not in a position to comment on -- I wasn't in the interview,
so I can't say what he said. But my guess is, in a day or two or
three, it'll all kind of calmed down.
Q: But sir, finally, can you just assess from your visit that -- will
this war take place or not?
Rumsfeld: Oh, there's an easy one. (Laughter.) When did we decide
everyone gets three questions? (Light laughter.)
Look, war is with a million people staring at each other, it is not a
happy prospect. I have said what I believe. I have met with the senior
leadership of both of those two countries very recently. I have been
impressed that each one recognizes that their economies are being
damaged by the level of tension, that the people of their countries
are being damaged by the level of tension, that the difficulty of
maintaining forces in high alert from a million people looking at each
other across that border is stressful on the forces and cannot be
sustained for a long period without damage, and that each of those
countries recognizes the power of the weapons they have. And I expect
them to continue to manage their affairs in a responsible way. And I
wish them well. It's a -- it has been a tense situation. And I think
that each side has now taken a few steps to somewhat lessen those
tensions, and that that's been a good thing.
Q: Mr. Secretary, the new International Criminal Court goes into
action next week, I believe. How satisfied are you that U.S. military
personnel could not be subject to that court?
Rumsfeld: (Pause.) You're the general. (Light laughter.) I heard --
Q: I said "Mr. Secretary".
Rumsfeld: Oh, did you?
Q: Yes. I'm sorry -- (off mike, laughter).
Rumsfeld: Oh. Okay. Well, I'll be happy to.
I'm not satisfied. I'm not satisfied that military or civilian
officials of this department or any other department of the government
are going to be free of the potential activities of that court. That
court is unusual in a variety of ways. It assumes jurisdiction over
everyone, regardless of whether or not their country of origin has
participated in the court. It seems not to have any end point. It
seems not to have any focus. It's across the board. And we know that
the terrorist training books teach people how to lie and make
accusations about the killing of innocent civilians and how to promote
that to the press so that it gets carried around the world and
everyone begins to believe it. The more it's said, pretty soon people
start believing that stuff. And if you're not on the ground to stop
it, why, a politicized or a loose cannon prosecutor in a court like
that can impose enormous difficulties and disadvantages on people:
individuals, governments. And as a result, the United States has
decided that we're, as you have read, we're operating in the United
Nations to try to get resolutions to exempt U.S. forces from the
requirements of that court, or the imposition of that court. To the
extent we're participating in peacekeeping activities that are U.N.
related, we intend to do a similar thing by going around to countries
on a bilateral basis. There is a provision in the treaty that permits
countries to come to an agreement bilaterally, in this case U.S.
forces operating in their country would not be subject to the court
and that they would not extradite people Americans to the court. And
it's both civilian and military.
Q: Just a follow-up. If we do not get that resolution that we are
seeking excepting U.S. forces, would you be comfortable with U.S.
personnel participating in U.N. peacekeeping operations?
Rumsfeld: Well, I've just said I'm uncomfortable.
Q: I mean, would they, I mean, the U.S. ambassador, I think, said last
week to the U.N. that if we didn't get that, we would not participate
in U.N. peacekeeping.
Rumsfeld: When that treaty goes into effect, I believe July 1st, the
situation changes. And we have indicated, I believe, well, I shouldn't
-- and I can't -- speak for the Department of State, but I believe,
depending on what the state of play is on resolutions, that there are
some that can be vetoed by the United States. And that is another
option, of course.
Q: General Myers, on the Unified Command Plan, is there a
consideration of merging SOUTHCOM and NORTHCOM to create one
Myers: That was an issue that was looked at earlier, some time ago.
And currently it's -- I wouldn't even ... I don't think it's quite
even in the study phase. It's something that has the potential, that
might be downstream, but I wouldn't say we're studying it actively. It
will be something we'll look at, probably in a year or so.
Q: Would there be any benefit to that? Or why is that one
Myers: Well, to look at the hemisphere as a whole in terms of the
dependents, economies and security and so forth, that there might be
some benefit. But frankly, we haven't -- that's not been a
recommendation that's been brought to the secretary. It's not
something I've recommended yet. It's being looked at.
We think overall on the Unified Command Plan we have taken steps in
the last six months, especially with the SPACECOM and Strategic
Command merger, we have made some very, very big changes in the
Unified Command Plan. And I guess we're thinking we probably ought to
let this settle out for a little bit before we tackle some more big
Rumsfeld: One of the reasons that a couple of reasons that you look at
these things from time to time, and I quite agree with Dick, we're in
the process of digesting what we've already done, but there's a couple
of reasons. One reason is we find any time there's a seam -- a line
between two commands -- there are things that happen at that seam. And
they can be difficult. They require special coordination -- special
cooperation and special attention.
So to the extent you can have your seams in places that they don't
cause problems, you're probably better off. And to the extent you can
avoid seams -- wherever possible -- you're probably better off from a
And the second thing is cost. Obviously, from time to time, one has to
be respectful of the taxpayers' dollars, and these headquarters cost a
lot of money. And that money, instead of going to substandard housing
for the men and women in uniform, or going to transformation or
modernization or reducing the age of the airplane fleet or increasing
the number of ships, it goes to headquarters. And so we're constantly
looking for ways to reduce costs and see that the money goes into
things that are going to benefit the security of our country.
Q: Is there any ballpark estimate on how much this could save annually
by combining two commands and cutting a command?
Rumsfeld: There -- I'm sure there are ballpark estimates around, but I
don't have one floating around my head.
Q: Sir, a quick missile defense question --
Q: The Senate this very afternoon is debating whether to restore $814
million cut by the Armed Services Committee for the missile defense
Rumsfeld: It was 878 (million) that was cut, and they're talking about
putting 814 (million) back.
Q: Eight-fourteen back. President Bush has threatened a veto. Can you
give us a sense from the podium here why -- what's so important about
that money that it would invoke a veto threat?
Rumsfeld: Mm-hmm. Well, first of all, $878 million that was reduced in
one house, in the Senate, is a lot of money. And we're for the first
time free of the ABM Treaty in a quarter of a century, able to go out
and do the research and development that's appropriate and necessary
to determine what kinds of capabilities and technologies we can
develop that conceivably could be deployable to provide a defense
against that threat. The -- taking that amount of money out means --
that you can't do the things that you intended to do -- that you've
been waiting for a great many years to be able to do.
Second, the cuts are fashioned in a way that they are particularly
destructive of the entire missile defense program. They are in
specific locations with specific prohibitions, in ways that it, in one
instance, will probably require the discharge of some 70 percent of
the civilian and contractor workforce working on pieces of this; in
other cases, would inhibit our ability to conduct tests against
various types of countermeasures, which -- interestingly, people say,
"My goodness, will it be able to deal with countermeasures?" And of
course, the answer to that is, one doesn't know until one tests
against various types of countermeasures. So, the money in there is to
-- is to take that money out, and therefore, perpetuate the question
as to what extent it could deal with various types of countermeasures.
And in almost every instance, they're so carefully crafted to damage
the entire missile defense program that it has an effect that's vastly
greater than the dollars involved.
Q: So, it's more it's artfully crafted, small -- relatively small
amount in a $7.4 billion request that --
Rumsfeld: Eight hundred and 74 million -- 78 million dollars is not a
relatively small amount. Tony, I don't know where you operate.
Q: General Myers, just a quick --
Rumsfeld: We're going to make this -- we're going to make this the
Q: General, I wanted to return to oil smuggling in the Gulf. You said
21 vessels were diverted. Are we seeing a steadily increasing number
of diversions here? And also, could you talk a little bit about the
role of Iran, which has offered a safe haven in their territorial
waters for smugglers? Is that continuing?
Myers: On the last, no, that is -- we have indications that has
stopped. And that's why the larger tankers are now putting on these
smaller ships because they're trying -- they don't have the benefit of
staying inside Iranian territorial waters.
Q: Indications they have stopped, how long ago was that?
Myers: I'll check on that. I don't -- fairly recently.
And on the other issue, this week's activities -- I reported on I
think a seven-day period, I think it was. That's a very large number
for that seven-day period. But, again, the larger number is because of
probably the smaller boats. They're downloading from the big tankers
to smaller boats.
Q: Mr. Secretary, you've said it's impossible to defend against every
terrorist attack. Would you put attack by small plane in that category
of something that you can't defend against?
Rumsfeld: The -- an enormous advantage accrues to the attacker, just
by definition. The person who is on the offense can pick the time and
the place and the technique -- and the defender can't. The defender
has to say, "My goodness, it could be anywhere at any time against any
conceivable technique." There isn't a type of an attack that I can
think of that -- where some advantage doesn't accrue to the attacker.
Now, if you're thinking about an attack by an army or navy or air
force, obviously, they're so big that you can know when they're being
built, and you can arrange yourself to deter and dissuade and
ultimately defeat them. If you're talking about a single airplane
flying into a bridge or something or a single woman with explosives
wrapped around her or a truck filled with explosives or biological or
chemical weapons, that's a much harder thing to do. Because it's an
isolated situation and it's a big world.
So, the way you have to do that is you have to deter the big stuff and
then put so much pressure all across the globe on terrorists and
people who think that that's a good idea, to go around killing
innocent men, women and children, and try to dry up their finances and
try to arrest as many and try to interrogate as many and try to
capture or kill as many as you can, and that's exactly what we're
Dick was just talking about the maritime intercept program. I forget
what the number was, but there's an enormous number of ships that are
being stopped, quizzed, in some cases boarded, if there's reason to
believe that they might be transporting terrorists or terrorist
equipment. And so, that's going out on the water, and the world
doesn't even see it. It's in several oceans that that type of thing is
It is an unusual conflict we're in. It's a long one. And it's one that
parts of it are visible and parts of it aren't visible. Parts of it
we're involved in and parts of it friends and allies all across the
globe are involved in. But the pressure on them is there. Let there be
Q: Mr. Secretary --
Rumsfeld: We're going to --
Q: Thank you.
(Distributed by the Office of International Information Programs, U.S.
Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)
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