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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)


Tracking Number:  284149

Title:  "US Won't Reduce Korea Forces Until N Korea Nuclear Issue Resolved."

FEN-TV and Pacific Stars & Stripes Interview with Deputy Defense Secretary William Perry. (930514)

Date:  19930514

Text:
*EPF502 05/14/93 *

U.S. WON'T REDUCE KOREA FORCES UNTIL NKOREA NUCLEAR ISSUE RESOLVED

(Transcript: Interview with Deputy Defense Secretary Perry) (4040)

Tokyo -- The United States will not reduce its forces in Korea until the problem of North Korea's nuclear weapons program is resolved, according to Deputy Defense Secretary William Perry.

In an interview with FEN-TV and Pacific Stars and Stripes in Tokyo May 14, Perry said: "We are holding fast in Korea at about 37,000 troops, and until and unless the problem is satisfactorily resolved in North Korea and we see that that nuclear weapon program has been halted and we have confidence they are not going to proceed forward with their nuclear weapon program, we will not proceed any further with the phase two withdrawals in Korea. We are holding firm at the moment in Korea and will be for the indefinite future."

"To go beyond that," Perry said, "I would say we have a commitment in this administration to a permanent forward military presence in the Pacific theater to include troops in Japan, troops in Korea, and obviously a carrier forward presence. And as long as the Korean government and the Japanese government continue to support that objective of the U.S. government, we will continue to have troops here.

"We believe it is not only important for the defense of Korea and the defense of Japan but to provide a critical stabilizing security force in the region. And all of the countries we have talked to in the Pacific region concur with us in that judgment. So, we are not going to be withdrawing, making significant withdrawals of troops, from either Korea or Japan any time in the foreseeable future."

Following is a transcript of the interview:

(begin transcript)

Interview with FEN-TV and Pacific Stars and Stripes

Deputy Secretary of Defense William J. Perry

American Embassy

Tokyo, Japan

May 14, 1993

Q: With worldwide personnel cuts continuing, can you give us a projected idea of what troop strength may be in the Pacific over the next five years?

PERRY: Let me start off with a more global view. We are going from an active duty military strength of 2.1 million at its peak in the mid-'80s. We're down to about 1.7, a little less than that right now. The Bush administration base force projected going down to 1.6. That's now being re-evaluated in the Clinton administration.

My best estimate is we'll be going down to a number like about 1.4. The decline in personnel numbers will be at the same rate but it will extend for a longer period of time. Now, that's about a one-third reduction over about a 10-year period. That's going to obviously affect deployments in the United States and overseas basing, as well.

The largest, single cut that is going to be made will be in the deployment of our forces in Europe, where we are going from something over 300,000 down to a number of about 100,000 -- a big cut in the European forces. The reason is very obvious. We have forces over there prepared to meet a blitzkrieg assault from the Warsaw Pact and the former Soviet Union, neither of which exist anymore. And we believe that the 100,000 or so troops we could keep over there should be sufficient to deal with the regional contingencies we might face in Europe, and to provide sufficient presence in Europe so that we can be playing our continuing important role in NATO.

The Pacific drawdown will not be as substantial as that. And to focus particularly on the forces in Japan and Korea, the drawdown will be relatively small in both of these countries. In 1990, the Bush administration initiated a program which was called the East Asia Strategy Initiative and that envisioned a gradual drawdown of forces over a decade period in the '90s and, in the case of Korea, a transfer of operational control from U.S. to Korean forces. The first phase of that has already been implemented and involved about a 20 percent drawdown in forces in those two countries. The second phase is underway in Japan and it's a fairly modest drawdown of forces -- less than 20 percent.

But we have suspended the second phase in Korea. In Korea, we went from about 44,000 to about 37,000 in the first phase. We were about to take another 6,000 to 6,500 troops out of there. And then when North Korea withdrew from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, refused to let IAEC inspectors in and quite clearly is embarked on the development of a nuclear weapon program, we decided it would be imprudent and so we suspended the drawdown from Korea.

So, we are holding fast in Korea at about 37,000 troops, and until and unless the problem is satisfactorily resolved in North Korea and we see that that nuclear weapon program has been halted and we have confidence they are not going to proceed forward with their nuclear weapon program, we will not proceed any further with the phase two withdrawals in Korea. We are holding firm at the moment in Korea and will be for the indefinite future.

To go beyond that, I would say we have a commitment in this administration to a permanent forward military presence in the Pacific theater to include troops in Japan, troops in Korea, and obviously a carrier forward presence. And as long as the Korean government and the Japanese government continue to support that objective of the U.S. government, we will continue to have troops here. We believe it is not only important for the defense of Korea and the defense of Japan but to provide a critical stabilizing security force in the region. And all of the countries we have talked to in the Pacific region concur with us in that judgment. So, we are not going to be withdrawing, making significant withdrawals of troops, from either Korea or Japan any time in the foreseeable future.

Q: That includes into the next century, sir? PERRY: That's a little farther than I can foresee, I have to say honestly. One can imagine the situation in Korea, for example, proceeding positively, including the reunification of the peninsula, including a democratic government over all Korea and that would cause us, obviously, to re-evaluate the level of troops we needed there. But barring a really significant and positive political development of that sort, we see ourselves there for the long term.

Q: So what are the primary issues that you are going to be addressing while you are visiting here in Japan and Korea as far as the troops are concerned?

PERRY: I had three basic reasons for making this trip at this time. The first was: I wanted, early in the Clinton administration, to make a strong, public statement of this administration's commitment supporting the stability in the Asia Pacific region and, in particular, supporting it with forward military presence of troops, as I have already explained. And I did that by making a speech at the Asia Society yesterday in which I laid out not only the policy we have here, but in some detail the reasons for that policy.

The second objective of the trip was to discuss in some detail with both the Japanese government officials and Korean government officials how we would deal with the threat of nuclear weapons in North Korea. I've had those discussions and I am happy to report that our governments are in very close agreement on step-by-step how we should proceed to deal with that problem.

The third objective was to meet with some of our military forces in Korea and Japan and to meet with our military leaders in Korea, Japan and in Pearl Harbor. I will be stopping off at Pearl Harbor on my way back tomorrow.

Q: Sir, so far, because of this suspension of the drawdown and the fact that they are on a very committed and dedicated mission, our people in Korea have felt very safely stable against personnel cuts. With eight bases about to be scaled back and presumably fewer hands needed, will this continue?

PERRY: Their feeling of stability, in terms of the deployment in Korea, is correct. We are going to maintain the stability of forces there at least until we have a satisfactory resolution of the North Korea weapon problem. If we reach that decision, then we will reconsider the so-called Phase Two of the East Asia Strategy Initiative which could take perhaps twenty percent of the forces out of Korea, that is, take 6,500 out of the 36,000 that are there. That would draw us down to a number of about 30,000. At that level, I believe we would be stable.

Q: Yes, sir, but these bases being cut back there -- the eight bases. Does this mean that some people may be sent out where they would be more vulnerable to cuts, or that we'll need fewer people?

PERRY: They'll be redeployed to different bases and we'll continue to simply redeploy rather than pulling them out, until or unless we get the situation resolved with North Korea.

Q: ...within the peninsula? PERRY: Within the peninsula. We do not want to take any action which would allow North Korea to misunderstand our resolve to face up to them on this very important issue.

Q: We assure you, sir, that a lot of our people there are going to be very reassured by that.

PERRY: Yes. I have reported this in my meetings in Korea a few days ago with our military leaders there and also the government officials in the Republic of Korea. I met with the President of the Republic of Korea, the foreign minister, the defense minister, and I have discussed this issue with all of them. So they fully understand what the administration's position is going to be. And it is one of very firm resolve.

Q: What are some of the things that you would like to accomplish during your time as deputy secretary?

PERRY: That's a tough question to try to encompass that whole issue. But let me just pick a few particular topics which I think are really crucial issues. In the face of the drawdown, the Defense budget since 1986 has gone down already about 25 percent, and between now and '96 we see it going down perhaps a total of 40 percent -- that is, another 15 percent. So over a 10-year period, you are seeing about a 40 percent decrease in resources in budget.

Now, the last time we went through that kind of a drawdown was after the Vietnam War. And at that time we made a set of decisions. In particular, we decided we would not decrease force structure -- and with the budget going down to that extent, not decreasing force structure meant that we were not able to fund modernization; we were not able to fund training and exercises. The consequence of all that is by the end of the '70s, we had what General Meyer aptly called "a hollow army."

My number one resolve, and Secretary Aspin's number one resolve, is that at whatever level our military forces will be, by the time our term is done that they will not be hollow. They may be smaller -- they will be smaller -- but they will not be hollow.

Now, to translate that into what are we going to do -- that means we have to put top priority on readiness of the forces, to do the things we have to do to maintain the readiness of the forces. First of all, in the allocation of budget -- between personnel, modernization, operational maintenance, R&D -- all of those different allocations, the first responsibility of the Secretary of Defense is to make the judgment of how to allocate that budget. And the reason we are projecting a larger personnel reduction than President Bush had in the base force plan was that if you have a 40 percent reduction in budget and only a 25 percent reduction in personnel, that means the other parts of the budget are going to be disproportionately hit. We're going from 25 percent, as I indicated, to about 33 percent. That's still not quite 40 percent, but it's closer to it. That means, then, that we will have more resources available for the forces we have to provide those factors which make for a ready force.

Readiness is a very complicated issue. There is no single line item in the budget. There is no line item called "Readiness" and you just pour money into it and it happens. It involves the quality -- which has to do with recruiting; it has to do with retention. It involves the training. You have to have money in your budget for training; for ships, steaming hours; for airplanes, flying hours. It involves money for conducting exercises. It involves the operational readiness of equipment for the use in the forces. We are going to put in the money that's necessary to do those things so that whatever size army you have, it will be a highly ready and highly capable army. That, I think, is Secretary Aspin's and my number one objective. And I will be focusing a lot of my energies to changing that from an objective to a reality.

A good way of stating that objective is that we want our forces to have the same level of readiness a few years from now that they had at the time when the Desert Shield Operation started. It wasn't perfect then, but in the few months that we had to get ready we converted that into the most effective military force for its size that the world has ever seen. So that's a pretty good base line -- pretty good benchmark -- with which to compare our readiness.

The second objective I have, which is related to that, is reducing the infrastructure and overhead in our Defense Department so we will free up resources to do these other things -- to maintain personnel at a reasonable level and to put money into readiness and have some money left for modernization so that our equipment is not getting a year older every year that passes. That involves, for example, a reduction in bases. I have already talked a little bit about that along with the overseas bases.

Secretary Aspin has proposed a base closing, a 1993 base closing, which he called in a press conference "the mother of all base closings" and if it is approved by the Commission and then ultimately approved by Congress, it will be the largest base closing we have ever been involved with. But I should put that in perspective. If that is approved at the full level we requested and you add that to the 1991 base closing and the 1988 base closing, in aggregate -- those amount to about a 15 percent reduction in our bases in capital assets on the bases. So you are comparing a 15 percent reduction in bases with a 40 percent reduction in budget and a 33 percent reduction in personnel -- so you can see, even with that move, we still haven't moved vigorously enough to bring infrastructure down to the size of the forces we are going to have. So there will be another base closing in 1995 and we are planning that and conceiving that right now.

The other thing we have to do, not just infrastructure to get our overhead down -- and in my judgment the major target there is reducing the size of the overhead that is associated with acquisition. We have literally hundreds of thousands of people in the Defense Department that are involved in the management and control of our acquisition process. And for each person we have in the government, there are one or two people in industry involved in management and control. That's a very big expense in our defense budget. Some people have estimated that the acquisition, the overhead in management and control -- the overhead in the acquisition process amounts to twenty to thirty billion dollars ($20-30,000 million) or more. To the extent we can reduce that, then that frees up money for support of the military forces and for readiness.

So, those are the kind of objectives we are going to be focusing on: readiness, reducing the overhead in infrastructure which is really a closely related issue; and, to the extent we can be successful in doing those, then, as I've said, we'll have a smaller force at the end of the decade but man-for-man, woman-for-woman, unit-for-unit it will be at least as capable. And finally, we have to maintain our technological edge.

The Desert Storm success story was partly leadership and doctrine, partly high quality people in the forces, and partly superior technology. So we have to maintain all of those. Those are the three things I will be putting my primary emphasis on.

Q: Sir, if the president decides to go into Bosnia-Hercegovina and Congress goes along, what role would the Pacific Command, that is, our immediate leadership of course extending back to the West Coast -- what role would they play?

PERRY: That's a good question, but I'm just going to punt on that question. The president has not made a decision to go in yet, and if we go in it's not at all clear how we would -- whether we want a peacekeeping force, peace enforcing forces, simply forces, air only or air and ground -- it's such a complicated issue and dozens of different alternatives. Anything I would say now would just be speculative and might be more confusing than helpful. I'm going to pass on that one.

Q: This is about a 360 degree turn from the last question. With the report on the Tailhook incident out -- are we going to see any major policy changes as far as sexual harassment in the military, and will that come out of the Department of Defense?

PERRY: My opinion -- I have read the Tailhook report carefully; I've discussed it with the inspector general; I've discussed it with the chief of naval of operations -- my opinion is that there was nothing wrong with the policies, nothing wrong with the regulations. It was just a failure of implementation and the fact that the CNO, himself, has said it was a failure of leadership. And with that report out, the Navy will be taking vigorous actions along two fronts -- one of them is to discipline whomever was necessary to discipline, whoever violated the regulations and military codes, and secondly, looking very carefully at the question of what they can do to strengthen the leadership. But that was the issue. It's a leadership issue. It was not an issue of failure of laws, a failure of policy, a failure of codes.

Q. Sir, will the admission of gays into the military begin July 15 or do you see any kind of significant delay because of the controversy over this?

PERRY: I don't know -- is the honest answer to that question. There are three factors going along in parallel right now. First of all, the Defense Department has an internal study led by the three three-star generals of each of the services responsible for personnel specifically studying ways of implementing removal of the ban and identification of problems. And that will end of with a recommendation that if we had a removal of the gay ban, how it would be implemented. It's a very complicated question and they are looking at it in quite a lot of detail. There is a parallel study going on at the Rand Corporation that is looking fundamentally at the same issue but that's an outside group looking into the Pentagon, rather than the internal group.

And then, finally, as you well know, the Congress is holding hearings on this question, both the Senate Armed Services Committee, the House Armed Services Committee. And their issue is not just how, but whether. And all of those are going to come to a head some time next month. Whether that will result in lifting the ban or the extent to which the ban would be changed, is still very uncertain. And I just can't forecast with any confidence how that's all going to come out in the next month or so. This is an area where if you asked me the question a month or two from now I could give you a confident description of how we are proceeding. I don't know at this stage. The Congress will have, can have, the last word on this question.

Q: You mean they may say no? PERRY: The Congress can write into the law proscriptions on what the secretary of defense can do. We don't know yet at this stage whether they'll do that but the purpose of these hearings that they are conducting is to determine whether there should be any legislation which limits the authority of the secretary of defense to regulate it.

Q: What about the president, as commander-in-chief of the armed forces, sir?

PERRY: The president is subject to the laws of the land, also. So, whatever the Congress writes into the law will be the law of the land and we will have to follow that. So, until the Congress has finished their hearings and comes to a determination on whether they are going to impose legislative limitations, we honestly don't know what's going to happen. The purpose of the studies the Defense Department is conducting now is to prepare ourselves for how to lift the ban, what changes would be made, what regulations would be put in place. But the purpose of the Congressional view is: whether.

Q: So it still might not happen? PERRY: It still might not happen. The Congress, as I said, has the final word. They are the ones that write the laws.

Q: One other thing, sir, you are definitely considering the possibility that there could be a unified Korea. The automatic public outcry, as I see it, would be -- then why should we keep troops in Korea? I mean, come on, there is no more threat. They're unified. How would you answer that, sir?

PERRY: Two ways. First of all, I hope we are confronted with that problem. That would just be a wonderful development. If that happens, then the situation in Korea would be like the situation in Japan, which is a unified country, and the question of troops in Korea would be like the question of troops in Japan. And the answer, in general, is that the United States has a profound interest in the Asia Pacific region. We do $300,000 million worth of trade for this region, every year. We have $60,000 million invested in it. Almost three million American jobs hinge on our trade in this region. So, maintaining stability in this region is exceedingly important. All of the countries of this region tell us that the American forward presence of military forces is crucial to maintaining that stability. So, even with unified Korea, I would anticipate there would be a requirement for some level of troops in Korea, some level of troops in Japan, and a continuation of maintaining a carrier forward presence.

We have had, as you know, very good host nation support -- particularly from the Japanese government for our bases here. So the differential costs between having troops based in Japan and troops based in the United States is not really that big a factor. So, I think, myself, that we are focusing on the wrong issue and thinking that we are going to make big budget savings by pulling our forces out of Japan and Korea. We've got a very substantial military advantage not just in-region but also if we every had to go into the Mideast again, this is one of the staging areas for going into the Mideast, as well.

(end transcript) NNNN


File Identification:  05/14/93, EPF502
Product Name:  Wireless File
Product Code:  WF
Keywords:  PERRY, WILLIAM/Speaker; KOREA (NORTH)/Defense & Military; KOREA (NORTH)-US RELATIONS/Policy; KOREA (SOUTH)-US RELATIONS/Policy; KOREA (SOUTH)/Defense & Military; FORCE & TROOP LEVELS; KOREA (NORTH)-KOREA (SOUTH) RELATIONS; NUC
Document Type:  TRA; INT
Thematic Codes:  1EA; 1AC; 1UN
Target Areas:  EA
PDQ Text Link:  284149
USIA Notes:  *93051402.EPF



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