Defense Department Briefing, October 21, 2003
NEWS TRANSCRIPT from the United States Department of Defense
SEC. RUMSFELD: Good afternoon. It's been a good week for the people of Iraq. In New York, the U.N. Security Council approved Resolution 1511, unanimously calling on member states to support the work of the multinational force that's currently in Iraq and to contribute both military forces and financial support to Iraq's reconstruction. And here in Washington, the House and the Senate each approved, largely intact, the president's emergency supplemental request with funds for Iraq and for the troops in the global war on terror. Taken together, the votes in Congress and at the U.N. represent strong bipartisan and international support for the coalition's mission in Iraq and support for the men and women in uniform and the Coalition Provisional Authority, individuals who are risking their lives to help bring freedom and stability to the people of Iraq.
The troops deployed in Operation Iraqi Freedom have sacrificed mightily for their country. They've liberated 23 million people. They are now hard at work, helping to get Iraq on a path to democracy, self-government and self-reliance. They have a great deal to be proud of.
The department has told the troops that barring some major, unanticipated event, those serving in Iraq could expect to be deployed in Iraq for up to one year. For some, that one-year mark is approaching. Indeed, the bulk of the roughly 132,000 U.S. troops currently serving in Iraq will be rotating out of Iraq during the first half of next year. Plans for their replacements are currently being made. The services have been preparing these force rotations in an orderly and systematic way for a good number of weeks.
The goal over time is to adjust the U.S. footprint in Iraq and increasingly pass responsibility for security and governance of the country to the people of Iraq. That's why the coalition has trained some 85,000 Iraqi forces in just over five months, 55,000 police, 6,400 border guards, 18,700 serving in the Facilities Protection Service, a 700-man battalion in the new Iraqi army and 4,700 in the new Iraqi civil defense corps. And there are an additional 10,000 above the 85,000 that are currently in training for these various Iraqi security forces.
There are, as you know, some 32 countries that have 24,000 troops on the ground in Iraq, as well. We're still in discussion with other countries, which are also considering sending troops as well as other types of support.
It's important to emphasize that the rotations next year will not be driven by timelines for force reductions, but rather by the security situation on the ground in Iraq. We're committed to staying as long as necessary, with as many forces as necessary, to successfully complete the mission.
The military commanders in theater are continually assessing the situation on the ground and the force requirements they believe necessary to deal with the current threats. But our goal is to increasingly shift the responsibility for Iraqi security to the Iraqis themselves, as is already happening at a pace exceeding by far any recent past experience. The more than 80,000 Iraqis fighting for freedom and security of their country represent the second-largest contributor of personnel to the coalition. Moreover, more than 80 Iraqis in those security forces have died in the line of duty in recent months.
The chart indicates in the lowest line the coalition forces, currently roughly 24,000; the U.S. forces, up on top in red, 133,000, plus or minus; and the rapid growth since July of the Iraqi security forces of 85,500. In the upper right box you can see that the total of forces in the country on May 1st that were providing security for the country, U.S., coalition and Iraqi, were about 166,000. And today in late October, it's now up to 242,000, the bulk of it obviously being the significant growth in Iraqi forces.
Many of these Iraqi forces are policemen, but the newly formed Facilities Protection Service has distinguished itself as well, among other places, in stopping the attack on the Baghdad Hotel before it could do still greater damage, and another new organization, the Iraqi Civil Defense Corps, distinguished itself in An Najaf last evening. The rotation plan is designed to be flexible so it can be adjusted to reflect developments on the ground, including any changes in the security situation, as well as changes in foreign troop contributions, and the significant progress that we're making in the training of Iraqi forces.
Because there are so many variables at play it's impossible to predict precisely what the U.S. or coalition levels will be in Iraq in six months, let alone in one year. But the goal over time, obviously, is to have an improving security situation with fewer U.S. troops on the ground and with Iraqis increasingly taking over the lead in policing their own country and securing their own freedom.
GEN. PACE: Thank you, Mr. Secretary.
I might just say a few more words about the force rotation which, as the secretary has pointed out, is designed to address the combatant commanders' needs. General Abizaid and Lieutenant General Rick Sanchez, both of whom are doing a great job in the region, are doing their assessments on the ground. They are looking at replacing not only the combat forces, but also the equally important combat-support forces. They are looking at the mix of units. The next rotation will have fewer heavy units like tanks, and more units that have humvees and lighter vehicles for mobile infantry. And as you do that not only on the combat side, that also lightens up the amount of logistic support needed, and mechanics needed, and the like, to keep the heavy equipment moving.
So, we're going through a very, very detailed scrub, unit by unit, with the commanders telling us the type of capability they need, and the service chiefs looking at the ways to help provide those through the secretary.
It's important as we look at the Reserve component of this that we are very careful to utilize our Reserves and to treat Reserves and their families and the National Guard properly and with the respect that they certainly deserve. They are enormous contributors to this campaign. We need to alert them in sufficient time so they can get their families and themselves and their employers ready. We need to train them up. And then we need to have them go into theater and spend about 12 months in theater and then come back home and demobilize. To go through that process, we want to alert them as early as possible to the fact that they will be going, and then mobilize them, bring them on active duty as late as possible to actually meet the target dates of time in theater.
There will be more details on that in the weeks ahead. But we want to make sure that we give them timely notification so their families, their employers, and themselves can get ready for this. And we owe that to them, and we'll make that happen.
With that, we'll answer your questions.
SEC. RUMSFELD: Charlie?
Q: Mr. Secretary, you've made clear that the reductions in Iraq -- the troop movements in Iraq will not be driven by time lines -- or troop reduction.
Dov Zakheim testified on the Hill last Thursday that you all expected to have an average of 113,000 troops in Iraq by the end of the current fiscal year, which started this month. Is that a plan or a target or a hope or a wish or what?
SEC. RUMSFELD: It's neither. Or it's none of the above, I should say, as opposed to "neither," since you gave me four options.
Dov Zakheim, Dr. Zakheim, is, of course, comptroller. And what his task is is to help fashion budgets, regular budgets, supplementals. And so he does that. And he needs to make certain assumptions, and what he does is come to various people and say, "What assumptions would you prefer to use?" Because he has to then build around those assumptions.
As I just said, there's no way to know precisely what the circumstances on the ground are going to be in Iraq in six months or 12 months, let alone between now and the end of the fiscal year, or whenever he was predicting on -- or projecting on.
So all that is is a plug number that's used properly by anyone building a budget. And then what you do is you test it, and you say, okay, let's use this -- these set of assumptions to build a budget. Then you go up and tell the people what set of assumptions you've used so they know, and then they begin asking questions and say, Well, what if something else happens, and then obviously there are excursions or deviations from whatever assumptions are used.
So it should not be taken as any of the four things that you suggested.
Q: But do you expect that you'll be able to reduce the number of troops in Iraq in the coming year, even if -- even if the allies or other countries do not provide significant numbers of troops? Do you expect you'll be able to at least reduce the number of U.S. troops?
SEC. RUMSFELD: The thing that will drive it is the security on the ground, and the elements that will be involved will be the three elements I said. It'll be U.S. forces, it will be coalition forces, and it will be Iraqi security forces. And the additional factor that General Pace mentioned is important. And the important thing is not the numbers of troops on the ground, the important thing is the capabilities and how well they match the security situation on the ground. And therefore you could actually end up with -- depending on how you did it, you could end up with more numbers and less capability, or vice versa, lower numbers and more capability, depending on what the circumstance on the ground was and how General Abizaid directs that the forces flowing in and the ones that are currently there be organized and equipped and directed.
Q: Mr. Secretary, last week here you were referring to Lieutenant General Boykin. You and General Myers said in effect that he has the right to freedom of speech and the freedom of expression. And yet, as we all know, we're responsible for what we say. How can you keep a man in a senior position on you staff whose views are so diametrically opposed to those of the president and to yours?
SEC. RUMSFELD: Let me make several, hopefully precisely-put, sentences on this subject.
First of all, I appreciate your question, because it correctly indicated that the president's views and my views -- the president's views are that this is not a war against a religion. And all I did, despite the columnists and the press reports to the contrary, all I did was precisely state what the president and what I think. I had not seen General Boykin's comments. I have since seen one of the network tapes, and it had a lot of very difficult-to-understand words with subtitles which I was not able to verify. So, I remain inexpert -- (chuckles) -- on precisely what he said, and I'm told he used notes and not text. And so, full stop there.
General Boykin has requested that an inspector general review this matter. And I have indicated that if that's his request, I think it's appropriate.
And I know that General Pace, you've talked to him more recently; you may want to comment as well.
GEN. PACE: Sergeant (sic), thanks. Yesterday, Jerry and I were just waiting for a meeting to begin, and he just mentioned to me how sad he was that his comments have caused the furor that they have. There's no doubt in my mind in talking to him that if he could pick his words more carefully, he would. There's also no doubt in my mind that he does not see this battle as a battle between religions. He sees it as a battle between good and evil. He sees it as the evil being the acts of individuals, not the acts of any religion or affiliation with religion. So clearly, in my very short conversation with Jerry, which he instigated, he is sad that this is the way it is, but he's anxious to have the investigator do the investigator's job.
Q: Will it be the Army inspector general or the Pentagon inspector general?
SEC. RUMSFELD: I'm told that that is an open question, and it could very well be both; that is to say, a service (review) followed by a review by the department. But I don't know that the folks working that out have -- I just heard within the last hour that General Boykin had requested this.
Q: Mr. Secretary?
Q: Mr. Secretary? Back to the rotation issue, General Pace, in the supplemental that just passed, there is money for four enhanced separate brigades should no multinational foreign divisions beyond the two already there materialize. When do you need to cut -- stop your planning if you're going to mobilize four more of these brigades and actually start notifying, so you don't disrupt their holidays? And how far along is the thinking that yeah, we're going to have to mobilize these four additional enhanced separate brigades?
GEN. PACE: Yeah, I appreciate that question. And the holiday season is very much a part of our factor, as we think through how to make sure we alert them in plenty of time to think it through but not have them actually mobilized over the holidays if we don't have to.
With regard to the enhanced separate brigades, those that are going to be mobilized for this next rotation have already been told, so the money that's in the supplemental for those brigades is done. The additional Reserves who will need to be called up are really in not the combat force, like the enhanced brigades, but the logistics support groups -- equally important, very important folks who keep things running and keep things moving. And the services are going through the details on that right now. It should be in the next couple of weeks that we have the fidelity to be able to alert the units.
I said about -- oh, four weeks ago -- that it would be four to six weeks before we would have that work done. We are on target. Somewhere within the next two to three weeks we should be able to come forward to the secretary with our recommendations on what units fulfill the capabilities that the commanders on the ground want.
Q: Could they include these four additional enhanced separate brigades that the supplemental documents to the Hill said could -- might could be mobilized?
GEN. PACE: It already does. It already does. The enhanced separate brigades that are going to go, the three that have already been notified are three of those four.
Q: Are you sure about that? They were saying that --
GEN. PACE: I'm -- I'm sure -- (laughter) --
Q: -- (inaudible).
GEN. PACE: I am sure that they are the three, and I am sure that we are not looking at any more combat units from the Guard or Reserve, other than those already notified. That does not mean that there is not going to be more Reserves and Guard; there will be units that do logistics, and the like, that need to be notified. And we're doing the work on that right now because we want to make sure that we only call up those that we need. We don't want to call up a tank repair platoon if, in fact, we're not going to have tanks. So we want to make sure that we don't just mindlessly replace one unit with another. We want to do the homework of what's needed and only mobilize those who will have a job to do when they get there.
SEC. RUMSFELD: I must say --
SEC. RUMSFELD: -- I must say that rushing to anticipate what might be done, when all of it will be announced in the weeks immediately ahead, seems to me to be not a terribly useful exercise. And therefore, Pete and I are being careful about what we say.
These involve lots of peoples' lives. And the effect of misinformation being communicated because people want to print the news before it's news, or before it happens, or before the decision's made, it seems to me does nothing but jerk around the families and the service people. And I don't find it helpful, which is why we're being so careful in what we're saying.
Q: Sir, I'd like to go back to the General Boykin matter and, specifically, you know, again, stipulating ahead of time a man is entitled to his personal views, no question about that --
SEC. RUMSFELD: Much of the press seems not to think so. I'm been highly criticized for not rushing to judgment and criticizing words that I'd never even seen.
Q: My question goes to a question of facts and how this has been handled by the Department of Defense. On Friday, your press office put out a statement, and e-mailed it to the news media, of General Boykin's official response to this. It is a matter of fact that that statement we know was constructed by General Boykin with the advice of your senior press affairs and legal staff; that they reviewed the statement and that they looked at it and that it was amended along the way.
And one of the things he says in this statement, quoting him, he says, "My reference to Judeo-Christian roots in America or our nation as a Christian nation are historically undeniable." He says this -- as he says, "historically undeniable. This is what he says. And my question goes to, at a time like this when matters are so sensitive, especially in the Islamic world, is it good judgment for a statement like this to be officially put out of the -- issued by the Pentagon? How should people interpret this as other than a statement from the Department of Defense and the U.S. military that it's historically undeniable this is a Christian nation, when the president himself has been so clear in his views about all of this?
SEC. RUMSFELD: That is the general's statement.
Q: Put out, sir, with the facilitation --
SEC. RUMSFELD: That's true.
Q: -- of your media and legal staff. So --
GEN. PACE: But it is his statement. We've said that it is -- (off mike.)
SEC. RUMSFELD: It is his statement.
Q: Put out, sir, with --
SEC. RUMSFELD: True, but a lot of people's statements may be put out here. My statements get put out, General Pace's, a lot of people get put out through this office, but it doesn't mean --
Q: But you don't put out statements of your personal opinion, you put out statements of policy and fact. I mean, what I'm confused about is, how is it that in this one very unique case, a statement comes out from this building. Is it the policy and --
SEC. RUMSFELD: That is his statement. And I -- that is what we know. We know that that is his personal statement.
Q: It is not -- none of the views in here are endorsed by this department?
SEC. RUMSFELD: If I answered that question, the headline would be: "Repudiates the Statement in Every Regard," unless I specifically say to the contrary. I'm not going to answer a statement saying none of the statements in there. He said his name's Jerry Boykin. I agree with it. It is not our statement; it is his statement.
Q: So you've put out a statement of --
SEC. RUMSFELD: HE has put out a statement. He has put out a statement. And that is what it is; nothing more, nothing less.
Q: And I guess the question that's still on the table, then, from the briefing the other day that you indicated that you might be able to answer was whether or not as secretary of Defense you feel he used good judgment. And that was partially Ivan's question, as well, which I still -- with great respect, I'm not sure I've heard an answer to. We haven't heard what YOU think about this.
SEC. RUMSFELD: Right. And I hope that I've -- I've tried to be very forthcoming here. I have seen -- the only tape that I have gotten my hands on is a tape that has very poor quality, put out by one of the networks, with subtitles that I'm not able to verify. He has requested an inspector general review the matter. It seems to me that's a perfectly responsible thing for him to do on his part. That is what is going to take place, is an inspector general review. And I have said what my convictions and beliefs are, and they are those that have been expressed by the president. And to the extent they are in conflict with the views of anyone in this department, then they are in conflict with the views of anyone in this department. I'm going to wait for the inspector general to complete their review and come back to us, at which point, then, we'll know what they have to say about that.
Q: Mr. Secretary, what exactly is the scope of this review? What will they be looking at here?
SEC. RUMSFELD: I don't know. I just heard about it an hour ago -- within the last hour, I should say. And that will be determined, who -- the other question is which inspector general or both. And what the scope of it would be would e something that they'll work out, I assume this afternoon and tomorrow.
Q: Are there questions you would like answered? Are there specific questions you would like the IG to look into?
SEC. RUMSFELD: I am not a lawyer, and I am sure that I -- (chuckling)
Q: General Pace, there have been a handful of soldiers on the rest and relaxation program who have missed their flights back to Iraq. Is that an indication of a problem at all, or -- first of all, are they in trouble? (Soft laughter.) Are they -- is this an indication of any wider problem with morale? And is the program -- would it be in any danger if soldiers didn't return when they were supposed to?
GEN. PACE: A couple of guys missed their bus to the Pentagon this morning, too. I don't mean that to be overly glib. I just mean that there are in fact some soldiers who did not return when we thought they were going to return. To my knowledge, the vast majority of those have already been tracked back to guys who missed planes, missed connections. One man's house burned down. So there are reasons why they did not return.
Also, to my knowledge right now -- and this is about an hour or so
SEC. RUMSFELD: And I can assure you it will not affect the program of bringing people back. It --
Q: Well, how would you characterize the success of the program, now that the first tranche has been through it?
SEC. RUMSFELD: Too early to know. We're going to have to -- everyone we've seen has been just delighted to be able to be back. But if there's any kind of an assessment, one would want to let it run for a bit.
Q: Mr. Secretary, if I can take you back to the troop rotation issue, when Turkey announced that it was offering to send troops to Iraq, you welcomed that development. And if planned, the details would be worked out by CENTCOM commanders and Ambassador Bremer and the Iraqis. And what -- has there been any lessening of the -- in your view, of the need for those Turkish troops or interest on the administration's part to have them going into Iraq?
SEC. RUMSFELD: Let me put it this way. As you know, the
I believe what the Turkish government did, at least my understanding of it, was they said that under certain circumstances they would be willing to offer forces, subject to finding a method, an approach that was satisfactory to them, satisfactory to the Iraqis, and satisfactory to the coalition. And that process is underway. Whether or not they will ultimately find a method of satisfying everybody, I don't know. I hope so, because obviously we would like additional forces to be available for several reasons.
One is, it clearly relieves force -- pressure on our forces. That's a good thing.
But second, it also takes a country, any country in the world, and says that they're committed to try to see Iraq succeed. And it has that effect in terms of people and dollars.
And it has a third effect. It tells the Iraqi people that this is a very broad coalition, and that it's an international issue, and it's not an occupation, it's a temporary matter. It's interim. And that is all very good.
So we are interested in -- we're talking right now, I think, to, besides the Turkish government, which -- and we certainly appreciate their coming forward as they have -- at least four or five other countries.
Q: Have they defined the conditions under which they would deploy, and in such -- in some way that is causing some problem for you?
SEC. RUMSFELD: I -- I don't know -- not for me. They've -- different people at different levels in the Turkish government have opined on various things that they would like to talk about with us and with the Iraqis. How those talks will proceed, I just don't know. But I suspect there'll be meetings in the weeks ahead.
Q: Mr. Secretary, there are three oil pipelines near the town of Baiji on fire today, a gas line apparently there in that northern Iraqi town, on fire due to sabotage, according to an Iraqi police official. Could either of you talk about protection for oil pipelines, if 85,000 Iraqis are enough at this time to protect them? And Mr. Secretary, could you address crude oil production at this stage and if it's ahead of schedule or -- or where it is?
SEC. RUMSFELD: General Pace.
GEN. PACE: Sir, thanks.
Right now the part of the 85,000 that are dedicated to fixed-site security is about 15,000 to 19,000. Some of them are in training right now, and they have been allocated by the Iraqi authorities to protect the Iraqi infrastructure.
Clearly, with miles and miles of pipeline, what you need to do is provide a security environment inside of which not only will people not try to do the sabotage, but inside of which others feel comfortable to point out those potential acts of sabotage before they happen.
So picking a specific number of how many you need to be doing a specific task is not anywhere near as important as providing the overall security environment inside of which people understand the rule of law and what their responsibilities inside of that are.
Q: Mr. Secretary, what about the crude oil production?
SEC. RUMSFELD: I'm sorry, I didn't look at it this week.
Q: Is it --
SEC. RUMSFELD: (To General Pace) Do you remember what you saw?
GEN. PACE: Sir, I do not.
SEC. RUMSFELD: What was the -- I'm sorry?
Q: The production, like how things are going as far as millions of barrels a day, that sort of thing.
SEC. RUMSFELD: I met with Phil Carroll, who had been involved in this until very recently, last week. And we didn't get into the precise details because it varies from week to week. And that number is available through the office here. It's an unclassified number. It has been tending up, thereby increasing the revenue available to the Iraqi reconstruction.
Q: General Pace, 20 years ago, the United States invaded Grenada to rescue, among others, American students. And some of the people today who have lofty positions in the military, including General Myers and General Abizaid, played key roles in that. Some people say that that was the first victory after Vietnam and Beirut and Mayaguez, other things like that. I'm wondering what lessons were learned by the military in Grenada that changed the way you all look at preemptive strikes and if that helped at all in Iraq this time.
GEN. PACE: I'm not certain that anyone consciously went back to Grenada as a source of lessons learned for what we have done in Afghanistan and Iraq. We have had much more recent operations, especially in Afghanistan, as precursors to Iraq, and lessons learned for Iraq. And the situation on the ground in Grenada was so much different than what we encountered in either of the other two that, to my knowledge, there's not a lot to be mined there.
That does not mean we're not interested in lessons learned. We are. And in fact, we have had teams of people with the forward forces as they moved through this, and with the command elements as we've gone through this, to gather up those lessons. And we are, in fact, applying those lessons as we go and learning from them.
SEC. RUMSFELD: Last question.
Q: My paper ran a story Sunday in which it quoted several conservative Republican members of Congress from Missouri on the Armed Services Committees of the Senate and the House, who said they wished the administration would be more straightforward in terms of discussing with the American people the situation in Iraq. They said a couple of things specifically. One is that had the administration told people pre-war what we might be facing post-Saddam in terms of casualties, costs, length of time and so on, people might be a lot more tolerant about what's going on now. And secondly, they said they don't really want a media blitz or "good news", quote- unquote, out of Iraq now, they want a simple, unvarnished accounting of what our goals are, what our progress is, where we stand so they can judge for themselves.
SEC. RUMSFELD: Who are they?
Q: Jim Talent and Todd Akin, among others.
SEC. RUMSFELD: You said "several conservative Republicans from Missouri".
Q: Both on -- one on the Senate Armed Services, one on House Armed Services. Those are the ones who are quoted. We had others who said the same thing.
SEC. RUMSFELD: I agree. There's no question. If one could have, before the conflict, predicted precisely what would take place afterwards, there would be more head-nodding -- "Oh, that's right." Is that possible? I think not.
Second, I don't know where the "good news" you're talking about is coming from. I don't read an awful lot of it. What we do -- what we have done -- what do you laugh for? I haven't. I see mostly bad news in the press. But to -- it seems to me if there's a mixture of good news and bad news, it's probably fairly accurate, and that that's supposed to be what one would do. If you think of -- if you're talking about administration voices, I personally have bent over backwards trying to point out that the situation there is dangerous, that there are being people killed and wounded every day. I just mentioned there are 80 Iraqis who have been killed just in the last three or -- three and a half months, I believe. And the opportunity we have afforded members of Congress to go there, literally dozens and dozens and dozens, something --
(To staff) How many?
STAFF: Close to a hundred.
SEC. RUMSFELD: Close to a hundred members of the House and Senate have gone to see for themselves. They can go look. And that's what we want. We want people to make their own judgments. And the other thing we've done is we've prepared -- I don't know --
(To staff) Have you passed out the unclassified version of the paper that we provide to the Congress here, Larry, or is that --
STAFF: I doubt if we have them right here. I think -- (off mike).
SEC. RUMSFELD: I think there's a version we could give you which is -- it's just stark. (Laughs.) It says here's -- here is what the oil production was pre-war, here's what it is today, here's what the goal is set. And it just lays it right out, for electricity, for that, for schools, for hospitals, it's all there.
Q: I guess what they're saying is they'd like an accounting of what our specific goals are --
SEC. RUMSFELD: They're there.
Q: -- where we stand, where we faltered, why we faltered, where we need help, and so on --
SEC. RUMSFELD: And they're right there.
Q: -- not -- not just the positive. For instance, when you started the press conference --
SEC. RUMSFELD: Let me answer your question: they're in this report that we send up to every member of the House and Senate every week. It says, here's what the target is, here's what it was before the war, here's what it is today -- immediately after the war, here's what it is today, and there's where we're supposed to be. In some cases, we haven't met the goal, in some cases we have. It is -- it is there.
Q: Mr. Secretary?
SEC. RUMSFELD: Yes?
Q: How hard is the U.S. pressing Gulf states to contribute financially to rebuilding Iraq? And what are your personal expectations --
SEC. RUMSFELD: How hard is "hard"?
Q: What are your --
SEC. RUMSFELD: Are they being solicited? Yes.
Q: What are your expectations for the donors' conference? I mean, why this bit of optimism that the Gulf states are going to come through?
SEC. RUMSFELD: I haven't expressed any optimism. Have I? Or pessimism, either one. Have I?
Q: There were some unnamed officials in The New York Times today who were --
SEC. RUMSFELD: Ohhh, those folks again! (Laughter.)
SEC. RUMSFELD: Ahhh, they're busy little beavers! (Laughter.)
Q: What are your expectations?
SEC. RUMSFELD: I am without expectations. I have hope. I have hope that people will recognize how important what is happening in that country is, how difficult it is, the fact that we have made some progress, the fact that we've got 32 countries engaged in it, the fact that the U.N. just passed a unanimous resolution, Security Council resolution encouraging other countries of the world to participate, both with forces and with financial assistance, and that they'll recognize, particularly the countries in the region, that the opportunity to significantly improve that region of the world is an enormous one. And these opportunities don't come along every.
Q: A question for General Pace. He seems a little out of the questions here.
SEC. RUMSFELD: Was he out of questions?
Q: Well, he's not --
SEC. RUMSFELD: I thought he did pretty darn well.
Q: Yes. I mean, he needs one more, I think.
Q: And even one after that.
Q: There's a quote that -- you're quoted as saying that a U.S. troop down (sic) in Korea is inevitable. Is that a correct quote? And if so --
SEC. RUMSFELD: A what? What did you say?
Q: General Pace has been quoted as saying that a U.S. troop drawdown in South Korea is inevitable, quote-unquote, and I want to know if that's a correct quote; and if it is, when is it going to start, and how many people are we talking about?
GEN. PACE: It is not a correct quote. I will give you the entire transcript of that, and you can see exactly what I said and how I said it. And it takes longer to do that properly than we have right now. What I have said is that there is -- as everywhere else in the world, we should be looking at capabilities that we wanted to deliver to the battlefield; and where those capabilities can be delivered with fewer folks, great, and where those capabilities require more folks, great. But we should look at capabilities and not expectations or lines drawn underneath numbers for some reason. I'll get you the entire quote because I appreciate the opportunity to clarify that.
Q: General --
SEC. RUMSFELD: I didn't think that sounded like you, Pete.
GEN. PACE: Yes, sir. Thank you, sir.
Q: General Pace, a final one on the troop rotation. What proportion of the troops that replace the troops that are there now do you expect to come from the reserve component? And are you all -- is there an effort under way to try and identify more active-duty troops, to diminish the strain on the Reserve?
GEN. PACE: The accurate answer to your question is I do not know yet. And the reason I do not know yet is because we're still going through the process of what capabilities --
Q: So it's really capabilities -- (off mike) --
GEN. PACE: -- where those capabilities reside, how much have those capabilities from that particular unit been used in the past. So we try to balance the load on the force in a way that allows us to do today's job, but also be properly positioned for the things that we may not able to see coming but that might very well come, that you want your armed forces to be able to handle.
So I -- we will be able to lay all that out in about two or three weeks. But I don't want to guess right now.
Q: (Off mike) -- trying to diminish -- (inaudible) -- Reserve units? Does that even figure into the equation, or is that -- is it just capability?
SEC. RUMSFELD: Well, clearly you begin with your active force. I mean, they're the ones who signed up for full-time duty. So when people are looking at how they want to arrange things, they begin with that force. And then they look at the supplementary force, the Guard and the Reserve, to look at the total force. But the stepping-off point is always the active force.
Q: In addition to the three enhanced brigades you've already said you've notified -- have called up or are going to notify --
SEC. RUMSFELD: Let's make this the last one.
Q: -- have you a ballpark figure? Have you a ballpark figure on the additional troops you plan to notify?
GEN. PACE: I don't. That's it, Charlie. It's the same answer, because we're about two to three weeks away from knowing exactly where -- but a more complete answer to are we concerned about this is simply to say that the secretary has directed all the services to look at the balance of the force that they have -- take the United States Army, United States Army. Take a look at your balance between active, Reserve and Guard. And based on what we've been doing and where we can -- how far we can see in the future, are we properly mixed between those who are active and those in Reserve and those who are Guard? And where we're not, where more of a particular type of capability is resident in one location than the other, rebalance the force, so we can have a proper expectation of having the right capabilities available to the nation, from the right resource base.
Q: When do you see that happening? When will that -- I know that was one of the first things that you said when you came in, Mr. Secretary, and I'm very curious and fascinated by the premise. So encourage that in a young girl. (Laughter.) So when do you see -- when will you see results from that? When will you see results from that -- what you've asked --
SEC. RUMSFELD: I think it will probably vary by service, because the complexity of it varies by service. I know for a fact, just simply because I happen to have been with him last week and heard from him, that Pete Schoomaker is pressing ahead very fast and very hard to identify the mismatch that General Pace has just characterized, so that he can get going.
It happens I've not met with the other three services in the last week, so I can't speak to them.
Thank you very much.
Q: Come back and see us.
SEC. RUMSFELD: All right.
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