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America Under Attack: Deputy Secretary of Defense Holds Press Briefing

Aired September 13, 2001 - 12:28   ET


LEON HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: We take you now to Washington, folk, now for the latest briefing by the undersecretary of defense there at the Pentagon.

PAUL WOLFOWITZ, DEPUTY SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: ... make no mistake about it, we will win.

As a first step in that direction, the president yesterday sent to the Congress a request for a $20 billion emergency supplemental for the year 2001, and I'm here just to sketch in broadest terms our thinking on that supplemental.

It's government wide, it's not just the Defense Department, but obviously a very great portion of those needs are to prepare our armed forces for whatever the president may ask them to do.

There are obviously other needs as well. There are needs of the victims, both here and in New York. There's rebuilding to be done, both here and in New York. There are costs already incurred with the combat air patrols that have been maintained over a significant number of American cities, including Washington. The costs mount rapidly and they will mount more rapidly as this campaign develops.

We appreciate the indications we've had from the Congress of strong support for this request, and we of course will work very closely with the Congress as we develop the details of how this money may be used.

I think the most important point to stress is that this is a message to those who support terrorism that the United States is serious about the president's words.

WOLFOWITZ: This is an indication of America's purpose, a projection of our will. And I think it's a message to friends and adversaries alike that this is a completely different ball game that we're in now.

I'd be happy to take questions, but I'm probably not going to get into a lot of details.

QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, how much of this $20 billion is for -- first of all, for the military? And how much involves clean up and current operations (inaudible) aircraft? And how much involves preparing the military to strike back? Can you give us any sense of how much involves preparing for a strike back as opposed...

WOLFOWITZ: I don't think we know the breakdown yet, partly because the needs are so enormous. It basically includes all of the above, and as I said, not just for the Defense Department. There is help for the victims and their families, even things as simple as DOD mortuary teams that have gone up to New York to help with the disaster up there. You've seen the disaster in this building, and we still have major work to do.

But obviously a significant piece of this is going to be to bring our armed forces to the highest level of preparedness to be able to execute whatever it is the president may ask them to do.

QUESTION: How much of the $20 billion would be for the armed forces?

WOLFOWITZ: That remains to be worked out.


QUESTION: Secretary Wolfowitz, it kind of rolls off the tongue pretty well -- sustained and broad (ph) against terrorism. But doing it, most people can see is a totally different issue. According to the polls, the American public supports military action against those who conducted the attack on Tuesday. But what do you hit and how do you go after it? If it is Osama bin Laden or somebody comparable, there don't seem to be any hard targets -- nothing comparable to the damage done here. What kind of a war do you wage?

WOLFOWITZ: Well, I think we're going to see how this unfolds and it's going to unfold over time. I think one thing is clear is that you don't do it with just a single military strike no matter how dramatic. You don't do it with just military forces alone. You do it with the full resources of the U.S. government. It will be a campaign, not a single action. And we're going to keep after these people and the people who support them until this stops. It has to be treated that way.


QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, what support will you be getting from the allies in this effort? NATO has expressed support. Are you talking with your Russian counterparts? Will we see a different alliance striking at terrorism?

WOLFOWITZ: I think the whole civilized world has been shocked by what's happened, and even some elements of the uncivilized world have begun to wonder whether maybe they're on the wrong side here. The president has been in close contact with a number of world leaders, including our allies, including President Putin of Russia, including our friends in the Middle East, in the Gulf region.

I think everyone understands that we have, unfortunately, entered a new era. We're all going to be tested. We're going to be coming to each one of them, I'm sure, with a variety of different requests; some of those are being developed, many more we're going to develop as we proceed. And I think so far, we've seen indications from a wide variety of sources that people will step up when asked and believe me, they will be asked.


QUESTION: And does this mean there's an end to any kind of draw- down of the military?

WOLFOWITZ: I'm not sure which draw-down you're referring to. We were talking in context of the QDR about major investments to build up our military for the next decade. I think what this means is there are also going to be some huge requirements to build up our military for the next year and maybe longer.


QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, you have a quadrennial defense review that's due to Congress in just a few weeks and certainly this changes the whole perspective of it. It changes everything (OFF-MIKE) put the money in. Do you still intend on meeting that December 30 deadline? Or what do you plan on doing with the quadrennial defense review?

WOLFOWITZ: I don't think a final decision has been made on that. I wouldn't agree that it changes everything. It changes a great deal and, as I just said in answer to the previous question, we know have requirements that we didn't contemplate two weeks ago, but I don't think that means that the requirements that we contemplated for 10 and 15 years from now are necessarily all that different.


QUESTION: Sir, a question about the budget process as it stood on Monday before the incidents.

QUESTION: Have you or anyone else at OSD-level issued different guidance, different directions today or yesterday as to the disposition of the development of the next (inaudible) cycle and budget as a result of the tragedy? And can you give us any visibility about where you stand in building that next fiscal perspective for the military build-up that you've discussed? Have you put that done in writing to the...

WOLFOWITZ: No, as I think you'd probably understand, because it's a well-informed question, that the budget process is a great big machine and you don't sort of turn it on or off or steer it quickly. I think that machine continues to work on a lot of fine-grained detail on our out-year requirements.

Clearly, they're going to be a whole range of new requirements. And we are already working with the services and defense agencies to start to identify a range of what those near-term requirements may be. As you probably realize, this $20 billion is '01 money, and so it doesn't even begin to address the question of amended requirements for '02 and beyond.

We are in a different era. I think the president has made that clear, the secretary of defense has made it clear. Everything is going to change. But we hope that with this $20 billion initial move forward that particularly our enemies will get a message and the people who have to be with us, will get a message as well that we're serious.

QUESTION: The president had said that the United States intends to find those who are responsible for these attacks and hold them accountable. But he and others, including you today, have also spoken about a much broader campaign that would seem to go beyond, in terms of targets, beyond those that may have been responsible for this particular attack. How should we look at that?

WOLFOWITZ: Well, I think the president's words are pretty good. So let me say, these people try to hide, but they won't be able to hide forever.

WOLFOWITZ: They think their harbors are safe, but they won't be safe forever. I think one has to say, it's not just simply a matter of capturing people and holding them accountable, but removing the sanctuaries, removing the support systems, ending states who sponsor terrorism. And that's why it has to be a broad and sustained campaign. It's not going to stop if a few criminals are taken care of.

QUESTION: Given the devastation in New York, $20 billion looks like it's just going to be a down payment on repairing what was destroyed. Do you anticipate having to shift around any of DOD's internal resources in the 2002 budget to cover some of the bill here and to begin work on any of the kind of anti-terrorism or counterterrorism...

WOLFOWITZ: I anticipate -- and the indications from the Congress are that my anticipation is well-founded -- that we will have new, additional resources to cover not only the damage that has been inflicted, but to start to begin to build the military capability we need for other options. So I don't envision shifting resources around as your question implied.

QUESTION: So the money that you all have asked for now would stay where it is. And then, you expect to get additional resources in the 2002 budget for added work, restoration...

WOLFOWITZ: That's my expectation, yes.

QUESTION: Secretary Mineta talked today about his request to put military personnel aboard civilian airliners when they start flying again and to supplement the sky marshal program. Have you received that request from the Transportation Department? And do you think that's one you're going to be able to take on now?

WOLFOWITZ: I'm not sure what Secretary Mineta said. The question of marshals is a complicated one. The question of putting U.S. military personnel who may or may not be trained in law enforcement techniques on planes is a difficult one. We're obviously going to work with the Transportation Department and with the FBI and the marshal service and anyone who can use our expertise to provide what capabilities are needed. But it is a complicated issue.

QUESTION: Just to follow up on that question, if I could, Secretary Mineta also said that he was going to request personnel from Delta Force to come in and train air marshals in a speedy fashion to get them up and running quickly.

QUESTION: I'm assuming, I guess, that you have not received such a request. Are you willing to entertain such a request? Is this something that would be appropriate for the Defense Department?

workaround: There has definitely been discussion. I don't know whether you want to get into a semantic discussion about what a request, what's not a request. What is needed, and I think we all agree on it, is a plan for training up civilian air marshals. And if U.S. military expertise is useful in that, obviously we want to make it available.

At the same time, this is fundamentally a civil function. It doesn't require all the exotic training that Delta Force members have. On the other hand, it requires law enforcement training that our people don't have. So we're going to be working closely. I hope you understand. I mean, there's a great deal that we're improvising here as we go, and we're trying to improvise as fast as we possibly can.

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE) that may or may no be deemed appropriate. There may be some other avenue that would be more desirable.

workaround: I think the exact way forward hasn't been decided yet.

QUESTION: As a follow up, you said some of the money will be to start to build the military capability you need. You've been identifying terrorism as a threat now for 10 years. What is it that you envision when you say that? What is the capability that we don't have that we need?

workaround: The capability to sustain -- we have enormous capability. That's no secret. But it's also no secret -- go back 10 years -- we had enormous capability when we actually deployed several hundred thousand troops for Desert Storm. We needed sustainment. We needed munitions. We needed logistics. We needed fuel. We needed things that you don't plan for because you don't plan for that level of operations on a day-to-day basis.




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