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America's New War: Defense Secretary Rumsfeld Addresses Ceremony for Outgoing Joint Chiefs Chairman Shelton

Aired October 1, 2001 - 11:20   ET



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ... reflects great credit on herself, her family, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Department of Defense, and the nation.

BILL HEMMER, CNN ANCHOR: This is Fort Myer, Virginia, the outgoing chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Henry Hugh Shelton, receiving his fourth distinguished service metal. Thirty- eight years in uniform. He served under two presidents and two Defense secretaries as Joint Chiefs chairman. Today, a well-deserved honor, in Fort Myer, Virginia.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Gen. Shelton is being presented a curio table on behalf of the men and women of the Department of Defense.

HEMMER: The gentlemen on the crutches there, Richard Myers, will take over for Hugh Shelton. Again, this ceremony is taking place at Summerall Field, Fort Myer, Virginia. We heard comments from Hugh Shelton last week at the Pentagon, his final briefing with reporters there quite emotional at times, to express his deep appreciation for not only the people who worked with him, but also the reporters who have covered his beat now for several years.

We'll keep track of that in Fort Myer, Virginia.

We're also watching many developments here in New York City and also in Washington, John King again checking in there.

John, what do you have for us this hour?


I spent quite a bit of time with Gen. Shelton about a decade ago, during the Persian Gulf War, when he was the commander of 101st Airborne -- a very colorful man, a very funny man -- also a very serious man, though, about the business he conducts.

As you noted, Air Force Gen. Richard Myers will take over for Gen. Shelton as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. This changing of the guard, if you will, comes during a massive military deployment overseas, the first steps in what the president promises will be a lengthy war against terrorism. For the latest on the deployments, let's bring in our Bob Franken, standing by over at the Pentagon -- Bob.

BOB FRANKEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: John, Gen. Shelton was involved in this up until the very last, until his duty actually expired last night, and Gen. Myers takes over.

As far as that added deployment is concerned, the Kitty Hawk, which unofficially is tethered in Japan -- there are sensitivities in that country, so it's not officially listed as being based in Japan -- is not there now. It has immediately been turned around and is heading to sea, points unknown exactly, but of course, it's all part of an effort to encircle the area of the world -- the central Asia area -- which seems to be the focal point now of military planning.

That military planning goes on in unspecified way. We're told repeatedly by members of the administration and here at the Pentagon that what is going to happen will be both visible and, to a large part, invisible -- not just the military action, which could take the form of special forces operations, which are by nature somewhat secret and invisible, but also the cyberwar that's going on and the battle over the finances of the people who conduct terrorism.

But the visible part, the part that's hard not to make invisible, is the deployment of an aircraft carrier. The latest one to go out now is the Kitty Hawk.

A couple of statistics: 5,500 crew members; an availability of 75 military aircraft; and surface-to-air missiles on board, the Sparrow missiles -- John.

KING: Bob, put this is a context. This is now the fourth carrier group in the region. Why do we think so much?

FRANKEN: Each of them has a specific places. The choices are the Arabian Sea, the Persian Gulf, the Mediterranean, the Indian Ocean. All of them, in effect, encircle the area that seems to be the focal point of the military planning. What has been explained over and over again by the administration -- the Defense secretary here has said it repeatedly -- they want the resources in place, resources being battle groups like this, so when the decisions are made to take military action, they're in place, ready to go.

KING: Bob Franken at the Pentagon, thank you.

Let's continue the discussion with Maj. Gen. Donald Shepperd, retired from the Air Force.

Sir, four carrier groups sent to the region. There have been stories back and forth that perhaps the United States was not getting the full cooperation of Saudi Arabia in using land bases there for offensive actions. Is this a sign to you that perhaps they're putting extra resources in place in case that is...

MAJ. GEN. DONALD SHEPPERD (RET.), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: I don't think that's what's driving it. I think we will get what we need from the Gulf states. Each one of them has to figure out the way they can do it,

But clearly, four carrier battle groups is a lot of firepower. If we get the bases, we may still use the carriers. If we don't get them...

KING: General, I need to stop you just for one second.

Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld is speaking at the farewell ceremonies for Gen. Hugh Shelton.


DONALD RUMSFELD, DEFENSE SECRETARY: ... Sen. Helms; Sen. Edwards; members of Congress; Deputy Secretary Paul Wolfowitz and former Deputy Secretary Rudy de Leon; Gen. Shelton, Carolyn, the entire Shelton family; the brand new vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Dick Myers, sworn-in this morning, along with Gen. Pete Pace as vice chairman; the Joint Chiefs; the secretaries of the armed services; combatant commanders, past and present; senior enlisted advisers; command sergeant majors; leaders from the department, distinguished guests from all across the globe; and especially the men and women of the armed forces.

Two weeks ago, President Bush had a message for America's armed forces. He said, very simply, "Be ready. The hour is coming when America will act, and you will make us proud."

America's armed forces are ready and we're ready in no small part, because Hugh Shelton has made readiness his first priority. We're ready because he never forgot the troops -- championing better housing, helping to achieve the largest pay raise in 18 years. Not surprisingly, these efforts not only boosted readiness, but also recruitment and retention in each of the services.

But General Shelton looked to the future as well, working for efforts to enhance protection for U.S. information networks and to increase the interoperability of our forces. He helped to prepared the force and guided us with a leadership from which we will continue to benefit long after Hugh Shelton has left the Pentagon.

His four years as chairman of the Joint Chiefs were the culmination of a long a distinguished career that included some of the most demanding missions and commands. He led the Special Operations Command, that elite corps of Army, Air Force and Navy special forces established to respond to terrorism and other acts of the type we've come to know in recent days; two tours in Vietnam, first with special forces and later with the 173rd Airborne. He led the 82nd Airborne and spent some seven months in Saudi Arabia with the 101st during Desert Shield and Desert Storm.

He commanded the joint task force that concluded Operation Uphold Democracy in Haiti.

As the senior military adviser to the president and the secretary of defense and the National Security Council, Hugh Shelton has served with distinction. Yet even while participating at the very highest levels, he never lost touch with the brave men and women who stand sentry on the frontiers of freedom every day.

Hugh Shelton has been a valued partner. Together we have focused on creating a new military strategy for the United States -- a strategy that assumes we may not know the direction of future threats, but we will have a sense of their capabilities; a strategy that establishes the principle that surprise must be a critical factor in considering the future.

We've thought through with the chiefs and the CINCs and the senior leadership of the department, how to size and equip a 21st century military force, asking what's the right balance among our capabilities, the proper distribution of our forces around the globe and the best way to organize those forces for the future.

Through these many months, I've come to know Hugh Shelton as a tough, thoughtful leader willing to consider something new and certainly never shy about offering his views. Much of our effort has been to transform our forces to meet the challenges of the future. As of September 11, the future was thrust among us. And throughout it all Gen. Shelton's focus has remained to win our nation's wars, and this we shall.

One other thing that has remained fixed and determined is Carolyn, who has shared his life's mission through it all; many moves, evolutions and changes, promotions always upward. And so as we honor Gen. Shelton, we also thank you, Carolyn, for your very special dedication and service to our country. It has been full, generous and deeply appreciated by the many lives that you have touched with your warm, gracious and caring manner.

The first chairman of the joint chiefs, Gen. Omar Bradley reflected that we are given one life and the decision is ours whether to wait or whether to act and, in acting, to live.

And walking under the arches of the Pentagon's Bradley Corridor for the last time as our nation's 14th chairman, Gen. Shelton leaves behind a force that reflects many of his personal qualities.

It's a force that stands tall, quietly self-assured and ready to respond with strength and clarity to the many new missions that will be asked of it.

Hugh, our best wishes to you and Carolyn. Joyce and I will miss you both. On behalf of those assembled here and the men and women of the Armed Forces all across the globe, we thank you for your outstanding and indeed courageous service to America. Thank you, sir.


KING: There Defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld, shaking hands with Lt. Gen. Henry Hugh Shelton, the outgoing chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ladies and gentlemen, Gen. Shelton.

KING: Let's listen in. LT. GEN. HENRY HUGH SHELTON, RETIRING JOINT CHIEFS CHAIRMAN: Secretary Powell; Secretary and Mrs. Rumsfeld; Secretary Principi; director of the CIA and good friend, George Tenet; members of the diplomatic corps; distinguished members of Congress; and let me hasten to say a particular welcome this morning to my home state representatives, the great Sen. Jesse Helms, the great Sen. John Edwards, and Congressman Bob Etheridge, the great congressman from my district; Deputy Secretary Wolfowitz; service secretaries, a great group of servants that are serving our armed forces so well today; fellow chiefs of defense; members of the Joint Chiefs, past and present; former chairmen -- and I see Gen. David Jones over here, and what a great pleasure it is to have you here today, a great mentor and one who has meant so much to me during my tenure; commanders-in-chief of our combatant commands; fellow flag and general officers; distinguished guests; family and friends; and, especially, the men and women of our armed forces represented here today by the great soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines and members of the Coast Guard standing in front of us and standing tall.

Please join me in a round of applause for them.


Thanks to each of you for being a part of this ceremony today and for honoring Carolyn and me with your presence.

Thank you, Secretary Rumsfeld, for those very kind words.

Carolyn and I deeply appreciate your comments, your leadership, the words and everything that you and Joyce have meant to both of us during this period.

There are so many of you here today that I would like to have the opportunity to thank personally, many who traveled great distances to be here for today's event; like Ms. Connie Stevens from Los Angeles and Johnny Counterfeit and his wife from Nashville, Tennessee; and Command Sergeant Major Felix Acosta -- a tremendous mentor and leader that traveled from Bristol, Virginia; friends from Atlanta; from the great state of Florida, Tampa and also from Fayetteville, North Carolina, the center of the universe; also from North Carolina State University...

KING: Gen. Hugh Shelton, his final remarks. Gen. Shelton is retiring. He was the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and is being replaced by Air Force Gen. Richard Meyers. This farewell ceremony -- we heard from the Defense secretary just a few moments ago -- obviously comes amid the deployment of major military assets overseas in the campaign against terrorism.

Before we broke to hear Secretary Rumsfeld, we were speaking to Maj. Gen. Don Shepherd about the deployment overseas.

Four carrier groups are now in the region -- the significance of that, in your view.

SHEPPERD: That's a lot of power, somewhere between 75 and 100 airplanes in each carrier battle group. You may or may not need them for basing. If you can get the bases on the land, you always want land-based air power.

But we have a lot of other considerations in the Gulf states there. We are always worried about Iraq and what they might do. So we have got the power there to do whatever we need to do now, when we get the four carriers there.

KING: There's a lot of focus on intelligence gathering, largely on the ground, relationships with the Northern Alliance opposition and others. In terms of the military assets, when you hear things from the Taliban -- that they know where bin laden is, that he is under their control -- are there military assets in the region that can help the government track, perhaps, movements of small groups like that, or does that have to be done on the ground?

SHEPPERD: That pretty much has to be done on the ground. Although, we have assets in space that watch and listen, and we assets on airplanes that watch, human intelligence is the key to the type of things we are looking at in getting bin Laden. It what's all important is the total picture, but human intelligence is very key.

KING: All of this activity is overseas. Here at home, the call up of the National Guard to provide increased security at airports -- the significance of that, sir?

SHEPPERD: Five thousand people at 422 airports basically to increase the public confidence in flying is probably a temporary measure, requiring one to four days of training, assisting local police. It's the National Guard with a state and a federal mission both in their state capacity called by their governors is what they are doing.

KING: Maj. Gen. Donald Shepherd, thank you for your time, sir, and your patience. Forgive me for having to interrupting you earlier to go to Secretary Rumsfeld.




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