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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL

Target: Terrorism - Kitty Hawk Deployed

Aired October 2, 2001 - 05:30   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LEON HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: Let's go down to the Pentagon. Our Jonathan Aiken checks in from there. He's got the latest on the military numbers and the changes therein.

Good morning, Jon.

JONATHAN AIKEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Leon.

Well, the administration is still short on details, certainly no time table coming out. But President Bush says that U.S. troops are slowly but surely picking their targets and getting their forces in order, and there certainly is some visible evidence of that in the Pacific this morning.

The USS Kitty Hawk left its home port from Japan on Monday. It is heading toward an area, presumably southwest Asia. That's what the Pentagon is telling us. We're assuming it's going to be located in the international waters off the coast of Pakistan.

The carrier's fighter wing is not a part of this deployment, that it's going to stay the -- most of the planes are going to stay off the carrier. In fact, they're going to be using the Kitty Hawk as a lily pad, as a jumping off point for special operations that may take place in Afghanistan or its neighborhood in much the same way that an amphibian would use a lily pad to skip across a pond.

The Pentagon says that they're looking at 4.5 acres of U.S. sovereignty they can put anywhere they want and they intend to put it near Pakistan which will give them complete security in the event that they decide to deploy their special forces.

President Bush said that U.S. forces indeed are ready for whatever comes their way and those thoughts were echoed at the Pentagon on Monday by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD RUMSFELD, DEFENSE SECRETARY: 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.

(END VIDEO CLIP) AIKEN: And part of that preparation, the call up of reservists and guardsmen continue. More than 3,400 received word on Monday, coming from 15 states, Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico, mostly from the Army, Leon, but also Navy and Air Force reservists. About 35,000 expected to be called up overall, and so far the latest call up brings the number to 20,000. And interesting, too, where they're coming from: transportation, air defense, supply, ordnance, infantry, intelligence and special operations. So in addition to all that, about 350 aircraft, the Marine Corps amphibious unit has been assigned. So indeed, forces are getting ready for whatever comes their way -- Leon.

LEON HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: Well, Jon, as we sit here and try to read the tea leaves here on how soon all of these forces may actually be in place, is there any sort of a timetable that you can discern at this particular point when you consider how long it's going to take the Kitty Hawk to get into position and how much longer it may take to call up any more reserves?

AIKEN: Well the call up, well that's up to the Pentagon how fast they want to move on that. The Kitty Hawk, the Pentagon expects that it should reach its destination, still unknown, about 10 days to 2 weeks from now. As to what happens once the Kitty Hawk is in place along with the other carriers that are there, again, by the time the Kitty Hawk gets there, there will be four in place on either the Persian Gulf or the Arabian Sea. It's anyone's guess, Leon, as to exactly when the troops and the men and material will be put into action.

HARRIS: That's right. As a matter of fact, it could happen even before it gets there. We never know.

AIKEN: Exactly.

Jon Aiken at the Pentagon, we thank you much. We'll talk with you later.

AIKEN: All right.

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