13 November 2003
U.S. Forces Gearing for Modern Threats, Rumsfeld Says
Defense Secretary's Nov. 13 briefing en route
The United States is adjusting its worldwide military presence
to meet modern threats, says Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld.
"We're moving worldwide from a static defense to a different footprint
-- a footprint that recognizes that it's not possible today to
predict with precision where a threat may come from or exactly
what kind of a threat it might be," he told reporters November
13 during a press availability en route to Guam.
"We can reasonably well identify capabilities that are dangerous," the
Defense Secretary said. What is needed from the United States and
its friends and allies around the world is the agility to deter
threats when and where they arise, he said. This, he noted, "requires
access to a larger number of locations."
After visiting local officials and U.S. forces on Guam, Rumsfeld
will be heading to Japan and South Korea for talks with military
and civilian leaders there.
Rumsfeld reiterated the Bush administration's desire to get more
troops and humanitarian and financial assistance for Afghanistan
and Iraq. "Each country has to do that which they think fits their
circumstance," he acknowledged.
Rumsfeld emphasized the U.S. desire to transfer sovereignty and
security responsibilities to the Iraqi people "at a pace that they're
He noted that Iraqi ministries have begun to function effectively
and oil revenues are coming in. Attacks on coalition forces, he
noted, are mostly limited to central Baghdad and the central area.
"The coalition security forces have been adjusting their techniques
and tactics and procedures to fit the evolving security situation
on the ground," he said.
Following is a transcript of the press availability, as released
by the Department of Defense:
From the United States Department of Defense
DoD News Briefing
Media Availability En Route to Guam
Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld
Thursday, November 13, 2003
Rumsfeld: I want to just make a comment or two about our trip.
If you go back to our Quadrennial Defense Review in our Regional
Defense Guidance back in 2001 before September 11, it pointed out
the importance of Asia to the United States to our circumstance
in the world. Our visit this week is to two important allies --
Japan and Republic of Korea -- also with stops in Okinawa and Guam.
Both countries are being helpful in the global war on terror, as
well as in Iraq, and I look forward to meeting with the leadership
of each country.
An additional reason for the visit is that the United States has,
for several years now, been very systematically reviewing our arrangements
of the world with various countries, our force deployments and
stationings, and have come to some preliminary conclusions that
we're now at a stage where we can begin discussing with our allies
and with Congress. We don't have final decisions. Obviously these
things will be adjusted as we talk to our allies and friends and
as we test various ideas about what might make sense with those
countries and with the United States Congress. But it's been a
big effort for the United States and something, that I believe
when it's completed, which will undoubtedly take a period of years
to complete, will considerably better position the United States
for the 21st century than we have been thus far.
I'd be happy to respond to a few questions.
Q: Mr. Secretary. You obviously planned to take a look at the
situation here and perhaps in Okinawa for possible changes. Do
you plan to propose to the Japanese and the Koreans the any specific
changes, for instance, on the prospect of drawing down the 37,000
troops in Korea?
Rumsfeld: We've had discussions with the Republic of Korea over
a period of time and we'll continue those discussions, I'm sure,
during this trip, but I wouldn't want to try to preview what might
ultimately be decided because we're just not at that stage.
Q: Will you have specific proposals or would you be in the listening
Rumsfeld: We'll have discussions.
Q: (Inaudible.) -- preliminary conclusions -- will you describe
Rumsfeld: Sure, illustratively you might say theoretically it
would be nice to be able to have access to certain locations and
there are maybe three places where that might make sense and so
you would begin having preliminary discussions with those countries,
with neighboring countries, with Congress, and at then some point
you develop a little greater conviction and visibility at what's
possible, what's desirable. And at some point after these preliminary
discussions you might come back with a recommendation.
Q: Do you mean in Asia or the world?
Rumsfeld: I'm talking about the world.
Q: You met with Paul Bremer when he was at the White House. Can
you shed us any light on what they've decided to do can you also
comment on the CIA report that is out that says that rebel forces
in Iraq believe they're going in the right direction to push the
U.S. out of there?
Rumsfeld: If that's what they think, they're wrong. I've not read
the station chief's report, but that's what a station chief is
supposed to do. He's supposed to make reports. And we've received
it -- I have it here as a matter of fact to read -- and there are
lots of different views, and the various intelligence agencies
have been watching the evolving situation and developing conclusions
as we've gone along, and it's always helpful and useful to have
those things. I believe that Jerry Bremer -- after his meeting
this morning -- we had a meeting with the President. He was planning
when I left to go out and do a press briefing, and I assume he's
done that. And I assume that Larry Di Rita has briefed you on that
But I'm going to let Jerry carry the message and the message basically
that he'd been visiting with the Governing Council on various ways
forward, and there are a number of things that have been evolving
in the country. What hasn't evolved is our desire to transfer sovereignty
to the Iraqi people and security responsibilities to the Iraqi
people at a pace that they're comfortable with and capable of absorbing
those responsibilities for themselves. And because of these ideas
that Jerry Bremer has been discussing with members of the Governing
Council as well as the fact that we've been able to significantly
ramp up security forces. We've gone from zero now probably around
June 1 up to something like 131,000, that is in excess of the 128,00
U.S. forces that are there, and very soon it will pass the combined
U.S. and coalition forces. The other things that have been happening
are that we've been meeting our oil quotas, and oil revenues are
coming in. We've been able to have the ministries begin to function
effectively. On the negative side, there's been an increase in
improvised explosive devices, and mortar firing, although about
93 percent of all of the incidents are occurring in the central
Baghdad and central area. There are isolated incidents to the north,
the south, and the west, but for the most part, they're in that
discreet area. The coalition security forces have been adjusting
their techniques and tactics and procedures to fit the evolving
security situation on the ground. And Jerry Bremer very likely
will go back, having had consultations with the National Security
Council and the President, and continue the process of talking
to the Governing Council about various ways forward.
Q: Are you yourself impatient with the progress?
Rumsfeld: Why don't we let some others get in a question two?
Q: They're building nuclear weapons; they have nuclear weapons;
they have missiles; they have conventional forces. You're going
to basically the last front line in the Cold War. How do you see
the threat from North Korea?
Rumsfeld: My understanding is that the process is going to go
forward where the President has put it on a diplomatic track. They've
had, I believe, one six-power meeting. I suspect there will be
another six-power meeting as we go forward, and we'll see what
Q: Are you worried about North Korea? About the threat?
Rumsfeld: I think people have for 50 years. We've had forces and
a U.N. presence on the Korean peninsula as a way to deter and defend
and assure that the peninsula is a peaceful one.
Q: (Inaudible.) -- efforts in on this trip -- contributions and
troops for Iraq?
Rumsfeld: As I said the other day at the foreign press center
my pattern on these things is to let the world know what we'd like.
We'd like assistance, we'd like troop assistance, we'd like humanitarian
assistance, we'd like financial assistance for countries like Afghanistan
and Iraq. We want as many countries as possible to participate
because we think it's good for them. It's good for peace in Iraq.
It's good for the 23 million liberated Iraqi people, and for other
countries to have a commitment to them, and certainly we favor
that. On the other hand each country has to do that which they
think fits their circumstance. They have different financial circumstances,
and to the extent where we'll have discussions on those subjects,
they'll be private, and to the extent any decision is made, they'll
be made by countries other than the United States, which has been
my practice since September 11th.
Q: Mr. Secretary, you said that at the end of this process of
changing the force posture that you believe the United States will
be better positioned for the 21st century. Could you explain a
little bit more how it will be and whether these will be the biggest
changes in force posture in that region since the end of World
Rumsfeld: These will be the biggest -- you mean worldwide?
Q: No, in that region.
Rumsfeld: But forget the region. Deal with it worldwide. Worldwide
we ended the Cold War with a concept of static defense. That there
were visibly identifiable threats, and that we were a defensive
alliance in the world and we had defensive treaties, and we would
be in a static defensive position where we would deter and dissuade
people from engaging in mischief and adventures, which they should
avoid or else pay a penalty for. And it worked. Those days are
gone, the Soviet Union is gone. And we're moving worldwide from
a static defense to a different footprint -- a footprint that recognizes
that it's not possible today to predict with precision where a
threat may come from or exactly what kind of a threat it might
be. We can reasonably well identify capabilities that are dangerous.
And what the United States and our friends and allies around the
world have to be prepared to do is, to the extent possible, deter,
and if not, defend against those kinds of capabilities that are
increasingly available in the world. And that requires much more
agility. It requires access to a larger number of locations. It
requires less static defense, if you will, and those are the kids
of important conceptual changes that we've been involved in with
respect to our own forces and with respect to our alliances worldwide.
Q: (Inaudible.) [Incident today in Nasariyah]. Do you think that
might deter other nations from wanting to become part of a coalition
when what happened to the Italians occurring today?
Rumsfeld: Certainly people need to participate there with their
eyes open. I feel, as anyone, my heart goes out to the Italian
Carabinierri troops that were killed and their families and friends.
I spoke with the Minister of Defense of Italy this morning and
talked to him about it. They are very firm in their resolve to
continue to participate. There's no question but that Saddam Hussein
and Fedayeen Saddam remnants are purposely targeting people in
an attempt to get them to leave so that they can take back that
country, imposing vicious dictatorial regime -- a regime that goes
around cutting off people's hands and heads and tongues and throwing
people off the tops of buildings. And it's not going to happen.
So each country has to decide what they'll do. It's up to them.
They're sovereign nations, and I wish everyone well in making a
decision that they'll be proud of. We're proud of our decision.
Q: The United States is working with Japan to develop missile
defense, you said so in the foreign press center. And then how
about with South Korea?
Rumsfeld: We're available to talk to countries about missile defense.
We've made that very clear and to the extent countries are interested
in discussing with us, we discuss it with them.
Rumsfeld: Thank you.