24 September 2003
Rumsfeld -- Superior Capabilities Make for Military Might
Defense Secretary's Sept. 23 remarks to U.S.-Korean
Quality, not quantity, makes for military superiority in the 21st
century -- and that is just what the United States is focusing
on around the world, says Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld.
Speaking before the U.S. Korean Business Council in Washington
September 23, Rumsfeld said it is "capabilities as opposed to number
of things" that enable swift, decisive combat in today's world.
"Capability-based strategy" is what the United States is applying
to its own military as well as its alliances, he said.
The United States is working closely with the Republic of Korea
to improve the combat capabilities of both countries' military
forces, the secretary said.
"By improving the force structure of both our countries, we can
reduce unnecessary burdens on both sides and invest in these improved
capabilities," he added.
"Over the next four years," Rumsfeld said, "the United States
has plans to make a substantial investment in the alliance, strengthening
more than 150 of our various military capabilities."
He said the South Korean government has assured the United States
that it will complement those U.S. investments with improved capabilities
of its own.
"These parallel investments demonstrate not only the partnership
between our two countries but also our determination to do what's
necessary to ensure deterrence, security and stability on the [Korean]
peninsula," Rumsfeld said.
He noted that precision-guided weapons currently being used in
Iraq are many times more lethal than the weapons used in Operation
Desert Storm a decade ago.
"The number of bombs or the number of weapons becomes less important
than the capability," Rumsfeld said.
Following is a transcript, as provided by the Department of Defense:
U.S. Department of Defense News Briefing
Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld
Tuesday, September 23, 2003
Moderator: It's an honor for us to have U.S. Secretary of Defense
Don Rumsfeld with us this morning and I want to thank him for taking
time out of his very busy schedule to share some thoughts with
us about U.S. Korean security relationship and the two countries
cooperation in addressing the North Korea situation.
The tension on the peninsula is not only of grave concern from
a security standpoint but also from an economic standpoint as we
discussed. The uncertainty about North Korea behavior is directly
felt in the stock markets investments levels and economic growth
forecast. Secretary Rumsfeld is at the center of discussion about
U.S. military footprint in Korea and how the two countries can
most effective provide deterrence as they modernize and reorganize
their forces to meet 21st Century needs.
We look forward to hearing from him about how these efforts are
proceeding and his perception of the U.S. role in Korea. Secretary
also is responsible for directing the activities of the Defense
Department on the war on terrorism, which Korea has been an important
ally. Secretary Rumsfeld has a long and distinguished career, he
was sworn in as the 21st Secretary of Defense on January 20th,
2001, before assuming his present post he also had served as the
thirteenth Secretary of Defense, White House Chief of Staff, U.S.
Ambassador to NATO, U.S. Congressman and the CEO of two Future
Please join me in welcoming the U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald
Rumsfeld: Thank you, thank you very much.
Thank you, Hank, for that introduction. We certainly appreciate
your taking on this important responsibility; it's important to
our countries relationship, for sure.
Mr. Joe, ladies and gentleman. I must say that during my time
in business -- I was in the pharmaceutical business, and we had
relationships with the Republic of Korea. I was in the electronics
business, and we had relationships with the Republic of Korea.
So I understand a bit of what this group is about and how important
This October, the United States and the Republic of Korea celebrate
the 50th Anniversary of the treaty that has really changed the
course of history for the better. Out of the devastation of that
war in which both of our countries invested substantial blood and
treasure, the Republic of Korea has not only survived, but it has
prospered; and it is an impressive accomplishment. Today, I guess,
it's probably the 12th largest economy, a thriving democracy and
Americans, I should add, are proud of the role that we have played
in the success, and we're certainly committed to Korea's continued
security and prosperity. And make no mistake -- those two words
are inextricably linked. You cannot have prosperity without security;
it simply doesn't happen. There has to be an environment that's
hospitable to investment, enterprise; and without security that
I understand that before I arrived you had some discussion about
the situation with North Korea -- last evening; good, so you're
current on that. So rather than focus on that, what I will do is
to comment on the current state of our military cooperation, which
is very important to us as well as to Korea, what we're doing to
strengthen deterrence on the Korean Peninsula, and what we see
in the period ahead.
Last December, the ROK Defense Minister -- Minister Joon and I
met to initiate a process to examine the structure of the alliance
and to make recommendations as to how we might improve and strengthen
that for future generation. President Bush met with President No
last May to discuss the best way to accomplish our goals, and I
had the pleasure of meeting with Minister Lee's successor Minister
Cho Young Gil in Washington last July.
Together we've undertaken an important joint review of our military
posture with eye towards how best to take advantage of the new
technologies and capabilities and strengthen our deterrence for
the 21st Century security environment. Change is always hard --
it's hard when you try to change a business, it's hard when you
try to change a government bureaucracy, it's hard when you try
to make adjustments in a relationship like this, so I think it's
worth some time to discuss it, and make sure everyone is on the
same wave length.
We have discussed transforming our combined forces, which is both
a necessity, but it's also an opportunity to modernize the alliance
and adapt it to the changing security requirements of region and
world. And let there be no doubt: We are in a new security environment.
This is a different period than the preceding period when our relationship
was fashioned and put in place. We've pledged to work together
to employ new technologies and capabilities to transition to a
more capable and sustainable U.S. military presence on the peninsula.
This includes expanding the role of ROK defense forces in defense
of the peninsula, relocating the U.S. garrison at Yongsan, and
consolidating U.S. forces around several key hubs. While the size
and shape of the U.S. footprint in the world and the region may
evolve -- and indeed, it will evolve not just in Northeast Asia
but in Europe and elsewhere across the globe -- we're addressing
this subject in an important way. There certainly would be no change
at all in our commitment to the defense of South Korea, and just
let there be no doubt about that. Our goal is to reinforce deterrence
and to position the alliance for the period ahead.
We've undertaken similar steps with respect to NATO. We have adjusted
command structure there just as we've made significant changes
in our U.S. Command structure; and all of these things are a reflection
of the fact that the 21st century security environment is so notably
different. And by taking advantage of new technologies and capabilities
now battle tested in the global war on terrorism, we've improved
ability to counter North Korea's advantages. And by improving the
force structure of both our countries, we can reduce unnecessary
burdens on both sides and invest in these improved capabilities.
I also want to say that we do appreciate Korea's assistance in
Afghanistan and in Iraq. It certainly demonstrates the spirit of
the Korean people; they know well the value of democracy and the
importance of victory over aggression and tyranny. Like the people
of Iraq and Afghanistan, the people of Korea had to rebuild from
war and from devastation, and today your Republic provides an excellent
example of what Iraq and Afghanistan conceivably could become with
patience and perseverance.
We appreciate the positive role that Korea is able to play in
the global security arena, and the professionalism and the capabilities
of Korea's armed forces. As discussions between our two governments
move forward, we will work out the details of our new force structure
arrangements for the peninsula and will incorporate new capabilities
in Korea as they become available.
Over the next four years, the United States has plans to make
a substantial investment in the alliance, strengthening more than
150 of our various military capabilities. And we've been assured
that Korea will complement those investments with improved capabilities
of their own. These parallel investments demonstrate not only the
partnership between our two countries but also our determination
to do what's necessary to ensure deterrence, security and stability
on the peninsula.
For 50 years the forces of the United States and in Korea have
stood shoulder to shoulder in defense of peace and freedom. We're
proud of that; and during those five decades of friendship Korea,
has prospered politically and economically.
On my round table in my office I have a glass top, and under that
glass top is a photograph of the Korean peninsula. It's taken from
a satellite at night; maybe some of you have seen it. There are
practically no lights north of the DMZ (demilitarized zone) except
in Pyongyang. South of the DMZ -- just an energy and vitality and
as represented by that electricity. What a difference between freedom
and oppression. In one, the light of liberty outshines everything;
and in the other, the darkness of the dictatorship is so obvious
even from so many miles in outer space.
The armistice that stopped the spread of communism in Korea was,
I suppose, one of the first victories of the Cold War, if one thinks
about it, a Cold War against communism that lasted most of my adult
lifetime. Throughout that long struggle, many doubted that we would
ever live to see the day when communism would fall. But it did.
It has fallen everywhere except for a few lonely outposts which,
in a sense, (are) crumbling by their own hands. While the situation
in North Korea sometimes looks bleak, I'm convinced that one day
freedom will come to the people of the North and light up that
oppressed land with hope and with promise.
When President Bush visited the DMZ in February of last year,
he talked about America's vision for all the Korean people. He
said that we see a peninsula that one day is united in commerce
and in cooperation, not divided by barbed wire or fear; Korean
grandparents spending their final years with those they love; Korean
children thriving, not starving while an Army is fed; stability
built on the reconciliation of it's two halves. But until that
day, we have to continue to do what we must do: We have to build
on the strong relationship between our two countries; we have to
continue to strengthen security and promote peace and prosperity;
and, we have to hope to see the people of the North brought into
the light of liberty at some point in the future.
You have a critical role; Korea does in that vision, as I said
when I started. Without security, there isn't prosperity. And so
we have to see that the deterrent is strong, that our commitment
is well understood, and that our cooperative relationship is as
healthy as it can be. And to be healthy, it simply has to evolve
and change to fit this 21st century.
So I thank all of you for what you do for your respective countries
and for peace in the world, and I'd be delighted to respond to
questions on that subject or other subjects.
Rumsfeld: I'm already happy.
We are delighted with the assistance that Korea has provided,
and there have been some discussions. It's for every other country
to decide; we've got some 40 countries helping in Iraq. One of
the things that amuses me -- in fact I shouldn't say amuses, it
kind of rankles in my head -- I keep seeing on television where
critics say, why does the United States go it alone in Iraq? We're
not going it alone. We've got over 40 countries involved in Iraq.
We've got two international divisions involved in Iraq. We've got
all kinds of additional countries assisting in various medical
assistance -- field hospitals and what have you. And yet over and
over and over again, someone says: Why do you going it alone? We're
not going it alone. We've got a very large international coalition,
one country of which is Korea, and as far as I can see it's up
to Korea to decide the way that makes the most sense from the their
standpoint to be of assistance, and we appreciate it.
I think that your question reflected one of the problems we face
-- the first part of your question. You talked about numbers of
troops. It's understandable, because people have tended to measure
capability by numbers of things -- people, troops, ships, guns,
tanks and planes, and what have you. If (I) had learned anything
in the 21st Century, that the important thing is capability. We
could use one precision-guided ammunition in Afghanistan or Iraq,
and it would have taken 10 to approximate the lethality of that
one weapon. So the number of bombs or the number of weapons becomes
less important than the capability; and what we're doing, we have
revised our approach here and for our own military, and with our
relationships in NATO to a capabilities-based strategy, and we
are focusing on those. We're trying to get our combatant commanders
to think not about saying I need a Division for this or an aircraft
carrier for that, but to describe the capability they need and
what they need to do by way of putting power on a target and have
the supply system provide that -- it may come from the Army; it
may come from the Navy; it may come from the Air Force; it may
be people; it may be things. And so what we're doing is we're not
approaching it as to how many soldiers -- for example, Korean or
U.S. -- will be involved. We're approaching from the standpoint
of what are the capabilities that we need to assure that we have
the ability to deter North Korea from making a mistake and precipitating
And second, what kind of capabilities do we need to swiftly defeat
any effort of that type, and it's capabilities as opposed to number
of things. The short answer to your question - the first part of
your question - is: The studies are currently underway; we're talking
about the things we can do by adding capabilities. And what it
will result in by way of numbers of things is something that will
fall out; but what I do know of certain knowledge is the capabilities
will be strengthened because that is what we now know how to do.
Rumsfeld: I don't know that I quite agree with the top of the
world idea. The reality is we do face terrorist threats -- we've
seen that here in this city, in New York, and Pennsylvania on September
11th. And you can't defend against terrorists in every place at
every moment against every technique. The only way you can deal
with terrorists is to recognize that because they have the advantage
and you must go find them, these networks, and deal with them.
That task is an important one if we're going to protect innocent
men, women and children from being killed -- 3,000 as we saw in
September 11th. It does require us to re-think how we're organizing
and training and equipping. If you think about it, most of the
militaries of the world organized, trained and equipped to fight
big armies, big navies and big air forces, and that seems not to
be the task at the moment. We are able -- for example in the case
of Iraq -- we were able to do that with something in the neighborhood
of 100 plus thousand troops, not the 500,000 it took to extract
Iraq from Kuwait 10 years ago -- five times, roughly, just to move
them out; not even to deal with the whole country. In Afghanistan,
it was, you know, 10, 12 thousand -- not large numbers, and that's
a reflection of the fact how dramatically things have changed in
terms of capabilities.
You're right; you do have to rearrange yourself. We have been
consistently strengthening, for example, our special operations
forces because of the distinctive tasks they can perform that tend
not to be performed by the conventional army, navy and air forces.
We do have to rebalance our active and reserve force so that we
have more people who do civil affairs and military police-type
functions, and we're in the process of doing that at the present
Our military was not designed to go out and find individual people
like Saddam Hussein or Osama bin Laden or Mullah Omar. That isn't
what they did -- that's what the FBI did, or that's what the police
did, or that's what organizations like that did. And even they
have trouble -- and I don't know about your country, but in the
case of United States, we've had people who have been on the FBI
Most Wanted List for decades. It's just very hard to find a single
human being. So what we have to do is to put pressure on the networks,
put pressure on their money, make it hard for them to raise money,
make it hard for them to recruit, make it hard to retain people,
make it difficult to move across country borders and transfer money,
and suppress their activity even if it's very difficult to find
individuals, but we are reshaping our military to fit more into
this different environment.
Rumsfeld: Break it into two pieces. One, the lesson from the military
piece of it is extensive; we've learned a lot. We did something
quite unusual -- we put, oh, I don't know 50 to 100 people at various
times directly in every level of the military campaign, and their
task was not to contribute to the campaign but to analyze what
was taking place and what can we learn. I received an hour-and-half
briefing on it a couple months ago, I then scheduled a 5-hour briefing
on it and then I scheduled another 1-and-a-half (hours), and I've
since briefed the president on it. It is fascinating, because it's
one of the first times there's ever been that extensive an analysis
of lessons learned in a timely fashion, and there are a good many
important lessons that will benefit how we organize, how we exercise,
how we train, how we equip. And just one example: Most wars had
been fought by armies, navies, and air forces in a way that they
simply de-conflicted from each other; they stayed out of each other's
way. In this one, we came as close, I believe, as ever in history
to having a truly joint war fighting capability between all of
our services and the United States and our coalition partners,
and the leveraging affect of that was significant. In other words,
the capability, the power, the lethality of what we were able to
do, the precision of what we were able to do was vastly greater
than the numbers involved. Going back to the question about how
many troops or how many planes or how many ships and what have
you. Jointness created a capability that's instinctively different
from previous war fights.
Full stop on that and go to the post-war activity. We started
planning for the post-war period well last year. The National Security
Council did a whole series of analysis and preparations; the interagency
process did. At some point the Department of Defense was asked
to take the lead on it, and we appointed General Jay Garner, and
he and his team began that process. They went to Kuwait before
the war even was over and were prepared to move in. They had a
plan. Jerry Bremer has taken that plan and elaborated on it. It
is a good plan, and it is a whole series of pieces involving how
to deal with oil, how to deal with water, how to deal with the
humanitarian crisis, what to do about internally displaced people,
what do you do about this, that and the other thing. They have
proceeded, and they're doing very, very well by anyone's standard.
If you go back and look at history in Germany, or history in Japan,
or history with Kosovo or Bosnia or even Afghanistan, the plan
that's being implemented in Iraq is well ahead of anyone else in
history, and it is working. Jerry Bremer is doing a superb job.
General Abizaid and General Sanchez are doing a superb job. And
this business that has critics saying there's no plan is utter
nonsense; it's just not factually correct. There is a plan. Jerry
Bremer has given it to all of those people who keep saying there's
no plan. And anyone who has looked at the history and compares
it will see that the cabinet was appointed in a fraction of the
time that it took in Germany, a governing council was appointed
in a fraction of the time it took in Germany, the establishment
of a court system, the electricity and water situation, all the
universities are open, all the schools are open in the country,
people in a bulk of the country are behaving in a relatively normal
The central section in Baghdad -- we've got problems, and people
are getting shot and killed. And the reason for that is Saddam
Hussein let loose something like 100,000 to 150,000 prisoners in
his prisons and they're out there. They're bad people and they're
criminals, and if you turn loose 110,000 criminal in California,
which is about the same size as Iraq, you'd have a problem, and
that's a problem.
Second, we've got the remnants of the Ba'athist Party -- the Saddam
Hussein crowd that was benefited by his dictatorship -- and they
still want to have a role in the thing, so they're in there paying
people to kill and shoot not only Americans and coalition people
but also individuals who are cooperating with the coalition. This
is not unusual. This happened in Germany after World War II --
groups called the Werewolves were out shooting and attempting to
stop people, Germans, from cooperating with the allied forces at
My impression is that our folks are doing a good job. It's going
to be tough. There will still be people killed and wounded, which
is always just a heart breaker. And yet the third group that we
have deal with are foreign fighters. These are terrorist coming
in from other countries. And we scooped up -- I don't know we probably
got over 200 that we picked up so far -- and it's tough to know
even how many more there may be if they range somewhere between
500 and 1,500 additional ones that we got to go out, track down
and find. But it is a tough business, it's a dangerous business,
but the 90% of the people in that country are living in areas where
they're being governed by local councils, city councils, village
and town councils -- that's unheard of, that is unheard of. We've
gone from zero to 56,000 Iraqis assisting in the security of that
country; that is, the army, the border patrol, the site protection
people, the civil defense people, the local police. We had none.
The (Iraqi) army just disintegrated, they blended into the countryside
and quit after our folks fought from the south up to just short
of Baghdad. They disappeared, so there wasn't any army that you
could work with, so we've gone from zero to 56,000 plus another
14,000 are currently recruited and in training for one of those
four security functions. So amazing progress has been made.
Staff: Thank you Mr. Secretary.
Rumsfeld: Thank you.
Voice: We all are very grateful that you took your time out to
talk to us from your extremely busy scheduled. As you mentioned
(inaudible) on the support of the U.S. Army stationed in Korea
so we are all so grateful. Thank you very much.