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10 June 2004

U.S. Global Posture Strategy Getting Thorough Review

Decisions must coordinate domestic and international aspects

U.S. government decisions on where to position military forces, as well as what kind and how many to have, are being undertaken in a complicated review process that involves foreign policy considerations and close consultations with allies and the Congress, three senior administration officials say.

The three, representing the Departments of Defense and State, as well as the National Security Council, briefed journalists on background at the Pentagon June 9. The Defense Department official began the session by saying that five considerations are shaping the process: (1) strengthening relationships with allies and build new partnerships; (2) building in maximum flexibility and agility; (3) including a regional, as well as a global, focus; (4) emphasizing speed: that is, making the assets as rapidly deployable as possible; and (5) focusing primarily on capabilities, rather than on numbers.

In addition, the senior Defense official said, the question of military basing is only part of the total consideration. The whole picture, he said, is "much bigger."

"When we're talking about posture, we're looking ... at ... the activities that we have with our allies, with our military presence; the activities that we have in terms of day-to-day interactions of forces that are stationed forward, but also our ability to surge capabilities. And the whole complex of interactions that we have with military forces throughout the world are fundamental to this," he said.

Furthermore, the same official emphasized that relationships are also taken into consideration concerning "the right capability, the right capacity, [and] the right orientation in terms of how we're dealing with the challenges that we face."

The term "relationships" can also entail, he said, common views toward transforming desired capabilities; types of legal parameters for maintaining and using forces in host countries; and even combined command structures with allies and partners.

The State Department official, while acknowledging that the global posture review is "quintessentially a Defense Department matter," noted that "there are some very fundamental political and policy dimensions to it....

"I think it's important to recognize," the State official said, "that as we speak about our capability to defend our interests and those of our allies ... we should never forget that those ... are profoundly political commitments; they are from the American people and the American government to other peoples and governments around the world. And so we pay a great deal of attention to the political dimension of the Global Defense Posture Review."

Following is the transcript of the briefing:

(begin transcript)

U.S. Department of Defense
DoD News Briefing with Senior Administration Officials

June 9, 2004

(Defense Department Background Briefing)

STAFF: Well, a full house today. Thank you for joining us this afternoon.

There has been continued interest in the global "footprint" issue, and we made a commitment to you some time ago that, as we work through this process, at various points in the process we would attempt to give you updates as to where we are; and that's exactly what we're going to do today. Indicative of the process, you can see that it is something that is done in a very "interagency" way. And today, because it is a process-type briefing, in terms of where we're at, the attribution for today is on background. But you see we have two Department of Defense [officials], a State Department official, and a senior NSC [National Security Council] official. They've got a few things that they want to bring you up to date on and then we'll open it up for questions; but we do have to end at the top of the hour.

So with that, I will turn it over to --

Question: But, (staffer's name) -- I'm sorry -- can we get names and titles just for --

STAFF: Oh, I'm sorry. Yes, you can, and I know some of these are not -- some of the individuals are new to our briefing room, and so I will just set this --

Q: For those that are of weaker vision, can you pass -- (laughter) --

STAFF: You're right. Why don't we just pass it around, and by the time the 30 minutes is up everybody will have had a chance.


(Consultations off-mike among Senior Administration Officials.)

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Anyway, from DOD [Department of Defense] I'm going to start.

Some of you -- what I'm going to cover is familiar. To some of you it will be new, but I thought it was good to get everybody on the same footing. And that is to begin with when we talk about changes in our global posture -- to give just a couple quick ideas of what it is we're intending to do with this. And I think in some ways there have been some misnomers that this is just about basing, and I think it is important for us to convey to you that this is indeed bigger, as an enterprise.

As we think about posture and the goals that we have and the changes to our posture worldwide, we really have five pieces in mind.

In the first instance it is to strengthen the relationship -- strengthen our allies and build new partnerships: that what we do with our military interactions worldwide -- where we're situated, where our forces are located, the activities that we have -- they're fundamental to the kind of challenges that we face in the world. And we want to make sure that what is out there in the world is relevant to the challenges that we face, and to those that our allies face. And we think there are important changes that ought to be made, and making those changes will in fact put our alliance relationships on a stronger footing.

The second point is that, as we're doing this, one of the things that we're keeping fundamentally in our minds is that we need to be able to contend with uncertainty: that the idea that we can predict at a time and place where we're going to be challenged, or how we're going to be challenged, we know not to be true. Certainly the experiences of the last several years -- but, arguably, the experiences of the last 10 or 15 years -- tell us that our ability at prediction is quite weak.

And so what we really need to do is build the relationships: have the flexibility and the agility so that we can deal with the kind of challenges that we're going to face as we look at the world. And that -- so that is to build the right kind of relationships; it is to have a flexible posture in the world, so that we can contend with this.

It also means, importantly, that we think that our ability to say that we know precisely where we're going to fight and, therefore, we can position an asset or capability to say "we're going to fight in place" is probably fundamentally wrong: that we're more likely to be working with our partners to develop capabilities, so that we can move to where the challenges will likely be. And that's important in our thinking.

The third point:

When we look at this, we certainly look at regions. And a regional focus has been fundamental to what we've done; but we're also looking across regions. That is to say, we've brought both a global and a regional view to the kind of challenges that we face in the world, and how we deal with those. And that's how we've been interacting with our partners, is to say that some of the problems and security challenges we face are quite regional. Many of them are global. And as we think about the posture, our posture and theirs, we've got to reflect a combination of both at what we're doing.

The fourth point:

For us, because of the nature of the uncertainty, [and] because of the nature of the challenges, speed will be important. Speed isn't always important, but in many instances it will be. And so we need to be rapidly deployable in the capabilities that we have. And that rapid deployability is not just in a particular asset, but it's in the whole architecture. It's from the command and control piece to the major operating units to the support pieces.

And a lot of attention has been given in recent years to the operating pieces. Can a particular capability or a particular asset move from one location to the other?

But equally important is the command and control apparatus as well. Is that rapidly deployable? Are all the support pieces, are they rapidly deployable? And as we looked at this as an entire architecture and not specific pieces -- we're trying to do that as we [have] worked our way through this posture.

And the last piece -- and in some ways the most important -- is that the focus here has been on capabilities and not numbers; that is, we need to ensure that we and our allies have the right capabilities to deal with the security challenges that we face. We'll then make a determination of whatever the numbers are. But if we begin this with numbers, we're almost sure to get it wrong. And so our focus here, and the focus of our allies has been: what are the appropriate capabilities? What are the relevant capabilities for dealing with the challenges that we confront?

Now, just a couple more things: When we talk about posture, as I said in the opening, it's often said that we're thinking about basing. It's much bigger [than that]. When we're talking about posture, we're looking certainly at facilities of various types: but we're also looking at activities -- the activities that we have with our allies, with our military presence; the activities that we have in terms of day-to-day interactions of forces that are stationed forward, but also our ability to surge capabilities. And the whole complex of interactions that we have with military forces throughout the world are fundamental to this.

We also look at the relationships that are a result of these activities -- relationships that range from heads of state down to unit level that are all about having the right capability, the right capacity, the right orientation in terms of how we're dealing with the challenges that we face. And those relationships can involve common views toward the transformation of capabilities that we seek; the relationships can involve the type of legal parameters that surround our ability to maintain forces in host countries and to use forces there; they can involve command structures in terms of combined command structures that we have with allies and partners in various parts of the world.

And as I said, it also involves the basing, the facilities piece: although a key element of this is not just the traditional main operating bases, but also the access arrangements that we have in parts of the world, or the "warm" facilities that we're able to train in -- again, a reminder that if we're going to deal with uncertainty, then there has to be a certain flexibility in this posture that we have in the world.

So as we have said in the opening, we're in an ongoing set of consultations of dealing with our partners, and much of what we've been talking about to them is why we're doing this, what we are, as well as some of the particular ideas.

And so I will leave it there and turn it over to you.


Speaking for the State Department, it's clear that what you've just heard and what you know about this is quintessentially a Defense Department matter. Force posture is about the military. It's about assets and infrastructure and how the military meets the missions that are tasked to it. But there are some very fundamental political and policy dimensions to it, which is why it's a presidential policy, and why the State Department and other agencies have a very important equity as well.

I think it's important to recognize that, as we speak about our capability to defend our interests and those of our allies, it's -- we should never forget that those commitments are political commitments, fundamentally. And I think that after Istanbul, the U.S. will have over 50 treaty alliance commitments around the world, more than it has ever had, and it's fair to say that countries on many continents sleep better at night knowing that the United States is their treaty alliance partner. Those are profoundly political commitments; they are from the American people and the American government to other peoples and governments around the world. And so we pay a great deal of attention to the political dimension of the Global Defense Posture Review.

It's also the case that the State Department plays a role in national security relationships through assistance, security assistance funding, running the IMET program and the arms modernization funding, and we also have arms transfer authority, for it's delegated to the secretary of State. And so as we think about the future and the posturing of our forces both at home and abroad, the State Department and the policy community gives a great deal of thought of how all these pieces of national security and foreign policy fit together. So there's a broader vision even than assets and infrastructure and access relationships; it has to do with working together with our security partners programmatically year after year to build toward the best possible combined capabilities, working closely with partners.

I think the third point I would make, and then I'll stop, has to do with the process. There's been no argument inside this administration about the proposition that a lot of where we have forces around the world -- our relationships ... sort of froze in place a long time ago, ... [they] had a logic that was based on an earlier time technologically and an earlier time historically.

And so we've been working quite collegially to support Secretary Rumsfeld's initiative, in the first instance, for he deserves credit for bringing this forward, working with the Joint Chiefs and the combatant commands.

And in so doing, it's easy to focus on what's been there for a long time, and what changes. And I simply want to underscore that we pay a great deal of attention to what we will be in the future, and we may focus on some assets that may move at the end of the process from here to there.

But it's also important to know that it's a two-way proposition. This whole vision of Global Defense Posture and the 21st-century positioning of our and our allied and coalition partners' military capabilities is an investment in the future. It's an investment in the future military capability of ourselves and our partners, but it's also an investment in the political relationships which will be the bedrock of those capabilities that will lead to positive decisions; public opinion and parliaments around the world will support common security policies. And so it all fits together in that respect.

And where we are more specifically is that in both Asia and in Europe for many months now we've had a series of official visits, where both the "why" and the "wherefore" of this initiative have been discussed, have been briefed and have been, I think, quite well received, both in Europe and in Asia. And I say that with confidence.

And I think we're -- it's fair to say now we're in the process of the more detailed consultation, where, partner by partner, we are entering the realm of putting more specific notions on the table. After all, these are host countries. These are security partners. They have enormous equities. Their own security is tied up in these discussions.

And so we're now engaged in a very important conversation, which will inform our own deliberations here in Washington at some stage, when we have the input and we're satisfied that we have had -- that our friends and allies have had a full opportunity to address their perspectives with us. At that stage, I think we will be able to say that we have consulted, and then we can take the deliberative process to the next stage.

I think I'll stop there.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Let me just add one point, which is that this is a rigorous analytic effort that we've been working as an interagency team for about the last 18 months. And I'm here as the physical manifestation that we have been working it as an interagency team these last 18 months.

Q: If I might ask, I assume you're not here today to make any announcements on any further moves -- public announcements on further moves that you plan, like the ones you've made Korea, the proposal you put to the Koreans. Having said that, how close are you to making such announcement publicly in terms -- for instance, possible movement of troops out of Okinawa, or possible movement of troops out of Germany -- how close are you to some kind of public announcement on that?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: I think it's fair to say that from the administration's standpoint, there is a deliberative process going on. You've seen media stories that may reflect -- accurately or less accurately, I won't say -- discussions that are ongoing. And I think it's inevitable in the modern age that this is not all going to stay out of the media.

I know that the Pentagon is having important discussions with Congress as well about aspects that are of great interest to them, and we have with the State Department oversight committees. And so there will be a lot of things that come out, but we're not at the point of decisions. We're in a deliberative process. We are consulting, and that phase is ongoing. And until such time as we've done justice to our security partners in these discussions, it's not fair to say that we're at the point of decision.

Q: I understand that. But you've publicly said now that you plan to begin pulling troops out of Korea by the end of 2005, 12,500. Granted, that's still in a consultative process. Having said that, when might you announce or might you begin pulling troops out of, say, Germany, by the end of next year or next year? Do you see what I mean?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Yeah, it's a -- there's three different levels at which we're looking at this. We've made a lot of emphasis on what the capabilities are. And that's really where the discussions are right now: What are the capabilities that we need to have forward; what capabilities can we have the United States to be able to surge forward? Part of that discussion is exactly how will this -- as the BRAC [base reduction and closing] process unfolds, how does that couple in? These things are inextricably linked together, since the total global capability is going to be a function of what we have in the U.S. and how we can move that forward or near the U.S.

The next stage is, then, what is the usability of the forces? So there's much more than just what's going to be there, but in which sort of ways are we going to be able to use it. And that's a whole different series of consultations with host-nation governments on how we can use that.

And then finally, once we know what the capabilities are we want to have forward -- how usable they will be able to be, both within the theater or across the globe -- then we can get down to exactly what the specifics are, and the numbers. And as that unfolds, at some point in time, country by country we'll be ready to make announcements. But we're not to that point now; we are just in the beginning of the consultative process across a number of regions.

Q: I understand you only have -- we only have a limited amount of time. Was the announcement on Korea made because it involves a relatively small number of troops, and many of those will go to Iraq, so it wouldn't affect the BRAC process? Why was the announcement made on Korea?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: The announcement was made that -- I should let DOD answer.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Yes, what we said in Korea was -- is that we're going to take some of the troops there and to be able to use them in Iraq. Exactly -- it's not 100 percent certain that they would be coming back to Korea. There is a chance that they might come back to some other spot other than Korea when they come back, and that would all be intertwined with the global force posture.

Now as troops go to Iraq right now, they're nominally going for about a year's rotation, and so in that time frame, we would gain an understanding of exactly what the disposition of those troops would be. But as part of the consultation process with the Korean government, that is something that we did agree to mutually.

Q: As you try to look around the world at where it's advantageous to have troops, how do you figure in Iraq, since the end of it is unknown?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Yeah, I would say that Iraq specifically -- and exactly what the end game there is -- is a piece of the puzzle that has not totally been defined, because there are ongoing operations, and we'll just have to see how that evolves and what the security situation evolves there.

One thing I guess I'd like to mention: It seems like we're focusing on exactly where troops are. Some of the "tectonic" movements that are going on here [are]: We're moving away from forces that we garrisoned where we thought the fight was going to be, and moving to a position where we're developing a rotational force, which is what we call part of the "presence policy" -- awful lot of focus on what the footprint is, which deals with the facilities.

But the presence [is] exactly who's where when, and that is something that becomes rotational and quite dynamic. There's a surge capacity to that, where we can put a much larger percentage of the force out there at a given time and place, whether it be for deterrence or actually be for operations. There's a bigger piece in security cooperation: how we can build up capability in allies.

So I understand that where the interest is, from a press point of view, is exactly what the numbers are. We just think that's just the tip of the iceberg, and the real generation of capabilities are some of these other aspects.

Q: Is there any benefit anymore in forward basing? I mean, it sounds -- given the technology --


Q: -- the way that we have now we could --

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: There's a significant benefit in moving forward capability, and how you get that capability is a complex mixture of what the region is, what it might need to be used for, what your peacetime engagement policy is going to be, and then what possible conflict operations might involve.

A key part of a global force posture, though, is moving forward capability that we can deal with any crisis in a relatively short-term time frame and to be able to seize the initiative very rapidly. And that's -- one part of the policy is -- is in a much more compressed time scale, to be able to seize the initiative in any conflict. And that's why there's a lot of moving forward capability.

But there's been a tremendous number of lessons learned through Enduring Freedom, and Iraqi Freedom, and the global war on terrorism. We think collectively -- you're seeing up here principally people in suits, but this is -- the uniform services, and Joint Staff, and the combatant commanders are very, very tightly integrated into this. We feel we have a better way to approach these problems and we can move capability forward. But it looks like we don't need near[ly] the numbers that we have out there right now.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Let me add to that. In addition to the narrow military efficiency argument, there are lots of benefits to having American forces around the world. First and foremost, assuring our friends and deterring our adversaries, which continues to matter, and physical presence continues to matter as a piece of that.

Q: Do you need two full divisions to do that or --

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: I didn't say you needed two full divisions to do it. You asked a general question about its usability.

And second, training with the militaries that we fight as partners alongside. And a lot of that happens in the places where our forces are stationed.

(Cross talk.)

STAFF: Let me direct traffic here a second.

Tom, over to Esther and then to Pam. All right?

Q: This is for the State Department official. You said that proposals now are getting, quote, "more specific" now with the allies. Could you expand on that a little bit? That sounds like we're getting ready to, you know, in the poker game, really start to play here. Can you, again, expand on that? And given that, are we talking a year or two, three years down the road as opposed to --

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: When we first went out and briefed last year mainly, and into the early part of this year in Asia, but in Europe in December, the general briefing was a vision of the "why" and the "wherefore" of the whole thing. It was a historical overview. It showed a lot of lessons learned, as my colleague just mentioned. And it showed that we're in a different century now; things are different in the way military can bring capability to bear, and so that the asset and support base has changed.

We are now at the phase of being able to bring forward the notional ideas that we have, which in the first instance were the product of our combatant commands working with the Joint Staff and OSD [Office of the Secretary of Defense] to look at what makes the most sense, all other things being equal.

And so we have to have a more specific conversation, country by country, to be able to say these are the notional ideas that we have --

Q: For example?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Well, Country X -- (chuckles) -- Asset X, Y, Z, facilities. There may be places where you had dispersed facilities because you thought they'd be under attack in a major war, whereas now the threat of war has receded, so you have a lot of efficiencies to be gained by consolidation and technology hubs and things like that. There's a different logic. This is recognized.

But we need to go there and show more specifics that have to do with important assets, facilities, units, et cetera, and to have a discussion that's worthy of these relationships. We -- and so we are at the phase now of having specific discussions and soliciting feedback. And so --

Q: And what about with countries that you don't have any --

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Let me just add, if I can, to the point there on -- before we get the numbers, though, there's -- also the issue is, how often can we move forces in or out? How much can we change that mix of forces? What sort of training capability will we have? Our own training? With the host nation? Third-party nations?

So that all has to do with what the usability is, how much capability we're going to get -- not just for the forces we're putting there, but to be able to work with other forces. How much can we push forward a transformation capability with the nations there? So there's a lot of different dimensions to this, rather than just what the specific number's going to be.

Q: And one last thing. Are you being more specific with countries where you perhaps don't have a relationship now, and you'd like to have one? Is that --

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: We -- that is part of the process that we're in now -- to begin to engage in a conversation about prospective activities that we're --

Q: Lithuania? Bulgaria?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Well, I won't be specific, but you --

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: We're also talking to countries where we have no intention of having capabilities, but we don't want them to be surprised by a set of choices that are coming.

Q: Is China on that list? The "big gorilla?"

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: I have participated in discussions in Beijing.

Q: About your plans?


Q: Yeah. Obviously you don't want to be very specific right now about things that you may or may not be pulling out. I wonder if you might be able to give us a little bit more specificity about things you are bringing in.

In the Korean theater, the Pentagon has been quite specific about the $11 billion in enhancements that it's working on, on the Korean peninsula, and the capabilities that it is bringing into that theater -- bombers, unmanned aerial vehicles, advanced computer systems, et cetera. Can you tell us in places -- other places, like Europe, Germany, Japan, Okinawa -- where you may be bringing in capabilities to offset any possible changes?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: I think before you get -- the answer will come principally from DOD. But from a political perspective, I just want to recognize that we never forget that we're talking about host countries, we're talking about partners, and we're talking about activities on their sovereign territory, so we make no presumptions here.

We have ideas, and there's a very compelling logic to those ideas, which my colleagues will elaborate. But I don't want the impression to be given that we're overlooking the consultation process. It may be warmly welcomed to have greater combat capability and more relevant posturing, but I don't want to make any assumptions about any country. We're in the --

Q: Could you be specific about proposals or ideas for --

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Well no, we can't. We wouldn't be specific, even if we might be able to be because that is, again, a part of the evolving process.

The other thing is, is that there is a not a single way forward on this. We know what we want to end up with as the capabilities; there's a number of different options and ways to get that. And that's part of this process, this consultative process, is to try to determine, you know, which way will work the best both for us, for our current partners, and to be able to build up capability and capacity out there in the rest of the world, and to be able to successfully pursue the global war on terrorism.

So there's a number of different ways to pursue this, and we really won't know specifically what's going where or how we would do things until the pieces start to come together.

In general, in capabilities, though, you can just basically look at the lessons learned out of Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom is that speed is more important than mass; that the key -- if you have a discretionary set of resources to invest, you want to set that into netting the force, bring the force together, and then you get a holistic capability that's much better. Intelligence and the warning that intelligence gives you is very critical in capability. There's also some things that we want to do in building up capacity out there, both in the area of stability operations, where we can cooperate with allies and partners, and then also in the area of transformation and how we can have some of our friends out there profit from many of the lessons that we've learned. And then the other thing is the ability for precision.

And so those are the type of capabilities that we want to move forward. And there are some specific things we'll look for, and components of that capability in certain regions. But globally, since we can't predict where the next fight will be, we want to make sure that we have the ability to get that forward, and that's key to the strategy and it's also key to what we're looking to be able to do back here in the United States as we bring the forces back. And so a thing that's important to us is the BRAC process. Absent BRAC, we will not be able to bring back these forces and position them in the most optimum way to generate the most -- the greatest amount of capability. But the BRAC process provides us a window of opportunity, where we can couple this overseas footprint with the BRAC process and ... be able to make those moves for a global capability.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: One of the resounding things, by the way, we've heard from the allies is -- we've talked to them -- of the attributes you just heard discussed here is that they want to be very much part of that, and they, too, are changing their forces. And for them to stay linked and connected with the American military forces as we change and as they change is of fundamental interest. It's of interest to us and it's of interest to them. And part of laying out some proposals to them is for us to hear back their own ideas of how their own forces are changing, and what we can do in combination with them as we see having capabilities that are in forward areas that are relevant to the security challenges that we and they face and are appropriate, and that we do so in a way that we're moving forward together in the kind of changes that we entertain.

Q: Could you address specifically what your assumptions are for response time? Are you going with the Army's "96 hours to a conflict" -- having a division in -- I'm sorry -- maybe (a different theater ?) -- in conflict?

And could you speak to the issue of strategic lifts -- sealifts and airlifts? Are you anticipating increases in that as you make these plans, or are you going with what the current plan program is?

And could you also talk about pre-positioned equipment? How much of an increase -- do you see that coming down the pike?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: We won't go into what specific time frames are because that would be inappropriate. We are working, and the Joint Staff and the combatant commanders have come up with some goals on times to seize the initiative, times to bring a conflict to conclusion, and so that's part of the calculation of where we're going.

To your point on mobility and strategic lift, that's part of a mobility capability study that's ongoing, that was directed by the strategic planning guidance. That will be awhile, in the neighborhood of a year, before it reports out. We do expect that there will be some impact on that, because it will be a much more mobile force -- expeditionary, rotational. So we would think that lift would be quite critical, and especially as we shorten these timelines.

And your third question was on pre-positioning. And pre-positioning is part of the global force posture. It's part that we're starting to get into now as we look at how we want to couple in the capabilities and the operational requirements that we'll be going to, and so we not only will look at amounts and place of pre-positioning, but also how we do it and how we put it together, and are there things that we can do jointly that we used to do service-specific.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Let me just say one more thing on pre-positioning. I think it's very important in terms of the idea, and it captures in many ways some of the ideas that are behind the posture.

In the past, when we looked at pre-positioning and going back to the Cold War days, the origins of pre-positioning, we would look at those parts of the world where we thought specifically we knew where we were going to fight, and we would put assets there with the idea that we'd fall in on those assets and move very quickly to the point of where we thought the conflict would be.

One of the ideas that we have here is that now, because of some of this uncertainty, the pre-positioned assets are more likely and probably more appropriately placed along transportation routes. We don't know necessarily where all the places are we're going to fight. We do know there are advantages to having equipment and support -- both combat equipment and then support equipment in forward areas. There are great advantages to that. But because of some of that uncertainty, the real advantage comes from having it on a transportation route and not having it in a fixed place where you would fall in with the expectation that you would fight in that area.

Q: Are you talking about the edge of an airfield, for instance?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Could be on the edge of an airfield. Could be on -- along sea routes. So that whatever the appropriate pieces that you would need could be moved by theater transportation assets and moved to the area that you would need. So certainly if you look at combinations of rail, air and sea, those are the places where you'd think you would want to have your pre-positioned equipment.

STAFF: I'm afraid we've already gone beyond our time, but we will take one last one. And, Dale (sp), you're the winner of sorts.

Q: Oh, good. You mentioned that you don't have a timetable for completing this process. But given what you said about the connections to BRAC, aren't you locked in to trying to get this done by about this time next year because that's when the BRAC commission will be making its decision?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: I don't think we have to get it done. We have to understand what the gross numbers would be and the gross capabilities globally. One thing is, and we don't -- we're not involved in exactly how things would be laid out inside of the continental United States because of the -- and U.S. territory because that is part of the BRAC process, which the overseas folks are not privy to having any insight into. But we can give them what -- totally -- numbers would look like across the globe as we look at things, and then the planning can be based upon that. So it drives the consultation. It drives understanding, the pacing that we want to go. But we definitely do not need to come to completion of this prior to closure of BRAC.

Q: Can I --

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Yeah. Which is to say we do need to have decisions on what we're going to do, even if the --

Q: Right.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: -- if the implementation is going to be years in the making, we will -- to be able to provide BRAC with good, accurate information, we're going to have to come to those decisions, yes.

(Cross talk.)

Q: These specific discussions that you're talking about -- do they involve numbers or arrangements of U.S. forces, and then you will come back and publicly propose a number, as you did with Korea? Or was the 12,500 kind of discussed all along? In other words, these specific discussions you're talking about -- do those involve potential troop numbers?


SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Yeah, I think they will influence what's necessary for the BRAC process. I don't think the word "publicly" --

Q: (Off mike) -- discussions you say you're having with other countries -- do they involve potential specific troop numbers?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Let me start over. We are speaking in terms of places, facilities, potentially units, which, of course, leads you to numbers. I don't know that numbers are the most important aspect of the discussion, as I've seen it and as I've participated in it. But they do lead to general senses of numbers.

And in your question you used the word "publicly." I'm not sure that that's -- that's on the timeline somewhere, but before that point, there will be a Washington reckoning, a deliberative process, where we take account of everything we've heard from our allies, and we consider it, and we see if that -- how that plays into the worldwide plan. And at that point, I think, recommendations will go forward for a decision.

Then, of course, there will come a point where public announcements are appropriate.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: And I would just add this is also in partnership and full consultation with the Congress. And so as we move forward each step, there's an effort to go back to them and to make sure that this is a U.S. government position.

Q: Will that pretty much follow the Korea formula and, say, Germany? You will [say?] that you've publicly proposed to Germany that you -- that so many forces be removed and then you will --

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: I think it bears pointing out that in Korea and in Japan there have been ongoing processes, which arguably are more mature, insofar as they were engaged early on, on their own terms. And so the future of the alliance talks, the Japanese talks as well -- and so those are a little bit different than much of the rest of the process, which really began with the president's announcement last fall and began with the delegation visits, starting last -- at the end of last year.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: And I just want to fill in one last thing -- the question on numbers. When we've been interacting with our allies, one of the things we have said to them -- and this is in many parts of the world -- is that we think the right place to begin this discussion is on capabilities. Overwhelmingly, they have said they agree very much with that; that if we don't get the capability piece -- that is what is it that we think militarily we and our allies together need to do together -- if we don't get that right first, then we're almost surely going to get the numbers piece wrong.

So the discussion really has been on capabilities. And I think our allies have responded very well to that notion, that let's talk about what are the military capabilities that we should have forward in those areas, the capabilities that we think need to be able to be surged to those areas in response to different challenges; the capabilities they themselves are developing, and how this all forms part of a global security network. And let's be get -- let's be very clear about that, and then we'll come to the specific decisions about numbers that follow from that. But if we start in another place, the capabilities discussion will never happen. And I think the allies have responded very well to that.


STAFF: The last comment from our State Department official, and we will bring this to an end.

Q: [staff member's name], you didn't call on one Trade [publication].

STAFF: This will be the last question. Thank you.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Before you have the question, if I could just say that once we're done with that, in the mix, as foundations of all this, will be the traditional commitments of the United States -- the defense of Europe, the defense of Korea, the defense of Japan, and all of the security commitments which we have today. So the capabilities will reinforce and strengthen our commitments.

STAFF: I would never want to be accused of slighting a Trade [publication] in this room.

Q: Well, I'll make sure I remember that!

STAFF: Now, our officials have been very kind with their time, in fact, 15 minutes more than they had planned for this --

Q: I'll be brief.

STAFF: -- so a very brief question from a Trade.

Q: How do you plan to pay for this? You've got a procurement bow wave that's acknowledged. O&M is (flowing ?) with operations. Will this have to come out of hide of the State and DOD budgets, or will you get additional [budgeting] top line [funding]? You're going to be building new facilities, and what-not.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Yes. And we're building those numbers right now to try and understand exactly what the impact is, when it occurs, how it does relate to BRAC. Also, we're looking at both the cost and the savings associated with this. If numbers do come back, then there are some sizable savings associated with that. And so we are working that in, and we will do this as part of the defense program.

Q: (Off mike) --

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: It is true that the decisions will not be insensitive to cost.

Q: OK. But when you said yes, you meant yes, they will come out of hide in some way?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: They will be done within the defense program.

STAFF: Thank you all for attending today. That is the end of the briefing. By your interest I can tell that these sessions on a periodic basis would be useful to you, and we will continue that.

(end transcript)