|SLUG: 2-268769 U-S Ship Attack (L-O)||DATE:||NOTE NUMBER:|
TITLE= U-S SHIP ATTACK (L ONLY)
BYLINE= ALEX BELIDA
INTRO: Two retired senior military officers appointed by the Defense Department to study the bombing of the destroyer U-S-S Cole say they will look for possible lessons that can help prevent future attacks. More from V-O-A Pentagon Correspondent Alex Belida.
TEXT: Retired Army General William Crouch and retired Navy Admiral Harold Gehman say the explosive device that tore a hole in the side of the U-S-S Cole was a horrific weapon.
Meeting reporters at the Pentagon after a brief trip to the Yemeni harbor of Aden where they toured the damaged ship, the two men praise the crew for saving the destroyer, which they say was in danger of sinking following the attack.
But the two make clear they will not be investigating whether security lapses on board the Cole led to the deadly blast. Instead, General Crouch says their aim is to make recommendations about how to better protect U-S ships, aircraft and personnel as they travel around the globe.
Our intent is to review Defense Department policies and procedures in order to ensure that in-transit forces have a protective system that is effective. We have not reached any conclusions on anything thus far that we have seen.
///OPT/// Admiral Gehman outlines some of the specific areas that will be examined in the probe.
///OPT GEHMAN ACTUALITY///
Examples but not a complete list of the areas we will examine include intelligence support, logistics and contracting procedures, training preparations and force protection. We will look at policies, procedures, manpower, resources, and practices in all these areas.
///END ACTUALITY/// ///END OPT///
Admiral Gehman acknowledges the importance of speed in completing their report on lessons learned from the attack. But he say they also want to be thorough because they are dealing with life-and-death matters.
In addition to the Cole investigation being undertaken by the two former senior officers, there are two additional probes under way. The U-S Federal Bureau of Investigation is looking into details of exactly what happened in the attack on the ship and who was behind it. The U-S Navy is conducting its own internal investigation into the performance of the ship and its crew in connection with the blast.
Seventeen U-S sailors were killed in the October 12th blast, in which suspected suicide bombers pulled aside the Cole in a small boat and detonated an explosive device.
The Cole has now been loaded aboard a special heavy lift salvage vessel that is to carry it back to the United States for repairs. Pentagon officials citing security concerns have declined to give any details of the route it will take. (Signed)