News Briefings

DoD News Briefing

Thursday, July 13, 2000 - 1:30 p.m. EDT
Presenter: RADM Craig R. Quigley, DASD PA

Q: Admiral, three prominent Democratic senators today asked President Clinton to delay a decision on the national missile defense. I just wondered, how committed is the Pentagon to a 2005 deployment and what difference would it make if President Clinton leaves the decision to the next administration?

ADM. QUIGLEY: Well, the goal of having a system, a limited system, deployed by 2005 is responsive to the threat that we project to be in existence at that time. So that is the rationale for the 2005 time frame. President Clinton will take a look at the recommendation made by Secretary Cohen here in the next few weeks ahead and make his decision on the four criteria that have long been out there, David, as the ray points, if you will, to make his decision.

Q: Is there any possibility that Defense Secretary Cohen might simply say to the president, "Maybe we should wait until the next administration"?

ADM. QUIGLEY: I don't think Secretary Cohen has put any bounds on his recommendations that he'll make to the president. If he thinks it's relevant information that will help the president make that decision, I'm certain he would not hesitate to provide it.

Q: So it's not a simple yea or nay, up or down recommendation? It could have a variety of options or permutations?

ADM. QUIGLEY: There's very little simple about this, okay? It's a complex decision no matter how you look at it. The principal elements of his recommendation would be on the technical feasibility and the cost. But if he thinks, you know, kind of going back to David's question, if he thinks that there's an element there that would be useful to the president in helping him come to this decision, I'm sure he would not hesitate to provide that.

Q: Will there be technical analysis accompanying his recommendation? And would that be publicly available?

ADM. QUIGLEY: I don't think he's come to that decision as to the content, format, layout, if you will, of the recommendation that he'll provide to the president, nor has he come to the conclusion on the latter part of your question, on the public. He may choose to keep his recommendation between he and the president until the president chooses to release portions of it. Certainly there will be elements that will be classified that will never be publicly released. But there could be other elements that could be publicly released, that would be unclassified. I just don't think he's got to that point yet of determining what sort of an appearance and an organization and a package it will be to the president.

Q: He's still looking in the weeks ahead, as opposed to the months ahead?

ADM. QUIGLEY: Yes, sir. Yes, sir.

Q: On a related question, the Russians several weeks ago got an unusual briefing here on the plans for NMD. Would there be any consideration given to giving that same briefing to the Chinese?

ADM. QUIGLEY: I don't know. I'll take that question and see if that's -- now that was a discussion item between President Jiang Zemin and Secretary Cohen earlier today. I think Secretary Cohen's words that -- a good discussion, but he does not believe that the positions and the views between us and the Chinese have narrowed any on -- after that discussion. But I don't know the content, the format of the presentation, or if there indeed was one, Chris. I'm not sure. Let's see if -- what I can find out for you on that.


Q: New subject?