Civil-Military Affairs and U.S. Diplomacy: The Changing Roles of the Regional Commanders-In-ChiefWilliam J. Perry , Stanford University and former Secretary of Defense
Dana Priest, The Washington Post
Remarks to the Open Forum
May 1, 2001
Dr. Perry: Good morning. It is wonderful to be here with you today on this beautiful spring day in Washington. Iím going to start by talking about the traditional role of the military, which is fighting and winning wars and how it has evolved to include deterrence of war, and in the last decade, preventing wars.
So, I want to go through the evolution of how that has happened and how that evolution has created a requirement for new relationships within the military. The military organization structure has changed and it is continuing to undergo change. I think it is interesting and significant the new Secretary of Defense has talked about transformation in the Defense Department. But itís also brought about changes in the relationships between the military and the civilian leadership of the military. And Iíll comment about that later. And it has also required a new relationship between the State Department and the Defense Department. Iím going to talk a little bit about that. And, Iíll be happy to deal more with that in the questions to come from the floor.
Iím going to start this discussion off with a little bit of history, going back to World War II, because, World War II was not won as some people think, by U.S. technology, it was won by U.S. industrial might. That was the decisive factor in World War II. In fact, in general, the weapons the Germans and the Japanese had were superior to the weapons that the Americans were able to field. The difference was, we simply overwhelmed the Germans and Japanese with our industrial capacity.
Let me just give you a few numbers to make my point. This is a good trivia question to ask somebody. How many military aircraft did the United States build in the year 1944? This is the last, peak production year; there were how many military aircraft? You can guess at it. Youíll get the wrong answer very likely. The number is 100,000. We built 100,000 aircraft, military aircraft in 1944. One plant alone, the Willow Run Plant, was turning out B-24ís at the rate of 1 every 62 minutes. So this was an amazing, absolutely an amazing capability demonstrated by the United States. And this not only supplied the U.S. military, which had gone from 200,000 to 12,000,000 in just a few years, but we supplied the equipment for all of our allies as well.
Now, after the War, one of our allies in the War learned that lesson well. And, it was the Soviet Union. Stalin referred to World War II as the war of machines. And he vowed that the next war, the Soviet Union would win the war of machines. And, so, while the United States demobilized almost immediately when the War was over, the Soviet Union elected to build up. The consequence was that within just a few years, they were building three times as much military equipment as was the U.S. Defense Department.
Whether we are talking about airplanes or tanks or guns or ships, they were building about three times as many. Iíll come back to the significance of that. But that was an immediate consequence of the Second World War and a lesson that Stalin learned from the Second World War. In a sense, Stalin was committing the same mistake we accuse our generals of making, preparing to fight the last war. That was, basically, his strategy. He looked at the last war and learned a lesson, perhaps learned that lesson too well.
Now, in the meantime, recall that the war ended with the first use of a nuclear bomb. And, for years after the Second World War, about five years, the United States had a virtual monopoly on nuclear weapons. When President Eisenhower was considering a request to build up U.S. forces, he rejected that on the basis of the fact it would be very expensive, the public would not support the drafting of people that would be required, and, we didnít need it. We had a huge advantage in nuclear weapons. And so, for the first decade or two of the Cold War, we were depending on our nuclear edge, our nuclear advantage.
Now, the next important milestone in history occurred in about the mid-1970s. It was by the mid-70s, the Soviet Union had reached parity with the United States in nuclear weapons. In fact, some commentators in the United States claimed that they had superiority. And you may recall in the election of Reagan versus Carter, there was an allegation of a window of vulnerability. That was referring to the belief of some people that the Soviet Union actually had superiority in nuclear weapons.
Now, the fact is pretty clear that we were at parity at that time. But even at parity in nuclear weapons, we now started to look at this 3-to-1 disadvantage in conventional weapons, which President Eisenhower had been able to write-off by saying, well, we have this great nuclear advantage. But with a nuclear parity, and now a 3-to-1 disadvantage in conventional weapons, there was a concern that we might lose deterrence. That is, that the Soviet Union might calculate that with this great conventional superiority they had they could launch a conventional attack and that we would not respond with nuclear weapons because of the nuclear parity.
No one knows what was in their mind at that time. But at least, the point I want to make to you is the United States believed that might be in their mind, thatís why they were making this great build-up. And, therefore, we asked ourselves, what can we do about that?
In the mid-70s, Iíll take you back in history, now, Harold Brown was the Secretary of Defense at the time. I was serving my first tour in the Government. I was the Undersecretary of Defense for Research and Engineering. I was responsible for weapons development and production in the United States. And the first few weeks in the office, I met with Harold Brown and we said, what can we do about this problem? Well, we have to accept nuclear parity as the best we can do in the nuclear area. We are not going to have an advantage in nuclear weapons, therefore, we have to find some way to offset this tremendous advantage of conventional weapons that the Soviet Union has. And we concluded that the way to do it was to use Americaís technical superiority to offset the quantitative advantage that the Soviet forces may have had.
Now, I want to point out to you, that was the opposite strategy of World War II. In World War II we were using quantities to win. Now, we decided we were going to use our technical advantage, in particular, the information technologies were just beginning to emerge at that time. The application of computers and other information technologies, to weapon systems, and we decided to focus on that. We called this, by the way, since it was intended to offset the Sovietís numerical advantage, we called this the offset strategy.
The offset strategy had three components. The first component was to use modern information technology to design a very capable and sophisticated set of sensors, which would give our troops what was called battlefield awareness, the knowledge of everything that was going on everywhere in the battlefield in real time, as it happened. That required not only very modern and sophisticated sensors, but, data links to tie the sensors together with the commanders in the field. So, that was number one, getting battlefield awareness through the use of modern information technology.
Now, a second and related component was getting smart weapons, getting weapons that could hit the target directly on the first firing. Basically, between the smart sensors and the smart weapons, opposing forces had no place to hide. Recognizing the great advantage of that, we decided that we would like our own forces to have a place to hide so the third component of the strategy was stealth technology. Stealth technology was building airplanes and ships and tanks in such a way that they could not be seen by the enemy sensors.
So, those were the three components. The battlefield awareness through the sensors and communication systems, the smart weapons and the stealth technology, those three, together, made up what we called the offset strategy.
Now, in the meantime, Soviet Union was continuing to pursue what was, basically, Americanís World War II strategy, building lots and lots of weapons and having many, many people in the Armed forces. They had, we estimate, now, about 20% of the gross domestic product going to support the military for several decades during the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s. And finally, in the 1980s, a continuation of this enormous expenditure on military, plus an inefficient economic system to begin with, started to drive the country bankrupt. And so, by the time Gorbachev came into power in the mid-Ď80s, he recognized that their country was economically bankrupt. This had already begun in the Brezhnev era, but the leaders up until Gorbachev just refused to recognize or concede it. Gorbachev did and tried to change it.
Now, to his credit, he recognized it and tried to change it, but he was unable to. He was simply unable to fix the system. And the result of that was an implosion in the Soviet Union. The world was only lucky that this happened in a relatively bloodless fashion, but that did happen. The Soviet Union became dismembered. The Cold War ended.
And that took us into the next stage, then, where we now had this superior military that had been designed to deal with the Soviet Union, to offset the Soviet Union, and we no longer had an enemy in the Soviet Union. Just about the time that happened, Desert Storm occurred. And all of this sophisticated technology that we had designed to deal with the Red Army and a blitzkrieg in Europe was sent over to deal with Saddam Hussein in Desert Storm. And the results are legendary.
Nobody, I think, really predicted or expected that this technology would have such a decisive advantage in the battlefield. But we were facing, to remind you, an Army of 500,000 men, equipped with relatively modern Soviet weapons, and reasonably well-trained. And that entire Army was routed in four or five days with remarkably few casualties to the U.S. forces. So, whatever debate had been going on up to that point about the advantages of this offset strategy, it evaporated after Desert Storm.
Now, with that result, we now saw that we were in the position of having a dominant military force in the world. But we didnít have a clear opponent in the world. And so the whole concept of redoing our military strategy became front and center. Iím not going to discuss that in great detail with you this morning, but let me just give you the basic outlines of our thinking on this strategy.
In this new era, we believed that we were facing three different kinds of situations. In my book, Preventive Defense, we refer to these as the Type A, Type B and Type C threats. The Type A threat is that a cold war would re-emerge and we would, again, be faced with an enemy, a formidable enemy of the size of the Soviet Union, the capability of the Soviet Union, with a prospect of a global war.
So, for the Type A threat, which, does not exist at this time, a principal component of U.S. security strategy is to prevent that Type A threat from re-emerging. This is where the word preventive defense comes from. That is the lowest probability of the threats that we faced, but it would be the highest order of disaster if it happened. So our argument then, and my argument still today, is that preventive defense ought to be at the top of our priorities of things that we do, everything we reasonably can do to prevent a cold war from re-emerging.
The two obvious candidates for re-emergence are Russia today and China. And no one, no one should reconcile themselves to Russia or China becoming enemies. That would be a disastrous outcome both for them and for us. But my position is that we have to work hard at it, both diplomatically and with our defense establishment, to minimize the chance that that can happen.
Let me just give you one very brief scenario in which we could find ourselves engaged in a cold war again. Weíve seen, recently, the Hainan Island incident. That incident appears as if it is going to be satisfactorily resolved. And that is my expectation. But sometime in the not distant future, the United States is going to begin flying airborne surveillance again off China. I predict that with complete confidence. We are going to begin flying those surveillance missions again.
Now, the question that the Chinese Government are going to have to face at that time is, when they send airplanes up to inspect our surveillance aircraft, will they do it at a safe distance, or will they again resort to buzzing our airplanes? If they take the latter alternative, and let us hope that they donít, then I believe we will feel obliged to provide escorts for those airplanes. What Iím just describing to you is a possible evolution, which, if it happened, would be dangerous. Having one fighter airplane buzz a surveillance aircraft and another fighter airplane protecting that aircraft, thatís a situation which can lead to shooting. And from this could evolve a situation, which could be dangerous for both countries and could restart a cold war.
We need to pay attention to those possibilities. We need to think about them. We need to prevent them from happening. It is one thing to deal with crises after they happen, it is much better if you can find ways of creating situations, which prevent the likelihood of those crises occurring.
Now, in addition to the Type A scenarios, we continue to have Type B. Type B is a threat of a regional conflict. The usual suspects in the regional conflict would have been North Korea and Iraq. During the time I was Secretary of Defense, we had a crisis with North Korea. We had a crisis with Iraq, either one of which could have ended in a war. In both cases, we were preparing to send, literally, tens and tens of thousands of troops to South Korea or to Iraq in anticipation of the crisis resulting in a military confrontation. So in my experience as a Secretary, these Type B threats were not academic, they were very, very real.
In June 1994, we were very, very close, I think, to a military confrontation with North Korea, much closer than most people realize. I was, literally, in the Cabinet Room with the President, briefing him on a plan to send another 50,000 troops over to Korea and to evacuate all non-essential civilians in South Korea, when we were interrupted by a telephone call from Pyongyang, from President Carter, saying that Kim Il Sung was ready to talk seriously, about closing down his nuclear reactor. Iíll be happy to go into that discussion in more detail with you. The point I want to make now is that we were quite close to military confrontation, which, happily, was resolved not by war, but by a diplomatic agreement known as the agreed framework.
In October of that same year, our intelligence systems detected several armor divisions of Iraqi troops moving in the Baghdad area down to the border of Kuwait in, pretty much, the same pattern they had moved right before they invaded Kuwait. We took this pretty seriously. The first thought was, I canít believe this. I mean, hasnít he learned anything, but, there they were. The division was actually moving down.
So I requested that the President give me the authority, which he did, to begin the immediate deployment of about 100,000 U.S. troops to Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. So that if, a war started, we would have our troops on the ground ready to go, at the beginning. But, more importantly, believing that the announcement of what we were going to do would be sufficient to deter, which is, in fact, what happened. Weíll never know, I guess, what Saddam Husseinís intentions were in sending those divisions down there. But the fact was that after we had announced what we were doing and actually had sent some of those troops over there, he backed off and sent them back to the barracks again.
So the Type B threats are threats of a major regional contingency. They seemed very real to me then, they still seem very real to me today. Our principal task is to deter those events from becoming a war. And if the war occurs, to win quickly, decisively and with minimal casualties, as we did in Desert Storm.
I think it is fair to say that what I call dealing with the Type A threats, shaping the environment, the preventive defense aspect, is, in some sense, the highest priority. But it takes a relatively small part of a budget. The bulk of the Defense budget is dedicated to dealing with the Type B threats. All of the money we spend on designing, preparing and training, equipping and training our forces today, is done with a Type B threat in mind. So it probably occupies 80% of the Defense budget.
I can report to you that our forces are still quite capable of performing that task. There is not any regional threat in the world that we can envision today that we could not deal with. The one principal concern that we have is that this very superiority, this dominance of military capability, has caused the regional powersto recognize our dominance, but they are not reconciled to it.
So what can they do about it? One clear alternative is to try to evade our capability through weapons of mass destruction. And so an unintended, an unfortunate consequence of the U.S. dominance and conventional military capability is that it has provided an impetus in some of these countries to move towards weapons of mass destruction.
And so today, one of the principal threats to the United States is in the emergence of weapons of mass destruction, the nuclear weapons, biological weapons, to a lesser extent, chemical weapons, and the means to deliver them of which ballistic missiles is the most obvious.
Now, given that threat, then, which our conventional forces donít have any clear way of dealing with, we now have to explore ways of expanding our defense capabilities to deal with those kind of threats. You will hear the President give a speech today about one such way of dealing with those threats, which is national missile defenses. And he will, Iím sure, express the view, first of all, that the threat is emerging partly for the reasons Iíve described to you, and that the way to deal with this threat is by building a defensive system, a national missile defense system for it.
I donít plan to discuss today with you, at any length, national missile defense systems, except to say, I came out on the skeptical side of national missile defense systems. And I will be, probably, on the skeptical side of the debate, which will ensue in this country in the months ahead on national missile defense systems. Iíll be happy to take that issue up more with you during the question period.
The last threat, Iíve talked about an A threat and a B threat, the last one is the C threat. And that one is harder to define, but it has really involved our military to a pretty substantial extent in the last 10 years. And thatís the threat that comes through disorders in the world, usually manifested in the military way by sending peacekeeping forces to deal with those.
During the time I was Secretary, although we spent a good bit of our energies preparing to fight regional wars, in fact, the deployment of our forces were almost entirely dealing with these Type C threats. We sent them to Haiti; we send them to Bosnia; more recently, theyíve been sent to Kosovo. And there is a substantial debate, today, there was a substantial debate during the presidential campaign, as to whether this is an appropriate way to use U.S. military forces.
Now, the theory of using our forces this way is that if we intervene successfully in a place like Bosnia, we can keep that from turning into a wider war, a wider Balkan war, a wider European war, which might eventually involve us in a regional conflict. And therefore, it is a good investment to be involved in peace enforcement operations early on, as a way of minimizing the chance of having to fight a regional war later on. I subscribe to that view myself. I was a strong supporter in sending our forces into Bosnia under the right conditions.
There was substantial debate then as to what the right conditions were. And we finally settled on two basic issues. The first is that there would be a peace agreement to enforce, and that was finally reached at Dayton, in the Dayton Agreement. And secondly, that we could win, as part of a NATO operation, and with a substantial military force which would intimidate anybody that would think twice about interfering with it. And, indeed, we did just that.
Now, if you take your memory back to that period, itís easy for me to remember that because I was testifying to Congress about that operation many times before we sent our forcesin. And I was reading, in the media, and I was also hearing on the floor of the Congress, that if we sent our troops into Bosnia, thousands of body bags would be coming back. I never believed that at the time, but we had to take it seriously. And the way we took it seriously was by sending in a force that was so powerful and so strong, we believed nobody would even think about engaging it.
Now, I want to give you one sequel to the Bosnia story because it relates to a more general point Iím going to make. When we sent the First Armored Division from Germany into Bosnia, they were there for one year. At the end of the year they returned to Germany to their training base. And I went to Germany and pinned some medals on the soldiers who had been in that operation.
And I was talking with General Nash, who is the commanding, Division Commander. And he made two points to me about that operation. The first was that in the year they were in Bosnia, they had fewer casualties of all kinds than they had had the preceding year at the training base in Germany. That's just a fact, for whatever it may be worth. Living in Germany and driving on the Autobahn is more dangerous than being in Bosnia. It had something to do, I think, with how strong our force was when it went in there. And it had to do with the rules of engagement, which we specified for our forces.
I asked him how soon, if I had to commit the First Division, to a real war, a fighting war, how soon could it be ready to do that? He said, about two weeks. He said, I want to do some brushing up on my gunnery training, sending my tanks out to the gunnery range, and so on. He said, the kind of training we were doing every day, the patrols we were going on in Bosnia, was quite relevant to most everything we would be doing in a war, except for the actual firing. So, he said, I need two weeks to get my gunnery up to snuff and I will be ready to go on a war fighting mission.
So that evaluation, then, has to do with the relation between the Type B and Type C type activities. If we believe that the main purpose of the military is to prepare for regional conflict, and we further believe that the sending them to places like Bosnia and Haiti detract, makes them unready or unable to do that, then that is detracting from it. General Nashís view, and a view which I myself hold, is that that is not the case. This is as good a training for them as staying in their training range in Germany would have been, maybe even better in some respects. So I do not see that as a detraction.
So today, then, we have these three missions, Type A, Type B, Type C. Type A we are doing, pretty much, at a relatively low level, but not an insignificant level. Out of the Defense Department budget alone we spend a few billion dollars a year on Type A. And if you think of that in terms of State Department budgets for diplomatic activities, thatís a pretty sizable chunk.
Let me describe just what one big chunk of that was doing, thatís something called the Nunn-Lugar Program, the Defense Department calls it the Comprehensive Threat Reduction Program. On that one program alone, during the period I was Secretary, we spent $400M a year helping the Russians dismantle their nuclear weapons. Thatís not counting what we spent dismantling our own. But we spent $400M a year helping the Russians. And during that four-year period, we dismantled 4,000 nuclear weapons, each of which had been aimed at United States targets prior to that point. Thatís pretty good investment in defense. In some ways, it is better than shooting down the missiles.
The second thing that we did was, actually, destroyed about 800 launchers. And, perhaps, most significantly of all, we got three countries that had been nuclear powers to become non-nuclear powers. That was Ukraine, Kyrgyzstan, and Belarus. Ukraine, in particular, had been the third largest nuclear power in the world in 1994. And today, it is a non-nuclear power. They had more than 2,000 nuclear weapons. They voluntarily have given them up. But it was a program which the State Department made the key agreement, which was called the Three-Party; it was a three-party agreement between the United States, Ukraine, and Russia, by which they agreed to give up those weapons, and the Defense Department put up the resources for actually helping them do the dismantling of the weapons. So we spend a small amount of our resources in defense for this Type A, but a very important part of it.
The Type B is the bulk of our resources. And that goes for maintaining this U.S. military as the dominant military force in the world. The biggest threat to that, today, is the introduction of weapons of mass destruction and the question of how we deal with the weapons of mass destruction. And then a smaller amount goes to the effort we put in peacekeeping forces. My basic message to you in the peacekeeping forces is that, thatís not necessarily a distraction from preparing for regional conflict as has been alleged.
Now, what does this do about the relationships within the military, how those relationships evolve, how theyíve changed to deal with this different environment in which we live? Back in the Ď80s, there was landmark legislation passed called the Goldwater-Nichols Bill. And if you have any interest at all in military organization, this is a must read for you. Itís the most significant change thatís been made in military organization since President Truman created a Defense Department back in 1947. But, basically, Goldwater-Nichols created a command structure, which went from the President, to the Secretary of Defense, to the commanders in the field.
And so we have, in the case of, letís take Bosnia for example, the command structure there was: the President authorized the force to be sent to Bosnia. I actually signed the orders, which dispatched the troops to Bosnia. And then I was responsible to directly oversee our European commander. He has a wonderful title, by the way, I wish I could get a title like SACEURthe Supreme Allied Commander in Europe.
Now, wouldnít you like to have a title like that, Supreme Allied Commander? So it went from the Secretary to SACEUR, Supreme Allied Commander, to General Nash, very streamlined command. General Nash had under him, and responsible to him, all of the forces he needed to do his job. Now, as it turned out, in our operation in Bosnia they were mostly Army. But the SACEUR, General Joulwan, was responsible for Army, Navy, Air Force, the whole bit. They were all under his command. So what do the services do in this? Under Goldwater-Nichols, the services are responsible for training and equipping the forces. They do that in the United States, but when we get ready to get in a real war or a real peacekeeping operation, they are, those forces are sent over to General Joulwan or to Admiral Prueher, whoever the appropriate CINC is, the Commander in Chief in the field, is.
So Goldwater-Nichols structured our forces in a way which, first of all, allowed them to conduct integrated operations among services and, secondly, facilitated the conduct of combined operations with nations of other countries, or with forces of other nations, because, in most of these operations we envision today, think of Desert Storm, think of Bosnia, thatís coalition, itís a coalition operation. The U.S. may be the dominant force in the coalition, but itís still a coalition operation.
The principal, then, the first point, then, is that the military has restructured itself, restructured its command link, to deal with this new world. And the best description of how that is done is Goldwater-Nichols. And Iím reporting to you that Goldwater-Nichols works. Weíve used it in practice, and it made an enormous difference in how effectively our forces are able to operate and the confidence of command of these forces that we are able to have.
The second important change here has been in the civil military, civilian military relationship. During World War II, basically the military ran the military operations. During the Cold War, itís a pretty fair approximation to say that civilians ran the military operations...
Nuclear weapons and the planning for and the concept of what was to be done, it was, pretty much, done by civilians, Secretary of Defense and the think tanks, which he had created.
Now, in this post Cold War era, itís not so simple. It requires a very strong partnership between the civilian and the military. And during the period I was Secretary of Defense, I found that the relationship I had, on the one hand, with the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, on the other hand, with the CINCs in the field, had to be very intimate, very close. And I donít know how I could have done my job without that, and to a certain extent, you might say thatís always been true. But I think it is much more true today than it was during the Cold War and certainly than it was during World War II. And it stems from the fact that the kind of problems we are dealing with today are very different.
Iíll give you just one simple-minded example. When the Chinese, in March of í96, fired a couple of missiles off the shores of Taiwan, about 10, 20 miles from Taiwan, we considered that this was a dangerous situation. That it was, in effect, a violation of what we thought was an understanding we had with the Chinese.
The understanding that was part of a one China policy was that we would agree to one China, they would agree not to try to implement one China by the use of military force. And we thought this was getting very close to going over the line of the use of military force to implement one China. They were trying to influence, in this case, the elections for a new president in Taiwan.
So we decided to send two carrier battle groups to Taiwan. We believed that a diplomatic message would not be strong enough. Our position on China, and on Taiwan is ambiguous, deliberately ambiguous. In this case, it seemed like the ambiguity was ill-serving us. And the sending of another diplomatic message would not clarify it sufficiently. So we sent two carrier battle groups. We thought that clarified that we were really serious about the situation.
So in the course of preparing for that, in the course of making that decision, this is what I recommended to the President just a few hours after the missile firings. But before I did that, I had about a two or three hour conversation with the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Shalikashvili. We had to weigh, back and forth, the details of this alternative. Are you going to send them to Taiwan vicinity? Are you going to send them to through the Straits? Are you going to send them up to where the Chinese Navy is maneuvering? Are you going to dock them in Taiwan?
There are a host of critical, important questions to be resolved. And also, where the hell do the carriers come from? We donít keep two carriers in the Pacific, ordinarily. And they are not, I mean, you just snap your fingers, but itís not just carriers, itís carrier battle groups. We are talking about a whole fleet.
So in a situation like that, it took an intimate relationship between the military aspects of that operation and the diplomatic aspects that we were trying to effect. We had the Secretary of State in the middle of this discussion. And when we finally came to an agreement about what to do, it turned out that the meeting with the President lasted only 5 or 10 minutes because we had a plan, which we were confident of, he liked, and we just went ahead and did it.
That gets me to the last point, which is, in this new world, a close working relationship is required between the Department of Defense and Department of State. To a certain extent, thatís always true, but I can tell you itís not always been true. In fact, I can recall times in fairly recent history when the Secretary of Defense and Secretary of State were not speaking to each other, which is not what I would call a close working relationship.
So during the Cold War, perhaps you could get away with that. The policies were set, and it was just a matter of continuing implementation of them. But during the period we are going through now, our policies are still undergoing evolution, and they require an interaction between what the military capability is and what the diplomatic needs are.
And so, in particular, in what has been an important, a very important role of the military in the last ten years, is what might be called coercive diplomacy. Coercive diplomacy is not something the military can do by itself. Itís not something the State Department can do by itself. It is something in which a coordinated action plan has to be put together with the State here and the Defense here. That means the two secretaries have to be working closely together. And, not only that, their subordinates have to also be working closely together.
I say again that in history that has not always happened. Very often, the two departments have been in an antagonistic position to each other. In history, we have been able to get away with that happening. We cannot get away with that happening in the world we are living today. These two departments have to work closely together.
I want to sum up, then, my positions about, this new world. Preventive defense should havea very high priority. Even though it involves resources that, clearly, have to be done hand in glove between Defense and the Secretary of State, preventive defense and preventive diplomacy are just two sides of the same coin.
In the Type B, dealing with major regional conflicts, this is, primarily, a military activity, except we are not just interested in fighting and winning those wars, we are interested in deterring them. And the deterrence of major, regional conflicts requires close partnership between Defense and State. And finally, in these Type C peace enforcement operations, this is an area, primarily, in the State Department, where the military is playing a supporting role.
And in all of these, then, it is imperative; that the State and Defense Department work closely together. And in all of them, there is an imperative within the Defense Department that the civilian leadership works closely with the military leadership. Legislation can help. And Goldwater-Nichols has been an important, very important ingredient to make this happen. But it also requires leadership. And it requires the leaders understanding the importance of the integration of the civilian and military leadership and integration of the leadership in State and Defense.
Iím going to pause at this point and see if I can take some questions from you.
Alan Lang: Dr. Perry, on behalf of the Open Forum, Iíd like to thank you for that thoughtful and timely presentation... Please give him a warm round of applause. (Applause)
Before we open the floor to your comments and questions, as a courtesy to your panel, please be sure to identify yourself, state your organizational affiliation before closing your question. I would like to begin this segment with observations by the series moderator. Before we hear from Ms. Dana Priest, Iíd like to just say a few words about her. She is the Military Affairs Correspondent for The Washington Post and guest scholar at the U.S. Institute of Peace. A Post reporter for 15 years, she began as an Assistant Foreign Editor, worked on the Metropolitan staff and covered regulatory issues and the White House healthcare initiative. For the past six years, she has written about the U.S. military. With that, Iíd like to ask that we give her a warm round of applause, Dana Priest.
Dana Priest: Thank you. I started on the defense beat, and Secretary Perry was the Secretary, at the time, in office. So, whenever I see him, my urge is to ask questions, so, Iím going to get to my questions quickly. I just have to say, though, that heís really an anomaly of a certain sort. Whenever reporters had worked hard to understand something, then they would come to him and he would be accessible and he would spend time and he would discuss things. And he was so polite, if you thought your question was off the wall or he couldnít understand it, he would just, stop, and you could see the wheels turning, and he would say, can you ask that some other way -- the ultimate diplomat?
I wanted to hone in on the large terrain that he covered, talk about Type A and Type C, because, I think, Type B is fairly well agreed upon how we proceed in that area. And I also wanted to, briefly, just do a little, shorter history of my own which is, in the fall of 1989, there was this inner working group that was set up here at the State Department to deal with the coming crisis or the fall of the Berlin Wall.
And it was in large measure to promote engagement between the militaries. And a parallel structure was established in the Joint Staff and the J5 Staff by December of í91 to do that also. And, I have a quote from then General Colin Powell on December 16th at a staff meeting where he described his vision for this thing that later became a much larger peacetime engagement program. And at that time it was called contact teams.
And his idea was to take 50 U.S. military officers on six month rotations and put them in each country and help the countries of the Central and European countries to restructure their militaries. To de-nuclearize in some areas and to increase their contacts with the U.S. military in hopes that they would learn things about spilling control of the military and other things that are well entrenched in our bureaucracy.
That was also the birth, I think, of the expanded role of the CINCís. And at that time, along came Secretary Perry, who, I think, went, took that idea a step further and embedded the concept of the shaping mission and of peacetime engagement in the national military strategy. And he was the forefront in his own activism on that, with the partnership for peace program, bringing together the Latin American, the Chiefs of Defense of Latin America, for the first time and many other efforts.
It was at that time, as well, that the State, that the CINCís budgets began to increase, that the CINCís began travelling more to their theaters. That they, they said to themselves, you know, we need to do a better job at this so weíll create these academic centers, which they each had modeled after the Marshal Center. After Desert Storm, they were given a lot more intelligence support and they used that not only for the Type C missions that he was describing, but, also, in some respects, for preventative defense. And at that same time, is also when you saw a decline in the State Department budget and public support for the State Department, I believe.
The CINCís, as they expanded their role, it became also a bedeviling one for them, so some degree. And the four CINCs that Iíve traveled with last year, Admiral Blair and Generals Clark, Wilhelm and Zinni all talked about their struggle to come to grips in a better fashion with peacetime engagement. They felt like they lurched from crisis to crisis too much, that an overall strategy for what they should be doing in their particular theaters wasnít clear enough. And that they had been given the mission, but, not necessarily the resources, since their primary role as the joint war fighter was still to prepare for, to be able to fight two regional wars nearly simultaneously which, in their mind, did not leave enough room for humanitarian missions, for military-to-military training and peacekeeping.
Parenthesis here on national missile defense, all the CINCs that I interviewed supported it to varying degrees, and, a couple of them, fairly weakly. But they were unanimous in their concern that the development of an expensive national missile defense program would take funds away from programs that they valued and they thought were useful at the moment. And, peacetime engagement was among those. And they all fretted about the tradeoffs that they would be asked to make.
So, Iím going to have to question already. And I would begin my question, where you left off with some of the more difficult, the historical examples that you gave of post World War I draw down, the 1970ís buildup, Desert Storm, all came with a, more or less, with political and popular consensus. I still think we are struggling as a country to come to a consensus on what we, how much we want to support Type A and Type C engagements.
And my favorite example, unfortunately, continues to be the Balkans, where, Secretary Perry had to go up on the Hill many times and make the argument for Balkans appointment. I want to say that the consensus is not just not there among the public, but it is not there among the military either. And they continued to pull their hair out and to debate on these sorts of deployments as well.
So my question that Iíd like you to start out with is, do you see us getting any closer to a consensus on those non-high intensity engagements? And, whatís the best argument that you can make at this time, having now, eight years since we entered the Balkans, I use that only as an example of a deployment that still lacks consensus in many regards, but, the best argument to make that that is the direction that we should go in and not make some drastic alteration in that?
Dr. Perry: If we take the Balkans as an example, Dana, we can see that the military operations there have been successful. They accomplished what they set out to do. The fighting has stopped. The killing has stopped. But, on the other hand, we are a long, we are far away from having a real peace and stability in the region. And I think that is because the civil aspect of that operation is so much harder to do in the first place. And secondly, we donít train properly to do it.
When we went in to do the military operation in Bosnia, we sent in a NATO force which had trained and operated and operated together for decades to do this kind of a job, or to do a job similar to what they were doing there. When we sent in the civil team to do all of the things involved in helping the country get back to a semblance of stability again, it was a pick-up team. It was a pick-up from different agencies of the U.S. Government, from different Governments in Europe. None of them had worked together, none of them trained together, and they were not funded adequately.
And I think that pattern has been evident in all of the peacekeeping operations which I have observed. Thatís true in Haiti, thatís true in Bosnia, and thatís true in Kosovo today. So if we are going to continue, if we are going to have public support and congressional support for the Type C operations, I think we have to demonstrate more than military success. We have to demonstrate that we can actually achieve the stability that they are supposed to set out to achieve. And thatís going to require more resources, more support, and better organization for the civil part of the effort.
Whether that should be organized within the U.N. or within NATO I donít know, but it is more than the U.S., itís a multi-national need, to have that done. Thatís been a very serious deficiency, I think, in everything Iíve seen so far. Not because the people who went in to do that werenít able and werenít dedicated, it is because they werenít organized and funded.
Dana Priest: So, as people come to the microphone to ask you questions, I have a follow-up.
Dr. Perry: Sure.
Dana Priest: Which has to do with your final remarks about the need for civilian military communications. Is there better communications and close communications, do you think that, can you offer suggestions on ways that the Defense Department and the State Department can take their existing bureaucracies and make them work better? Not, and not rely on the personalities and willingness of just the top level to communicate well, but is there something, institutionally, that those two departments should be doing that they are not doing now to ensure that the lines of communication and authority are smoother and more consistent?
Dr. Perry: There is no substitute from leadership at the top setting this, setting the tone that this is the way we operate. We operate together. But there are institutional mechanisms that we can use that either reinforce their message or operate in the face of, in the absence of that message. One of the things that has been very useful in that regard are the various institutions that we have created as part of our preventive defense mechanism.
You mentioned the Marshall Center; there are actually now four different centers like that throughout the world where we design to train militaries of other nations and how our military operates in a democracy. And the Partnership for Peace is a primary example of where militaries, from all over Europe, train, and practice together, peace enforcement operations. But these institutions, they are fundamentally Defense and State combined. The Partnership for Peace was a joint U.S. Defense, State Defense operation. It was created that way and it runs that way. So the more institutions we have that require our State and Defense to work together, the more likely we are to have success in that area. We have always provided military liaison to the State Department. And nearly every Secretary of State has gone out of his way to make good use of that military liaison. Thatís a very useful step in that direction. But you can list all of those things, Dana, it still comes down to the fact that setting the tone from the top is important.
Question: Iím an attorney at Arnold & Porter in the public policy group. And, I wrote a book on the Goldwater-Nichols Act that came out about a year ago. I appreciate your very articulate remarks about defense policy and the commentary that followed it. Just a quick question for the Secretary and also for Ms. Priest. Thereís been some talk on, concerning a Goldwater-Nichols II, a legislation to follow the original Goldwater-Nichols Act. Iím wondering, first of all, if you think such a legislation is desirable? And, if so, what would be the subject of that legislation? And, also, whether you found any resistance to the original Goldwater-Nichols Act, the implementation of the Act, when you were the Secretary? And also, Ms. Priest, if you have any comments on that? Thank you.
Dr. Perry: I donít have any problems that I think, I cannot identify any problems, which further legislation would solve in that regard. So, I donít, myself, look for a Goldwater II legislation. Having said that, I want to emphasize, again, how important I think the Goldwater, the original legislation was. It was, I was not in the Defense Department at the time, but I have been told it was resisted mightily by most levels in the Defense Department.
By the time I was the Secretary, the Chairman and the Chiefs who were then in office, were strongly in support of it, and both General Powell and General Shalikashvili were strong believers in it and worked hard to make it pass. Iíll tell you, those two chairmen, more than any other chairmen, created the success of Goldwater-Nichols. I do believe there was resistance prior to their time.
Question: Iím an export control consultant. I had the pleasure of working with you on that subject when I was in the State Department. In the early Ď80s we sold considerable military hardware to China. And, of course, when the Cold War ended and Tiananmen Square came along, all of that stopped. Now, anything that is remotely military is denied. During the recent incident on Hainan Island, the PLA did not play a particularly helpful role. They seemed to regard us as the enemy. In the Chinese perception, perhaps, the U.S. looks at China as an enemy. Do you see any possibility of a modest adjustment in our export controls that would help in your Type A scenario?
Dr. Perry: We have, we do not, now, have not for many years, sold military equipment and military technology to China, nor should we, in my judgment. Now, the whole question of controls of civilian products, commercial products is a big, complex issue and I almost hate to get into it.
But let me give you my fundamental view on that, is that the technologies that are the most, the civilian technologies that are the most important to our military, which are information technologies, basically, come from a global information technology industry. I donít know, even if it were desirable to control them, I donít know any way of doing that. So I think observing that a laptop can be usefully employed in military is quite correct. Going from there to saying, therefore, we should try to stop the sale of laptops to countries that we are concerned about is a huge leap.
And basically, even if it were desirable, I donít think it is a cheap one. So Iím, count me as a skeptic on the ability to implement meaningful export controls on items that are widely used commercially, either they can get it, go into stores, anywhere in our country or in Japan or in Germany, Britain, and buy. And given that belief, I am very skeptical about creating export control laws which try to do what canít be done. It not only sets up a lot of otherwise capable people for failure, but it detracts attention from places where we ought to be paying more attention, which is the control of pure military technology. And, in particular, the control of technology that has to do with weapons of mass destruction.
Question: Mr. Perry, can there be a genuine partnership between the State Department, the Defense Department when the resource is available to each under the 050 budget for the military and the 150 budget for the diplomatic efforts are so different? And when you flip such a lopsided coin, isnít it always going to be weighted towards the military policies instead of the diplomatic ones?
Dr. Perry: Yes, I think there can and should be a genuine partnership. Part of the partnership, when, the last year or so I was the Secretary, I actually testified to the Congress that the State Department budget ought to be increased in that area. That the failure to give the State Department a budget was hampering our joint efforts in trying to accomplish our missions, and that to many, in many respects, that was more important to me than getting the Defense Department budget increased. I must say, that testimony did not have much, the desired effect.
Question: From the Political Military Bureau, another legislative question, sir. The National Security Act of 1947 was created to organize our Government to deal with the Cold War threat. It is now 50+ years later. We have a new international security environment. Do you see any utility in an amendment or revision of the National Security Act? And, specifically, one which would designate the Department of State as a national security agency so that we might enhance our funding prospects from Congress?
Dr. Perry: I think, conceptually, it is certainly time to reconsider the National Security Act, itís been more than 50 years, as you pointed out. I havenít, to be honest with you, I havenít given it sufficient thought to what such a new law would consist of that I feel competent to make an intelligent comment on it, on what the detail of it should be.
Question: Iím an attorney. I just wondered, in your outline, where does the war on drugs fit in to this A, B, C? Or is it there? Or should it be in the military at all?
Dr. Perry: It did not fit into it. And, no, I donít think the military has an important role they can play because I believe that, fundamentally, shooting down airplanes carrying drug runners is a, kind of a, losing battle when the demand is so great for drugs. This is a big, complex question, and we ought to have General McCaffrey here to give the other side of it. But again, count me as a skeptic on the effectiveness of using the military to try to stop drugs coming into the country. And if I had to get into a debate on that question, I could point to the history of the last ten years, and there is nothing that I see in the history that gives me much encouragement to believe that this is an effective process.
Question: Iíd like your views, Secretary, on two issues. One, the 6,000 man rapid reaction force that is being discussed, I think there is a bill on the Hill now, and, secondly, the unilateral deployment by the United States of the NMD.
Dr. Perry: Well, I canít, Iím afraid I have to give a whole talk on either one of those subjects. I think, in terms of rapid reaction forces, we have rapid reaction forces in the U.S. The main issue is how we integrate those forces with those of other countries. And I think, my own view is that the proper mechanism for doing that is through the combined joint task forces of NATO, which has already been created and already been used on a few cases. I donít see the need for other mechanisms for doing that.
On the question of national missile defense, I think it is quite feasible to build defenses that will have a certain percentage effectiveness against ballistic missile attacks. And, those percentages might be 20% or 30% or 40%, if we are really lucky, 50%. The history of air defense systems, we rarely got above 20%, 30% in a few extreme cases. And, shooting down a ballistic missile is not that easy, is not easier than shooting down an airplane.
So yes, we can build systems that shoot down ballistic missiles, notwithstanding the failures of the tests theyíve had to date. Eventually our testing will be successful and we will convince ourselves that we can shoot down ballistic missiles, but the ballistic missiles will have counter measures. And so there will be some uncertainty as to what percentage of the time we can shoot them down. If we can shoot down 20% or 30% of them, or even 40%, thatís probably worth building and deploying them if the warheads are conventional warheads.
If they have nuclear warheads, thatís not good enough. And so I donít know of any way of designing and building systems today that would give the levels of effectiveness that you would need to let you believe that you could really defend the country against, or even, for instance, 20 missiles, if you could shoot down, if you were a really good shot, 50% of them, that means 10% get through with nuclear warheads, thatís not exactly a defense that you are very happy with. During World War II, our air defense systems, when they were at their best, were shooting 20% down.
If you look at a sustained bombing campaign, if the defense is shooting down 20% of the bombers to come over, you can break the bomber force in a big hurry with that. Thatís a very good defensive system. Itís just not enough if you are talking about missiles and nuclear warheads on them. So my skepticism on this has not to do with the philosophy or the theology of it, it has to only do with the practicality of it, based on my own judgment of whatís technically feasible, and based on the history of air defense, which does not do anything to increase my confidence of the results.
Question: Iím retired. I was with the JCS in Strategic Command and Control Planning and Coordination. I was a NATO officer under that. Let me ask a two-part question. Europe is now thinking of having a joint military force. And there seems to be a strong drive toward that, which is somewhat fueled by a large amount of the world becoming irritated over the fact that the U.S. is the prime force in military and they would like us to be less.
Assuming that that goes through, donít we have a problem under the joint force arrangement where that doesnít go through NATO?
Dr. Perry: Yes, I think we do. And I think thatís a very unfortunate development. The objective problem, which the Europeans are trying to solve, which you described in the preamble to what you said, is solved by what I described earlier, is of the combined joint task forces. Combined joint task forces provide a mechanism whereby if the Europeans want to form a task force of their own, within NATO, detect an operation, they can do that, do not require the United States to participate in that operation. But setting up an operation outside of NATO to do this only detracts resources from NATO. I think, from a political point of view, worse than that, is it diminishes the U.S. interest and commitment to working with Europe and NATO and diminishes the Europeansí commitment to working with the United States.
So I think it is a move which will, inevitably, weaken the Trans-Atlantic bonds between the United States and Europe, which have been one of the principal political benefits for NATO. So I am not, I am really, I think itís a very unfortunate development.
Question: Second part, is, might it not be a good idea to set up something akin to the Joint War College for combinations of military, State and other departments that have to deal with foreign policy, and make that institution at the same level as the War College? In other words, if you are in the military, you cannot achieve command status without going through the War College. And it would be in another college, just like that, would serve the same function for both the military and the State Department and the other departments that have to deal in foreign policy.
Dr. Perry: I hadnít thought about that idea before, and so I canít comment intelligently on it.
Question: Well, itís unique; I just dreamed it up.
Dr. Perry: Yes, but it has a good ring to me, thatís as strong a statement I can make right now.
Question: ...Iím a retiree and currently a consultant to the Department. My question is, in your role as the Presidentís Special Advisor for North Korea, what is your assessment for a viable agreement with North Korea under which it would give up its ballistic missiles and under which the production, deployment and transfers of those missiles could be verified?
Dr. Perry: First of all, I stepped down from my position last September, so Iím about eight months out of date with whatís been happening there. But, at that time, I thought we were relatively close to an agreement whereby North Korea would join the MTCR, the Missile Technology Control Regime, which would not only prohibit the production and deployment of medium-range and long-range ballistic missiles but also the export and sale of them, and, in many ways, stopping the export and sale was one of the most important achievements that agreement would have brought.
I thought, at the time, we were very close to that, but the talks have been broken off by the United States, and so there have been no action within the last three or four months. In the meantime, the Bush Administration is undergoing its own policy review, which, I think, within a few weeks we are going to hear some announcement on. My expectation is that this review will decide to pick up where my policy review left off, move ahead with it. But I canít forecast that with confidence.
Alan Lang: Final question.
Question: My question concerns the Democratic Republic of the Congo and how that fits into your typology B, C? And, in particular, what kind of mix of civilian and military voice from the United States are needed in terms of budget and diplomacy, what kind of signals from the top are needed?
Dr. Perry: The last question is always the hardest. Thatís really, really, really a difficult area. After the disaster in Rowanda, we posed to the African nations that we form some sort of a operation to perform peacekeeping, peace enforcement humanitarian assistance operations in which the U.S. would play an important assistance role. We can provide the airlift, the supplies, the training, but which would not require us to have 10,000 to 20,000 troops based in the central part of Africa.
For a time, I thought there was a likelihood that some of the key nations over there were going to pick that up, but they did not. Now, had they picked that up, that would have been a vehicle that could have been useful and applicable in Congo, and which the U.S. would have played an important role, including supplying people and resources. I still believe that is a, some sort of a solution like that, is needed because, on the one hand, the nations in the region, on the ground, have to provide, be willing to provide, the major resources, people. But most of them cannot afford to do what needs to be done in that area, and most of them donít have the adequate organization and training to do it.
So we can provide resources, organization training and some people, if they will provide the bulk of the people. Now, I think we need to get back to that kind of an approach again. And I hope in the wake of the disaster which has happened in the Congo that there will be a renewed interest in trying to do something like that, because I cannot believe this will be the last disaster we will see in Africa.
Thank you very much; it was good to talk to you today.
Alan Lang: In presenting the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Dr. Perry, former President Clinton described him as one of the most able people who ever served the United States in any position. He credited Dr. Perry with effectively overseeing post Cold War reductions in U.S. military strength, while boosting the militaryís readiness and itís technological capabilities. "The simple fact is," the President said, "this is one of the great managerial achievements in our countryís history. When the history of our time is written, Bill Perry may well be recorded as the most productive and effective Secretary of Defense the United States ever had." ...When one considers your contributions in conceiving and constructing a new defense and national security policy architecture for a new century, the words of Cicero come to mind. My precept to all who build, he said, is that the builder should be an ornament to the structure and not the structure to the builder. Dr. Perryís laudable achievements in government, private industry and academia reflect enormous credit upon the American people and will serve as public treasures for many years to come. Congratulations, Dr. Perry.
Before we conclude this session of the Open Forum, Iíd like to present a certificate of appreciate to Dana Priest for serving as series moderator. Thank you very much.
That concludes this session of the Secretaryís Open Forum.
Released on June 6, 2002