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 You are in: Bureaus/Offices Reporting Directly to the Secretary > Policy Planning Staff > Secretary's Open Forum > Proceedings > 2001 - 2002

The War On Global Terrorism

General Peter Pace, United States Marine Corps; Vice Chairman, Joint Chiefs Of Staff
Remarks to the Open Forum
Washington, DC
September 27, 2002

Opening Remarks and Introduction

Thank you.  I want to break up this about one hour we have into about maybe one-third for me and two-thirds for you, so I want to get to your questions and be able to answer them, because I think it's important when you leave here that you have a chance to get what you wanted -- not what I think you want from this discussion.

I thought I would start off though by telling you a little bit about what I do day to day on the global war on terrorism, and then perhaps that will be the seed for some follow-on discussion.

First of all, as you probably know, the traditional role of the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is to look out 10, 15, 20 years, and to spend most of my day looking at the systems and the kinds of techniques and capabilities we are going to need that far down the road in helping us buy the systems and create the doctrine that would get us to that capability.

Eleven September last year changed that equation drastically. I was still the commander and chief of U.S. Southern Command at the time. I was physically in Colombia, working with some of our troops there, when the attacks took place. I knew I had been nominated to be the vice chairman. I had not yet been confirmed. And I knew that 1 October, if confirmed, I would be coming to D.C. But I also knew on 11 September that my world, just like yours, had changed drastically.

Now the amount of time I spend every day on the war on terrorism takes up the bulk of my day. I am in a very real sense Dick Myers' deputy commander for the global war on terrorism, and we spend hours each day focusing on various pieces of that. As a bare minimum, we spend, between General Myers and Pete Pace and Secretary Rumsfeld and Secretary Wolfowitz, as a bare minimum 30 minutes a day sitting with each other just talking about the ongoing operations and what we need to do next.

More frequently it's two, three, four hours a day, and in some cases as much as six, seven or eight hours a day, the four of us plus advisors talking through the various pieces of how we are going to move forward.

That's important for you to understand for lots of reasons, not the least of which is that at least in some published reports there's some questioning as to whether or not the Joint Chiefs have had sufficient access to the civilian leaders in this town to be able to give our advice. My short answer to you is if I had between 30 minutes a day and three, four or five hours a day with the Secretary of Defense and the Deputy Secretary of Defense, shame on me if I haven't told those leaders what's on my mind. They solicit our opinions. We are very much embedded in all of the discussions and decision-making, and it is very much a collaborative effort. And clearly Secretary Rumsfeld makes the decisions and/or gives his recommendations to the President to make the decisions. But equally clearly my responsibility to give my best advice to the Secretary of Defense and to the president is facilitated by the way we do business. So day-to-day inside the building we have a very robust ongoing dialogue, and we work with the regional combatant commanders for the United States around the world to craft the way ahead, how we are going to sequence what we need to do against terrorist organizations, and how to allocate the resources that we own to be able to do that efficiently and effectively. That's inside the building.

There's two more pieces of what we do that are important, and I think of interest to this body. One is that there is the National Security Council process that includes the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff as a sitting member of the National Security Council advising the President. And there's a set of rules and regulations so to speak that go along with that that have the Chairman sitting with the Cabinet heads with the President, and then have a deputy's committee of which I am a part, and lower committees that work all the ‘each’es of the policy build and decision process. In that particular venue we have another opportunity -- in fact, obligation -- to speak up as officers wearing the uniform to tell our counterparts in the interagency, and to tell our president what we believe is true, and to also raise any concerns that we might have. And, again, that's a very open dialogue. It's very much give-and-take, and I would like to come back to that just a little bit more in a second.

And then, thirdly, we have the responsibility when called upon by the president, as we were yesterday, to go to the White House and sit down with him, and advise him on whatever matters he wants to ask us about. And we spent about an hour with the president yesterday -- we being all six of the Joint Chiefs -- about an hour with the president yesterday answering his questions about things around the world that he wanted to make sure he had our best advice on.

So we have at least three distinct opportunities to execute our obligations to the American people, to give our best advice to the elected and appointed civilian leaders.

Just like the Goldwater-Nichols Act about 15 or so years ago now transformed the way that the U.S. military amongst ourselves worked with each other, forcing the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps to work more closely together, so I think we now have an opportunity to work more closely together in the interagency arena. This war on terrorism is not about folks in uniform who will simply -- wrong word -- who will be the only instrument of national power that will go defend our nation's interests. Each of the departments in our government has a huge part to play in how we prosecute this war on terrorism and how we defend our homeland. And because of that, the need today more than ever for the interagency mechanisms to work in a smooth and efficient manner is greater than I think it's ever been in the past. When you have Treasury working on the banking system and you have State working on the interaction between governments, and you have the military working on the kinetic piece of doing something around the world, and you have the other elements of government power -- CIA, DIA and the like -- all working this problem, and then when you can tie those pieces together efficiently in a mechanism that works and that shares information quickly, you have a much more robust, much more capable government response to any threat to the nation.

And I would tell you that I believe that we are probably in the early stages of understanding how best to do that for our country. It is absolutely clear and certain that each of us who goes to these meetings from the various agencies comes with pure heart and wants to do the right thing. And we are working through how to organize ourselves beyond the way we are now in a way that will make decision-making quicker and more efficient, because simply getting intelligence and knowing something is a major piece. But if we cannot take that intelligence and do something about it faster than the other person can change what they are doing, then having the intelligence in the first place really isn't of much benefit. I think we have come a long way in the last year. I think we have a ways to go. I have been a product of the last 15 years of watching the U.S. military learn how to integrate to the point now where we are very, very well integrated. And I am pleased to report to you that our government agencies are working together now in the same kind of process, but again more at the beginning of learning how to work together smoothly and efficiently, than perhaps the military has been. But we have been doing it now for 15 or 20 years. So I think we have an opportunity there.

There are many other things I could tell you about the day-to-day functioning of how I do my business. But I think what I'd like to do is just with those three levels of how I interact on the global war stop and let you ask me your questions, so I can go precisely to the kinds of things that you would like to know about. And I would be delighted to take questions as you direct.

Mr. Lang: Thank you very much, General Pace. On behalf of the Open Forum, I would like to thank you for that insightful and informative presentation. Please give him a round of applause.

Question and Answer Session:
General Pace, I'm a Department of the Navy civilian. I am sure as CINC South you were involved with the international public information initiative that was done at the interagency level with relations to Colombia. And I want to ask a question about the sort of public information or international military information part of the war on terrorism and how you feel that's coming together inside DOD, and whether your -- what comment you would like to make about the intelligence support to that side of the effort.

General Pace: Let me try to answer that, and if I don't get to your point, come on back, because I want to make sure I do answer it fully.

I think especially in the realm of information management and what you put out and when you put it out and how you react to the other guy's misinformation -- all of that is a very critical part of making sure that publics -- not only in our own country, but around the world -- understand the truth. It's okay if the facts are out there and honest people come up with different solutions or opinions based on those facts. It is not acceptable that the facts be skewed by one side or the other in a way that makes -- you are making your judgments based on bogus information. So our intent certainly in the U.S. government is to have accurate information out there, clearly because we believe that if you have accurate information you will see why what we are doing makes sense. But even if you don't, you ought to have the accurate information so that people are welcome to their own opinions but they are not welcome to their own facts. And we should have the same facts. So how you put that out there is very important. And then how you manage the very real problem of knowing more than you can say, because there are things that if I say this to you there's only one possible way that I could possibly know about that. If I were to tell you that so-and-so said this to so-and-so, then the adversary, the enemy, will be able to go back and say, Okay, how many people were in that meeting, you know, was that a telephone -- what was it that allowed them to know that information? And we then end up divulging sources and methods that can at best dry up that source of intelligence, and at worst end up with one of our folks getting killed. So you have that tension all the time between what you know, what you want to tell people, and what you can tell people and still protect your ability to collect information; and, most importantly, protect your folks who are doing this kind of very difficult business for you.

We had a -- I think we had a stumble a couple of months ago when we tried to put together an Office of Strategic Information, or whatever the title was -- and just the title was -- put people on the edge of their seats. What is this going to do? It was an attempt to find a way to bring all this data in to one place in the Pentagon and then have a rational way of deciding what should be put out and what should not be put out. It was perceived as a technique for either only putting out a little bit or somehow changing facts. When it became obvious that the office itself was being misperceived, then the Secretary made the decision to just stop it. So we did have some fits and starts there. It's a very difficult problem to manage. And I will tell you it's more difficult when you hold yourself, as we do, to the truth. If you do not have to worry about the truth, like Saddam Hussein, then you can just put anything out there any time you want, and the newspapers are going to pick up on some of that and they are going to report what you have said. It's much easier to spew out misinformation than it is to be accurate and precise without giving up sources and methods. Did that answer it, sir?

Question: (Off mike) -- is doing a lot to improve our ability to securely collaborate with the interagency community. We are deploying to our embassies, we are fixing our messaging system, we are improving it. At your level, what do you think is the biggest hindrance to interagency collaboration as we try to share information to defeat the enemy in the war on terrorism?

General Pace: And you're from State, sir?

Question: I'm sorry, I am from the Resource Management Bureau here at the State Department. I am also a former Marine, lieutenant colonel in the reserves. Hoo-rah.

General Pace: Hoo-rah. (Laughter.) Let me try a couple of pieces of that, because I don't really think there is a particular point. First of all, for the interagency process itself, not at the senior level -- because regardless of what you read in the newspapers, regardless of what rumors you might hear, the senior levels in the departments -- the Department of Defense, the Department of State and others -- really do have a very open dialogue every day. And in fact later on this afternoon we'll be together again over at the White House talking about some other issues. It's two, three, four times a week in person. It's every day on the phone. So the collaboration, coordination, collegial not without tension but open dialogue amongst the various departments I think is solid.

What happens is when you get down below that level and you try to do the work at the action officer level, if I can use that term. And I'll use an example of early on we thought it would be a good idea to have a joint interagency coordination group in each combatant commander's area of responsibility, so that instead of the U.S. military officer in that region and the chief of the CIA in that region, and the various ambassadors in that region, et cetera, having to come back, stovepiped to Washington to get information directly from their agencies, wouldn't it be good if they could all sit around like this and talk to each other and share information across the table without having to go through some kind of a Washington, D.C. pipeline to make it happen? Good idea. But it took about six months for the idea to get through all the concerns about -- oh-oh, does this mean that those folks are going to sit in Hawaii with Admiral Fargo, and they are going to be making decisions out there that haven't been blessed back here in Washington? Or how is this going to work? So just getting the mechanism set up in a way that assures decision-makers that this is liaison information sharing, but of course we are going to come back to the decision-makers when it's time to make a decision. And to make sure that everybody understands how it was going to work and to get it staffed amongst 10 or 12 agencies, that kind of thing takes time. But when you have it in place, like we do now, what you have is a tremendous amount of information flow amongst the agencies that allows people at a lower level to be smarter sooner, and to be able to provide better advice up their chain, to their bosses, for the decisions that are rightfully made here. That's number one.

Number two then comes the various databases. You have got a database, I've got a database. Inside my database are 12 more databases. And just getting all of those that should be properly tied together so that if you want to know something about Pete Pace, you type in my name in this system, it would be good if all the information for which you have a clearance would come to you, regardless of what database. Kind of like a shopping bot, for those of you who like to shop Ebay or whatever -- you type in what you are looking for, and this thing goes out and finds that category and puts it all on your terminal. You don't care where it came from. You just want the data. We need to do a better job of coordinating, collating and then having levels of security that allow folks like me and folks like you to go in, on whatever topic we want, type it in. And we don't care, as long as it comes up on the screen, where it came from. We need to do a better job at that.

Those are two immediate reactions to your question. Does that answer it?

Question: I am from American University. And I was curious how you feel on the issue of Iraq, and if we do go to war how that will hinder or dissuade the progression of the war on terrorism.

General Pace: I will stay in my lane, and I will tell you when I am going out of my lane. Okay? The issue of whether or not we do anything in Iraq is squarely the province of the President of the United States, and he has not made a decision about that, and he is having his discussions internationally about that. And whenever the President is ready to tell his military what he wants them to do or doesn't want them to do, he’ll tell us.

Our responsibility is to take a look at a country like Iraq, and militarily analyze what might we be asked to do by our Commander in Chief. And if he tells us to do that, how would we do that in the most efficient, effective way to accomplish the mission with the least cost of lives amongst coalition partners and amongst innocent civilians on the ground. So, as you would expect, we work that every day. It's a good measure of what I do everyday -- not just Iraq, but many other countries around the world were we may be called to do our country's business.

Clearly with what we have going on in Afghanistan now, if the President of the United States were to say he wanted us to do something else, we have the capacity in this nation's military to do the ongoing actions on global war on terrorism, and if we add another thing on the war on terrorism, we have the capacity to do that. When it comes time for us to give our advice to the President when he asks for it, or if I feel that there is something he needs to know, then I am compelled morally to do that -- and I am -- and I go forward to him or the Secretary and tell them where I might have a concern about our ability to do a particular thing. But that's all part of the process of what might we have to do, can we do it, what are the risks -- if we took a left-hand turn instead of a right-hand turn, might things be better militarily? -- and for me to give that kind of advice to the Secretary of Defense and to the President, either when they ask for it, or when I feel it is my obligation to present it to them. We have the capacity to do more right now if we are called on to do it. Did that answer your question?

Question: Sir, I work in the Office of International Security Operations here at the Department of State. I'll be entering Office Candidate School next October, and I hope to become a Marine infantry officer.

General Pace: Hoo-rah. (Laughter.) I'll let you know when it stops being fun. (Laughter.)

Question: In the spirit of contingency planning, sir, as you just addressed with the topic of Iraq, I would like to ask another question related to that subject. How can we reduce the complications that might result if Saddam Hussein decides -- he decides to target Israel once again as he did in 1991? If weapons of mass destruction are brought into the picture this time, as the were not then, sir, how can we prevent an administration under Ariel Sharon, which seems to be much more in line with massive retaliation for lack of a better term -- I apologize if that might not seem appropriate -- how can we try to reduce the complications that may result from that, sir?

General Pace: I will answer your question the best I can. I will tell you that is squarely outside of my lane, because what you are talking about is the diplomatic workings that must be done between governments to make sure that there is no misunderstanding about what one government means when it says something and what the other government thinks it hears. So there has got to be no misunderstanding diplomatically when the President of the United States says that there will be whatever he says about response to use of weapons of mass destruction. Saddam Hussein has to get that message and understand it, and understand that this President will do what he says he is going to do.

For our friends and allies whom we may want to try to get to do something or not do something, they have to have a very straight open dialogue as well. It is beyond my portfolio so to speak to tell the Secretary of Defense -- excuse me, to tell the Secretary of State how to approach country A or country B. That's his business, and he does that just fine without any help from me, thank you. But when he gives that message, there are -- when you are talking about your enemies -- there is an "or-else" part of that message. You will perform this way, or else, whether it's stated specifically or not. Any or-else includes a lot of things, economic and what not. But part of the or-else for enemies is guys like me, and that's where we think through when we know that an or-else message is being given, we think through what part of that or-else we have to deliver, and we make sure that we are prepared to deliver it. And we are prepared to deliver it today, tomorrow, next week. And that's where I focus my energies, so that the President can do what he wants to do. But if he gets to the point where he thinks military action might be the best course of action -- his decision -- but if he says that, he has to have the confidence to know that when he says go do it we are going to go do it for him. And that's what we do daily for him and the Secretary of Defense. Okay, that's as close to that as I can come without really getting into somebody else's bailiwick. Okay?

Question: I am from Georgetown University Army ROTC. Sir, in your opinion, to what extent will interagency cooperation improve our ability to gather tactical intelligence such as the time and place of terrorist attacks, the kind of intelligence that was missing on September 11th?

General Pace: I am a -- if I haven't already said it, I will say it: I am a strong believer in the power of interagency cooperation, and I believe that this war is everybody's business -- every single person in this room, whether you are a part of the government or not, you have a part in this.

The only way that we are going to be able to stay ahead of the enemy is to determine what he may be doing next, and do something about it before he does it -- to be able to collect and analyze and decide and act faster than he can. When you have cells that are literally sprinkled around the world to include inside the United States, you must share information between local police and FBI and military and CIA and other agencies from other governments, in a way that allows you to gather that data up and analyze it and decide and act faster than the other guy does. So if we don't do this, we will be missing a major piece of the opportunity to move faster than the other guy. This is not about brute force. We can do brute force, and you end up having to need brute force when you haven't done the early-on pieces as efficiently as you can. If you can get this thing and cut it out early, with 10 or 15 people, you can prevent having to send 10 or 15 thousand folks to do what you didn't know you had to because you didn't have the intel share. So especially on the intel side of the house, any agency that has an intel part -- we really do need to share data. We are much further down the road now than we were last year, and we have a ways to go. And we are learning. It's an adaptive enemy, and we are adapting, and we just need to learn how to do this better together. And every time we have an operation, when we have a success -- and especially when you have a failure -- you learn things about yourself that you can go fix the next time. And I am comfortable that we are learning lessons and applying lessons. But I want to apply as much energy as I can to getting the collaboration better than it is. Does that answer it? All you guys in uniform here who are ROTC and the like, thanks for being willing to serve your country.

Question: Hi, I’m from the Catholic University of America, and Georgetown Army ROTC. You mentioned the need to move faster than the other guy. And I was wondering due to our lack of allies, especially in the Arab region, is that going to be an incredible hindrance to what we are trying to do in Iraq with a possible regime change or just fighting terrorism in general?

General Pace: Let me take on your premise about lack of allies first. I think Secretary Rumsfeld says this very well, and that is we want other countries to speak for themselves. We don't want to try to pretend to articulate properly for them what they are doing. But, on the other hand, it would be inaccurate to say that there are not many, many countries that are willing to take action at the appropriate time. But don't forget these guys live in a pretty tough neighborhood, and without being specific about any particular country, you could understand why a country, that is perhaps itself not militarily strong, but has a lot to offer to the international community, comes time to do something, why that country would not want to get out too far in front of its own headlights in announcing that it is strongly behind going after country A or country B or leader A or leader B. So the fact that as of this moment a particular leader or country has not been in the newspapers saying we are with you, does not mean that they are not telling us that quietly, and that they won't stand up and say that at the right time. So there is as lot going on out there, and you just have to respect the fact that there are a lot of tough neighborhoods out there where coming forward at the right time is important and coming forward too soon may be coming forward too soon. Okay?

Having said that, it is very important for military operations to have as many friends as you can have. And there's -- you know, the statement about you can never have too many friends on the battlefield is true. The fact of the matter is that if the United States has to do something unilaterally around the world, we have a military that can go do that. If we have to do that, we can. It is also fact if you have coalition partners who can go do that with you, that is a good thing not only from the military effort that is expended, but also from the global message that is sent. And it's also true that the more places from which you can stage your own forces, the more problems that gives your enemy in trying to figure out what direction those forces are coming from. So all those things play into this, and I am sure that's one of the reasons why our President is out now having discussions through Secretary Powell and in his own one-on-ones with his fellow leaders about who is going to do what, when are they going to do it, and what the proper way ahead is. But militarily we are going to be okay, whether we have to go it alone or not. Preferably we would have a coalition that sees this the same way we do and understands the true threat to not only the United States, but all freedom-loving nations that is represented by this guy in Iraq. Does that answer your question?

Mr. Lang: As a matter of fairness, we are going to take a question from this side of the auditorium. Yes, ma'am?

Question: Thank you, General Pace. I am with the Department of Justice. And I had a question. If you could look into the future, through a crystal ball and predict the Islamic extremist movement and its connectivity to each other, are they sharing resources and will they continue? And are they strong enough to do that in terms of strengthening their cause, you know, the Islamic extremist cause, not the moderate or middle-of-the-road type? I am just wondering what the future of the terrorism strength would be in the Islamic extremist community.

General Pace: I cannot answer it in my own mind, therefore I won't try to answer it for you publicly, the exact question you ask about Islamic extremists, because I haven't narrowed my focus that much with regard to specific groups.

I can say that I have seen and believe we will continue to see the networks of various terrorist groups begin to intermingle with networks of other terrorist groups. That the $500 million in narcoterrorist money that is generated in Colombia each year, some portion of that finds its way into international terrorism. The bomb-maker in Syria and his team -- some portion of that migrates across borders into other training camps. So the fact, without going into specific, individual entities, what we are trying to do is first of all understand where these webs lead, and try to understand where the nodes are, where two or three of these come together, try to find out who the key leaders are and the key organizational structures are, so that when you interrupt the leader, we interrupt the node, that you have a more than one for one return on your investment on the way it impacts a terrorist network. But these terrorists will band together for survival. And where they have common hatred of us or other freedom-loving folks, they will find common ground. So, again, that's about as good as I can go by looking into the future, and that's where I think -- back over to this question over here -- the more we share intel now, the more we will be able to do something about the nodes sooner, individuals sooner, the less likelihood there is that we have to go in in a big way with a lot of uniforms to do something about this.

Question: General, I am the deputy director of East African affairs here at State, and a 2001 graduate of the Marine Corps War College.

General Pace: Hoo-rah.

Question: It's an outstanding facility, sir. The President has recently released his new national security strategy, and it contains a much greater emphasis on preemption of threats to our national security than we have ever declared publicly before. Do we have sufficient stocks of high-demand/low-density assets -- intelligence, special forces, easily deployed, rapidly-deployed forces, jamming aircraft -- things of that nature, to make that strategy work at present? Or do we need to transform our military even more than we are currently trying to do?

General Pace: That's a great series of questions. First of all, if you just dissect the term high demand/low density, that answers the question as to whether or not you have enough of those right now. It also means that you didn't do a very good job of buying enough of those in the past. Otherwise you wouldn't be having high demand/low density. You'd be having high demand/high density, or some other kind of mix. But, as with any budget, even though we do get a very healthy budget from our citizens to fund our military, the fact of the matter is that there are more needs than there are dollars to fill those needs. So you then prioritize. And folks in the past have prioritized in such a way that something is going to have low density. And those some things are the things that are called low density today. If they had funded those, there would be something else that would be equally management intensive as far as the global war. That's kind of a generic answer.

When we advise the Secretary and the President on what is doable, part of what we do is to take a look at all of our resources -- active, Reserve, National Guard, machines and people -- and look at what we would need to do that job. What would we need to do that job if it was a blue sky and we could have whatever we wanted; and what we would need to do that job, no kidding, got to have this -- if we don't have this, recommend we don't go.

Inside of that, I am comfortable, as I said before, that we can continue to prosecute today's ongoing actions against terrorism and any foreseeable future requirement for the use of the U.S. military when we do our piece of the interagency work on the global war.

Will it -- if you add one more rock to that pack, that needs to be looked at by satellites or looked at by airplanes or something -- is that more work for the same size force to do? Of course it is. It just means that guys like me have to prioritize properly to take care of today's needs, to husband the asset, so we don't use it all up at one time. And while we are husbanding the assets to look out to the future and say, Okay, this low-density item is at least for the next 10 or 15 years going to be something we really do need, and therefore this year's budget submissions to the Congress should include two more or five more -- whatever many more it is that we can buy, the numbers that we need for the nation. So it's an iteration process.

I sit on three different boards, for lack of the proper term. I chair what's called Joint Requirements Oversight Committee, and that's all of the vice chiefs of our uniformed services who look out 10, 15 years, and determine what the requirements for that force are: What are the kinds of toys, so to speak, that we are going to need for the future? I sit as a co-chair of the acquisition board, which takes the recommendations from the requirements process and determines whether or not we have an item that has been developed that will fill that gap, and recommends funding it. And I also sit on the budget process that determines whether or not what the first two committees have done is the right thing to do, and whether or not we ought to recommend it to the President. So I have three bites at that apple, so to speak, to be able to get my best advice to the Secretary of Defense on how to allocate resources. If I fail to do that properly, you ought to get yourself a new vice chairman. Does that answer your question?

Question: I work in the Bureau of Intelligence and Research. I start off by saying I wish you were doing this in a classified environment. I am just disturbed -- and since we are in an unclassified environment, I will keep it at that level, and react to some things I have seen in the papers and some other disappointments that I have. And let me just state off I think we are in a low-tempo, no-tempo environment for counterterrorism, from what I can see in the unclassified environment. We have the action in Afghanistan, which led to the very predictable escape of large numbers of al Qaeda into Pakistan. We have had one or two reported actions in Pakistan that have resulted in captures of potentially important people. I am questioning whether this war is in the proper organizational framework. I have often thought we needed something like the Texas Rangers that speak Arabic to go after a small group, a finite group, several thousand people -- not a military organization, not an organization in the conventional sense. And it's with a sinking feeling that I saw a press report a couple of months ago that talked about the -- and I forget the exact name of the military command that wanted to take over, wanted to get the permission to go out and do -- take more action -- you perhaps can help me on that. But overall, I don't get a sense here of immediacy, I don't get a sense of finite. I didn't have a sense from the Secretary of Defense's initial statements that this was going to be a long war that anybody thought that we were going after a finite group. It was an opportunity without end.

Mr. Lang: Thank you very much. Thanks for that comment. Let's give General Pace an opportunity to respond.

General Pace: Oh, I'm sorry, I was still waiting on a question. I was still waiting on the question. What was the question?

Mr. Lang: Sir, could you state your question concisely for us, please?

Question: I'd ask for reaction to that approach.

General Pace: Now we are back to the issue over here about how much of what you know is going on can you talk about. There are the U.S. military piece of this, and what law enforcement is doing, and what other agencies are doing. And you will see a sine wave of kinetic action delivered by your U.S. military -- things like what happened in Buffalo, New York, and other law enforcement type things. So there will be spikes of visible activity that will make you feel more or less satisfied, depending upon what you think about that visual activity. But there will be spikes of what's visible. Then there will be long periods of not visible while we build out the part that we have to do quietly or without being show and tell about what we have going on. And it is also true that when you take action in one sphere it has trickle-over effect somewhere else, so that when you take a military action on the field, it sends some reverberations through the intel community in various ways. All those things are ongoing. You don't hear a lot on a day-to-day basis about what the U.S. Treasury is doing about gathering up money. But the fact of the matter is that with the cooperation of I think there's about 60 nations, they have taken over $100 million out of the terrorist organization networks very quietly, very efficiently -- it's done. You don't hear a lot about arrests around the world, but over 120 nations working together with us and others have arrested over 2,400 suspected terrorists around the world -- again, not things you see on the front page all the time, just good folks going to work every day doing good work.

It is also true that the U.S. military has not been designed to go out and do manhunts. So when you get to the point where you transition in a place like Afghanistan from driving the enemies' forces off the battlefield to trying to find one or two key leaders, then the mix and match of U.S. military and other U.S. and international organizations that do manhunts for a living has to come into play. And we are learning a lot -- the U.S. military is learning a lot about what it takes to do that kind of operation. And while we maintain our capability to drive other forces off the battlefield, we are honing our skills that are of assistance to the law enforcement agencies that have the basic skills in manhunt type things.

So, again, as you mentioned, we are in an open forum. Perhaps because I go to work early and come home late and at the end of the day feel good about what I know went on that day gives me a greater comfort level than it gives you, because you don't see what we are doing every day. But somehow then if that's where you are, then I have got to go back and take a look at how much what I know can be presented to the public in a way that gives more of the whole cloth without giving away the game plan.

Question: Hi, I am independent. I have a question -- a question and comment. My question is to ask you to comment on your views of the role of the media with regard to reporting on such things as vulnerabilities in the U.S. and also U.S. military capability and strategies and thinking. One could think that the media's reporting on vulnerabilities over the last nine months frankly has been providing a textbook for terrorists. I don't have the expertise to know if that's the case with the military, but I'd like your comments.

General Pace: Yeah. I would tell you that the major responsibility on not divulging plans and techniques and procedures lies squarely with those of us who are doing the planning. If you are in the media and I am in the military, if I don't say it, you won't print it. So when it comes to what information is available to the media, shame on those people who are providing classified information to the media. It's their responsibility, legally and morally, to safeguard what they promised they would safeguard when they were given access to the classified information.

Fortunately, because I have had some dealings with this in the last year, the vast majority of the folks in -- especially the U.S. media, who I work with most of the time, truly do take their responsibilities very, very seriously. And it has been my experience that when they get a piece of classified information, number one, they will ask us many times whether or not this will do damage if they publish it. And they also look at it from the standpoint of if this could be derived through normal analysis -- if a normal person, given all the data that's already out there, could come to this as a potential future action, then my understanding, my interpretation of what I have heard from these folks is that they are comfortable putting that in the paper. If, on the other hand, we go to them and say, Look, if you publish this before Tuesday or before Thursday, you could cost lives -- to my knowledge every time we have gone forward with something like that the individual has accommodated the time -- not hiding the story -- but accommodating the time line that allows us to do what we need to do without putting undue risk.

But I have got to go back to where I was in the very beginning, which is a free and open press is critical to the freedom of this country and other countries around the world. It's the people who have access to classified information who are the ones who are doing the damage -- not those who receive the information and then publish it.

Mr. Lang: We have time for a final question. Sir, you have been waiting in the back patiently. Please come to the aisle microphone.

Question: I work in the Bureau of Human Resources. General Pace, thanks very much for coming over and visiting with us today.

As a military man you are, quite rightly I believe, preoccupied with your responsibilities to reduce the ability of others to harm us, particularly those whom we refer to when we talk about the war on terrorism. But there is another dimension, and that is the desire of people to harm us. We don't lie awake at night worrying about Canada, and we have that luxury not because we are a great military power much more powerful than Canada, but because there's nobody up in Canada who wants to hurt us.

With regard to the war on terrorism as it concerns the Middle East, what we see from time to time when we can cut through all the insanity that people say about us, is that those who want to do us harm get a lot of support, particularly among young people, because of a widespread perception that we intend to keep large military forces in Saudi Arabia indefinitely, and a widespread perception that no matter what the government of Israel does, we will support it. In your deliberations, and particularly the ones you described at the start of your presentation, does the question of reducing the desire of those who would like to harm us to do so come up? And, if so, could you talk a little bit about that?

General Pace: Thank you. You've hit on a very key thing. It does no good to take out specific individuals in a network if the underlying reason why the terrorists had some support in the first place still exists, because you can take out the top ten, and if the problem that generated that hatred in the first place still exists -- whether it's real or imagined -- if you don't do something about that, you still have your basic problem. It goes back to the questions about how do we share information -- how do we get information out to the publics -- not to tell them how to think about it but to be able to deliver to them facts that they can determine on their own?

Right now there are too many people around the world who have a set of, quote, "facts" that are in fact disinformation that causes them to believe things about the United States that we believe are basically totally inaccurate. And we believe if we can find a way to address that information to those populations that we will in the long term end up in a much better situation with regard to the incubator so to speak for terrorist activity. That includes not only basic fact but also perceptions about how our government does or doesn't react to other governments. Again, I'm outside my lane as far as State Department business, as far as what we should be saying to other governments. But I am well square within my lane to understand the military impact, today and tomorrow, of having disinformation out there that is not effectively countered by truth and facts that folks can assess on their own, and come to their own conclusions.

I truly believe that when all the facts are on the table, although we are not a perfect society, we will be seen as honest and good and intent on the right things. But if you can't get an open discussion of that, you are going to have that portion of the world that is going to believe whatever they're being fed by those who hate us. Does that answer it, sir?

Mr. Lang: I am afraid we'll have to leave it there, ladies and gentlemen. Again, I would like to thank all of you for your thoughtful comments and questions.

At this time it gives me great pleasure to present to General Pace the Open Forum's Distinguished Public Service Award. Sir, thank you for your service to our nation. Thank you so much for participating in our Distinguished Lecture Series this afternoon. (Applause.)

Released on November 14, 2002

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