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Presenter: Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld
Tuesday, May 8, 2001 - 1:58 p.m. EDT
Secretary Rumsfeld Outlines Space Initiatives
(Special news briefing on transforming the management and organization of defense and intelligence space programs. Also participating: Senator Robert Smith (R-NH), Representative Mac Thornberry (R-Tx), retired Air Force Gen. Thomas S. Moorman Jr., retired Air Force Gen. Ronald Fogleman, Duane Andrews, Acting Secretary of the Air Force Lawrence Delaney, and Air Force Gen. John W. Handy, vice chief of staff, U.S. Air Force.)
Rumsfeld: Good afternoon. It's kind of exciting to come in on a Monday and find out from the press that I'd been doing things on the weekend that I never dreamt of doing! (Laughter.)
Q: Like what?
Q: You need to clarify that!
Rumsfeld: (Laughs.) We're here to discuss plans for transforming the management and organization of America's defense and intelligence programs. More than any other country, the United States relies on space for its security and well being. Our daily lives are increasingly tied to space. We depend on satellite services to our homes, schools, businesses and hospitals. Satellites enable global communications, television broadcasts, weather forecasting, navigation of ships, planes, trucks, cars, synchronizing computers, communications and electric power grids.
Satellites are also our worldwide eyes and ears. They collect information on capabilities and intentions of potential adversaries; monitor treaties and agreements; and support military operations worldwide. U.S. space capabilities enable military forces to be warned of missile attack, to communicate, navigate to an area while avoiding hostile action, and precisely attack targets in ways that minimize collateral damage and protect the lives of U.S. soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen.
Our dependence on operations in space, however, makes us somewhat vulnerable to new challenges. It's only logical to conclude that we must be attentive to these vulnerabilities and pay careful attention to protecting and promoting our interest in space. History shows that deterrence and dissuasion are important. Our first choice is not to prevail in a conflict, but to be arranged in a way that can dissuade others from engaging in acts hostile to the United States national security interests and, therefore, deterring conflict from occurring.
We need to ensure that the management and the organization of our national security space program reflects the importance of space to the nation today. Space issues are complex and merit a renewed focus. A more comprehensive management and organizational approach is necessary to assign clear responsibilities and accountability for national security space programs.
We're fortunate that Congress recognized our growing dependence and vulnerability and had the foresight to establish the Space Commission to consider how to strengthen our national security space program.
I would particularly like to recognize Senator Bob Smith of New Hampshire, who I'll bring up to the podium in the moment, for championing this effort over a period of years and for initiating the legislation that created the commission.
I'd also like to thank the leadership of the Senate and the House Armed Services Committee and Congressman Mac Thornberry, who is also with us today, who I will ask to come up to the podium in a few minutes. Both played important roles in this effort to improve our national security space programs.
The Space Commission paved the way by presenting thorough, independent and objective assessment of our national space program. I thank the commissioners, who are private citizens, took their time to offer their talents. We have three here today: Tom Moorman, who is going to say a few words on behalf of the Space Commission, retired Air Force general; Duane Andrews, who served in the Pentagon, as all of you know, as, I believe, an assistant secretary of Defense, in C3I and other activities, and acting secretary of the Air Force, of course; and then we also have the vice chief of staff of the Air Force, who will make some remarks since a good deal of what the organizational activities relate to is the Air Force, needless to say.
Now I'd like to take a moment just to summarize the management and organizational changes I believe will help the U.S. advance our interests in space. First, I should say that the director of Central Intelligence and I are meeting regularly to address space and intelligence matters. Such meetings will allow the two officials who have primary responsibility and accountability for the U.S. national security space program to discuss space issues on a frequent basis.
Second, the Department of Defense is merging disparate space activities and adjusting chains of command. These changes will involve all key facets of the department -- the office of the secretary, the military departments, the National Reconnaissance Office and the U.S. Space Command. The majority of these changes involve realigning Air Force headquarters and field commands to more effectively organize, train and equip for space operations, ensuring that the Air Force will become the lead for space activities in the Department of Defense.
These national security, space management and organizational changes are a part of our initial efforts to transform the U.S. department and establishment and reform DoD structures, processes and organization. They will help the U.S. to focus on meeting the national security space needs of the 21st century.
We'll be available to respond to questions, but first I'd like to ask Senator Smith to come up and make a few remarks, and Congressman Thornberry to join him and make some remarks.
Smith: Thank you, Mr. Secretary. It's an honor and a privilege for me to be here.
I can remember about two years ago sitting in my office with a couple of staff members discussing the concept of just exactly what you're talking about today, how we could be more active in space to protect ourselves. And one of the staff members suggested a commission. I said, "Oh, no, not another commission." But this one turned out to be a good one.
I never could have dreamed that in two years not only would we have the commission created, but we would have you as the secretary of Defense, who is the chairman of the commission, to really enact, or to begin the process of enacting many of the recommendations of that commission. You are a true visionary. I am really delighted that you are the secretary of Defense.
And I would just close by reminding the American people there are nations out there who are hostile to us. And they are in space. They have such weapons as lasers, anti-satellite weapons and electromagnetic pulse weapons, and we have to be ready to recognize that threat. And I'm looking forward to working with the secretary of Defense in the coming years to see to it that we have the capability in space to deal with those problems.
Thornberry: As one who tried to push the Space Commission from the House side, I want to congratulate the secretary on the announcements he's making today. The Space Commission really came about because a number of us were concerned that space has not been getting the attention that it needs. Most Americans don't understand how dependent we are on space now, not just for the military, but for the everyday life of the average Americans. And that dependence is going to grow, and that growing dependence means more vulnerabilities. We have to be prepared to deal with that.
There are a number of things that we have to deal with, as these decisions will do from the organization of the government to funding to doctrine development -- all sorts of issues there. But the most important one is to elevate space in the order of national priorities. The secretary has helped do -- done that today. It's very important for the future. And congratulations, sir.
Rumsfeld: Thank you very much, Mr. Congressman.
Would you like to come up, Tom and Duane and Ron -- General Ron Fogleman from the back there, join us up here, please. These three gentlemen along with six or seven others served as the commissioners on the Space Commission that was established by Congress.
Moorman: Thank you, Mr. Secretary, and thank you for the opportunity to say a few words on behalf of the Space Commission.
You've met Ron Fogleman and Duane Andrews. I'd also like to acknowledge Dr. Steve Cambone and Mr. Tom Wilson, who served as our staff directors.
I will be very brief as I know this audience probably has a lot of questions. But I think it's wholly appropriate that Senator Smith and Congressman Thornberry are here today to discuss implementation of the report, as it was congressional impetus that led to the creation of this commission. The nation is, indeed, indebted to each of you and your colleagues for having the abiding interest and the foresight to establish this group to assess the organization and the management of space activities that support U.S. national security interests.
I think you all have probably all read the report, but I think it's important to note that the report was unanimous, and it was based upon an extensive effort -- 32 full days of meetings, with 77 present and former senior officials and knowledgeable private sector representatives that we met with.
The commission's major message is our conviction that the U.S. has an urgent interest in promoting and protecting the peaceful use of space and in developing the technologies and operational capabilities that its objective in space will require. Accordingly, we made a number of near- and mid-term recommendations. However, while organization and management are important, the critical need is to elevate space on the national security agenda. Speaking for my colleagues, I am pleased that Secretary Rumsfeld has accepted in full the spirit of our recommendations.
As the great majority of the recommendations directly affect the Air Force, as the service which provides the overwhelming majority of the space resources for the department, I would also like to commend Acting Secretary Delaney, General Ryan and the Air Force leadership for their positive and active approach towards planning to implement our initiatives.
Finally, working on this commission was a distinct honor and privilege for all of us. We deeply appreciate the opportunity to serve and to work on an endeavor as important and as far-reaching as this one was.
Thank you, and we look forward to your questions.
Rumsfeld: Duane, do you or Ron want to add anything?
(Response off mike.)
Rumsfeld: All right, all right. Next, I'd like to ask the vice chief of staff of the Air Force and the acting secretary to come up and make any remarks they would like to make. As you know, most of the changes here involve the Air Force. General John Handy, you have the floor.
Handy: Sir, thank you very much.
Well, first off, I'd like to say that on behalf of General Mike Ryan, our chief of staff, I'm certainly pleased to be here today and be able to thank Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld for not only being a part of the commission, sir, but being our secretary, to give the Air Force this opportunity to implement the decisions.
I'd also like to thank Senator Smith and Congressman Mac Thornberry for, as you've already heard, their contributions to helping point us in this direction; and then the commissioners, represented by those who have already spoken, for their great work in helping us get to where we are.
I would tell you that this decision represents a tremendous amount of hard work, both on the part of the commissioners, the secretary of Defense, his staff, and the United States Air Force, who have worked so hard for a long time to recognize the value of space to our nation, both in terms of military perspective, as well as each of us as civilians.
We are ready to take on these leadership challenges. We will continue to work very hard to make sure that everyone knows this is a joint effort, the joint war-fighting team effort between the Air Force, the Navy, the Army and Marine Corps, and our Coast Guard brothers and sisters.
And it's a great, great day for all of us. There's a lot of planning that's been done; now it's time to get on with the execution.
And we stand by for your questions.
Rumsfeld: I might just -- (aside) -- would you like to make remarks?
(Response off mike.)
Rumsfeld: I might just make one comment. The missile defense announcements, which were made by President Bush last week at National Defense University, I suppose could be characterized as the first product of the studies that have taken place. This event today, and the changes we're recommending with respect to space, could be characterized as the second.
Here again, the subject matter has been -- it started with a congressional proposal, it then went to a commission; the commission made recommendations to the department, the department took those recommendations and coordinated them extensively throughout all the services and all the OSD activities elsewhere in government. The National Security Council, I should add, has a Space -- (aside) -- what's the official name?
Staff: Policy Coordinating Committee.
Rumsfeld: -- Policy Coordinating Committee that will help to coordinate the civil and commercial and defense-related aspects of space, as well. And this particular set of proposals that you've been provided in, I think, a blue top, have all been fully coordinated with all the military departments and services and the other elements of government, as well as the Congress.
We'd be happy to respond to questions.
Q: Mr. Secretary, these announcements you've made seem to be managerial aimed at efficiency and elevating space in the national security apparatus. However, practically speaking, is this a move toward putting weapons, such as satellite-killers and lasers, into space by the United States? And what would you say to people who are very critical of militarizing space?
Rumsfeld: Well, I wouldn't say anything because these proposals have nothing to do with that. These proposals have to do with organizational arrangements within the Department of Defense that put a focus on the important issues relating to space, which have been spread throughout the department in a way that has made it difficult to get the right kind of focus and the right kind of emphasis.
A big change here is making the Air Force executive agent for space. It does not deny the other services their proper roles, as they will have them, but it does allow some responsibility to be focused, some accountability to be focused, and it has literally nothing to do with that subject.
Q: So you don't see the United States putting weapons in space?
Q: Mr. Secretary?
Q: You don't see the United States putting weapons in space?
Rumsfeld: What I brought along was some space policy, the National Space Policy, which it might be useful to read. It's just an excerpt. This is from September 19th, 1996. It is the policy today, and it says basically that:
"DoD shall maintain the capability to execute the mission, areas of space support, force enhancement, space control and force application. Consistent with treaty obligations, the United States will develop, operate and maintain space control capabilities to ensure freedom of action in space, and if directed, deny such freedom of action to adversaries. These capabilities may also be enhanced by diplomatic, legal and military measures to preclude an adversary's hostile use of space systems and services."
That, I would say, is the policy of the United States government. And it has been, and it is today.
Q: Mr. Secretary --
Rumsfeld: Let me just add one other thing from that same policy. It says:
"The United States is committed to the exploration and use of outer space by all nations for peaceful purposes for the benefit of all humanity. Peaceful purposes allow defense and intelligence- related activities in pursuit of national security and other goals. The United States rejects any claims to sovereignty by any nation over outer space."
Q: Mr. Secretary, a minute ago you mentioned missile defense --
Q: Can I ask you a question about the aircraft on Hainan Island? The Chinese government is indicating that they're not prepared to give back this aircraft. What's your response to that, and what options are available to put more pressure on Beijing to release the plane?
Rumsfeld: The assessment team was on the island. They were given sufficient cooperation so that they could make a full assessment. They came back and they have reported to the contractor and the manufacturer of the aircraft. They have come to some conclusions about the -- what would be necessary to handle the aircraft. And I have provided that information to Secretary of State Powell. He and the diplomatic channels will now go back and discuss that with the People's Republic of China, I presume through the Foreign Ministry. And it is in that channel at the present time.
Q: Just to follow up, recently on the issue of military-to-military exchanges there seems to be some confusion in the administration. I wondered if you could clarify for us what is your policy on military exchanges with the Chinese military?
Rumsfeld: There is, to my knowledge, no confusion. And the policy -- just to trace it from the beginning to today; when I arrived in the department, well prior to the EP-3 incident, I had an impression that it would be appropriate to review the U.S. military- to-military contacts with the PRC to assure that they were truly reciprocal, that in fact there was value that was appropriate to each side. We began that process and started reviewing them on a case-by- case basis. The EP-3 incident intervened. At that time, I felt with the crew members being held on the island, that it would be not appropriate for U.S. ships or U.S. aircraft to visit China and stopped them. Secretary Powell, as well as the Department of Defense, decided that certain social contacts would be less appropriate, given the situation; that it really wasn't business as usual. And I have been handling the military-to-military contacts on a case-by-case basis.
The staff came up and indicated that there were a variety of things taking place that didn't fit under the military-to-military or social contacts and they needed to be reviewed as well, and we are reviewing those also on a case-by-case basis.
Q: Mr. Secretary?
Q: Following up Charlie's question, do you think it would be a good idea, personally, realizing you'll have to hammer this out within the administration, to amend the ABM Treaty to make it easier to test anti-satellite and other stuff in space?
And secondly, where do you stand on the KE-ASAT anti-satellite, which has gotten some bad fitness reports from Defense Science Board and others?
Rumsfeld: I'm not in a position to make decisions on particular -- or comments on particular weapon systems. We just haven't gotten to that point, except in one case where it came down the pike and we had to make a decision.
And the first part of your question was amendments?
Q: Well, it's been cited by your administration --
Rumsfeld: I know, the treaty. The president said it all. He said that the ABM Treaty prohibits -- is designed to prevent countries from creating missile defense capabilities. And he has indicated that he believes that the world situation has changed sufficiently that he wants to begin discussions with Russia, and has contacted Mr. Putin, and there will be some of our senior-level individuals consulting with the Russians sometime in the next -- during this week, I think.
Q: Actually, I was trying to draw you out on the separate question about whether you feel inhibited in any way in anti-satellite weapons or other space developments because of existing treaties, which has been the complaint of some, or whether you see the need for fresh negotiations so we don't end up with an anti-satellite warfare race in space.
Rumsfeld: Well, I don't believe there is or -- is an anti- satellite warfare race in space. I don't know that that language would be appropriate. Certainly it has nothing to do with what we're talking about today.
There is no question but that the ABM Treaty has prevented research and development and testing and experimentation with a host of things that are prohibited by the treaty. And that is the subject of the consultations that are taking place. And such things as mobility, for example, is prohibited by the treaty. So those things will be under discussion.
Q: Secretary Rumsfeld, the commission identified the importance of space and satellite assets, and as Senator Smith articulated, the need to be able to defend and protect those. If we're not talking about putting weapons in space or anti-satellite weapons, how -- what capabilities do you have in mind when we hear these phrases about defending or protecting U.S. space-based assets?
Rumsfeld: What we have is a whole network of things that are civilian and commercial and military that are dependent on space assets. The question is, how do you deter and dissuade people from taking action against those assets in a time of tension or conflict. And those assets have, of course, some space role; they have -- there are linkages between the space role and ground stations, and there are ground stations. And what one has to do is to recognize the degree we are dependent on those assets and then find ways to dissuade and deter and, if necessary, defend and protect that dependency on those assets.
Q: Can you give us any example of how that might work --
Rumsfeld: Well, there are a variety of things you can do. Obviously, when, in some instances, people have looked at the ground stations, there are things that -- ways to interrupt linkages between satellites and ground stations. We've seen instances where, I believe, Indonesia took a modest capability and jammed a Chinese satellite so that the signals that were coming down in Indonesia would not be broadcasting those signals there.
There are all types of things people can do.
Q: Getting back to the question about the practical effect of these organizational changes that you've announced today, how does the new efforts in the area of missile defense connect with these changes in the space program? Is there a connection?
Rumsfeld: I don't see any connection at all.
Rumsfeld: Someone from the back. Yeah.
Q: Who is going to retain operational control over the Air Force, Navy and NRO satellites once everything is in place?
Rumsfeld: Well, operational control. Let's see. (To panel.) Do you want to come up and respond to that?
What we have is the NRO, obviously, will be -- the director of the NRO will also be the under secretary of the Air Force. It will be a separate responsibility. We're not merging the two. And the operations of those satellites, whether they're NRO satellites or Air Force satellites, are not going to change, to my knowledge, with these organizational recommendations, at all.
Q: What about Navy satellites?
Rumsfeld: Navy's would not change, either.
Q: So it's just like --
Q: Mr. Secretary, I know you don't like to be pinned down on --
Rumsfeld: (Off mike.)
Q: Mr. Secretary, we're trying to pin you down on a missile program.
Q: You seem to be dancing around it. Are you going to push ahead with space-based testing of anti-satellite systems? We have some anti-satellite capability already. As you know, we've had it for a number of years. Could be launched by a fighter plane. But you continue to dodge and weave about this. Are we going to get a specific program anytime soon?
Rumsfeld: Sure! (Laughter.) But look, on the one hand, someone says, "Gee, you gotta consult." On the other hand, they say, "Why don't you quit dancing around and just announce it?" Now, the fact of the matter is, you can't have it both ways in life. (Laughter.)
What we're doing is exactly what we ought to be doing. We're taking an enormously significant issue that deserves debate, that deserves discussion, and I would say it deserves thoughtful debate. It deserves a lot better than the old worn-out arguments of the last 20 or 30 years, I would add. And we are talking to the people in the world that are important with respect to that subject -- people in the Congress, we're talking to people who are our allies around the world, we're talking to the countries that are particularly interested, like Russia and, eventually, China, and we are going to be discussing what we have in mind.
And what we have in mind is exactly what the president said. It is that there is a threat out there from rogue states, because of proliferation in the post-Cold War world, that countries are gaining access to ballistic missiles and weapons of mass destruction, and we think it's -- the only responsible thing to do is to develop and deploy capability to deal with that.
We also have said that because of the ABM Treaty, there have been restrictions on the kinds of research and development and testing and experimentation that are needed to look at alternative methods of doing this, and we are going to be discussing those with the people we should be discussing them with. At the conclusions of those consultations, we will in fact -- I almost said "stop dancing around." (Laughter.) And we're not dancing around.
People think, you know, "My goodness, they obviously have something in their heads that's all firm and all fixed, and they're going to suddenly pull open the curtain and there it is." Not true. These consultations are serious. They're real. This is a big, important issue for people to discuss. It's going to take some relearning; it's going to take a willingness on the part of people to recognize the difference in our circumstance today from what the circumstance was in the Cold War, and we're going to do that, and we're going to do it well.
Q: Secretary Rumsfeld, speaking of what's in your mind, can you just clarify for us --
Rumsfeld: The gentleman right here.
Q: Mr. Secretary, given your answer to the last question, can you give us at least a brief overview of how your -- the president's national missile defense plan is going to differ from the Clinton plan, including some specifics on what possible sea-based and space-based components might look like?
Rumsfeld: I can. I'm not going to tell you what they're going to look like because they have not been tested and measured or experimented with or even researched heavily because they would have been violations of the ABM Treaty. So I can tell you we will look at all of those things. There are going to be eight, 10 or 12 different things that the Ballistic Missile Defense Office has come up with that they think merit attention. And as I've said before, we will then try to demonstrate them. To the extent they work, terrific, we'll put more money behind them. To the extent they don't, we'll try to find a better way to do these things. And --
Q: Do you have a deadline in mind in your own deliberations, like a year, two years?
Rumsfeld: Well, confirmations shouldn't last -- you know, should be done this year.
Q: So by Labor Day?
Rumsfeld: (Laughs.) I'm not going to set arbitrary deadlines. Goodness gracious, we don't need them yet.
Q: Put aside for a minute the missile defense thing and the -- (inaudible) -- stuff; put aside the hot buttons. Could you give us some sense of the types of programmatics that might change now that you elevate the visibility of space in this whole thing? Give us any kind of feel at all so that we can write about something other than a doggone spaghetti diagram. (Light laughter.) I'm serious.
Rumsfeld: Well, let me -- with all respect to the Congress and the commission, the Congress said they did not want a commission to come up with programmatic reviews. They didn't want a commission to come up with new budgets. They wanted a commission to look at the organization of how the United States government, particularly the Department of Defense, is organized -- and the intelligence community is organized to deal with a subject that has been becoming increasingly important over the decades. And I can remember having a briefing -- Tom, you and Duane and Ron will remember it -- some Air Force general came in and said he spent literally the entire weekend in this building trying to get an answer to a single simple question on space, and he couldn't do it. There is no way to get all the threads from all the departments and all the agencies and all the pieces of this enormous place and bring them up through a needlehead and get an answer for the president of the United States.
So the big thing it does is it does that. There will -- a person, a human being, a real live person will be able to come in here at some point and push a button on a human being and say "You're it. What's the answer?" And that person ought to be able to get the answer in a very short period of time.
Q: Secretary Rumsfeld, you hinted in your opening comments -- I know you don't like to be pinned down on numbers prematurely, but --
Rumsfeld: I can't be, because I don't know them.
Q: -- can you share with us your thinking about how many major theater wars the United States military ought to be prepared to fight and win -- (laughter) -- nearly simultaneously as a planning model for --
Who was it, Congressman Smith of Virginia many, many years ago said, "Hold still, little fishie, I was just gonna gut ya, that's all." (Laughter.)
That's a good question, it's an important question, and it ranks right up there with the subject of missile defense and the use of space. What we are doing -- and I say "we" -- I mean lots of people, human beings, military, civilian, in the Congress, in the department, in other parts of the government -- is trying to take a serious look at the world we live in and our circumstance in that world, and then ask the question, how ought we to arrange ourselves? What kinds of -- how ought we to size our forces? How ought we to organize those forces? Where ought they to be located? And in what kinds of arrangements?
The principal sizing approach that's been used has been, as you suggested, the two major regional conflicts, with a conflict here and a holding action, to some extent, there. The reality is -- you'll all recall there was a readiness report that came out, I think it was the Third Infantry Division, that said that readiness had dropped down to a C-3 level. And of course, the reason it had was that that division was organized to be part of and sized for one of the major regional conflicts, but that isn't what it was doing. It was in Bosnia. And it was doing that very well. And indeed, the president and the Congress and the country said, "Go to Bosnia. That's your job right now." And then the readiness thing comes out and it suggests, "Well, you're not ready for the major regional conflict because you've got half your people over in Bosnia and you're doing these other things."
So the question comes, mightn't we want to size our forces also for some other things, like a Bosnia or a Kosovo or a noncombatant evacuation in some country, or maybe one or two or three of those things? And so it is that exercise that we're going through. And it links directly to readiness. It links to requirements as to what kinds of equipment and capabilities you need. And it is very complicated. It is not mysterious.
Some people think I arrived in this job from the pharmaceutical business with a head full of plans ready to bring out; unwrap the cellophane package and hand them over to the Pentagon. I didn't.
I am very sincerely trying to figure out what I ought to think about these things, and I'm getting smart people from all around; inside the government, outside the government, in the Congress, in uniform, out of uniform, and talking about these issues, not to tell them what's going to happen, but to try to figure out what I think maybe ought to happen.
Q: Well, are you about to abandon the two-war strategy, as a major metropolitan newspaper suggested?
Rumsfeld: I haven't gotten there, no. Listen, if you believe everything you read in a major metropolitan newspaper, we're going to -- (laughter) -- I'd be going 18 directions at once.
Q: Mr. Secretary, what weapon system were you referring to earlier when you said you had made a programmatic decision? And also, could you tell us what power the Air Force now has over the other services?
Rumsfeld: Sure. The decision I had to make was to reprogram some money for the F-22 because to not have done so would have been to have made a decision, and I was not ready to make a decision.
The Air Force's power -- I don't know that I like the word -- over the other services, I would say they have a responsibility; they have a fiduciary duty to be the executive agent. And this is not unique in the Department of Defense. The Air Force is currently executive agent for combat search and research. The Joint Forces Command is currently the executive agent for joint war-fighting experimentation. The Army is the executive agent for domestic emergency preparedness and civil support. The Army is the executive agent for chemical weapons demilitarization, and the Marines are the executive agent for non-lethal weapons.
So it's a technique or an organizational structure that has been used previously, and it works pretty well.
And I want to apologize to all these wonderful people who came here to participate in this space thing for having to sit there and listen to me answer all these questions on other things. (Laughter, cross talk.)
Q: Mr. Secretary, in the opening statements we heard a lot about elevating space and making defense of our space assets a priority. How do you propose to do that without creating some kind of physical defensive system, i.e, weapons in space? How do you propose to do that?
Rumsfeld: Well, one of the things you can do, and we are going to do it, at least when I was on the commission, before I had to resign to come over here, we had a provision that indicated we would try to give visibility to funding for space. And I believe that's in the program. And for the first time, we'll be able to see what we're really spending on it. Rather than having to run around and turn over every little piece of paper to try to find what's going on in space, we will have a way to look at it, a visible way to look at it. And as we all know, what you measure improves. So if you're able to see something and track it, I think it will have a salutary effect.
Q: Mr. Secretary, but how does that protect our space assets against a hostile attack, as Senator Smith brought up?
Rumsfeld: I guess the way I would answer it is that you -- we will be able -- see, the organizational changes don't do things programmatic, they lead to programmatic decisions.
And they lead to funding decisions. And they lead to accountability. But the short answer is that process is process and program is program.
Last question, right there.
Q: Is this a step towards a separate Space Corps? Do you envision that we will need a Space Corps separate from the Air Force within 10, 15 years out?
Rumsfeld: There were those in Congress and on the commission and of the people that we received briefings from as well as members of our staff who in some instances actually believe that's where it might have been good to go now. There are those who think that it is conceivable we could end up there in some period of years. There were others who felt that it was unlikely and that you might find, if the Air Force does well with this, that they would be a space-air entity.
There are tensions on going that. Obviously there's an advantage because you really get focus and you really get attention on a subject by doing that. The disadvantage, obviously, is cost, and the structure and overhead on the one hand, and considerable complexity in terms of dealing with this building in terms of jointness. I mean, to add an entity when we're trying to bring these existing entities together into a way that they can do joint war-fighting is a tension in the opposition direction.
So it is something that got a lot of thought. I think that's a fair characterization of it. And there -- like most things that are complicated and important and difficult, there were a number of pluses and minuses.
And I thank all of you for being here. (Laughter.)
Q: Thank you.
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