News Briefings

DoD News Briefing

Tuesday, July 18, 2000 - 1:38 p.m.EDT
Presenter: Mr. Kenneth H. Bacon, ASD PA

Q: Has the recent test of the Iranian missile reinforced DoD's commitment to fast, deployable theater missile defenses, such as the Patriot, PAC-3 or the THAAD, to getting those things out there as soon as possible?

Bacon: Yes. I mean, our commitment is the same as it was before this test because we knew that Iran was working on such a missile, as are other countries. So this remains a top priority matter, particularly for the regional commanders, the CINCs -- CINCs in Europe and the Pacific Command, Southern -- not so much the Southern Command, because we don't face that threat there, but clearly in Europe, the Central Command and the Pacific Command, we're worried about missile developments.


Q: What's the status of the secretary's decision on NMD?

Bacon: The status is pending.

Q: He's awaiting the report, I guess, on this --

Bacon: Well, it'll take some time for the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization to complete its analysis of the last test. And then they will have to put together a more comprehensive report that looks not just at the last test, but at everything they've learned from all the tests they've done so far. And they'll present that to the secretary, the secretary will review it and reach a conclusion and then pass it on to the White House. He said that that will take -- well, he said at the time of the test it would take three or four weeks. One week has elapsed, more than a week has elapsed, so now we're down to two or three weeks. But this is approximate. Don't get your calendars out and check a date, because it could come a little sooner or a little later.

Q: The secretary said en route to China that this miss wouldn't necessarily be a killer for starting the program, from beginning the program next year. He does plan as of now, though, to make a definite recommendation and not to hold off on the recommendation.

Bacon: He does plan to make a recommendation, yes. Definitely.

Yes, Barbara.