Panelroviding Intelligence to Policymakers
Lloyd Salvetti; Ladies and gentlemen, welcome anew. The leadoff panel this morning will focus on the general topic of providing intelligence to policymakers at the senior policy level. In addition, wc will have the opportunity tonique perspective on the operationsritical, bul not highly publicized, component of the US national security system, the National Security Council's Deputies Committee.reat extent, the relationship between intelligence and policymakers historically examines the written record, as historians must. In that context, we hope we have contributedetter understanding of the written record of intelligence analysis and estimates at the end of the Cold War in the volume we produced for this Conference. Less examined is the role of intelligence in the dynamic of policy discussions and debate at the senior level. So today, we will explorerincipal policymaking body in the Bush Administration, the NSC Deputies Committee, was provided intelligence and how they used that intelligence in the policy process.
The core Deputies Committee consists of the Deputy National Security Advisor as the Chair, with counterparts from the State and Defense Departments, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and CIA, with other departments and agencies participating depending on the topics on the agenda. Wc are privileged today to have reassembled for this panel five of the individuals who were key members of President Bush's Deputies Committee.
Robert M. Gates served as Deputy National Security Advisor in the Bush Administration fromntil he became Director of Central Intelligence.
Mr, Galesumber of senior positions in CIA during his career, and spent nine yearsember of the National Security Council staff, serving four Presidents. As you know, he's interim Dean ofthe George Bush School and serves as an advisor and board
member for several US corporations.o through this list, by the way, please
Well, the reason I'm doing that is that therehread that connects all of these folks to their role on the Deputies Committee, and lhat is their serviceariety of different policy posts previously.
Admiral David E. Jeremiah. US Navyas Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from0 to. serving in both the Bush and early Clinton Administrations. Me commanded the Pacific Fleet7nd other naval units during this career. He now is head of Technology Strategies and Alliances, Inc.
Richard Kerr was Deputy Director of Central Intelligence9avingtinl as Actingareer intelligence officer. Mr. Kerr held several senior posts in CIA, to include that of Deputy Director for Intelligence, the head of CIA's analysis directorate. He isrivate consultant.
Robert M. Kimmitt served as Undersecretary for Political Affairs in the Department of State9hen he became Ambassador to Germany. Mr. Kimmitiariety of senior positions on the National Security Council staff and the Treasury Detriment before becoming Undersecretary of State. He isrivate international trade attorney.
Paul Wolfowitzwas Undersecretary of Defense for Policy9r. Wolfowitz servedumber of senior State Department and Defense Department
positions prior to his appointment as Undersecretary of Defense. He is now Dean of the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University.
I would also mention that we have another member of the Deputies Committee who served on an earlier panel, Arnold Kantor, who was Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs1ho is here in the audience. We will begin our session by asking Bob Gates to address how President Bush, General Brent Scowcroft, and Bobrganized the Deputies Committee, and how Ihe DC process worked. We will then turn to Dick Kerr to address the role played by intelligence in the DC process, noting as well the various mechanisms used to transmit intelligence to all of President Bush's National Security team, to include the President himself. And then we will turn to Admiral Jeremiah, as was the general sequence in the Deputies Committee, to go from Bob selling the agenda, Dick Kerr addressing intelligence, and Admiral Jeremiah addressing the operational context. Following that, we will have Dr. Wolfowitz and Mr. Kimmitt addressing issues such as the strength and shortcomings of the Deputies Committee process, what were its best moments, and, perhaps, what were its worst moments, and how each of ihem received and used intelligence in the Depulies Committee process, and in interaction with their respective principals. Bob.
Mr. Gates: Well, the story of the Deputies Committee really begins, as so often, it seems to me, with Brent Scowcroft talking me into doingeally didn't want to do.as the Deputy at CIA under Bill Webster,eally was, really enjoyed working foronsiderreat leaderreat patriot, and hereat guy to work with. Unfortunately for me, so was Breni, and so iteallso
wasn't very enthusiastic about going back to thead been there under Nixon, Ford andad successfully evaded the NSC during the Reagan Administration-it wasareer-enhancing place to be during that period. Brentumber of extravagant promises,ould say that he kept them all.
So when we sat down to figure out how we would organize the interagency process to manage national securityhink we started bearing in mind two negative models. I'm not so sure how consciously wc did it, but, certainly,
subconsciously. The first was, the first model we wanted toof all, I
should start with the fact that President Bush clearlyollegia! policymaking process. So the first model to avoid was the model that existed under President Nixon and Henry Kissinger, where, essentially, not only the decision making process was highly centralized in the White House, but so was the deliberative process,ood deal of the interagency process during the Nixon Administration, with all due respect to those who were on the NSC at that time and others,ittle bit like Joan Rivers' line of, sort of, "talk amongst yourselves" while we make the serious policy decisions here in the White House. It was highly centralized, and the bureaucracy was cut outot.
The other model wc wanted lo avoid was the more common model, and that was where everyone just jabbered interminably, debated without decisions,ot of time, and spun itsot. And werocess that actually would make things happen.
So lhai sort of set the tone and the slagc for what wc decided to do. And the first
place we began was widi tliedie membership of the Committee. The
inleragcncy process before had often taken place at kind of the tertiary level of
govenimenl. As DDI. Deputy Director forad represented CIA in these interagency forums in the Reagan Administration, and so on. And often the Executive Assistant to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs would represent the JCS, and so on. So Brentecided at the beginning that we would actually pitch this at the Deputies level, and so,hange, the Deputy DCI became the representative from the
Intelligence Community. Thanks to Goldwater and Nichols, we then hadwere
able toice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs represent the Chairman and the JCS. We ranroblemf reality, actually, in dealing with Defense and State, though. In the case of Defense, more often than not, the Deputy Secretary of Defense is more preoccupied with managing the Department than he is with focusing on substance and policy issues, and so Dick Cheney very much wanted Paul Wolfowiiz to do this for him. And our key, ourtried to keep in mind ourwas to have people al Ihe table who could commit their agencies and commit their principal right there at the tabic. We didn't have to have everybody going back and goingig process inside Iheir agency. We wanted somebody thatirect channel to Ihe Secretary of State, the Secretary of Defense, the DCI and Ihe Chairman, somebody who could deliver decisions quickly, andot of easy access. So Cheney picked Paul as his representative to do Ibis, and Secretary Baker did nol warn Larry Eagleburger tied up doing these meetings, and so he designated Bob Kimmill. And Bob had the same kind of access to Jim Baker that Paul had lo Cheney, and ihe full confidence ofthe Secretary. So this achieved our objective And when other agencies were brought in, they were always at tlie Deputy level.
Il seems lo me, in terms of proeess, one of the most important things that we wanted to think about in terms of getting this group of busy people together was that if wc didn't have effective meetings, if wc didn't come to conclusions, if they didn't walk away feeling like, at least most ofthe time, "Thatorthwhile period of timehat they wouldn't come. They'dower level representative. They were too busy to just screw around having debates about ethereal subjects, so they had to feel like something was really being accomplished. My own predilection was to nevereeting that ran over an hour. Again, very busy people. We violated it occasionally, most of the time on arms control and tech transfer, hut that's anotherof high points and low points.
What wc also wantedituation where we could walk out of lhat
the end oftheould summarize what had been discussed. If
there were differences among theould repeat those so that everybody knew where we were coming from, and what the situation was going to be, and how their position would be represented to the President. Either we all recommended lhat such an action be taken, or, one or another departmentissenting view. And, generally, what the rule of thumb was, after our meetings would conclude, these fellows had two to
three hours to get to their principal, confirm that the decision hadwhat
we had recommended, thai lhat was okay with the principal, and then Brentould report to the President, and tell him this was the recommendation of his senior-most advisors. And itery, most of theery efficient process.
I think that part of what made it efficient, in the spirit of true confessions, was that there was somethingteeringecret steering group, for the Deputies
Committee. And it was comprised of the President of the United States, and Brent, and me. And every day, when Brentould meet with the President,ould
confirm withwould tell him, "Weeputies meeting. Here's the
agenda, here'shink we ought to come out. Is that where you think wc ought to comend at that point we would dien go into the meeting,ould go into the meeting. Sometimes when the issues were really important, in the morning meeting that we had every day with theould go through some of this with the President, and the President would say, "Yeah, that's pretty muchant to comer whatever. But the point is, we rarely went into one of these meetings without some idea of what we wanted to come out on the other end. They were very rarely open ended. And the key was, where arc the other departments of the government? The President wanted to know where his principal advisors were on each issue. And he wanted their positions represented fairly. Brentery strong reputation for doing this, and the trust of all the principals, and we tried to do the same thing in the Deputies Committee.
The other thinghink helped us with the principals was that we never forgot our role or our place. We wereecisionmaking body. Our job was basically to identify issues, strip away all of the bureaucratic baloney surrounding them, get down to the really, the hard crystal issues. If there were differences between the agencies, strip away all of the foofaraw and get down to what's the really key issue that the President has to decide, and where do the principals stand on that key issue. So weot of bureaucratic ash and trash out of the way during these debates, and were able to make sure that the principals then could focus on what were really the critical items that the President had to decide, ll saved thehink, overot of time. And
because ofthe way we conducted our business, we actually, over time,ot more confidence from the principals. And we reached the pointhink unique, in my government experience, we would have principals like Dick Cheney and Jim Baker saying, "Oh, just let the Deputies take care ofnd itegree of confidencehink we had to earn.
1 think that one ofthe things that helpedot was that weeputation very quickly within the government for getting things done and for itery efficient decision-making process. In fact, it gothe reputation developed inay that one of the challenges that Brentaced wasrowing number of domestic agencies were trying to figure out how to get their business on our agenda, because itay to get decisions quickly. Perhaps one of the low points was when, during the lead-up to DESERT STORM, the Post Office wanted toouple of issues dealt with by us. Ilaughler) We took care of Iheir problem quickly, [laughter]
In addition to policy formulation, another role that the Deputies Committee acquired was that of day-to-day crisis manager for the National Security apparatus. And the way things developede were sort of in one crisis after another from then until the end of DESERT STORM,uppose people would say until the end of the
Administration. But this was agot this responsibility after the first coup
attempt in Panamand die government sort of fumbled around, figuring out how-to deal with that. And it was clear to the President, and to Brent, and to Jim Baker, and to Cheney that some clear area of responsibility, line of authority and responsibility for dealing wilh crises, had to be established. And, because the Deputies Committee was already up and running, and they had trusted associates of their own on it, they basically
gave lhat responsibility to the Deputies Committee. And the truth of the matter is, that through the liberation of Eastern Europe, and our action in Panama, the coup attempts in the Philippines, and collapse of the Soviet Union, and so on. we reallyot of experience on these issues.
There was one offshoot of the Deputies Committee that was sort of an expanded Deputies Committee, and it was the European Security Strategy Group, Steering Group. This group was developed, frankly, because Jim Baker couldn't make up his mind who he wanted to represent die State Department. And, because thereot of big issues associated wiih the reunification of Germany, including the restructuring of NATO, givingew sense of direction and mission, and so on. And so, in addition to Bob, Baker wanted Dennis Ross, and Bob Zocllick, and Reg Bartholomew to attend. So. instead of calling this the Deputies Committee, which would then create the opportunity for everybody else to send tour people to the meeting, wc created the European Security Steering Group, and it was this group, plus those three. And that grouphink, did an extraordinary jobery short period of time, of coming up with alternatives and proposals for the President, both in arms control, or arms reductions in Europe, as well as issues associated with the reunification of Germany and changing the face of NATO that was really quite extraordinary.
I thinkery important part of this, and really the last major point I'll make, is that you cannot underestimate the importance of personal chemistry in all of this. All of us had worked togetherong time in various capacities, and we knew each other well enough that you cither checked your ego at the door, or somebody else would check it foremember one time on the European Security Steering Group, Reg
Bartholomew was a! Ihc (able for ihc Stale Department that day, and all the rest of us were sitting there, and Reg was occasionally given to just sort of erupting and givingnd ventingig speech and sort of shouting at all of us and so on and so forth, and Reg finally got tired and quit.urned to him,aid, "Reg- that kind of bullshit may work with the foreigners, bul wc know you looverybody laughed, and wc went on wiih our business.
But this personal chemistry was very important,ould say it was important outside Ihc Situation Room,rusi developed among these other individuals thaiot of problems between their agencies. The truth is that there are always people in the bureaucracy trying to cause fights. But, if you have people at Ihc top of agencies that want no part of it, or who can speak frankly to one another, who trust each other, then youituation where those kinds of fires can be put out.ot of people have commented over the years on the comity of the Bush Administration and how people got along. It worked at the principals' level, but it also worked very much at this level.ot of problems between Slate, and Defense, and CIA, and the other policy agencies and so on, were taken care of because these guys could talk to each otherayot of their predecessors had been unable to. And this became very importantituation like die Gulf War. where we were often meeting two or threeay.
Itniquehink itnique moment, not just because of the structure that we created for the Deputies Committee, but because of the personal chemislry involved on the part of the individuals here. It certainly was different and far
better lhan any other process like ilxperienced in (he six Presidentsorked (or, and. frankly, il was one ofthe most satisfying experiences of my career.
Mr. Salvetti: Thank you. Bob. Dick Kerr.
Mr. Kerr: Bob Gates may have been reluctant to go to the NSC,as kind of enthused about it, actually.
Mr. Gales: To see me go!
Mr. Kerr. Yes. Because,ot to get his job,lso got to work with him onso thaiad combination of things lo happen. President Bushhow important he felt it was to have the intelligence officers present when hePDB so the issues could be discussed, there could be some exchange. Theby this group of people provided inlelligencc Ihe same opportunity in anotherforum, one thai Bob has just described-our ability to go in and provideframework or base of knowledge, gel the information from them,also had major inielligence sources, sometimes much more lhan we did.Kimmitl would have talked to somebody that was fundamentally key to theBob Gales or Scowcroft, and actually brought information to us. As you know,have full access to everything. Wciece oflso, by the way, andloepresented CIA. In Ihe role on theeally
represented Ihe Intelligence Community,air amount of time with NSA,and the NRO, andelse out thereould tap.
One of the thingsound very interesting about thisfrom the
description that Bob Gates gaveroup that would workever felt, for instance,ad been stabbed in the back by this group.ad previously beens Bob had, in the Reagan Administration,idn't have that feeling.
AcrossI had been beatenew times,ound itroup
lhatot of problems were solved ai the personalroblem on an embassy, wc were having some ambassador who hates us, maybe we can work this out between Boh andnd, it usually worked.
Ionsiderable amount of lime,on't really know about the others onot of lime as Deputy Director preparing for Deputies meetings. Ihe key
was, at least in my perspective ofof you have probably gotten talking points from
staff. You get talkingof all, the people that prepare the talking points have
no idea how the meeting is organized, how it's run. and, really, no idea of, ultimately, what the subject or the emphasisubject is going to be. so the talking
look at them and say, "That's very interesting. Nowy
approach was toroup of people in. sit around and talk about the problem, write my own talking points, andot to the meeting and listened to Bob's introduction that had no relation to my talking points, cither, and I'd rip them up. So you wentery iterative kind of process, which meant you had lo be fairly concise, you had to know enough about your subject to really have some insight intoew limes I
went lo things thai my eyes just glazed over, I'll have to admit. Hopefully, therought with me knew something.
hink the key from my perspective as the Deputy Director of Central Intelligencenew who the good people were within the Agency and how to use them. Andad one strength, that was it. It wasn't my own smarts, il was lhai I
knew who could docould provide the information that was kind of critical to
some of (he decision making process.
II was interesting. The Deputies meeting changed nearly every crisis, nearly every group of participants, and if youubstitute member, the nature of the groupemember,on't mention the name,as telling Dave this, and Dave recollected it as well. We were sitting there, andery senior person came in as partarticular problem nnd said,aveant toemember Daveooked at eache only do three, four, points at most. You know, we don'l dooints. But he went through allf them, from beginning to end.
One thing that's important to knowot of the heavy lifting on this was not done at the Deputies Committee. It was done by working groups (hat Bob set up through the NSC, but it was also done by major groups within each organization. So, weatooked ai myselfpokesman, notepeater of their information, but trying lo make lhat infonnation relevant to the discussion that was going on. And that meant you had to be fairly quick because the discussions sometimes went strange places.
Someonend the onene otheranted to make is onouple of people mentioned this separation between policy and intelligence.
ittle skeptical about that. My view is that any policy question can be turned into an intelligence question withip of theean, it is not hard toolicy issue and turn it into an appropriate intelligence question. They werehis group around thewas not at all bashful about telling me about intelligence, or that they knew somethingidn't, or they had judgments. And, quite simply,ould make lhatas not at all bashful about talking to them about the intelligence implications of their policy. Subtle.
I think the processery goodhink the idea of having people who had some control and command of their organizations, and as everybody knows, control,ou're in charge of the organization, you're not certain, at times, that you're in command of it. It is hard to get many of theselarge, very interestingat least wc had the opportunity to go back to our organization and provide some direct (asking, whether il was collection, whether it was analysis. In some cases, you have to remember that CIA was also an action arm of theean, it had covert action programs, it had things that were real, that it did that were problems and successes. So it worked on both sides.
In any case, in summary, I'd say if ituccess from my point of view, it was because of the quality of people and the sophistication of the peoplead behind me, and many of them arc represented in (his room. And itlass act. The people were classy. Itophisticated group, and itarvelous sense of humor,hink kind of carries you through most of il. Thai's it.
LS: Admiral Jeremiah.
Admiralame to ihc Deputies Committee from the Fleet, as Commander in Chief of the Pacificameleet perspective. Fd had various tours in Washington, not in policy but in other areas, predominantly financial.ot to the Deputies Committee in Marcht was an ongoing operation. My predecessor. Bob Herres had been die first Vice Chairman to participate in Deputies Committeeas conditioned by myofficers, by the nature of our activities, particularly during Ihe Cold War, are usually operating inside, not gunfire, but cannon-shot range of your opposition almost all the time, whether you're in an aircraft,hip, orubmarine. You're in very close proximity lo your opponent, and youot of attention to intelligence. Shoot, move, and communicate was the basis upon which practically all military organizations are predicated, and that means you pay attention lo your weapons officer, your engineer, and your communications group. By theeft commandestroyer and went to commandestroyer squadron, where you had more than one ship lo concern yourself wiih and more lhan one subject to deal with, my three principalsthree principalfrom those threeust named, to the public affairs officer, the lawyer, and the intelligence officer. [Iaughterj Each of them had the characteristic of being able to sec (rouble coming and have some idea of what to do about it if it gotound that terribly useful in my experiences in the intercept of the Achille Lauro hijackers, where we had magnificent support out of the thcn-Rcagan White House, John Poindcxlcr, in providing intelligence information to us on the location of the hijackers, and their time of arrival over the middle of the Mediterranean, and the operations off Libya where often we would be in the middle
og fight with Libyan lighters -nobut at the point where it was [lingers snapping) thai quick between the time you werehooting war or not. And it was our ability to be on both sides of the conversation and listen to the ground controllers on the Libyan side that allowed us to know how to avoid escalatingifferentigher level.as Commander in Chief of the Pacific Fleet, Mike McConncll was my intelligence officer and later wasn the Joint Staff, an intelligence officer in supporting mc and General Powell in the Gulf War. We had absolute confidence in our ability to deal with the then-Soviet submarine force in the Pacific on minute's notice. We knew where everything was in real time with excellent national and operational intelligence.
So the point of this isame into the Deputies Committee with an expectation of seeing intelligence wrapped very tightly into the policy,ill tell you frankly, that my experienceot to the Joint Staff illuminated the fact that my counterparts in (he other services do not treat intelligence in the same way that naval officers do. Ihey tend to treat itet-aside over here before you go off to do something important. Il was absolutely essential to the way you did naval operations. It wasiscovered very quickly, essential in the Deputies Committee,iscovered two other things, as well. One of them Dick alluded to, and that is the talking points, and you may havenoticed, atthe Deputies Committees that, quite often, they would be crafted at the table, as Bob's arc, mine arc, Paul's making additions to his. [laughter] Policy was sortluid sort of thing. The other thing [discovered was,ame to the Deputies Committee,iscoveredad to lcam Englishecond language all over again, because we didn't talk in therew up with.
We were now in NATO-speak, which was some combination of arms control language, "ehupeau"ery loosely thrown-around word, and "intervention'" was used about every time one could think about it Therehole host of this sort of stuff that flew aroundiad to think about and try to figure out what wc were really talking about, because English had suddenly no longer become my native tongue, [iaughter]
One of the things that wc discovered, the confidence among us led to our willingness to be much more open between agencies than would otherwise be the case.hink, shared things that other Administrations before, and certainly after, would not share with other agencies. In the Gulf War, we were paranoid about security, particularly before we took decisive action and began to move forces. One of the more embarrassing stories, of course, is that State,otorious leaker of all kinds of information and intelligence to the rest of the world, we beat up on Bob Kimmitt unmercifully most of the time before the Gulf War, because wc just knew it was going to go bust, and then we had this absolutely breathtaking Deputies Committee meeting in which Bob raised,oint of order, as we had begun the operations to lift forces into the Gulf, he wondered about why il was that the military Transportation Command hadetter addressed to every known shipping point of departure in Europe and the Middle East in an unclassified message, announcing the arrival of an enormous aluminum overcast of aircraft flowing to the Middle East And, of course, it was an unclassified message, and wc didn't sec it. Bob saw it. Terrible Ihing.
A couple of things that came out of theiought were good, interesting leaching points. The question of field intelligence and how you integrate it into the national intelligence structureifficult one for us in the Gulf War. We had
running gun battles between the commander, Schwarzkopf, particularly after the war, in complaining about some of the support he got. He was not, in many cases, aware of how much support he actually had, and the degree to which his support was coming from national sources. But it is the flow of informationield of battle that is the most difficult part to get into the problem, and get it into the assessment so dial national analysts can come to conclusions about the bomb damage assessment that arc coincident with those reached by Ihe commander in the field. The commander in the field is looking at gun camera footage, laserhole host of things that you've seen on television, but that data is nottransformed into data that went to Dick and his people to help the policymakers understand how far along wc were in the gamehink that that has continued into Kosovo. Wc continue to sec that same sort of problem where the commander in the fieldifferent estimate of what is taking place on the field from national sources, because he has, in some ways, better visibility than the national sources. The improvement of the manipulation of intelligence information from the field, or into any kind of network so that it can move freely among the people who have to have it,erribly important lesson,hink we learned it in the Gulf War, and we saw it again in Kosovo.
The otherook away from the experience on the Deputies Committee, is that somehow we have toetter job of contingency planning in the sense of being able to layemplate, so you can go to the locker and pull out the checklist, and go through the laundry list of things that have to be done for the kind of problem that's going on. No problem is going to be exactly like the checklist, or exactly like one you've seen before, but it's close enough so you should be able to take care of
(hose thingsseful way. And there are things we know are going to happen in the world. There arc going to be changes in leadership in countries like Cuba and Syria, for instance. What are wc going to do about that? Do weolicy on it? How do we think about (hose kinds of problems? Where is the intelligence on the people who arc likely to replace them, and arc there people (hat wc would more or less favor in that whole dialogue? That is not done well in die processes we have today,rankly don't know how to get to solve the problem, because the people who should play in it are (he busiest people in Washington, in any Administration, under almost any organization.
And.hink I'd like to just comment on the care and feeding of Allies, whichost of our activities, to the point that we had to send hostages to Israel in order to be sure tliat our Allies stayed on the wagon and stayed in the coalition, and continued to play. The care and feeding of Alliesonstant effort that the Deputies Committee was worrying about throughout.
One of theorgot to mentionalked about Englishoreign language was tliehen we did our little excursions into the field of commerce from time to time, wc would go to COCOM, and Bob Gates would come in and announce that we were going toOCOM discussion on computers. Thisost interesting discussion because nobody knew what the hell we were talking about, and language changed from one time to the next. Once it was gigaflops, then it was megaflops, and then it was some other thing that nobody'd ever heard about before. Wc were forever tryingatch up with technology and figure out how lo control it, and finally made probably the most judicious decision and said, "This stuff is going to run away from us faster than wc can ever design policy to controlad the enviable task
of always coming in and representing an absolutely dinosaur position with respect to the transfer of technology, because some arcane old CRAY computer somewhere was always described as the absolute key to the survival of the Free World. [laughler]ad to explain why that was necessary to keep under close control, and wc had to send guards with the computers and keep them there for the rest of their lives, [laughter] Wonderful thing. This was probably one of the finestave ever had in government. Those of you who aspire to operate in the public environmentublic servant in state, local, federal government, if you ever have the opportunity to serveituation like this and have the same kinds of people to serve with, you will be very fortunate, indeed. Thank you.
1,S: Dob Kimmitt.
Mr. Kimmitt: Thank you,uess I'll startitefense of the Reagan Administration,pent fouralf years on the NSC Staff. It's pretty hard to argue with the results of the Reaganhink it was the steadfastness of policy approached both by the President and Vice President that produced that,hink it is fair to say, as Bob and Dick intimated, that sometimes those results were produced in spile of the process, rather lhan because of the process. We were blessed in the Bush Administration with that same clarity of leadership and vision at the Presidential level, but we knew diat we could do better at Ihe procedural level. And, nothink all of us will conclude that wc did.
The Deputies Committee, of course, is part ofthe National Security Council system. The NSC itself, createdtatutory body, but the President can craft his system any way that he wishes. And that's primarily structuring the staff and structuring the committees of the NSC. Fundamentally, where you have to start, particularly for the students in the audience is. what is national security? You can probably write paragraphs, but for me, it's fairly algebraic, and that is. it's the summation of foreign policy, plus defense policy, plus international economic policy, restingtrong intelligence and infomiation base. Really, that's what you see in front of you, and that is the bureaucratic manifestation of an effective bringing together of those various strands of national security policy formulation. I'll come back to that intelligence information distinctionoment.
1 agree one hundred percent with the point that all of my colleagues made on personalities. It wasn't really just at our level that the personalities worked. As Bob suggested, and Dick did, it worked at the level above us. In George Bush, Brent Scowcroft, Jim Baker, Dick Cheney, you had people who had been working closely together since the Ford Administration, and it was very clear to us that we were not just to produce good work, but to produce it in asashion asolleague of mine at the State Department came in to one of our small morning meetings just beaming and said to Secretary Baker, "We beat Defense onemember Jim's face just didn't move, and this guyittle bit surprised. And Baker said,ope it was the right result, because we're not in this to beat Defense. Dick Cheney's got one of the toughest jobs in government, and we're all trying to produce the best result that we can for the President and thehat message got out very
quickly throughout ihe State Department early on. That is, we weren't out there to besi anybody, we were to produce Ihc best result.ig difference between the two.
1 would say the only time that we had to sort of restructure our interpersonal relationships started with the Philippines insurrection in the fallecause il was really Ihe first time that we had really conducted our business on the secure video conference system, which has now become very much part of the government process, but, at that time, was really quite new. So, rather than coming into the Situation Room of ihe White House, we'd walk into, in my case, the State Operations Center, Bob would go Io ihe Situation Room al the White House, others would go to Iheir respective agencies. We'd be sitting in frontamera with screens in front of us, and you could tell from those first few meetings, people were really concerned about how they looked on TV. [laughter] They were supposed IO be looking al the camera, but they were checking that monitor over there,ittle bit of this, and all the rest of it. [laughter] I'll come back to the security video.
Fundamentally, our job had three parts: policy formulation; crisis management; and implementation, both of policy and of crisis decision making. My own view is lhai intelligenceery important role in policy formulation. '1 "hat's very often early in an Administration, where you have al mostix-monlh window lo put in place an effective policy foundationevents start to run away fromgree with Dave that you have to try to find some way Io keep thinking of contingencies, keep thinking of new initiatives. On Ihe crisis side, I'd say information is very' often as important as intelligence.rought in to Dick Kerr very often, what others brought, were really hits of information. He would ihen go back and help craft that, through analysis and
otherwise, into useful intelligence. But, you know, in this information revolution era, one ofthe great challenges, of course, that intelligence has, is keeping up with information. And the tension between those two we felt every day. We didn't have time for three-page, ten-page analyses going into these meetings. As Dave said, we were very often just not only making policy, but getting information on the fly. And how the Community deals with that tension between information andnow, is one of the things that's very much on George Tenet's mind.ould say one thing that is very
let me make one other point first on crisis management. There was a
great fight early in the Reagan Administration as to who the crisis manager was going to be. Itight between Vice President George Bush and then-Secretary of State AI Haig. And Haig, of course, had hadit of experience in the bureaucratic battles of Ihe Nixon and Ford years. He felt it was very important that he lead the body that did crisis management. Others felt, no, it needed to be done from the White House. There are various ways to do this, butould say is, stick with the person who brought you to the parly. And that is, you need to have your crisis managers also be the people who are doing your policy formulation and implementation on an ongoing basis. Crises do not produce better bureaucratic responses. If you have problems forming policy because the personalities aren't right, or the structure isn't right, it will only be exacerbated, not helped,risis situation.hink the fact that this group spent so much time in the early months ofthe Bush Administration forming policy together, by the time die crises really started to hit,uess beginning with Tiananmen Square and moving on, wc had already begun to operate wellroup,avehink, be able to go back and forth between the two.
Bui one key thinghink we did right, andhink part of this
Mr. Kimmitt:problems was, whether it was policy formulation or
crisis management, the implementation of decisions reached is extremely important, and, I'd say. one of the toughest pails of the process. Because you really work hard to move things up to the National Security Council or the Presidential level for decision. Very often, once you get that decision, you sort ofigh of relief, the bureaucratic battles arc over, let's move on to the next one. No. That's really only half the process. To get it implementeday thai gets instructions out to the field, whether it be to commanders, jimbassadors, and so forth, is very, very important to do. During the Gulf Crisis, wc used to meet at the State Department0 everyig meeting in my office. Wc would then moveeeting of the Assistant Secretary levelthink the Policy Coordination Committee, it waswe'decure video conference. Deputies Committee, meeting. We'd then gomall Group meeting,ery small group of us at the White House. Bob would then participate in the meetings in the Oval Office, would come back to us with what decisions had been made. And then we really walked back down lhat process, from the Deputies Committee to the Assistant Secretary level back to the individual departments. We did thatyclicalhink too often people work very hard on the upslide, but it's the downslidehink, requires some careful management from groups at (his level and elsewhere. 1
would, just,ignette, say one of the reasons we set up the Small Group was, securityreat concern, and it was reallyuess, the five of us plus Richard Haass, would meet to discuss some ofthe most sensitive parts. You might say. well, why didn't you just do it on the secure video conference? Well, if you're ever done secure video conferencing, you know that Ihe cameramall range. You sort of see four or five people sitting al the table al the principal,ad this vision, particularly at the Joint Chiefs, that there were bleachers off at the sides, [laughter] You know, and that legions of action officers were just silting there scribbling everything down. So the only way that you would know thai you were dealingelatively small group was by doing itace-to-face basis.hink we have to recognize thai thatechnological advance. There are going to be more technological advances. How do you harness technology, whether it be information or other means to make Ihe policy process work betta?
1ould close just by saying, if you're looking at somethinghink we could have done better.ay, ihe better we got, the more wc sucked the air out ofthe Assistant Secretary level process. Many of us have worked at the Assistant Secretary level before. Paul Wolfowitzerrific Assistant Secretary for bast Asian and Pacific Affairs in the Reagan Administration, and. to be honest, he drove policy process along with Gaston Sigur. Rich Armitage, and others, for Asia. And that'shink, where the policy process should be driven. Policy decisions may have to be madeigher level, but you really want lhat Assistant Secretary level to be the engine, move itroup like the Deputies Committee to decide what needs lo go forward.hink one ofthe problems that we had.on't know whether this was personalities. I
don'! know whether il was jus! the tenor of the times, was that people developed so much confidence in us lhat. frankly, too much came before us. And as Bob said, we'dot of lime separating the wheat from the chaff and, really, making some decisions at our level or making some judgment calls lhat should have been madeower level. So, as you look to slructuring things in theope lhat there'll be something like Ihe Deputies Committee thai opcrales as that bridge between the ultimate policymakers, but, alsoope will be, ihe engine of government, and that is people working at the Assistant Secretary level andinteragency group process, where the real expertise is. And, again, don't set up the Deputies Committee to try to be all things to all people. Instead, makealanced part of an overall process. Thank you.
Mr.hink we're reproducing history in another respect,ecall that seating around the tabic used to be Bob Kimmitt at Bob's left,ould be at Bob's right, and we'd go around the table from left to right. So, by the time wc go! to me, an enormous number of intelligent things had been said, and whaieft to say,ould find something. I'll find something now. I'm not going to do,may beean, he asked us io talk about the worst moments,uess that's left for mc, but I'm not going to do il, either. We've referred to the sessions of Luro-babble. and some of the sessions on tech transfer,on't think wc had any badoncur in the judgment here that we were wonderful,eally mean that, very sincerely,lsoay it jestingly-because two points have to
be made, one of which has already been made, bul it has to be underlined- Part ofthe reason we were so good is because our bosses were so good. And not only good in the sense that they had the same degree of collegial ability to disagree. It's not just collegiality-you can be collegial by never bringingifficultollegial ability to disagree, but also just incredible highPowell, Brent Scowcroft, Jim Baker, Dickwas really remarkable. So that's one thing.
But the second thing,hink I'm the first to say this, and it's interesting that the absolutely crucial thing,now everyone here would agree with me, was who the President of the United States was, and his ability to make decisions. It was important in two respects: number one. he loved this stuff. He was willing, and we'd hear it from Bob, in fact,aily basis. He'd make the decisions even before we got the recommendations up to him. He didn't have to be persuaded that these things were important.
But there's something else, which is [that] some of these decisions were incredibly difficult, risky, daring decisions.hink when the history ofthe Ciulf War is written, or when it is being written, everyone marvels at this incredible coalition that President Bush assembled, and everyone realizes that itistoric achievement. But I'm not sure too many people fully appreciate the ingredients that went into making that historic achievement. Yes, itot that the President had been around the block so many times, and knew so many of these people in personal ways, had incredible experience, that was enormously valuable. Itot that he had this incredible telephone diplomacy-another technological innovationuess, started at the end of the last century, but wasn't really exploited in an internationalhink, until the
Gulf War--lo be able lo pick up ihc phone and talk to King Fahd, or to Mikhail Gorbachev.hink the most important thing was that every time thereard decision to make, whether itecision to slart threatening to use force against tankers. Iraqi tankers, al the very beginning of the crisis, or, for that matter, the more delicate decision of do we hold off using force for three days? Margaret Thatcher was going ballistic because she thought if we held off, we wouldn't be able to do it when die time came. The President both made the decision to give the UN an extraours orours, but also the decision when it had to bemean, the decision to pretend thai he didn't care about hostages. One cannot imagine this man who writes personal notes to everybody, thank-you notes, not thinking what it meant lomericans and other foreigners in the hands of this demon. And. yet, by pretending he didn't care abouthink we produced one of the great results of that war which is, there were no hostages. Saddam Hussein released them. He was convinced Ihey were of no value.
And then, of course, die obvious, really tough, decisions about the decision to double the force, ihc decision to go to war. Bui,hink Ihc most crucial decision of all was that decision in the first few days, communicated to King Fahd, lhai, if we come, we will finish the job. That was what was absolutely crucial to lining up Allies.ot schmoozing on the telephone, it's convincing them that when you come, you will finish the job. and making the kinds of decisions that made that possible.on't think any of Ihe accounts I've read of thai hislory quite adequately give credit to President Busheries of, by my count, between ten and twenty of these tough decisions, including the decision lo go to the Congress, whichery, very high risk decision, and we almost lost it. My boss was against it, because he said we might lose it. But, on
every single one of ihem, the President was right It certainly made our life incredibly different, because wc weren't discussing the issues of two weeks ago. We were discussing what comes now, because the President yesterday decided on the thing we recommended, or were involved in recommending the day before. There's nohink everyone here would agree, that that was crucial to our functioning so well.
I do think, as Bob Kimmitt mentioned, technology was very important Having those video conferences meant that when things got really hot. particularly with the Gulf War, wc could meet more thanay without the enormous time investment that was involved inroup like thisace-to-face meeting, although the face-to-face meetings were indispensable.
I've asked myself, given that the President was so wonderful, and given that our immediate bosses were so wonderful, and given, as has been said already, the people supporting us were so wonderful, did we add any value athink we did in many ways. I'll jusl give onehink it bears on this question of contingencyhink one of die most successful exercises in contingency planning that I've seen in government was the one that the Deputies Committee put together under Bob's direction after the failed coup attempt in Panama on Octobery recollection, al legist mine, is that at the time, wc all hoped that Major Giroldi would succeed in overthrowing Noriega, since Noriega was our nemesis. We didn't realty quite know what wc should do. We did know thereot of things we shouldn't do, and we took all kinds of flak from the press for not doing various things that wc shouldn't have done. But after that coup failed, and Giroldi was dead. Bob assembled us and said, "We've got to think raster next time, and we've got to think through what some of the contingencies
mighl be ncxlhrough lhal process, wc began lo think about what might be some ofthe things that would happen in Panama.hink the result of that was lhat we identified things lhat we would nevere hadn't identified clearly in the heat of crisis. I'm not sure we would have identified the second time around in the heat of crisis. It's relatively simple when you say it. but the fact that ituge difference to us. not only lo get rid of Noriega, but to think about who replaced him, who would replace him.esult, when we finally did act in Panama, it wasn't toew Noriegaew coup leader in Panama, but to actually try to get Panama backemocratic government
It sounds very simple when you say it. It wasn't simple at all at the lime, and il reallyot of thinking through different contingencies, and it never happened exactly the way wc conceived of it. But the fact is that by thinking of the things thai could happen, you begin to think ofthe righthink lhal is where contingency planning works at its best. But, in order to work well, it can't be done by some group of contingency planners who sit offuilding somewhere out in the suburbs of Washington and write contingency plans and put them on (lie shelf, and then you bring them in when the crisis happens. The only good contingency planning is that which is done by the people (hat are actually going to have to handle the crisis when ii comes, because it is an exercise in how to thinkroblem. It isecipe for dealingroblem.
In Uiinking about how the intelligence played in the Deputies Committee, to me, the most important thing is how much we just simply took for granted. Wc took for granted in almost every situation thai weretty accurate picture, not necessarily
down io Ihe finest resolution, but weroad view of whai was going on. And, particularly with respect to Ihe Gulf War, we just took for granted that every day in that period leading up to the war, wc would have exact dispositions of Iraqi units, we would have all kinds of precise intelligence on Iraq. And imagine, thinkingoment that you were sitting at the Deputies Committee incourse,ommittee ofyou were totally blind. You have no idea what's going on. We just took for granted that wc weren't blind. Wc might not always see things with great precision,hink lhat sense that we knew broadly where the major pieces were, and on so many problems, is something that's invaluable, and probably only appreciated if you're really thrown in the dark as many of our adversaries, fortunately, are. Inhink one of the big successes of the Gulf War on't know whetheruccess of intelligence, or success of operational commanders,uccess of Hosni Mubarak, who said publicly that no Egyptian forces would ever enter Iraqiombination of things somehow convinced Saddam Hussein lhat we would go right where he wanted us to go, which was across the heavily-mined coast of Kuwait and across the Kuwaiti border. He was totallytill don't understand why, but totally stunned, lhat we went aroundhe west.hink it's not only because he was blind, and not only because he may have been in some sense stupid,hink il was also because of active deception measures which were undertaken, some ofnow about, some of which I'm noto.
There arc someon't remember clearly from the Deputies Committee. Bob may remember, because he had to deal with it if it happened.onestly don't remember any majorhink it's extraordinary lo Ihink of how many issues this
group deal! wilh, and how many limes we've been on other interagency groups where leaks would be an every-odier-wcck occurrence. And we were dealing, as has been said, with some of the most sensitive matters. If there were any leaks, they weren't big enough to remember from this eight-year perspective.
I also don't remember any sharp distinction between intelligence and policy. And, while Dick Kerr may have been trying to go to great lengths to have an intelligent excuse for uttering an opinion abouton't think any of the rest of us ever cared if he uttered an opinion about policy. It was part ofthe process. There was no sharp distinction,hink one ofthe reasons the intelligence that we got was so good was because Dick knew exactly what the policy issues were that we had to answer the next day. So that he went baek and got answers to the questions we needed, not answers to the questions that somebody sitting in an intelligence cocoon might think were the questions.
on't remember any big disappointments of coming to the table and thinking, "Why didn't the intelligence people tell us that last week? Why are we just learning itn fact, my two most vivid memories of intelligence in the process both involve Dick, andhink, arc proud cases of getting it right. One was not at the Deputies Committee, but at the NSC, when, it must have beenr the Fall, when the policy toward the Persian Gulf was first discussed.emember our chief intelligence officer, the President of the United States, saying, "Well,ear that you're recommending that we should sec if we can get Iraq to change its policy, but we know Saddamhink the words literally were, "Can the leopard change hishink Dick Kerr was Acting Director that day andather lengthy description ofthe leopard and why his spots were unlikely to change, It didn't mean that
il wasn 'I worth trying to do so, bul il meant lhat we were doing it with our eyes wide open.
Ihe otheremember, and Bob Gales wasn'twashink, in Ihehis was when the Iraqi crisis had first broken. Inaid to Bob Kimmitt.now ihe Deputies Committee has to be run by the Deputy National Security Advisor, but he's backpacking. We've got to dond,hink, reluctantly, Kimmitteeting al Ihe State Department, which wasn'teputies Committee, but. basicallyeputies Committee.emember lhat it washink,hink it wash1 six days before the invasion. And Dick Kerr said, 'The Iraqi buildup has gone beyond anything that can be attributed to merely bluffing. They are ready to undertake some militaryemember that verylso remember we said, "Well, if that's die case, maybe wc shouldharpernd remember being told, "Hosni Mubarak has justessage to the President of the United States saying. 'You Americans are making too many warnings, noi too few. If you would just shut up and leave us alone, we Arabs could settle this among as.'" It underscores that what was missing Ihcre wasn't reasonably good intelligence about what Saddam was up lo,undamental debate about how do you respond to that. And the debate not principally within our own government, bul between our government and our allies in ihe region. And,as one of those al Ihe time who was arguing for more muscular demonstrations of Americanertainly think, in hindsight, it was terrific that Hosni Mubarak was Ihe man responsible, and thai when the crisis hit, we couldn't be blamed for having provoked it.
1 also remember weittle bit of "back of the envelope" contingency planning al the time, and quickly concluded that the most difficult contingency to deal with would be if Saddam just sliced off the northern part of Kuwait with the disputed oilfields. It would be very hard legally to respond, and we began to talk about how we'd deal with this most difficulton'l think anyone dreamed that he would be as stupid as to invade and seize the whole country, which, in certain ways, simplified ourreat deal.hinkood case lor illustrating the close interplay between trying to predict what's going to happen and having to predict how you will respond to what may happen.
I do think we saw weakness at the very end ofthe war, and it's been alludedhink, for whatever reasons,hink it mayendency in Washington and, therefore, in the Intelligence Community, lo rely too much on technical intelligence. But weerious disagreement on the eve of the ground war between Washington and the commander as to the weakness of die Iraqi Army. And il is clear,indsight that the commander in the field was right. And the weakness of Ihe Iraqi Army was not measured principally in how many tanks had been destroyed, but how the morale of that organization had totally collapsed. And moraleery, very difficult thing to measure, and it certainly can't be measured by strict technical means of intelligence. In lhat case, die commander's view prevailed, so there was no failure of intelligence, but thereundamental disagreementery important point.
Andould say, if I'm thinking about the future and where one needs to try to do thingsuppose one could say that nobody gave us very good intelligence about what would happen in die immediate days after Saddam's defeat in Kuwait On the
other hand, if we had goneeputieseek before the war ended and said to the Intelligence Community, 'Tell us what's likely to happen in Iraq if Saddam's army is whipped in four daysmerican casualties, and it is one of the biggest military fiascos inhey would have said, you know, "What have you guys beeno one predicted what the result would be, remotelyhink, and therefore it understandablyew days, moreew days, toood handle on wha! was going onuppose it does say that the ends of wars arc events that you have to expect some big discontinuities, and that ought to enter into your thinking about intelligence.
The other thinghink we learned or should have learned or need lo think about is that, in the Gulf War, while for the most part, perhaps, we tended to overestimate Iraqi capabilities, there was one capability that we underestimated, and that was his ability to keep firing SCUD missiles, even in the face of our attacks againsthink it's important to think about that for the future because thatuture problem. It is something that we're going to have lo, unfortunately perhaps, deal with with other rogue nations. It is asonnection between intelligence and operational military actionould imagine.
1ould just conclude with two comments: Number one. Bob Kimmitt reminded me of something that is veryarc decisions that shouldn't come upeputies Committee level.as Assistant Secretary for East Asia, we had this thing called Ihc EA Informal. We were able toot of things done and, frankly, they were issues that probably, particularly given this was the height of the Cold War and most people figured the real action was wiih the Sovietot of our
issues, even the initial response to the murder of Benigno Aquino in the Philippines, wouldn't have made the cutresidential consideration. So it is important to try to reproduce something of this collegial. effective, interactionower level.
But then,ust want to say this was, without any question, my most exciting experience in government or probably in myan't imagine anyone paying me enough to have so much fun. anywhere. Thank you.
LS: Thank you. Paul. Before wc take questions from the audience, I'll ask Bob Gates, and maybe anyone else on the panel, who would like to make some additional remarks or reflect on what's been said.
Mr. Gates: I'll justouple of things very quickly. One ofthe things that Lloyd asked us to think about was high points and low points.hink there really were very few lowon't think lhat the collegialily ever broke down,hink that the point that several others have made about the tone being set at the top. was critically important. President Bush made it clear to his principals, and to us, that he didn't want the kind of backbiting that had been so characteristic of the government for so long.hink one ofthe reasons there were so few leaks was because ofthe respect thai the principals had for one another, and they didn't fight their battles in the press. They didn't choose to wage bureaucratic warfare through the newspapers or the electronic media. They did it in the conference rooms, and then once the President made the decision, everybody saluted and went forward.
I Ihink one thing that, also, contributed to the positive environment at both the principals level and at our level was that wc didn't wear il on our sleeve and we didn't think aboul it all the time. Bul we were very aware lhat on all of the issues we were dealing wiih, these were huge problems. These were things we knew historians would be dissecting for decades to come. The reunification of Germany, the reorientation of NATO, the liberation of Eastern Europe, the end of the Cold War, the collapse of the Soviet Union, Ihe Gulf War, these were non-trivial issues. And we knew their importance, wc knew Iheir importance not only for our own country, but for the future of ihe world.hink that iteriousnessense of responsibility on the part of all of the players, from the President on down, that really was felt very muchhink, particularly when we were crafting some of the documents in the lead up to the War, in thai specific instance when wc were defining our war aims, for example, thereot of lalk around the table that historians would be looking at these documentsong lime, orong lime, to sec whai wc had done, and why we had done it. And we were very mindful of thai,hink it contributed lo the spirit of the whole operation.
The only otherould make is that, in terms of issues not coming to the Deputiesgree with this entirely.ad to identify low points, forme, it was just Ihe issuesetested the most when they would come to the Deputies Committee. It was arms control and technology transfer. Arms control, because it became so metaphysical, and we would get into these tiny disputes of language and so on. And wc went beyond Englishecond language andabbleon'l think anybody clearly understood. And it became very frustrating sometimes because people would be going back and forth at our level on issues that really should have been sorted
oulower level. And thethe same thing with technology'transfer. 1
mean, these are reasonably intelligent people, bul none of us areosition to sit there and make the decisionhree-axis, four-micron milling machine is going to make the difference between war and peace. And they would bring these issues to us because they couldn't solve them at the lower level. And we'd sit there and look at each other and say, "We don't know tlie answer to this question. How the hell do they expect us to answero, we'd go ahead andecision, [laughter] because we knew if wc didn't, it would come back to us. It was just to get it off the table. But this question of making sure that the lower levels, the assistant secretary levels of government, do their job properly and impose some disciplinehinkery important one.
Mr. Kimmit:ouldot about collegiality,ant to make clear that people understand that our goal was not consensus. Our goal was what we thought was the best policy, the best decision, for the UShink very often people think that you have to get consensus. Well, basically, consensuscan always tell how many peopleonsensus document, because there's basically one page per person. Right? And you end up, at the end of it, and say, "What the hell are they talkinghe best decisions arc ones where people have very sharp differences of opinion, butrocess in which it can be brought forward fairlyecision maker like President Bush. Paul reminded mc of this, because it wasn't just the question of whether to go to the Congressesolution approving the use of force in the Gulf, but, really, our entire UNean, Maggie Thatcher was the first one to say. "Stay away from theur feeling was that, if we could lay a
foundation in Ihe UN, il would make il loughcr for Ihe people in Congress not Io support us living up to our UN obligations, and ultimately it worked out. Bul many limes in lhat process, decisions hade taken forward by Bob Gates, because of very sharp differences between and amongean, they were collegia] differences, but, again, our goal was not to try to reach consensus. Consensus often produces mush. What you really want to do istate your positions sharply, not for the sake of difference, but, rather, because you do feel strongly that that's in the best interest of the US.
I'm not going to let it go unsaid, bul this will be my last comment.hink, this group. Ihe people above us,hink below us, turned out to be better than the sum of our individual contributions,hink that's the real measure of effectiveness. Bul I'll tell you. you need leadership. Paul is absolutely right to emphasize the immensely important role President Bush played. Bob was exactly right to mention the very important role that our principals above us played. But, for whatever wc individually may haveant io say lhat you could not haveetter chairman of Ihe Deputies Committee than Bob Gales. Bobad been colleagues forears before that, we had ann wrestled before bureaucratically. but the fundamental fact is, from the first meeting lhat we had, he came in preparedery clear idea of what il was wc were trying Io get out of that meeting. Didn't always produce consensus. Very often, things had to be taken forward,hink, very quickly, we knew lhai Bob was going to take that forward fairly, through Brent lay out our position at the principals level, and to the President effectively, and thai he would gel back to usecision that we could carry out Therefore, when you look to put future processeshink this process worked well, but tlie personalities are important The Chairman of Ihc
Deputies Committee, or whatever it will be called in thehink is absolutely critical to making the whole process work. It's the switchplate between the senior-most levels ofthe rest ofthe bureaucracy, and Bob Gates couldn't haveetter job.
LS: We're really almost out of time, but we canuestion.
QUESTION: I'm Frank Smist, and I'm the authorized biographer of David Boren. Andl
guess if there's oneould have ofthe conference is that there's been
We're talking about intelligence at the end ofthe Cold War. And after the investigations ofthe's, the Congress haseal player in intelligence.uess theould have from each of the principals here is, how much did what Congress was doing enter into your deliberations, and, especially, wilh your relations with both intelligence committees? What was the impact of that? Ambassador [sic] Jeremiah talked about care and feeding of allies. What about the care and feeding of the Congress?
Mr. Kerr: Care and feeding is kind of "rawlaughter] Is that what
You know, from an intelligence perspective, it was an interesting dilemma, quite honestly. Because, quiteound myself, in my other role asoing down and essentially trying to provide an intelligence setting that allowed the Congress then to look at the policy and begin to shred it. My colleagues sometimes didn't appreciate
or did anybody appreciate those ventures intowere fairly tough.
But, we certainly had it in our mind,hink the Deputies Committee probably the gentlemen on my right here moreid, because they were probably more sensitive to
ihe Congress and Io the Hillas.ot of my time trying to provide an accurate picture to the Congress without undermining US policy. One of the betterave, and it'sopeless thing tone of the bestave isactually cleared before the Deputies beganthat was the escorting of the tankers to Kuwait. The Intelligence Communityery good set of documents that said, 'The following things might happen: terrorism, attacks on US ships, attacks on the oil facilities,eneral Powell, who was the Deputy at NSC at thai point in time, said. "You know, you're noi really being veryas also carrying this message toill. "You're not being very helpful toaid, "Well, you know, sometimes intelligence is not all that helpful, but that's our judgment of what's going los it turned out, what the Administration did very effectively was prepare for all those contingencies, to actually handle mining, terrorism, attacks on oil fields, all rather well. So. Colin Powellave talked about this several times. He complains to me rather bitterly about intelligence, andave said in response is, "Just the way it should work. Wc alerted you to the dangers. You did something about it And, on balance, it turned out prettye's not convinced, [laughter]
anted to pick up on the point that Mr. Kimmitt made about using technology to improve die process, and I'm just curious about the notion of the video teleconference versus the face to face. Did you find an appreciable difference in the type of flow of discussion that you had? Wasype of decision that you said, "Hey, we have to meet face to face lo make that lype ofhen, finally, thinking about
this dynamicroup that doesn't know each other as well as you did, had this type of experience. Does this type of technology raise some costs in terms ofthe policy process?
Mr. Gates: Let mc start with thatuess it essentially ended up being my call whether wc wouldeleconference orace-to-face meeting.asically broke it down this way. Vlost ofthe time, we used the teleconferencing for crisis management. It was very important to make decisions very quickly; sometimes these meetings would be called onew minutes' notice. It was important during crises that each of these people was actually in his own department at the top of his own pipeline of information: Bob Kimmitt in the State Department Operations Center, where he could be on the phone to ambassadorsiven country, and Dick receiving information real time out at CIA from NSA and NPIC and places like that. Dave on the operational side, and Paul over in the Department of Defense. Andould make that call, and so we mostly did it for crisis management. And my view was. for the reasons that Bob described, almost all of our policy deliberations we did in person. Because there couldree flow, because we knew who was in the room, and wc knew wc could keep each other's confidence, wc couldree-flowing exchange of very candid views that nobody would do if they didn't know who was on the other end ofthe line. Because you never do know who else is sitting in the roomideo conference. So that was the general division of labor in terms ofthe use of the teleconferencing. And it was kind of fuii at the very beginning, because thereot of tie-straightening, and so on and solittle preening. Then, occasionally, somebody's monitor or somebody's set
would go out, and they'd have sound but no picture, and then it really got run, because you never knew what was going on on the other end then.
In termsroup that doesn't know each other veryhink that the lesson from the Bush Administration to any President, andew President, in putting together at least the National Security team, is to devote real attention to the nature of that, to its compositionearn,remium on putting people who have known each other, and who have worked together at one time or another, together as part of that team. Because you hil the ground running as President, and you have to make decisions, and you have to get this process moving very quickly. And there's really not limeunch of strangers to gel acquainted and to gain one another's confidence, particularly in those early months. And so my view is that you can't just pick individuals tor senior positions, but you have to look at the packagehole. Can this group of people work together'? Because all of us here will tell you, it really does matter when the Secretary of State and the Secretary of Defense aren't speaking to oneaw thatot. Or when nobody tresis Ihe DCI, or when nobody trusts anybody else. It
really doesig difference.hink thisIhink the idea of
unch of strangers together to make national security policy is something to be avoided.
LS: Admiral Jeremiah.
Admiralarn to amplify two parts of what Bob said. One, the most surreal and enjoyable event was when Bob would go off to Kennebunkport with the President,
and was only able io talk to us by voice in the conference. He never knew what we werehe notes that were going across the table, and the things that were going on at the tabic, but this ethereal voice would come down from God in Kennebunkport. Secondly, with respectransitionew Administration, you can't waste those first six months, because that's when you have the most freedom ofan speak because I'm one who wentransition from one Administration to the other. The second pointook away from that transition was that the campaign is over the day after the election, and from that point on, you have to govern. Never mind the campaign. Put that behind you. From here on out, you're trying to govern the United States ol' America, and you'vehole different agenda than you may have hadampaigner.
LS I'm sorry, but we've run over, and we've got another panel. So, if you would likeindividually to them,in thanking these folkserrific panel.Original document.