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June 15, 2001
Notes from the Pentagon

Woody Island missiles
China is fortifying its South China Sea forces with new air defense missiles, according to U.S. intelligence officials. Surveillance of Woody island showed the recent deployment of HY-2 Seersucker anti-ship missiles. The missiles could be used to threaten or sink the large number of ships that pass through the strategic waterway. For example, most of Japanīs imported oil travels on tankers that pass through the South China Sea.

Woody island, part of the Paracel Islands, has become a major military outpost for Chinese forces in recent years.

Navy strategists say the Chinese military is progressively expanding its power farther into the South China Sea. It is part of Chinaīs "island chain strategy" that calls for increasingly advancing Chinaīs control farther and farther from its borders through what Beijing has identified as two island chains stretching from the South China Sea all the way to the North Pacific.

The HY-2 is a long-range anti-ship cruise missile capable of sinking destroyers up to 3,000 tons.

The discovery followed recent Chinese military exercises on Woody island earlier this month that included an amphibious landing by Chinese marines.

Center targeted
The U.S. Pacific Commandīs think tank is under fire from Republicans in Congress for its liberal bias, especially when it comes to issues related to China. Capitol Hill sources said there are plans to cut the centerīs $3 million annual budget as a way of shutting it down.

The Asia Pacific Center for Security Studies, the Honolulu-based group, angered conservatives last month after it invited a Chinese scholar to a seminar it was holding but refused to allow a scholar from Taiwan to take part.

The invitation also came weeks after the aerial collision between a U.S. EP-3E surveillance aircraft and a Chinese interceptor jet. The incident led to the detention of 24 American service members after their plane went down on Hainan island.

When the Pentagon was alerted to the lack of balance at the conference, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld ordered the Pacific Command to include the Taiwanese scholar. Rather than comply and invite someone from Taiwan, the center postponed the meeting, officials told us.

Reached by telephone yesterday, the centerīs director, retired Marine Corps Lt. Gen. H.C. Stackpole, confirmed that the seminar had been postponed. He said the center is waiting until the new administrationīs policy on having both Chinese and Taiwanese speakers at the same event is sorted out.

He said the issue was whether the center would pay for the Taiwanese scholar to take part. No Taiwanese were ever paid to attend in the past, although Chinese officials were, he said. "We really donīt know what the policy of this administration is on that," he said.

Congressional aides said plans are afoot to "defund" the center through legislation because of the centerīs policies. For example, one congressional aide said Gen. Stackpole recently gave a speech in Australia opposing U.S. plans for missile defense -- a key tenet of the new Bush administration. "Conservatives on the Hill are fed up with the centerīs left-wing activities," one aide told us.

'Siberia' on hold
The Pentagon has put on hold a plan to move its Defense Technology Security Administration (DTSA) from offices near the Pentagon to a site farther away in Alexandria. The freeze came after three House Republicans wrote to Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld on May 25 urging a delay until new Bush officeholders can review what DTSA employees consider a move to "the local equivalent of Siberia."

DTSA analysts were in the forefront of opposition to technology exports allowed by the Clinton administration to communist China and other potential adversaries. For itīs trouble, DTSA was lumped under a larger unit called the Defense Threat Reduction Agency. It was also taken from the Pentagonīs policy shop and put under the control of the undersecretary of defense for acquisition, where bureaucrats view industry exports more kindly.

DTSA officials are hoping the incoming Bush team will return their unit to its previous prestige. One way to start is to get Mr. Rumsfeld to rescind the move to Alexandria, where it will be more difficult for DTSA analysts to stay in the Pentagon loop and make their views known.

"We are concerned that this latest move is being made without high-level guidance, at a time when your management team is not yet fully in place," said the May 25 letter from three Republicans: Rep. Dan Burton of Indiana, chairman of the House Government Reform Committee; Rep. Curt Weldon of Pennsylvania; and Rep. Dana Rohrabacher of California.

"In an era in which advanced technology is increasingly vital to war-fighter capabilities, and when rogue nations are increasingly aggressive in pursuing militarily useful technology, the role of this organization is more important than ever," the three wrote. "We urge you to suspend any action to move this organization until such time that your new management team is in place and has had the opportunity to review this entire matter. Further, we ask that you review the organizational structure of the [office of the secretary of defense] to ensure that DTSA is as well positioned as possible to perform its mission."

The letter apparently had an effect. Less than a week later, Dave Tarbell, director of technology security, sent out a memo.

"Due to unforeseen circumstances, our move to the Alexandria Technical Center is postponed for one month beginning July 11," he told employees.


  • It would cost the Air Force $2 billion to reconstruct the B-2 bomber assembling line, industry sources say. Northrop Grumman Corp. is proposing the Air Force buy 40 additional B-2s for $700 million per copy to augment a fleet of 21 existing B-2s. The aircraftīs stock rose during the 1999 Kosovo campaign, when the bomber dropped only 3 percent of total munitions, yet covered about one-third of targets.

    The B-2īs utility got another boost this week when a transformation study group, one of more than a dozen appointed by Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, recommended adapting the U.S.-based bomber to carry more munitions.

  • David Oliver, principal deputy undersecretary of defense for acquisition, is supervising the Pentagonīs review of two corporate bids to buy Newport News Shipbuilding, the nationīs only producer of big-deck nuclear-powered aircraft carriers. That may be bad news to Newport Newsī suitors, General Dynamics and Northrop Grumman. Mr. Oliver played a similar role two years ago when the Pentagon came out against the merger as anti-competitive. Sources say Mr. Oliver opposed the deal then and may do so again.

    A retired Navy two-star admiral, Mr. Oliver worked for Northrop Grumman in the mid-1990s when he was director of technology and business development for naval systems at the corporationīs Westinghouse division.

  • Edward C. "Pete" Aldridge is scheduled to make his first foreign trip next week as Pentagon acquisition chief, attending the Paris Air Show. Traditionally a summit of whoīs who in the global aerospace industry, the show will give Mr. Aldridge, undersecretary of defense for acquisition, a chance to discuss major joint aircraft programs, such as the Joint Strike Fighter. He does not plan to meet with the press, a spokeswoman said.

  • Bill Gertz and Rowan Scarborough are Pentagon reporters. Gertz can be reached at 202/636-3274 or by e-mail at Scarborough can be reached at 202/636-3208 or by e-mail at

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