This is an August 2007 copy of a website maintained by the Center for International Policy. It is posted here for historical purposes. The Center for International Policy no longer maintains this resource.

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Last Updated:1/12/01
Excerpts from confirmation hearing of Secretary of Defense-Designate Donald Rumsfeld, January 11, 2001

SEN. KENNEDY: Let me move to the questions of Colombia. What is your sense of the capacity of the military in these countries to address the particular challenge? Do you think that -- and how are we going to deal with these reports that we've read recently about the spillover in the area and in the region, and how are we really going to be able to determine the difference between the counterinsurgency and the counternarcotics? Have you -- can you tell us what you're thinking? This is complicated. It's specialized. It's not -- it's somewhat on the edge of -- but enormously important. We're going to have to address this. And I'd be interested -- just your thinking at this time. We'll have more time later on to get into it, but can you tell us now, at least, what your thoughts are?

MR. RUMSFELD: It -- Senator, it is not something that I've been able to get briefed into. It's my understanding that the Department of State has the lead on this. And I understand that there's a cap that's been put on by the Congress on the numbers of people in -- military people that are engaged. It is complicated.

I am one who believes that the drug problem is probably overwhelmingly a demand problem, and that it's going to find -- if the demand persists, it's going to find ways to get what it wants, and if it isn't from Colombia, it will be from somebody else. And if I were the neighboring countries, I'd be concerned about spillover as well. I think it's a very important problem, and it's not something I've had a chance to screw my head into or talk to the National Security Council team about.

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