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Deputy Defense Secretary Wolfowitz to Answer Questions at Brookings Forum

Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, who is at the center of many of the most important issues confronting the Pentagon, will be interviewed by moderators Stephen Hess and Marvin Kalb and the audience at the latest in a series of Brookings/Harvard Forums on Press Coverage and the War on Terrorism.

One current controversy involving the news media grows out of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld’s decision to cancel the $11 billion Crusader artillery system, despite the Army’s last-minute, public lobbying campaign. Wolfowitz has been assigned to prepare a list of alternative systems that might substitute for the Crusader.

The Crusader decision was part of Rumsfeld’s long-term strategy to transform the U.S. military into a force equipped and trained to fight the unconventional wars of the future rather than the set-piece battles of the past. Wolfowitz is a key participant in this transformation.

He is also expected to be questioned about the unfinished war in Afghanistan- including strong media complaints about restrictions on press coverage. Other issues likely to be raised are possible American military involvement in the current Israeli-Palestinian confrontation and the likelihood that the United States will attempt to overthrow Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.

This is the seventeenth forum in the Brookings/Harvard series on Press Coverage and the War on Terrorism.

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