The Clinton administration's second Secretary of Defense spoke recently with editors Fred Schultz and Michael Collins about his service as Secretary and the importance of the Sea Services.
Proceedings: What was the biggest challenge you faced as Secretary of Defense?
Dr. Perry: I think the biggest challenge any Secretary of Defense faces involves the use of force and getting it right, knowing when to use it, how to use it, and maintaining the forces in a state of readiness so that if you're called upon to use force, they're prepared to go. The Secretary of Defense has many duties and responsibilities, but that has to loom as the greatest challenge.
Proceedings: What would you say was your most significant accomplishment?
Dr. Perry: First, looking back at the ways we used force-or threatened to use force-during that period, I think we did get it right. But it's a multidimensional job, and it's hard to look at one element without looking at all the others.