[Homestead] Military transition

Tvoivozhd tvoivozd at infionline.net
Fri Sep 3 12:08:45 EDT 2004

Guerrilla warfare requires shift from slow, massive buildups on foreign 
bases (which may not be available), to rapid deployment of small, fast 
high-impact units based on naval vessels and/or  nations dependent on 
U.S. for theri security (forget about Europe except for Britain).


*washingtonpost.com* <http://www.washingtonpost.com/>
*Shift From Traditional War Seen at Pentagon*

By Thomas E. Ricks
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, September 3, 2004; Page A01

Top Pentagon officials are considering a new, long-term strategy that 
shifts spending and resources away from large-scale warfare to build 
more agile, specialized forces for fighting guerrilla wars, confronting 
terrorism and handling less conventional threats, officials said yesterday.

The proposal, presented two weeks ago to Defense Secretary Donald H. 
Rumsfeld and others, could carry major implications for defense 
spending, eventually moving some funds away from ships, tanks and planes 
and toward troops, elite Special Operations forces and intelligence 
gathering. The shift has been building for some time, but the plan 
circulating at the Pentagon would accelerate the changes, analysts said.

The plan's working assumption is that the United States faces almost no 
serious conventional threats from traditional, state-based militaries. 
Thus, it says, the United States should accept more risk in that area to 
pay more attention to other threats: terrorism, the type of low-tech 
guerrilla fighting confronting troops in Iraq, and the possibility of 
dramatic technological advances by adversaries. Some of those priorities 
depend more heavily on troop strength than high-tech weaponry and could 
increase the pressure on the Pentagon to build the size of the Army and 
the Marine Corps.

"The lesson learned in [Operation] Iraqi Freedom is that in some areas, 
we have capabilities overmatch," said Christopher "Ryan" Henry, the 
principal undersecretary of defense for policy, who wrote and presented 
the briefing to Rumsfeld on Aug. 19. "We can't see many competitors that 
are coming at us in the traditional domain.

"In the business world, this is the equivalent of coming up with a new 
product in a new market," Henry added.

A copy of the slide presentation 
given to Rumsfeld was obtained by The Washington Post, after which 
officials agreed to discuss portions of it in interviews.

The documents said Pentagon planning should emphasize preparing for 
"catastrophic" challenges such as use of weapons of mass destruction 
"against high-profile targets by terrorists or rogue states." It also 
cited the need to prepare for "irregular challenges" from other 
countries or groups, including terrorism, insurgency and civil war.

One example of the new thinking urged in the plan was what it called the 
"stretch goal" of being able to invade a country, keep 200,000 troops 
there for five years, and be able to organize, train and equip a local 
military force of 100,000 troops in just six months.

That is more soldiers than the U.S. military has had in Iraq, now about 
140,000. It also envisions far more effective training of local forces 
than the U.S. military has been able to deliver there, where after a 
year of effort the Iraqi military remains small and uneven in 
performance. In April, for example, a battalion of the newly formed 
Iraqi army refused an order from U.S. commanders to reinforce the 
Marines fighting in Fallujah.

One senior officer who attended the mid-August briefing said it was 
received warmly by top Pentagon officials. "It generated intriguing 
discussion around the table and a positive endorsement of the concepts 
in the end," he said. The discussion came as the Pentagon is gearing up 
for the major review of overall strategy that Congress requires every 
four years.

By itself, the document's assessment of threats confronting the military 
is not controversial. The recent report of the Sept. 11 commission 
stated the issue clearly: "National security used to be considered by 
studying foreign frontiers, weighing opposing groups of states, and 
measuring industrial might. To be dangerous, an enemy had to muster 
large armies."

While there is emerging consensus on new threats, military analysts said 
it is not automatic that broad changes in weaponry or strategy will result.

For one thing, placing more emphasis on manpower and intelligence could 
antagonize parts of the defense industry that produce weaponry. Indeed, 
a Pentagon official's explanatory notes attached to the PowerPoint 
presentation said the Pentagon's goal should simply be "maintenance of 
conventional capabilities."

Indeed, Pentagon officials said they were unhappy that the briefing 
papers were released for two reasons: It intruded on internal 
deliberations, and could be seen by members of Congress, contractors or 
even military officers as a threat to prized weapons programs.

Henry, however, said the briefing should be seen as a broad statement 
about future U.S. military capabilities, not a more specific list of 
narrower choices of what weapons would be needed.

"It's really divorced from platforms," he said, using the Pentagon word 
for anything that carries weapons or sensors, including ships, aircraft, 
or land vehicles. "It would be premature to take this . . . directly to 

Outside experts on military change and strategy were skeptical about 
whether Rumsfeld would be able to secure sweeping change in philosophy.

"It's a step in the right direction," said Andrew F. Krepinevich, 
executive director of the Center for Strategic and Budgetary 
Assessments, a defense-oriented think tank. But, he said, the uniformed 
leadership at the Pentagon sometimes simply stalls on embracing radical 
change until the civilian defense secretary promoting it leaves.

"Rumsfeld has been trying for three years now to refocus the services on 
the new challenges confronting us," Krepinevich said. "So far these 
efforts have met with little success. How much more likely is Rumsfeld 
to succeed this time around when the military has a major war on its hands?"

© 2004 The Washington Post Company

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