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Rumsfeld Puts War Plans Into Context

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGON, July 30, 2002 – The Department of Defense could incorporate itself under the title "Plans R Us."

It is no secret the department plans for potential operations worldwide. A spate of articles in the press purport to be war plans against Iraq.

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld put the issue in perspective during a Pentagon press conference July 30. "One of the responsibilities of the Department of Defense is to see that we have thought through a host of different contingencies and possibilities," he said.

Long before there was a Defense Department, there have been war plans. The most famous are probably the pre-World War II "Rainbow" plans. Plan Orange, for example, was directed at Japan. Other colors planned for operations against other countries.

Since the department was established in the late 1940s, planners in the Pentagon and at the combatant commands have worked up these plans. Rumsfeld said they go by a variety of names: war plans, contingency plans, operations plans, humanitarian aid plans and so on.

"Many handfuls of conceivable things that could happen in this world are looked at by this department, thought through, analyzed and then a plan is developed," he said.

All the plans are reviewed on a two-year cycle, said Marine Gen. Peter Pace, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

As military folks say, however, no plan survives first contact.

"What happens is, when something happens that is close to that type of event, the plan is taken off the shelf, looked at, then recast and recalibrated to fit the fact pattern that actually occurred," Rumsfeld said. "And so they're always going to be slightly out-of-date. They're always going to be needing refreshed -- to be refreshed. And they always exist, and they have always have. And the good Lord willing, they always will. otherwise, we wouldn't be doing our job."

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Related Sites:
DoD News Transcript: DoD News Briefing - Secretary Rumsfeld and Gen. Pace, July 30, 2002

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