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Military Works to Meet Transformation Goals

By Linda D. Kozaryn
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, April 10, 2002 – No one knows what threats the future holds. So defense officials must prepare for the unexpected.

Testifying before the Senate Armed Services Committee April 9, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul D. Wolfowitz outlined steps the U.S. military is taking in preparing to meet future challenges. He said the Defense Department has moved away from the 1990s idea of planning for two major, nearly simultaneous regional wars. Instead, officials now plan for a wider array of contingencies.

The department has a new framework for assessing risk, Wolfowitz said, that includes four categories: force management risks, operational risks, future challenges risks, and institutional risks. The goal is to "balance risks in all of these categories and avoid extreme solutions that would lower risks in some areas while raising other risks to unacceptable levels," he said.

Defense officials have shifted from planning a force based on threats to one based on capabilities for the future. "We do not know who may threaten us or when or where, but we do have some sense of what sort of capabilities they might threaten us with and how, and we also have a sense of which capabilities we have that could provide us important new advantages," the deputy secretary said.

Preparing for the future requires transforming the force and the way it operates. The Quadrennial Defense Review, he noted, outlined the way ahead and identified six transformation goals:

  • Defend the U.S. homeland and other bases of operation and defeat nuclear, biological and chemical weapons and their means of delivery.

    Defense officials are pursuing advanced biological defenses and accelerating missile defense development, Wolfowitz said. They are increasing funding for an airborne laser that would destroy ballistic missiles in their boost phase. The fiscal 2003 budget would invest $8 billion to support homeland defense and the defense of U.S. forces abroad. Another $10.5 billion would be invested in counterterrorism and anti-terrorism programs.

  • Project and sustain forces in distant theaters in the face of access denial threats.

    "U.S. power projection depends heavily on access to large overseas bases, airfields and ports," Wolfowitz said in his prepared statement. "Saturation attacks by ballistic or cruise missiles armed with nuclear, biological or chemical warheads could deny or disrupt U.S. entrance into a theater of operations. New approaches for projecting power are needed to meet these threats.

    "These approaches must enhance U.S. defenses against missiles and NBC weapons; reduce the dependence of U.S. forces on major air and sea ports for insertion; increase U.S. advantages in stealth, standoff, hypersonic and unmanned systems for power projection; and develop ground forces that are lighter, more lethal, more versatile, more survivable, more sustainable and rapidly deployable."

    Wolfowitz told committee members defense officials are developing new shallow-draft, fast-transport ships to move forces more rapidly and be less dependent on traditional ports. They also are developing unmanned underwater vehicles that can help assure U.S. naval access.

  • Deny enemy sanctuary, depriving them of the ability to run or hide, any time, anywhere.

    Defense officials are developing a space-based radar system to provide global ground surveillance and tracking capability. They're also accelerating unmanned vehicle programs. The 2003 budget request includes $1 billion to increase the development and procurement of Global Hawk, Predator and unmanned combat aerial vehicles, Wolfowitz said. Officials are also developing new precision-delivery and miniature munitions for attacking deep underground facilities, mobile targets, and targets in dense urban areas.

  • To conduct effective operations in space.

    "Perhaps one of the most important developments we are pursuing in this budget is our investment in laser communications in space -- the technology that has the potential to provide fiber-optics-quality broadband secure communications anytime and anywhere U.S. forces may operate," Wolfowitz said. "That is a transformational technology that can affect everything our forces do."

  • To conduct effective information operations.

    Defense officials say information systems must be protected from attack and new capabilities for effective information operations must be developed. Close coordination of U.S. offensive and defensive capabilities and effective integration of both with intelligence activities will be critical to protecting the current U.S. information advantage.

  • Leverage information technology to give U.S. joint forces a common operational picture.

    "U.S. forces must leverage information technology and innovative network-centric concepts of operations to develop increasingly capable joint forces," Wolfowitz said. "New information and communications technologies hold promise for networking highly distributed joint and multinational forces and for ensuring that these forces have better situational awareness about friendly forces and those of adversaries than in the past."

    He posed three challenges to leveraging information technology and harnessing the power of networks. "We must make information available on a network that people will be willing to depend on and trust. We must populate that network with new types of information needed to defeat future enemies and to make existing information more readily available. And we must deny enemies' information advantages against us."

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