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Force Posture Needs Change, Transformation Chief Explains

By Sgt. 1st Class Doug Sample
American Forces Press Service

ALEXANDRIA, Va., Aug. 12, 2003 – The future posture of the U.S. armed forces will have to change in order to secure the country's global interests, said DoD's director of force transformation here recently.

"You're going to position forces forward, or you're going to do strategic deployments from home, or you're going to rely on allies," retired Navy Vice Adm. Arthur K. Cebrowski told the Joint National Training Capability Conference in July. "In fact we seek a mix of those things, a balance depending upon the interest, the location and the general geopolitics."

He discussed the Joint National Training Capability planned for implementation over the next decade. That capability will change the way the military trains for war and focuses on joint training operations among Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and even coalition forces.

Cebrowski said for many years the U.S. strategy has been to deploy its forces from home. "And to a significant extent it still does," he said.

However, he said, "this will have to change," and that U.S. forces will have to operate differently to include increasing relationships with allies. "We are going to have to strengthen them, perhaps strengthening the relationships in different ways," he said.

Cebrowski said the United States was "heavily weighted" in favor of operational maneuvers from garrison forward. "That's what we did in (Operation) Iraqi Freedom," he said. "We had garrison in Kuwait. We enormously strengthened that garrison and then we stepped off from that garrison against objectives."

However, he said, operational maneuvers from garrison forward are becoming increasingly vulnerable, both militarily and politically. He said the military must look at different ways of deploying to strategic operations.

"We'll have to go somewhere else, to operational maneuvers from sea and that is going to require different orientations of force. We're going to do operational maneuvers from strategic distances, and that's going to be a dramatically different pull on lift and how forces operate, which means, therefore, how they train," he said.

Cebrowksi also said the posture change will mean the armed forces will have take on more of a special operations role, citing the high degree of mobility and the ease of insertion those units have into theater.

"It's not necessarily that we need more special operations forces, although a few more would be a very good idea," he said. "But these are the kinds of characteristics that we are going to need increasingly in the forces."

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