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Perry Says Fiscal 1997 Budget Reflects New Era

By Linda D. Kozaryn
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, March 4, 1996 – DoD's fiscal 1997 supports the defense strategy of preventing, deterring and defeating post-Cold War era threats, according to Defense Secretary William J. Perry.

Threats of rogue nations acquiring doomsday weapons, instability in Eastern and Central Europe, and ethnic or nationalistic wars have replaced Cold War threats of nuclear holocaust and a Warsaw Pact blitzkrieg, he said.

Reducing the nuclear threat from the former Soviet Union and nonproliferation programs aimed at preventing new nuclear threats from emerging are part of DoD's prevention policy. Encouraging defense reform and building confidence among newly emerging nations in Eastern and Central Europe can also stop threats from developing, he said.

Partnership for Peace, defense and military contacts such as bilateral exercises and the Defense Ministerial of the Americas held last year in Williamsburg, Va., and international military education and training programs are examples of efforts to promote understanding and prevent conflict, Perry said.

State National Guards have formed partnerships with 12 Eastern and Central European countries, he said. Kazakstan is partners with Arizona, for example. The South Carolina National Guard helped its partner, Albania, rehabilitate a military hospital in Tirana last summer.

"All of these [programs] are very important in building defensetodefense relationships with Eastern and Central European countries," Perry said. "Perhaps most significant is the relationship we're forming with Russia."

U.S. forces have conducted four bilateral exercises with Russian troops, he said. The United States has also helped Russia denuclearize, accelerating the removal of nuclear warheads, missiles and launchers.

"We are very much concerned about reducing the probability of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction proliferating to other countries," Perry said. "An extensive program includes the denuclearization of Ukraine, Kazakstan and Belarus because of the danger of nuclear material or weapons going from those countries to aspiring nuclear nations."

Project Sapphire, which involved the U.S. purchase of highly enriched uranium in Kazakstan, improved warhead security in Russia, the North Korea Framework Agreement all of these programs are key to preventing threats from emerging, Perry said.

If prevention fails, the next step in the U.S. defense strategy is deterrence maintaining the force necessary to defend U.S. interests and maintaining the credibility that it will be used if necessary.

"Deterrence does work in this modern world," Perry said. "It worked in Korea during the crisis we had in June 1994 when we feared they were developing nuclear weapons. It worked very impressively in Iraq in October 1994 when the rapid deployment of military systems prevented Iraqi forces from actually crossing the Kuwaiti border and starting another desert war."

No matter how successful the deterrence policy may be, Perry said, the United States still has to be ready and able to deploy its forces. If U.S. interests are threatened as they were in Desert Storm, the United States will use military force, he said. U.S. forces may also be called upon for peacekeeping operations as in Haiti and now in Bosnia. In Rwanda, military forces helped relieve a humanitarian disaster.

Protecting vital U.S. interests, peacekeeping, humanitarian aid for all of those reasons, Perry said, the United States might use military power. "If a military conflict arises, the United States is prepared to fight and to win," he said. "Therefore, the bulk of the programs which are in this budget submission are to provide the capability to maintain the deterrence and to have a warfighting capability."

DoD's warfighting capabiliy is based on a force structure of 10 active Army divisions, 42 reserve component brigades and three active and one reserve Marine Corps divisions. It also includes 357 Navy ships, including 11 active and one reserve aircraft carriers, and 10 active and one reserve carrier wings. The Air Force has 13 active and seven reserve fighter wings in the fiscal 1997 structure.

Forward deployment of about 230,000 troops around the world serves as concrete evidence of the U.S. policy to prevent, deter, and defeat, Perry said. "We will have 100,000 troops in Europe, another 100,000 in the Western Pacific, about 20,000 in Southwest Asia and about 10,000 in Southern Command," he said.

"Forward deployment is crucial to our strategy both because of the deterrence value of the presence and because if we get in a conflict, these are the first troops that are going to be able to engage," he said.

Funds are allocated in the fiscal 1997 budget to ensure U.S.based forces can get to world trouble spots, Perry said.

"We have to be able to project power of the remaining forces in the United States because those 230,000 are not enough to fight a major regional conflict," he said. "Our forces in Fort Lewis, Wash., are 5,000 miles from Korea. Our forces in Fort Bragg, N.C., and Fort Hood, Texas, are 8,000 to 9,000 miles from Southwest Asia. We have a substantial problem in projecting this power forward."

The solution, according to Perry, lies in such programs as prepositioning equipment and purchasing more C17 transport aircraft and Fast Sealift Ships.

Overall, Perry said, the fiscal 1997 budget aims to ensure U.S. forces are equipped and ready to maintain air, land and sea dominance. "We had it in Desert Storm, and we liked it, he said. We want to continue to have it in any future military conflict."

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