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Shalikashvili Promotes Military's Future

By Staff Sgt. Lee Roberts, USAF
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Nov. 4, 1996 – With a brilliant blue fall sky and rays of sunshine overhead recently, Gen. John M. Shalikashvili told approximately 1,000 Joint Staff members the future of the military is indeed bright.

At a recent Chairman's Call in the Pentagon's Center Court, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff challenged the Joint Staff to play a major role in shaping a brighter defense future. He told them to focus on three important projects during the next year -- projects that will positively impact the defense establishment for years to come.

The Quadrennial Defense Review, anti-terrorism and force protection, and Joint Vision 2010 are the top-priority concerns, the general said. The Joint Staff will be working with each service from now until spring on the Quadrennial Defense Review, a review of the nation's military strategies, major defense programs and force structures.

It's an opportunity to "have a soup-to-nuts review of our military requirements for the months and years ahead," Shalikashvili said. "It affects the azimuth of the military and this nation's military capability."

The chairman noted Congress and the secretary of defense will scrutinize the review, which will ultimately affect the military's organizational structure in future years. "It will be a monumental task," said Shalikashvili. "I think the pressure on us will be enormous. I challenge each one of you to take that [QDR] very, very seriously, regardless of what else you have on your plate."

The general also talked about the impact of terrorism on the military and the importance of a rapid response to deal with this threat, especially in the wake of the Khobar Towers bombing June 25 that killed 19 U.S. airmen in Saudi Arabia.

"The first thing we have to do, all of us, is to ensure that recommendations from the Downing report (on the Khobar Towers incident), the secretary's (of defense) report or any other report that now exists have to be implemented fully and quickly, because you don't know and I don't know when the next terrorist act could occur," Shalikashvili stressed. "We have to move the military so that we become the premiere experts in anti-terrorism and force protection."

He said the military must train to protect itself and deal with terrorism, and announced his decision to create a 36-member team in the Joint Staff's Operations Directorate to synchronize military anti-terrorism and force protection efforts.

"Everyone on the staff needs to get involved," the general said. "I challenge you to join me this next year to make us the premiere military when it comes to force protection. We owe it to the guys in Khobar Towers that died. More importantly, we owe it to those people ... in some other place that might yet get bombed. And I need your help with that."

The general's third priority is the implementation of Joint Vision 2010, his vision for the development of the U.S. military over the next 15 years. "For the first time in history, the U.S. military, the services, the joint commands are on a common sheet of paper as we move into the future," Shalikashvili said. "Each service up to now had its own vision how it was going to transition into the next century.

"We've never had a unifying document to pull them all together and to make sure that the Air Force contribution, the Marine Corps contribution and the Army's and Navy's contributions all point in the same direction," said Shalikashvili. The services of the future are "going to fight as joint teams, not as individual services. We needed a vehicle to do this, and now we have Joint Vision 2010."

(Roberts writes for the Public Affairs Office for the chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff.)

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