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Myers Describes Value of Transformation in Afghanistan Conflict

By Sgt. 1st Class Kathleen T. Rhem, USA
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Sept. 3, 2002 – Coalition military successes in Afghanistan have led to a greater understanding of what it takes to fight a war in the 21st century, America's top general said.

Air Force Gen. Richard Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the military victories in Afghanistan prove the U.S. military is "somewhat flexible and agile," but there's always room for improvement.

"We have to make sure that, as we try to find that elusive terrorist adversary and other asymmetric threats, that we operate in such a quick decision-making loop that we're able to act even faster than (we do now)," Myers said.

Myers made his comments during an interview with the American Forces Press Service and American Forces Radio and Television Service. Portions of the interview will be broadcast to U.S. service members overseas on the one-year anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

An important lesson learned in Afghanistan is "to be a proponent for and enhance our joint warfighting ability," he said. The general said it's vital to integrate forces on the battlefield, "not just 'deconflict' them."

Some elements of previous transformation work paid off in Afghanistan. Myers explained the significance of installing advanced avionics in B- 52s to allow the planes to drop Joint Direct Attack Munitions.

He said the JDAM improved close-air support of troops on the ground. "With the accuracy of the Joint Direct Attack Munition you can put them very precisely where you want to," Myers said. "That was enabled by the fact that we had total air dominance over Afghanistan."

The chairman said the conflict in Afghanistan also proved the worth of using carriers to insert special operations forces in addition to Navy tactical aircraft.

"Some of those are not new lessons, but again we go back to the integration of our warfighting forces. And I think it gives us real impetus to make sure we even get better at that," he said. "And if we get better at that with the information tools we need, then we'll be able to operate inside the decision loops of any potential adversary."

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