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Rumsfeld Says: 'Old Ways Out, New In"

By Linda D. Kozaryn
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, July 12, 2002 – What dangers loom in the days ahead? How might future adversaries attack the United States?

Dealing with future threats will take more than just new, high-tech weapons, according to the top man at the Pentagon. It will take new ways of thinking and fighting.

"The ability to adapt will be critical in a world defined by surprise an uncertainty," Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld wrote in a bylined article in the May-June issue of Foreign Affairs magazine. "As we painfully learned on Sept. 11, the challenges of the new century are not nearly as predictable as were those of the last."

As future enemies acquire weapons of increasing power and range, the defense secretary warned, attacks could grow far more deadly than those of Sept. 11. He said America's new challenge is to defend itself against the unknown, the uncertain, the unseen and the unexpected. To accomplish what may seem an impossible task, he said, requires putting aside comfortable ways of thinking and planning, and taking risks, and trying new things.

Using the war in Afghanistan as an example, Rumsfeld said this first war of the 21st century showed that even the horse cavalry could be used in previously unimaginable ways. U.S. and coalition forces used today's laser-guided weapons, 40-year-old B-52 bombers and men with guns on horses in unprecedented ways to defeat a dangerous, determined adversary, he noted.

"What won the battle for Mazar-e Sharif and set in motion the Taliban's fall from power," Rumsfeld said, "was a combination of the U.S. special forces; the most advanced, precision-guided munitions in the U.S. arsenal, delivered by U.S. Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps crews; and the courage of valiant, one-legged Afghan fighters on horseback."

The secretary does not suggest, however, that the Afghan combination is a model for the future.

"The lesson from the Afghan experience is not that the U.S. Army should be stockpiling saddles," he said. "Rather, it is that preparing for the future will require new ways of thinking and the development of forces and capabilities that can adapt quickly to new challenges and unexpected circumstances."

Even before al Qaeda terrorists employed American jetliners as weapons, he said, U.S. defense officials were forming a new strategy for the new security environment. They had moved away from the two-major-theater war approach that called for, he wrote, "maintaining two massive occupation forces capable of marching on and occupying the capitals of two aggressors at the same time and changing their regimes."

Instead, he said, they decided to focus on "deterrence in four critical theaters, backed by the ability to swiftly defeat two aggressors at the same time, with the option for one counteroffensive to occupy an aggressor's capital and replace its regime." By no longer maintaining a second occupation force, he said, resources could be freed for the future and for other lesser, current contingencies.

Defense officials also moved away from the Cold War era threat-based strategy to adopt a capabilities-based approach. Rather than focus on who might threaten us or where, Rumsfeld said, defense leaders began to look at how the nation might be threatened and how to deter and defend against such threats.

Rumsfeld compared the change in strategy to a homeowner dealing with burglars. "You cannot possibly know who wants to break into your home, or when, but you do know how they might try to get in," he said. "You know they might try to pick your lock, so you need a good, solid deadbolt on your front door."

The same logic holds true for national defense, he said. Defense officials need to examine the nation's vulnerabilities rather than build armed forces to fight a certain enemy.

The nation must prepare to defend against attacks on U.S. space assets and information networks as well as attacks by cruise and ballistic missiles and nuclear, chemical and biological weapons. The nation must also build up its power-projection abilities, precision strike weapons and space, intelligence and undersea warfare capabilities.

Rumsfeld said defense officials are now focused on achieving six transformational goals. Over the next five years, he added, funding is being increased in each:

o Protecting the U.S. homeland and bases overseas, 47 percent.

o Projecting and sustaining power in distant theaters, 21 percent.

o Denying enemies sanctuaries, 157 percent.

o Protecting information networks, 28 percent.

o Using information technology to link joint forces, 125 percent.

o Maintaining access to space and protecting space capabilities, 145 percent.

Meeting 21st century challenges will require rapidly deployable, fully integrated joint forces that can reach distant theaters quickly and work with air and sea forces, Rumsfeld said. It will also require intelligence, long- range precision strike capabilities and sea-based platforms, he said.

A new triad of reduced offensive nuclear forces; advanced conventional capabilities; and new missile, space and cyber defenses, supported by a revitalized defense infrastructure, will form the basis of a new approach to deterrence, he wrote.

U.S. forces must also change the way they think, exercise and fight, Rumsfeld stressed. If you give a knight in King Arthur's court an M-16 rifle, it's not transformation if he uses the stock to knock in his opponent's head, he said. "Transformation occurs when he gets behind a tree and starts shooting," he added.

Rumsfeld summed up some of the lessons gleaned from the war in Afghanistan and other recent experiences that apply to the future.

o Future wars will require all elements of national power, including economic, diplomatic, financial, law enforcement, intelligence and overt and covert military operations.

o Joint force must be able to communicate and operate seamlessly on the battlefield.

o Accepting help from any country, on a basis comfortable for its government, and allowing that country to characterize how it is helping, maximizes both countries' cooperation and effectiveness.

o Wars can benefit from coalitions, but should not be fought by committee.

o Defense of the nation requires prevention and, sometimes, pre-emption.

o Rule out nothing, including ground forces. Enemies must understand that the United States will use every means available to defeat them.

o Put U.S. Special Forces on the ground early to increase an air campaign's effectiveness.

o Be straight with the American people. Support must be rooted in trust, understanding and common purpose.

America's men and women in uniform are doing a brilliant job, Rumsfeld concluded. "The best way we can show our appreciation is to make sure they have the resources, the capabilities and the innovative culture not only to win today's war, but to deter and, if necessary, defeat the aggressors we will surely face in the dangerous century ahead."

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