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Rumsfeld Reviews Challenges of 2001

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Dec. 27, 2001 – "What a difference three months makes," Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld told reporters at a press conference here today.

Rumsfeld reviewed 2001 during the briefing. He said the Sept. 11 attack on the Pentagon that killed 184 people was the "toughest moment."

"On Sept. 11, the Pentagon and the Trade Towers were burning, the Taliban were in power, and Afghanistan was a reasonably safe haven for terrorists," Rumsfeld said. "Today, the fires are finally out, the Taliban have been driven from power, their leaders are on the run and, thanks to so many nations' efforts and the extraordinary men and women of the defense establishment and the armed forces and the coalition forces Americans are celebrating this holiday season as they were meant to, in freedom."

Rumsfeld said DoD has much work still to do, and this is not limited to the war on terrorism. He reiterated the Bush administration's effort to transform the DoD and the military to meet the challenges of the 21st century.

During 2001, President Bush asked DoD to review the nation's defense strategy, to take a fresh look at missile defense, to examine the number of offensive nuclear weapons and "to find ways to encourage a culture of creativity and intelligent risk- taking" at the Defense Department.

"I think we've made progress in each of these areas, but there is no question in my mind but that we have more to do," Rumsfeld said.

The secretary said DoD used the Quadrennial Defense Review to produce a new defense strategy for the United States and also produced a new force-sizing model for the military. "We put aside the threat-based model of the past and adopted a capabilities-based approach one that focuses less on who might threaten us or where, and more on how we might be threatened and what capabilities we will need to deter and defend against those threats," Rumsfeld said.

He said that even before the Sept. 11 attacks, DoD had put more emphasis on homeland security. Specifically, DoD is preparing for the full-range of asymmetric threats that face the nation.

DoD is also measuring risks in a different way. Immediate threats must be measured against the risks of overusing the people of the department, of not modernizing and of not transforming. "So that as we prepare for near-term threats, we do not cheat the future or the people who risk their lives to secure that future for us," he said.

Rumsfeld said service members received a substantial pay raise in 2001, and DoD was able to secure money to upgrade housing, health care and other facilities.

DoD refashioned missile defense from one constrained by the Anti-ballistic Missile Treaty to one that "is broad-based and designed to test the widest range of promising technologies," he said.

The Bush administration also has promised to cut offensive nuclear warheads from the 6,000 in the stockpile today to between 1,700 and 2,200.

He said the year also contained some disappointments. The confirmation process for administration officials is ungainly and slow, he said. The budget process is not working well, he said. "People need to have some sense of what the future will hold and what they can do. And to keep shifting these numbers around and altering things the way we are because the way the process worked this year is really unfortunate and certainly not good management."

Finally, Rumsfeld said, DoD does not have "the freedom to manage the department effectively, so that we can really unleash a culture of innovation and begin turning waste into weapons." Continuing work on these and other problems will be priorities for 2002, he noted.

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Related Sites:
DoD News Briefing - Secretary Rumsfeld and Gen. Myers, Dec. 27, 2001
DoD News Briefing Slides, Dec. 27, 2001

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