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Services Need to Balance Risks Better, Rumsfeld Says

By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Aug. 24, 2001 – Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld is asking the military services to better balance the risks of today and tomorrow.

"We have established some defense planning guidance which will set forth to the services and the components areas that we feel need to be addressed in a priority manner," Rumsfeld told reporters Aug. 23 at the Pentagon.

Those areas, he said, would balance the risks of not modernizing, of not transforming, of not taking care of the force, and operational risk.

The defense establishment has done a good job in terms of balancing operational risks, Rumsfeld remarked, but, "We have not done a good job on balancing risks with respect to the damage to the force, and the damage to the infrastructure, and the slow modernization and the slow transformation."

All the risks are to be "put up on the table," he added. The services are to address imbalances and then recommend fixes, Rumsfeld said.

This procedure would compel the services to ask themselves questions like, he said, "'Would I rather have one more of these things, or am I comfortable allowing the force to deteriorate, or allowing the infrastructure to deteriorate some more, or not modernizing some weapon system?'

"Or, running the risk that in two, three or four years you could be in a conflict somewhere in the world and be stricken deaf, dumb and blind because of information warfare," he added.

Such deliberations, Rumsfeld remarked, "aren't as much fun for people who'd like to talk about this weapon or that weapon, or this base or that base, or this size force or that size force."

Balancing today's and tomorrow's military risks and pondering requisite "very tough, intellectual questions" represents a "paradigm shift" in how things are thought out, Rumsfeld said, crediting Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz for that description.

"That is the process we're going through," he said. "The president has asked us to do a review (of defense). We've done that review. The Congress asked us to do a Quadrennial Defense Review. We are doing that review. (The president) has asked for a nuclear posture review. We are doing that review. We are well along in all of them."

The process will produce recommendations and tradeoffs that DoD leaders will ponder as has "every Pentagon ... during every budget cycle since the process was begun by, I believe, (Secretary of Defense Robert) McNamara," he said.


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