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DoD Tests Alternate to 2 Major Conflict Force

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Aug. 3, 2001 – Though DoD is not ready to jettison the two major regional contingency force structure model, the department is looking at an alternative, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said Aug. 3.

Rumsfeld, speaking at a Pentagon news conference, said the alternative has four major elements.

The first is the ability to decisively fight and win a major regional conflict anywhere in the world, he said.

The second is to be able deal with a second major regional conflict "where you would repel the aggression," he said. He did not say how close in time the second contingency would be to the first and he did not specify as he did with the first that the United States must "decisively" fight and win the second MRC.

The third element is to include some of the smaller contingencies that are important, but drain military resources. "These are the non-combatant evacuations, and the kinds of activities we're engaged in in East Timor, Bosnia or Kosovo," he said. "[The United States must] have the capability to do those things and the force to do that."

Finally, the approach Rumsfeld's alternative has is less threat-based than in the past. During the Cold War, for example, the U.S. military was configured to fight a specific threat the Soviet Union. The two major regional contingencies construct adopted in 1993 was specifically aimed at Iraq and North Korea. Rumsfeld said the strategy would change to one "that is threat-based in the near term where you can identify the threat and plan to meet it to capability based in the mid- to long-term."

Given the world today it is difficult to know precisely where a threat may arise, he said. "But it is possible to have some sense of the capabilities our country will need if we're to deter and defend against and prevail against the kinds of asymmetric threats that could come from many locations," he said.

But Rumsfeld is not ready to cut loose from the force- sizing construct of the last decade. "We are looking carefully at an alternative," he said. "I've said repeatedly that you don't tear down something that is, until you have something better."

The alternative model is "something that you fashion and discuss and test. That's the process we're in."

Rumsfeld also discussed the Efficient Facilities Initiative. He said after consultation with Congress that the EFI which builds on the base realignment and closure process will be only one round to eliminate the estimated 20 to 25 percent excess infrastructure the department has.

Multiple rounds of base closures are akin "to cutting a dog's tail off one inch at a time hoping it doesn't hurt as much," he said. "We're going to do it once, we're going to do it right."

Rumsfeld said he hopes Congress will work with DoD "to find a set of arrangements or procedures that they are happy with and have the best prospects of assuring a clearly non- political approach to this, which it must have if it is to be successful."

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Related Sites:
Media Availability with Secretary Rumsfeld, Aug. 3, 2001

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