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Rumsfeld Details DoD Goals, Objectives in Testimony

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Jan. 12, 2001 – "Weakness is provocative," Donald H. Rumsfeld told the Senate Armed Service Committee Jan. 11 during his confirmation hearing to be the next defense secretary.

"Weakness invites people into doing things they wouldn't otherwise think of," Rumsfeld said.

This goes to the heart of Rumsfeld's view of defense. President-elect George W. Bush nominated Rumsfeld as defense secretary Dec. 28. If the Senate confirms him, he will succeed Defense Secretary William S. Cohen.

This is Rumsfeld's second set of confirmation hearings. He was defense secretary from 1975 to 1977.

He told the senators that the world is a different and more peaceful one with the Soviet Union gone, "but it is nonetheless a dangerous and untidy world."

"We also know that the power of weapons today is vastly greater than it was in earlier eras, and we know that with the relaxation of tension at the end of the Cold War the proliferation of these capabilities is pervasive," he said.

Rumsfeld said the world is entering the "era of globalization." He said while it is a hopeful time it is also full of challenges. One main challenge he needs to address, he said, is "the challenge of bringing the American military successfully into the 21st century so that it can continue to play its truly vital role in preserving and extending peace as far into the future as is possible."

He called the struggle today not as obvious as the one against the Soviet Union, but "just as noble." He said the U.S. goal is "to turn these years of influence into decades of peace. And the foundation of that peace is a strong, capable, modern military. Let there be no doubt." The nominee said he will follow Bush's three over-arching goals for bringing U.S. armed forces into the 21st century.

"First, we must strengthen the bond of trust with the American military," Rumsfeld said. "The brave and dedicated men and women who serve in our country's uniform -- active, Guard and Reserve -- must get the best support their country can possibly provide them so that we can continue to call on the best people in the decades to come."

Second, the United States must develop capabilities to defend against missiles and terrorism, and newer threats aimed against space assets and information systems. "The American people, our forces abroad and our friends and allies must be protected against the threats which modern technology and its proliferation confront us," he said.

Third, DoD must take advantage of the new possibilities that the ongoing technological revolution offers to create the military of the next century.

Rumsfeld said one of his first duties, if confirmed, would be to order a comprehensive review of U.S. defense policy. This would be in addition to the congressionally mandated Quadrennial Defense Review.

"This review will be aimed at making certain that we have a sound understanding of the state of the U.S. forces and their readiness to meet the 21st century security environment," he said. "We need to ensure that we will be able to develop and deploy and operate and support a highly effective force capable of deterring and defending against new threats. This will require a refashioning of deterrence and defense capabilities.

"The old deterrence of the Cold War era is imperfect for dissuading the threats of the new century and for maintaining stability in our new national security environment."

Rumsfeld told the senators he will pursue five key objectives to reach Bush's goals for DoD. "First, we need to fashion and sustain deterrence appropriate to the new national security environment," he said.

The proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery must be acknowledged and recognized and then must be managed, he said. The United States should still strive to slow proliferation, but "a determined state may nonetheless succeed in acquiring weapons of mass destruction" and missiles. This means there must be a change in the policy governing deterrence, he said.

"Credible deterrence no longer can be based solely on the prospect of punishment through massive retaliation," Rumsfeld said. "It must be based on a combination of offensive nuclear and nonnuclear defensive capabilities working together to deny potential adversaries the opportunity and the benefits that come from the threat or the use of weapons of mass destruction against our forces, our homeland, as well as those of our allies."

The second objective is to assure the readiness and sustainability of deployed forces. "The price of inadequate readiness is paid in unnecessary risks to American interests and in unnecessary risks to the lives of American service men and women," he said.

"Our armed forces today are all volunteers," he continued. "They are men and women who have willingly answered the call to serve our country and accept the burdens and dangers that go with that service. As President Bush has said, even the highest morale is eventually undermined by back-to-back deployments, poor pay, shortages of spare parts and equipment, and declining readiness."

He said a volunteer military has only two paths to follow to fill its ranks: One is to lower standards while the other is to "inspire the best and brightest to join and stay," he said. "If confirmed, I look forward to working with the president, and this committee that has been so interested in the subject, to make sure that our country's service is able to attract and retain the best of our country."

The third objective is to modernize U.S. command, control, communications, intelligence and space capabilities. "A modern command, control, communication, and intelligence infrastructure is the foundation upon which U.S. military power is employed," Rumsfeld said.

He said he is committed to strengthening U.S. intelligence for both short-term and long-term national security needs. "I will personally make establishing a strong spirit of cooperation between the Department of Defense and the rest of the intelligence community, under the leadership of a director of central intelligence, one of my top priorities," he said. "We simply must strengthen our intelligence capabilities and our space capabilities, along with the ability to protect those assets against various forms of attack."

The fourth objective looks to speeding research, development and acquisition. "The need to swiftly introduce new weapons systems is clear," Rumsfeld said. "The transformation of U.S. military power to take full advantage of commercially created information technology may require undertaking near-term investment to acquire modern capabilities derived from U.S. scientific and industrial pre-eminence, rather than simply upgrading some existing systems.

He said the present weapon system acquisition process is not well suited to meet the demands posed by an expansion of unconventional and asymmetrical threats. The current cycle time from program start to initial operational capability is generally over eight years.

"Such processes are not capable of harnessing the remarkable genius and productivity of the modern information-based commercial and industrial sectors that have done so much to revolutionize our civilian economy," he said.

The fifth objective is the reform of DOD structures, processes and organization. "The legacy of obsolete institutional structures and processes and organizations does not merely create unnecessary cost, which of course it does; it also imposes an unacceptable burden on national defense," he said. "In certain respects, it could be said that we are in a sense disarming or 'underarming' by our failure to reform the acquisition process and to shed unneeded organization and facilities. If confirmed, we will examine, in consultation with the Congress, omnibus approaches to changing the statutory and regulatory basis for the most significant obstacles to reform."

Senate committee officials said they must wait until after Bush's Jan. 20 inauguration and Rumsfeld's official nomination before members can vote. The full Senate vote on his confirmation could come as early as the week of Jan. 22, they said.

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Related Sites:
Biography: Donald H. Rumsfeld

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