Tags: gates | pentagon | future

Gates Explains Pentagon's Future

Friday, 05 Dec 2008 11:12 PM

By Stewart Stogel

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NEW YORK -- Secretary of Defense Robert Gates outlined his vision of a "remodeled" Pentagon in a soon-to-be-released issue of Foreign Policy magazine, excerpts of which were provided to Newsmax.

In the magazine, Gates explains that it will not be enough for the U.S. military to concentrate on preparations for a conventional war; the question of unconventional conflicts must remain a high priority for the next administration.

Gates told the magazine:

"What is dubbed the war on terror, is in grim reality, a prolonged, worldwide irregular campaign -- a struggle between the forces of violent extremism and those of moderation. Direct military force will continue to play a role in the long-term effort against terrorists and other extremists. But, over the long term, the United States cannot kill or capture its way to victory."

Gates continued:

"It would be irresponsible not to think about and prepare for the future, and the overwhelming majority of people in the Pentagon, the services, and the defense industry do just that. But we must not be so preoccupied with preparing for future conventional and strategic conflicts that we neglect to provide all the capabilities necessary to fight and win conflicts such as those the United States is in today. ... My fundamental concern is that there is not commensurate institutional support -- including in the Pentagon -- for the capabilities needed to win today's wars and some of their likely successors."

Gates summed up by saying:

"The recent past vividly demonstrated the consequences of failing to address adequately the dangers posed by insurgencies and failing states. ... The kinds of capabilities needed to deal with these scenarios cannot be considered exotic distractions or temporary divisions. The United States does not have the luxury of opting out because these scenarios do not conform to the preferred notions of the American way of war."

Gates' revelations come as India seeks to recover from a terrorist assault on Mumbai last week and Israeli military leaders say action again Iran remains "on the table" with or without U.S. approval.

It was last Monday that President-elect Barak Obama took the unprecedented decision to ask Gates (a sitting Republican defense secretary) to remain in his post at least through the first year of the new administration.

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