Tags: Military | Won't | Rush | Reform

Military Won't Rush Reform

Monday, 21 May 2001 12:00 AM

In a weekend interview, Rumsfeld said efforts to transform the military for 21st century threats will be ''annual and incremental'' and will affect a ''relatively modest fraction of the total force.'' He even suggested some current weapons may still be around in 30 years.

As he enters his fifth month at the Pentagon, Rumsfeld conveyed a realistic assessment of the challenge ahead. During his campaign, President Bush had pledged to ''skip a generation'' of weapons. Bush is expected to outline his defense vision when he speaks at the U.S. Naval Academy commencement Friday in Annapolis, Md.

Rumsfeld said his review has revealed more questions than answers about how to deter and defend against emerging threats, such as ballistic missiles, biological weapons and cyberattacks. Despite media reports and prognostications by military analysts, Rumsfeld says he has made no final decisions.

That applies to the extensive debate about the decade-old standard that requires the military to be able to fight two major wars simultaneously. ''We have not seen an alternative,'' he said, ''to suggest that we necessarily move away from the current approach.''

Even so, Rumsfeld is leaning toward scrapping the strategy, which is used to structure the force. He says it doesn't fit a military that in recent years has been consumed with peacekeeping, airstrikes, humanitarian missions, evacuations of U.S. citizens abroad and enforcement of no-fly zones over Iraq.

Despite Army and Marine Corps fears that ground troops will be cut to free up money for air and space power, Rumsfeld says the issue of troop reductions has ''never come up.''

Rumsfeld, a former ambassador to NATO, also stressed that an increased focus on Asia will not come at Europe's expense. He said the broad strategic review conducted by Pentagon guru Andrew Marshall, who sees China as America's next great rival, ''does not suggest any less emphasis on Europe.''

Rumsfeld made clear that he would chart a far different course on overseas commitments than the Clinton administration:

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In a weekend interview, Rumsfeld said efforts to transform the military for 21st century threats will be ''annual and incremental'' and will affect a ''relatively modest fraction of the total force.'' He even suggested some current weapons may still be around in 30 years....
Military,Won't,Rush,Reform
326
2001-00-21
Monday, 21 May 2001 12:00 AM
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