Tags: New | Study | Says | U.S. | Should | Reduce | Global

New Study Says U.S. Should Reduce Global Defense Posture

Thursday, 27 September 2001 12:00 AM

Maintaining 100,000 troops in Europe and an additional 37,000 troops in South Korea is an outdated concept, particularly since the stationing countries are adequately capable of defending themselves against today's threats, said Ivan Eland, director of defense policy studies with the Cato Institute, and author of a new book entitled, "Putting 'Defense' Back into Defense Policy."

The Bush administration should abandon the current strategy of preparing to fight two wars almost simultaneously, cut the force structure, especially the Army, and use the saved resources to fight new terrorist threats, Eland said.

"In the wake of the current crisis, you might want to spend more on Special Forces, because they're the light commandos which don't get much money normally," he said.

The Army needs to be trimmer and more agile so that it can get places faster. In gathering intelligence, the United States needs to reallocate its resources from the technical collection used during the days of the Soviet Union to human intelligence, which is the best resource to penetrate terrorist organizations, Eland said.

Eland also called for the pruning of "Cold War weapons," such as the V-22, the F-22 - a fighter designed to battle the former Soviet Union - and the Comanche helicopter, and put more into biological and chemical weapons defense, both for the civilian population in the United States and for troops conducting operations overseas.

The United States needs antidotes and vaccines, protective suits and possibly a bunker-busting precision-guided missile to penetrate facilities where weapons of mass destruction are being developed and stored, Eland said. He also called for increased investment in unmanned aerial vehicles, cruise missile defense, and a limited missile defense.

Alan Tonelson, a research fellow with the Washington-based Business and Industry Council and author of "Race to the Bottom," a study of the impact of globalization on the U.S. economy, praised Eland's book "as a piece of military analysis of our spending patterns, our force structure, and individual weapons systems."

But Tonelson questioned some proposals in the book as a national security analysis of the situation that the United States faces.

"I found a problem with [Eland's] expectation that we can basically treat all of our current allies pretty much the same way," Tonelson told CNSNews.com.

To tell Japan and Western Europe that they should do more for their national defense is reasonable, Tonelson said. But the same policy, if applied to Persian Gulf nations, would put an undue strain on countries that "don't have enough domestic unity to support an effort like that."

Tonelson also faulted what he called the "risk-reward ratio" in Eland's study. "If you total up all of the changes he'd like to make, the United States saves about $100 billion each year.

"But in a $10 trillion economy, that's not a lot of money, and you ask yourself, is it worth it to take so many chances with the security structure of the post Cold War world? Are we really running that many risks with our current policy that it's worth saving $100 billion a year?"

Retired Rear Adm. Eugene Carroll of the Center for Defense Information said Eland's proposals for defense reform "are worthy of careful consideration in the needed debate on a revised security status. We've got to look at the fundamental problems of how we use our strengths across the board to make the United States a more secure nation."

Carroll also called on defense planners to stop developing weapons and training U.S. forces for "a rerun of World War II," and concentrate on developing forces that can fight lower levels of conflict, such as "militias, terrorists, irregular forces."

Commenting on the current strategy to fight terrorism with large forces, Carroll said: "If I were to have two things to say right now about how to get on with this, I would say, let's give up the idea of war on terrorism.

"We're going to fight no war on terrorism any more than a war on drugs or a war on poverty. War in the American parlance means, let's get organized, put our backs into it, beat the other guy to capitulation, dust our hands and say, well, that's over with, we can all go back and watch the Super Bowl.

"We want to win and get it over with and you're not going to do that with terrorism. You're going to have to manage and confront the problem over the years and have positive means of addressing it, not only militarily, but economically and politically," Carroll said.

Copyright 2001

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Maintaining 100,000 troops in Europe and an additional 37,000 troops in South Korea is an outdated concept, particularly since the stationing countries are adequately capable of defending themselves against today's threats, said Ivan Eland, director of defense policy...
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Thursday, 27 September 2001 12:00 AM
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