Tags: Rumsfeld | Warns | Threats | Deadlier | Than | Sept.

Rumsfeld Warns of Threats Deadlier Than Sept. 11

Thursday, 31 January 2002 12:00 AM

America is vulnerable to terrorism ranging from cyberattacks to attacks on U.S. military bases abroad to ballistic missile attacks on U.S. cities, he said in a speech laying out the Bush administration's justification for proposing a $48 billion increase in the 2003 defense budget.

"Let there be no doubt. In the years ahead it is likely that we will be surprised again, by new adversaries who may also strike in unexpected ways," Rumsfeld said at National Defense University.

"Our challenge is to make certain that, as time passed and the shock of what befell us that day wears off, we do not simply go back to doing things the way we did them before.

"The war on terrorism is a transformational event that cries out for us to rethink our activities and put that new thinking into action."

It is a vision that encompasses the familiar – missile defenses – and the high-tech – space warfare. It is geared toward putting up such a strong defense that offenses are rarely needed.

"Just as the U.S. Navy dissuades others from investing in competing navies, because it would cost a fortune and would not succeed in providing a margin of military advantage, we must develop new capabilities that, merely by our possessing them, will dissuade adversaries from competing," he said.

He warned of adversaries who could strike in unexpected ways with weapons of increasing range and power. He appeared to be referring to ballistic missiles, a weapon the administration fears that rogue nations such as

"These attacks could grow vastly more deadly than those we suffered Sept. 11," he said.

Rumsfeld began his address with a strong nod not to technology but to the ingenuity of individual U.S. soldiers, as played out in the battle for Mazar-i-Sharif, Afghanistan – a fight fought and won by the marriage of satellite-guided weapons, Special Forces soldiers and Afghan fighters on horseback who charged through tank, mortar and artillery fire.

"That day, on the plains of Afghanistan, the 19th century met the 21st century and defeated a dangerous and determined adversary, a remarkable achievement.

"When President Bush called me back to the Pentagon after a quarter century and asked us to come up with a new defense strategy, he knew I was an old-timer. But I'll bet he didn't imagine for a second we would bring back the cavalry," Rumsfeld said.

Rumsfeld laid out a six-point plan to guide the expenditure of $379 billion Bush will ask for in his budget request this year, the largest single-year defense budget since the Vietnam War:

All of this is happening under the rubric of military "transformation," a goal Rumsfeld said would be achieved when the military was powerful and flexible, able to deal as swiftly and effectively with a massive land army as with a small band of terrorists on the other side of the world.

Bush had campaigned with a promise to increase the Pentagon budget by $45 billion over 10 years, but will ask Congress for more than that amount in a single year next week.

"The notion that we could transform it while cutting the defense budget was seductive but false," Rumsfeld said.

The Pentagon needs to buy more unmanned aerial vehicles, more reconnaissance and surveillance assets, longer-range weapons, stealthy weapons, more sensors and less vulnerable systems, Rumsfeld said.

"In spite of the shortages of these and other scarce systems the United States postponed these systems while continuing to fund what were in retrospect less valuable priorities," he said.

But the battle at Mazar-i-Sharif "shows that a revolution in military affairs is about more than building new high-tech weapons, though that is certainly part of it," Rumsfeld said. "It is also about new ways of thinking ... and new ways of fighting."

Chief among the technologies Rumsfeld wants the military to invest in is an effective missile defense system to protect Americans and troops from nuclear attack; the "hardening" of U.S. space systems to protect them from outer space nuclear blasts and small "killer satellites," and earth-penetrating and thermobaric weapons to destroy deep underground facilities where terrorists or weapons of mass destruction may be hidden.

A new Congressional Budget Office report says the administration's missile defense plan could cost as much as $258 billion over the next 25 years.

High-tech weapons alone will not transform the military from its Cold War roots to a new way of fighting. Instead the military must be encouraged and rewarded for changing the strategies it uses in war and training.

"Imagine for a moment you could got back in time and give a knight in King Arthur's court an M-16. If he takes that weapons, gets back on his horse and uses the stock to knock his opponents head, it's not transformational," Rumsfeld said.

"Transformation occurs when he gets behind a tree and starts shooting. All the high-tech weapons in the world won't transform our armed forces unless we also transform the way we think, train, exercise and fight."

Rumsfeld compared the new way of thinking about national defense to protecting a home from burglars, a shift from the Cold War construct that focused on who the enemy was – the Soviet Union and communism – to instead trying to predict how an unknown enemy might choose to attack. It is what Rumsfeld calls a "capabilities-based" approach to security.

"You can't possibly know who wants to break into your home, or when they might try it, but you do know how they might try to get in," Rumsfeld said. "Our challenge in this new century is a difficult one: to prepare to defend out national against the unknown, the uncertain, the unseen and the unexpected."

He warned the audience of mostly midcareer military officers not to assume that the next battles will be fought using the same tactics employed in Afghanistan.

"Preparing to refight the last war is a mistake repeated throughout much of military history, and one we must and will avoid," he said.

Rumsfeld used the forum to rail against the slow and complicated multi-year Pentagon budget process.

"I am absolutely dumbfounded and shocked that it works the way it works," he said.

He criticized the "unbelievable" bureaucracy that hamstrings his ability to deal with military allies, as well as the 950 annual Pentagon reports required by Congress.

Rumsfeld, at his best on his feet passionately answering questions from the crowd, compared the reporting requirements to Jonathan Swift's fictional Gulliver being tied down by hundred of tiny ropes. None was enough to keep him down, but all together they tied him up.

"I don't think anyone needs them," he said. "We're just out killing trees all over the world."

Copyright 2002 by United Press International.

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America is vulnerable to terrorism ranging from cyberattacks to attacks on U.S. military bases abroad to ballistic missile attacks on U.S. cities, he said in a speech laying out the Bush administration's justification for proposing a $48 billion increase in the 2003 defense...
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2002-00-31
Thursday, 31 January 2002 12:00 AM
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