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Rumsfeld Talks Money With Senators

Rumsfeld Talks Money With Senators

By Jim Garamone, American Forces Press Service.

Washington D.C. -- (AFPS) February 5, 2002 -- The U.S. military must accomplish three difficult missions at once, and ignoring any one of them would put the nation in peril, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said today to the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Rumsfeld said the three missions are to fight and win the worldwide war on terrorism; restore the forces by making investments in procurement, people, infrastructure and modernization; and to prepare for the future by transforming the defense establishment.

Rumsfeld explained the $379.3 billion fiscal 2003 defense budget request that President Bush submitted to Congress Feb. 4. He told the committee the money is a significant sum and one the department plans to invest differently from the past.

"We're accelerating programs we consider transformational," he said. "And we've made program adjustments to achieve something in the neighborhood of $9.3 billion in proposed savings and adjustments."

The Defense Department budget request would fully fund accounts affecting people, readiness and modernization.

Rumsfeld the events of Sept. 11 shattered many myths including the illusion that "the post-Cold War world would be one of extended peace." In the years that followed the fall of the Soviet Union, many Americans believed that the country could stand down the military, cut defense spending and focus its resources on domestic issues.

He said the defense cutback following the Cold War went too far. "It, in my view, overshot the mark," he said, noting the military of the 1990s lived off the military investments of the 1980s.

He said making the military establishment's health is important, but so is the idea of transforming the military. He said this is important because U.S. enemies are watching what the U.S. military is doing.

"They are studying how we were successfully attacked, how we are responding and how we may be vulnerable in the future," Rumsfeld said.

He said the budget stresses the change in military thinking from a threat-based approach to a capabilities-based one. Defense planners identified six transformation goals to build this new force.

The president's 2003 budget request advances each of the six goals, Rumsfeld said.

The first goal is to protect the U.S. homeland and U.S. bases overseas. The budget request would fund $300 million to create a Biological Defense Homeland Security Support Program to improve U.S. capabilities to detect and respond to a biological attack.

It also would provide $7.8 billion for missile defense testing and research.

Overall, the 2003 budget request calls for more than $8 billion for homeland defense, and it programs $45.8 billion over the next five years.

The second is to deny enemies sanctuary. This includes accelerating development of unmanned combat aerial vehicles, space-based radar, the conversion of four Trident subs to stealthy attack subs capable of carrying Tomahawk cruise missiles, and money to fund the new DD(X) destroyer test-bed program. The budget calls for $3.2 billion to support programs to further this goal.

The third transformation goal is to project and sustain power in distant theaters. "Today, in many cases, U.S. forces depend on vulnerable foreign bases to operate, creating incentives for adversaries to create access-denial capabilities to keep us out," Rumsfeld said. "The 2003 budget request seeks $7.4 billion for programs to help ensure the ability to project power over long distances and for $53 billion over the five-year period."

The fourth goal is to leverage information technology. He said the military services need to connect seamlessly with each other. The department is asking for $2.5 billion to fund programs to enhance this goal.

The fifth is to use effective information operations. The fiscal 2003 request asks for $174 million for this.

The sixth is to maintain unhindered access to space. "From the dawn of time, the key to victory is control of the high ground," he said. "Space is the ultimate high ground." The Defense Department is asking for $200 million to strengthen space capabilities in 2003.

"We cannot transform the military in one year, nor in a decade nor would it be wise to do so," he said. "Rather, we intend to transform a relatively modest percentage of the force, turning it into the leading edge of change which will, over time, lead the rest of the force into the 21st century."

But sinking money into systems means nothing if the department neglects its people. "We're competing with the private sector for the best young people our nation offers," Rumsfeld said. "We can't simply rely on the patriotism and willingness to sacrifice, alone, to attract them."

That's why the request's 4.1 percent military pay raise, a possible targeted raise and $4.2 billion for housing are important, he said. He asked the senators to continue their support for the elimination of out-of-pocket housing expenses for service members living off installations. He also asked the senators to approve $10 billion for education, training and recruiting as well as "a breathtaking $18.8 billion to cover the realistic cost of military healthcare."

Rumsfeld told the legislators that the Defense Department is being a good steward of the taxpayers' money and will become better. He said the department is canceling programs that are wasteful, such as the Navy Area Missile Defense program, and has restructured others, such as the Marines' V-22 Osprey and the Army's Comanche helicopter program. The Defense Department continues toward its goal of a 15 percent reduction in headquarters staffing, and groups throughout the department continue to look for better more efficient ways to do business.

Rumsfeld said the department would like to do more to save money, but cannot. First, saving more would mean military manpower cuts. "It is clear now in the midst of the war on terror, the final dimensions of which are not known, that it is not time to cut manpower," he said.

The second impediment is Congress' decision to put off base closures until fiscal 2005 means the department has to maintain up to 25 percent more infrastructure than it needs, he said.

"It is a fact that with the two-year delay we have to continue providing force protection for the bases even though we believe a substantial number … are not currently needed," he said.

Rumsfeld said the budget request would not permit the department to meet its objective of lowering the average age of tactical aircraft in fiscal 2003. DoD will invest in unmanned aircraft and then F-22 and Joint Strike fighter programs.

Science and Technology funding, at about 2.7 percent of the defense budget this year, is short of DoD's 3 percent goal, he noted.

And the budget request for five Navy ships will not halt the shrinking size of the U.S. fleets. To sustain the size, the Navy would need to build eight or nine ships annually. The five-year plan calls for five ships in fiscal 2004, seven in 2005, seven in fiscal 2006 and 10 in fiscal 2007.

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Directeur de la publication : Joël-François Dumont
Comité de rédaction : Jacques de Lestapis, Hugues Dumont, François de Vries (Bruxelles), Hans-Ulrich Helfer (Suisse), Michael Hellerforth (Allemagne).
Comité militaire : VAE Guy Labouérie (†), GAA François Mermet (2S), CF Patrice Théry (Asie).