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Rumsfeld Submits Annual Report to Congress

Rumsfeld Submits Annual Report to Congress

By Linda D. Kozaryn, American Forces Press Service.

Washington D.C. -- (AFPS) August 15, 2002 -- New threats call for a new approach to defense and highlight the need to transform the nation's armed forces "now," Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld told the president and Congress in his annual report.

The United States is in a new, dangerous period, Rumsfeld said in the report, posted today. "The historical insularity of the United States has given way to an era of new vulnerabilities.

"Current and future enemies will seek to strike the United States and U.S. forces in novel and surprising ways," the secretary said. "As a result, the United States faces a new imperative: It must both win the present war against terrorism and prepare now for future wars -- wars notably different from those of the past century and even from the current conflict.

"America will inevitably be surprised again by new adversaries striking in unexpected ways," he said.

"Surprise and uncertainty" define the Defense Department's challenge to defend the nation against "the unknown, the unseen and the unexpected," he said. Now is precisely the time to make changes," he said. "The attacks on Sept. 11 lent urgency to this endeavor."

Prior to the terrorist attack, Rumsfeld noted, defense officials had already completed the Quadrennial Defense Review and were fashioning a new approach to defense. That included a new defense strategy, replacing the two major theater war construct, and revitalizing the missile defense program free of the constraints of the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty.

Defense officials had also reorganized the department to focus on space capabilities and fashioned a new Unified Command Plan to enhance homeland defense and to speed up transformation. Defense officials had also adopted a new approach to strategic deterrence to increase security while reducing the number of strategic nuclear weapons.

Much has been achieved, the secretary said, even in the midst of fighting a war on terrorism. "Not a bad start for a department that historically has had a reputation for resisting change," he noted.

Rumsfeld said the military now has six operational goals:

  • Protect the U.S. homeland and defeat weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery.
  • Project and sustain power in distant anti-access and area-denial environments.
  • Deny enemy sanctuary by developing capabilities for persistent surveillance, tracking and rapid engagement.
  • Leverage information technologies and innovative network- centric concepts to link joint forces.
  • Protect information systems from attack.
  • Maintain unhindered access to space and protect U.S. space capabilities from enemy attack.

"These six goals represent the operational focus for our efforts to transform the U.S. armed forces." Rumsfeld said. Over the next decade, he continued, defense officials will transform some forces to "serve as a vanguard and signal of the changes to come."

Ground forces will be lighter and more lethal than today; they'll be highly mobile and capable of being inserted far from traditional ports and air bases; and they will be networked with long-range, precision-strike systems, he said.

Naval and amphibious forces will be able to operate close to an enemy's shores and project power deep inland, he said. Air forces will be able to locate and track mobile enemy targets and strike rapidly at long ranges without warning, he added.

"The joint force," Rumsfeld noted, "will be networked in order to conduct highly complex and distributed operations over vast distances and in space."

Over the past decade, he said, the department invested too little in its people, equipment and infrastructure. The new defense approach defines and calls for balancing four risk areas:

Force management risk -- results from issues affecting the ability to recruit, retain, train and equip sufficient numbers of quality personnel and to sustain readiness of the force while it performs operational tasks.

Operational risk -- stems from factors shaping the ability to achieve military objectives in a near-term conflict or other contingency.

Future challenges risk -- derives from issues affecting the ability to invest in new capabilities and to develop new operational concepts needed to dissuade or defeat mid-to long-term military challenges.

Institutional risk -- results from factors affecting the ability to develop management practices, processes, standards and controls that use resources efficiently and promote the effective operation of the defense establishment.

Focusing on these four areas will help the department set priorities and allocate resources, Rumsfeld said. "The Department of Defense must wisely allocate resources and structure programs to create a portfolio of capabilities that is balanced appropriately for the variety of challenges we face," he said.

The department's immediate task, he said, is to stop erosion in capabilities caused by underinvestment during the past decade. "The current budget request focuses on this task while seeking additional investments to put the armed forces on a path to reducing and managing all four categories of risk," he concluded.

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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).