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Bush Calls for Military Transformation

Bush Calls for Military Transformation

By Jim Garamone, American Forces Press Service.

Washington D.C. -- (AFPS) December 11, 2001 -- President Bush, speaking today at the Citadel in Charleston, S.C., revealed plans to transform the armed forces to confront the threats of the 21st century.

"We have to think differently," Bush said. "The enemy who appeared on Sept. 11 seeks to avoid our strengths and constantly searches for our weaknesses. So America is required once again to change the way our military thinks and fights."

He said enemies worldwide got a chance to see the new American military on Oct. 7. That military "cannot and will not be evaded," he said.

"The great threat to civilization is that a few evil men will multiply their murders and gain the means to kill on a scale equal to their hatred," Bush said. "We know they have this mad intent, and we're determined to stop them."

He said the United States will meet the threats posed by terrorists by every means. "We will discover and destroy 'sleeper' cells," he said. "We will track terrorists' movements, trace their communications, disrupt their funding and take their network apart piece by piece."

He said rogue states are the most likely sources of chemical, biological and nuclear weapons for terrorists. He said the civilized world cannot condone states that support or harbor terrorists. "Those states that violate this principle will be regarded as hostile regimes," Bush said. "They have been warned, they are being watched, and they will be held to account."

He said the new world has new priorities. The first is to speed the transformation of the U.S. military. Actions in Afghanistan are pointing the way, he said.

"These past two months have shown that innovative doctrine and high-tech weaponry can shape and then dominate an unconventional conflict," Bush said.

Service members are rewriting the rules of war with new technologies, he continued. "Our commanders are gaining a real-time picture of the entire battlefield, and are able to get targeting information from sensor to shooter almost instantly," he said. "Our intelligence professionals and special forces have cooperated in battle with friendly Afghan forces. These fighters know the terrain, know the Taliban and know the local culture.

"And our special forces have the technology to call in precision air strikes, along with the flexibility to direct those strikes from horseback in the first cavalry charge of the 21st century."

Bush said the Predator unmanned aerial vehicle is showing its worth in the campaign. He said the new armed version can circle and watch for enemy activity and then strike targets as they present themselves.

"Before the war, the Predator had skeptics because it did not fit the old ways," he said. "Now it is clear the military does not have enough unmanned vehicles."

UAVs will take on greater importance on land, air and sea, Bush said, as will precision munitions.

Even before Sept. 11, Bush and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld urged transforming the military.

"What's different today is this sense of urgency: The need to build this future force while fighting this present war," Bush said. "It's like overhauling a car engine while you're going at 80 miles an hour. Yet we have no other choice. Our military has a new and essential mission. For states that support terror, it's not enough that the consequences are costly, they must be devastating."

The bedrock of the future force is good people, Bush said. The military must offer good pay and good living conditions, he noted.

"Our military culture must reward new thinking, innovation and experimentation," he said. "Congress must give defense leaders the freedom to innovate instead of micromanaging the Defense Department. Every service and every constituency of the military must be willing to sacrifice some of their own pet projects. Our war on terror cannot be used to justify obsolete bases, obsolete programs or obsolete weapons systems.

"Every dollar of defense spending must meet a single test: It must help us build the decisive power we will need to win the wars of the future."

Related Site of Interest:

  • President Speaks on War Effort to Citadel Cadets: Remarks by the President at the Citadel, Charleston, S.C., Dec. 11, 2001.

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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).