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Rumsfeld presses for more agile military

Donald Rumsfeld outlines his defense goals Thursday.
Donald Rumsfeld outlines his defense goals Thursday.  

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The United States needs to revamp its military to become more agile and proactive to meet future threats, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said Thursday.

He outlined six defense goals, including anticipating threats to the United States on its soil, sustaining strength overseas, denying sanctuary to terrorists around the globe, protecting information networks from attack, using information technology to promote joint operations among various U.S. forces and protecting U.S. space capabilities from enemy attacks.

"The challenges of the new century aren't nearly as predictable as they were during the Cold War," Rumsfeld told an audience of students and others at Fort McNair. "Our challenge is to defend cities and infrastructure from new forms of attacks."

"A revolution in military affairs is about more than building new high-tech weapons, though that is certainly part of it. It's also about new ways of thinking, and new ways of fighting," he said.

Rumsfeld's comments came as President Bush prepared to submit to Congress next week the largest budget increase in defense spending in 20 years -- an increase of $48 billion for the fiscal year that starts October 1.

"Preparing for the future will require us to think differently and develop the kinds of forces and capabilities that can adapt quickly to new challenges and to unexpected circumstances," Rumsfeld said. He pointed to the success of the German blitzkrieg in World War II. "The Germans saw that the future of war lay not with massive armies and protracted trench warfare, but rather with its small, high quality, mobile shock forces, supported by air power, and coordinated with air power, capable of pulling off lightning strikes against the enemy," he said.

"Instead of maintaining two occupation forces, we will place greater emphasis on deterrence in four critical theaters, backed by the ability to swiftly defeat two aggressors at the same time, while preserving the option for one massive counteroffensive to occupy an aggressor's capital and replace the regime," he said.

Rumsfeld said the Afghan war pointed out the value of strong U.S. Special Forces, who fought alongside anti-Taliban forces on horseback in the assault on Mazar-e Sharif and called in airstrikes from updated B-52s to aid the attack.

And the need is greater than ever, Rumsfeld said, for various defense forces -- Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines -- to work together.




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