Rumsfeld guarda oltre l’Iraq

Rumsfeld (USA, Difesa) sarebbe più occupato nella revisione della pianificazione militare che nella gestione delle operazioni in Iraq, delegata ai comandanti sul campo.

· La prossima revisione quadriennale sarà presentata al Congresso ne 2006. Rumsfeld intende modificare l’acquisto di armi e l’organizzazione militare in funzione dei nuovi compiti: non conflitti convenzionali contro altre potenze, ma guerriglia e attacchi terroristici, anche con armi WMD.

· Necessità di aumentare l’agilità, meno necessità di grandi sistemi d’arma.

· Questa impostazione si scontra con gli interessi dei gruppi produttori di armamenti, che puntano sul proseguimento dei piani precedenti, e troverà oppositori in Congresso, legati a questi interessi.

Necessità che il Pentagono si presenti unito, altrimenti si bloccherà tutto. A favore dei cambiamenti saranno gli ufficiali formatisi in Iraq.

Rumsfeld’s Gaze Is Trained Beyond Iraq

Defense Chief Focuses on Reshaping Military

To Fight Unconventional Foes in Post-9/11 World



December 9, 2004; Page A4

WASHINGTON — Donald Rumsfeld’s decision to stay on as defense secretary seems to have a lot less to do with transforming Iraq than with transforming the Pentagon.

Mr. Rumsfeld’s public face remains largely associated with the Iraq war, and yesterday, the Pentagon chief found himself on the defensive as troops preparing to move into Iraq from Kuwait challenged him over the length of their tours and the lack of armor for their Humvees.

But inside the Defense Department, the secretary has generally delegated major decisions about Iraq to commanders on the ground. Instead, he seems more engaged in reshaping how the services fight and what weapons they buy for the next four years.

Key to that effort is a major review conducted every four years and scheduled to be delivered to Congress by early 2006. If successful, the review will drive the military away from an almost all-consuming focus on wars against conventional military forces toward a future in which it will be more prepared for guerrilla fights, like the war in Iraq, as well as catastrophic terrorist attacks using chemical, biological or nuclear weapons.

“The enemy is operating in smaller cells with every bit as lethal capabilities as we have, but they can turn on a dime,” Mr. Rumsfeld says in an interview. “We’ve got to find ways to be much swifter and more adept” at everything from attacking enemy fighters to spending money to build local security forces and reconstruction projects.

Congress requires the Pentagon chief to take a thorough look at the Defense Department every four years. In the past, these reviews haven’t produced big shifts in what the Pentagon buys or how it plots strategy. When the Bush administration began, there was hope that the most recent review — completed within days of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks — would drive major changes in Pentagon weapons spending. But the review didn’t produce a consensus around a new direction.

“You didn’t hear yelling and screaming from the services and industry because their ox was being gored,” said Andrew Krepinevich, executive director of the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, an influential Washington think tank that does consulting work for the Defense Department.

This time around, the outcome could be different. Mr. Rumsfeld had barely eight months under his belt when the last review was conducted. Today, he knows the Pentagon much better and has had an opportunity to promote generals he trusts.

At the same time, the soaring cost of personnel and the heavy use of equipment in Iraq and Afghanistan — which has caused weapons systems to wear out faster than anticipated — add up to a big budget crunch that will create pressure for change. In addition, the Pentagon’s struggles to tame a guerrilla insurgency in Iraq have spotlighted serious deficiencies in a military that was built to fight more-conventional wars.

At the core of the current review is a controversial effort to create a list of potential 21st-century real-world crises that the services must be prepared to address. Explicitly defining the possible problems the Pentagon faces will force the services to figure out which competing programs can best deal with the threats and which are anachronisms.

“If we are successful, we will have a top-down competitive planning process with winners and losers,” said one senior defense official involved in the review. “We need a new range of defense-planning scenarios that look radically different from the past scenarios we have used to build the force,” the official said.

Unlike past scenarios, which were oriented around conventional wars in places such as North Korea and Iraq, the new scenarios will force the military to prepare to fight messy counterinsurgency wars while simultaneously dealing with potentially catastrophic attacks by terrorists or rogue nations on the U.S. and allies using nuclear weapons.

Because some of the scenarios involve U.S. military action in countries considered U.S. allies, they have triggered diplomatic blowback. Some State Department officials worry that planning around possible crises like the takeover of a nuclear-armed ally, such as Pakistan, by Islamic extremists could alienate important friends in the war on terrorism. Pentagon officials counter that the scenarios spelled out and addressed in the defense review must be detailed if they are really going to force change. “The more the scenarios hit a nerve … the more I know I am onto something,” a defense official involved in the effort says.

The military services worry that new defense scenarios could lead to big cuts to their modernization programs, most of which were hatched well before the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Major weapons systems, such as aircraft carriers, fighter jets, artillery cannons and submarines are likely to be much less useful in unconventional wars.

Instead, the Pentagon will focus more on training indigenous military forces. Gen. John Abizaid, the top commander in the Middle East and Central Asia, has spoken recently about making these training missions a top priority for the Army. “It’s not fun, it’s not sexy, and the military doesn’t want to do it,” says one military officer, recently back from Iraq. But the officer says that raising the profile of these missions is necessary if the Army is going to become an effective counter-guerrilla force.

Amid such conflicting priorities and warring interests, Mr. Rumsfeld says he sees the quadrennial review as useful and “unifying the senior-level leadership in the department. … If the Defense Department goes out into the Congress and out into industry divided … we don’t go anywhere, because it is so easy in this town for someone to stop something.” In particular, he says that both Congress and the defense industry have vested interests in “keeping on doing what it is they are doing.”

Even if Mr. Rumsfeld can’t engineer change from above, a revolution from below is brewing. A generation of junior officers is “coming home from Iraq with a phenomenal amount of experience with these kinds of war. I wouldn’t trade that for the world,” said the senior defense official involved in the review.

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