- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 30, 2001

The military services will recommend no significant cuts in their force structures to Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, and instead will propose reorganizing troops or procurement delays to save money, Pentagon officials say.
The leaders of the Air Force, Army, Navy and Marine Corps have been working furiously over the past two weeks to respond to Mr. Rumsfeld's five-year Defense Planning Guidance (DPG) beginning in 2003.
The Navy brass went on a two-day budget retreat last week to Camp LeJeune, a Marine Corps base in North Carolina. Navy Secretary Gordon England and his top brass brainstormed ways to protect the service's 12 aircraft carriers but still create sufficient savings to buy new weapons and shore up combat readiness.
Navy sources said leaders decided to create savings through business efficiencies and likely would delay procurement of the new DD-21 destroyer. The sources said the Pentagon also wants the Navy to delay, by one year, procurement of a replacement aircraft carrier.
An initial DPG drafted by the defense secretary's staff called for significant force structure cuts: two Army divisions, an Air Force reserve air wing and two Navy carrier battle groups.
But at an Aug. 4 meeting with Mr. Rumsfeld, service leaders vehemently protested, saying the demanded cuts came without a reciprocal reduction in worldwide commitments for a force already stretched thin.
The military won the argument. The revised DPG does not lay down cuts in battle-ready units.
"What maintains peace and stability is a Navy that is forward-deployed," said a Navy source. "You have to educate ."
Instead, the planning guidance outlines Mr. Rumsfeld's priorities: to transform, reduce the deployment stress on troops, replace aging equipment, conduct research into advanced systems and repair dilapidated buildings and housing.
These come amid lower federal revenue projections that make large defense increases unlikely in the next few years.
"Those are the things he wants them to accomplish," Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz said in an interview with The Washington Times. "And they're going to have to come back to him and say how they're going to do it. It's going to have to involve cutting some things."
Asked where the cuts should fall, Mr. Wolfowitz said, "That's what we're waiting to hear them say. … We know what we want done. It's their job to tell us how to do it."
The Army, already on a path to lighten heavy brigades, will propose keeping its active strength of 480,000 soldiers but reorganizing them to better match a new military strategy.
The Army is not, sources say, offering up the Crusader self-propelled artillery piece for termination. Some Rumsfeld aides want it killed.
The services are hoping their alternative approach will convince Mr. Rumsfeld to spare their valued force structures and coveted weapons systems, such as the Air Force's F-22 stealth fighter and the tri-service Joint Strike Fighter.
The services' responses to the DPG are major steps in a sometimes-contentious Pentagon process to develop two documents: the congressionally mandated Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR) due Sept. 30, and the fiscal 2003 budget due to Congress early next year.
Indications are growing that the QDR may be a limited document. It will spell out a new force-sizing requirement of being able to win one war decisively, while repelling and defeating aggression in another part of the world.
But a better window into how the Bush military will look, Pentagon officials say, will be the 2003 plan.
Mr. Wolfowitz said that while a new military strategy will be completed by Sept. 30, "I also think we'll be refining it beyond Sept. 30." He said decisions on whether to keep, cut or cancel major tactical aircraft programs will be included in the 2003 budget, not the QDR. The last QDR , submitted in 1997, addressed such issues.
"We've got to make very hard decisions," said Mr. Wolfowitz, adding that the aircraft fates should be decided by December.
The deputy secretary distanced himself from repeated use of the word "transformation" to describe how the Bush team wanted to change the 1.37 million active-duty force.
"It leaves some people to think that we expect two years from now to have an entirely different military," he said.
"We'd be crazy if we were in that rapid or that massive a change. I'd say it's more nearly 10 years from now I would hope that 10 or 15 percent of the military would look quite different from anything we've seen before."
He said the military for the foreseeable future will require the basic combat building blocks.
"At some point, if you're in a conflict, it's going to get back to a lot of what we already do today," he said. "You're going to need divisions. You're going to need air wings of a somewhat conventional sort and you can't be flying airplanes that are already getting up pretty old in average age. At some point, you've got to replace your car. At some point, you have to replace your airplanes. In a way, the ideal balance would probably be 15 percent that's highly modern and maybe 85 percent that's the Chevrolet of the present. … A good, reliable, low-end system."
Asked about President Bush's remark last week that some planned systems won't be funded, Mr. Wolfowitz said, "Obviously, what the president is saying is we can't afford it all, so you guys are going to have to make some hard decisions."


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