- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 12, 2001

CHARLESTON, S.C. President Bush yesterday said defending America against "the enemies of the 21st century" requires a revamped, high-tech military, a streamlined intelligence-gathering community and an all-out effort to stem the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.
Addressing 2,000 cadets at The Citadel military college, Mr. Bush said the U.S.-led war against terrorism has offered a glimpse into the future.
"Afghanistan has been a proving ground for this new approach. These past two months have shown that an innovative doctrine and high-tech weaponry can shape and then dominate an unconventional conflict," he said to cheers from the gray-and-white-clad cadets.
The use of the unmanned Predator aerial vehicle for surveillance is one example of the future, the president said.
"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," Mr. Bush said, drawing a standing ovation.
A new focus on intelligence gathering has led to the sweeping victories in the war against Afghanistan's ruling Taliban and its terrorist ally al Qaeda, he said, adding that America has never before had such an opportunity to shape the future of the military.
"This combination real-time intelligence, local allied forces, special forces and precision air power has really never been used before. The conflict in Afghanistan has taught us more about the future of our military than a decade of blue-ribbon panels and think-tank symposiums."
The U.S. military post-September 11 "three months and a long time ago" should learn the lessons of World War II, Mr. Bush said. After Pearl Harbor, the armed forces swiftly transformed into a lethal machine using amphibious vehicles and strategic air power.
"To win this war, we have to think differently. America is required once again to change the way our military thinks and fights. And starting on Oct. 7, the enemy in Afghanistan got the first glimpses of a new American military that cannot and will not be evaded," Mr. Bush said to cheers.
But the president warned Congress, which soon will debate military spending, against "micromanaging the Defense Department," adding every service branch "must be willing to sacrifice some of their pet projects."
Still, Mr. Bush warned that balancing "the need to build this future force while fighting a present war [is] like overhauling an engine while you're going 80 miles an hour. Yet we have no other choice."
The "enemies of the 21st century" are unlike those the United States military faced in previous wars because many seek to develop and use weapons of mass destruction.
"I wish I could report to the American people that this threat does not exist, that our enemy is content with car bombs and box cutters, but I cannot," the president said.
To handle the new threat, Mr. Bush said National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice and Director of Homeland Security Tom Ridge will develop a comprehensive strategy on proliferation.
The president also said gathering intelligence which has been given short shrift since the Cold War with the former Soviet Union is once again of paramount importance.
"The United States must rebuild our network of human intelligence. Now, when we face this new war, we know how much we need them."

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