- The Washington Times - Sunday, November 4, 2001

As they say on military fitness reports, President Bush has performed in an outstanding manner in preparing the

country for World War III.

His team should mobilize not just the military, but the entire country. Currently, each time a new initiative is announced to combat domestic terrorism or engage in military operations, the media and others ponder the significance of the action through the prism of, "Does this panic Americans on the domestic side, or alarm coalition partners internationally?" Both considerations are real, but can ultimately be rendered trivial.

Concerns of domestic panic over chemical, biological or nuclear terrorism or the potential for an international holy war with a billion follows of Islam can be addressed by a national broad-based mobilization effort.

It is simple. All prudent measures should be put on the table immediately. That being the case, each incremental initiative would not be overanalyzed for its meaning. Internationally, our allies will see dedicated seriousness, and our enemies will see the growth of military forces that will not stop until the job is done.

On the domestic side,Tom Ridge, director of the Office of Homeland Security, is uniquely positioned to pull together all the analytical modeling efforts from each federal department and agency. For example:

• The Energy Department can provide insights into petroleum disruptions.

• The Transportation Department and the Federal Emergency Management Agency can war-game infrastructure attacks.

• The Labor Department can predict the availability of critical occupations.

• The Commerce Department can analyze our dependency on foreign goods and materials.

• The Agriculture Department can report on food safety and reserves.

• The Treasury can summarize economic impacts on capital markets.

• Defense can review the strength of our domestic industrial base.

• Other pertinent departments and agencies would be involved also.

Pulling together all the analytical efforts inside branches of the executive branch will provide Mr. Ridge with broad-based insights. With fine-tuning and hard work, the biggest possible picture will be brought into focus.

In Washington, information is power. Mr. Ridge's integration of all elements of executive branch analysis, planning and requirements will take a giant step to achieving the power he needs to do his job. One element of homeland protection would be recommending mobilization initiatives.

For example, in view of the anthrax attack HHS should be up to speed on combating bioterrorism. It is to be hoped that learned scientists and doctors should have been asked by now simply how much of various medications and vaccinations are necessary to protect all Americans from all forms of biological attack.

Following the Nike model of "just do it," Mr. Ridge, backed up by solid analysis could recommend putting all pharmaceutical manufactures on full-scale round-the-clock production for whatever is needed. Do this now, before the next attack, and Americans will not panic.

On the defense and foreign policy side it is equally simple. Double the military, and double again if need be. The potential does exist for truly a global conflict. Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Syria and Somalia are behind state-sponsored terrorism. Terrorists are threatening Israel and the Philippines. North Korea can invade the south, and China can move militarily on Taiwan. Rather quickly, Mr. Rumsfeld could be seeing American forces engaged in conflicts around the world. The potential may be low right now, but why take a chance?

Consider building more B-2's, making the F-22, JSF, and Osprey operational ASAP, and increasing F/A-18 production runs. Increase the size of the Army and Marine Corps. Inspect "mothballed" ships. Mobilize the industrial base for munitions production, and if shortfalls occur, which they will, find out now. Money may be eventually be seen as the least important consideration. Time is everything and should not be squandered.

Finally, most importantly, energize our labs and defense industries to go full speed ahead on a Ballistic Missile Defense Program, because China is still proliferating missile technology to rogue nations that we may go to war with.

An across-the-board mobilization of America will not be seen as provocative, but rather prudent. Hopefully, none of the above measures will ultimately be needed, but what if they are and are not available? That would be tragic.

Edward T. Timperlake served as principal director of mobilization planning and requirements in the office of the defense secretary in the Reagan administration. He and William C. Triplett II are co-authors of "Red Dragon Rising," Regnery, 1999.


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