- The Washington Times - Friday, August 2, 2002

Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld has ordered his top special-operations general to accelerate covert missions in the war on terrorism because he is impatient with the pace at which al Qaeda terrorists are captured or killed, The Washington Times has learned.
Administration officials say Gen. Charles R. Holland, who leads U.S. Special Operations Command, has completed an initial war plan referred to inside the Bush administration as "the first 30 percent."
The highly classified plan calls for new types of clandestine operations that could be initiated against terrorist targets at a moment's notice, outside restrictions of traditional law enforcement.
Gen. Holland's draft is circulating inside the Pentagon. He was scheduled to brief Mr. Rumsfeld soon, perhaps as early as today.
Gen. Holland's command will also gain new responsibilities in the global war, although regional combatant commanders, such as Gen. Tommy Franks, head of U.S. Central Command, will retain overall control of their area of responsibility.
Some officials inside the administration view Mr. Rumsfeld's moves as somewhat of a rebuke to Gen. Franks, who is running the war in the Afghanistan-Pakistan theater.
Three administration sources said Mr. Rumsfeld is not happy at the rate at which al Qaeda and Taliban fighters are being found and eliminated in Gen. Franks' theater. Some of Mr. Rumsfeld's senior advisers view the four-star Army general as too cautious.
One source said Gen. Holland will have a bigger say in which type of special-operations missions are run in Afghanistan.
In recent weeks, Mr. Rumsfeld asked Gen. Holland and other senior military officials to devise a new plan for attacking terrorist cells around the world, primarily using covert warriors. The "30 percent" plan is so named because it reflects about one-third of the total plan Gen. Holland is now developing.
Mr. Rumsfeld is giving Special Operations Command new powers to organize specific missions. The Pentagon designates its combatant commands as either "supported," such as Central Command, or "supporting," such as Special Operations Command. These two key words describe the general relationship between combatant commanders.
Sources said Special Operations Command will now be a "supported command" in some circumstances.
Sources said Mr. Rumsfeld has not always been happy with Gen. Franks' planning in Afghanistan or for a possible war against Iraq. Still, Gen. Franks has important supporters inside the administration, including Secretary of State Colin L. Powell, a former Army general and Joint Chiefs chairman. President Bush is described as especially fond of the fellow Texan.
Mr. Rumsfeld publicly supports Gen. Franks and says the 9-month-old Afghanistan mission is on track but still open-ended.
Officials familiar with the "30 percent plan" say Mr. Rumsfeld wants ideas on how to expand the use of special-operations forces, including elite Army Delta Force commandos and Navy SEALs.
Mr. Rumsfeld, one of the Bush Cabinet's most hawkish members, wants these covert warriors to capture or kill terrorists outside civilian law enforcement, where operations can take months to win approval.
"Rumsfeld wants to stay as far away from law enforcement as possible," said one source, who adds that, as is usual for the defense secretary, he wants "new thinking."
The defense secretary seeks a new operating plan whereby special-operations forces can be deployed extremely rapidly against a terrorist target. He wants Gen. Holland to design different types of operations, perhaps with new tactics, to disrupt or destroy terrorist cells, officials told The Times.
Whatever final plan Mr. Rumsfeld approves must be approved by Mr. Bush. The president is said to share the defense secretary's thinking on the need to eliminate al Qaeda members at a faster rate.
Gen. Holland in October 2000 assumed command of Special Operations Command at McDill Air Force Base in Florida.
The general, who oversees all the branches' covert warriors, has flown more than 100 combat missions, including 79 in the AC-130 during the Vietnam War.
The AC-130, armed with two cannons, has played a major role in Afghanistan, backing ground troops on night operations.
Mr. Rumsfeld is already relying heavily on special-operations troops in the global war declared by Mr. Bush after al Qaeda terrorists flew hijacked jetliners into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on September 11, killing more than 3,000 people.
Commandos are training anti-terror units in the Philippines, Yemen and Georgia. In Afghanistan, they turned the tide of battle by organizing anti-Taliban forces and pointing out targets for strike pilots.
Now, Delta Force and SEALs, part of a special Task Force 11, are hunting down senior al Qaeda and Taliban leaders in Afghanistan and neighboring Pakistan.

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