- The Washington Times - Sunday, March 23, 2003

Military officials disclosed key elements of the Pentagon's 21st-century warfare strategy: flexible plans and strikes combined with attacks to produce specific effects.
Army Gen. Tommy Franks, the top warfare commander, told reporters yesterday near his headquarters in Qatar that the war strategy is unprecedented.
"Let me begin by saying this will be a campaign unlike any other in history a campaign characterized by shock, by surprise, by flexibility, by the employment of precise munitions on a scale never before seen and by the application of overwhelming force," Gen. Franks said in his first public appearance since the war began Wednesday.
The new strategy is a reflection of efforts by Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and his top aides to transform military strategy to better adapt to modern conditions.
The first diversion from the war plan occurred Tuesday night with the unplanned attack on an Iraqi leadership compound where Saddam Hussein was known to have been staying.
Also, unlike past conflicts, which began with major air strikes, Operation Iraqi Freedom, as the Pentagon calls the action, began with ground forces driving into southern Iraq after Iraqi forces began setting oil wells on fire.
Gen. Franks said the war plan called for sending forces "across the breadth and depth of Iraq, in some cases simultaneously and in some cases sequentially."
Another difference from past conflicts is the extensive use of special-operations forces, Gen. Franks said.
Commandos are being used to support conventional military troops and were dropped into enemy territory for attacks, and to secure bridges, crossing sites, and oil and gas installations, he said.
Air power is used to support ground forces in traditional ways, but in a new function, ground troops are used to push enemy troops into positions to be attacked by aircraft.
Naval forces support air forces, ground operations and special operations with aircraft, cruise missiles and mine-clearing techniques.
"That plan gives commanders at all levels, and it gives me, latitude to build the mosaic I just described in a way that provides flexibility so that we can attack the enemy on our terms, and we are doing so," Gen. Franks said.
The war began with special forces, then conventional ground forces followed by pinpoint bombing and missile attacks.
"That sequence was based on our intelligence reads, how we see the enemy, and on our sense of the capabilities of our own forces," Gen. Franks said.
The flexibility also allows hitting what the four-star general called "emerging targets," targets that crop up unexpectedly as a result of intelligence .
At the Pentagon, Army Maj. Gen. Stanley McChrystal, vice director of operations for the Joint Chiefs of Staff, described the new strategy as "effects-based" warfare.
"We are running an effects-based campaign that is partially kinetic, partially nonkinetic, partially information operations," said Gen. McChrystal at a Pentagon briefing.
The effectiveness of a particular bomb or missile attack is judged "not just whether there is a hole in the room of a building, but whether or not the function that that element did before ceases to be effective," he said.
Gen. McChrystal said the "shock and awe" concept being employed is not simply massive attacks.
"Some people, I think, misinterpreted shock and awe for a wave of fire and huge destruction," the general said. "In fact, in an effects-based campaign, as this was, we can achieve much shock and awe by hitting just critical points.
"The key to having a very effective effects-based campaign is to be flexible, i.e., not to have a program over day after day that you hit automatically," Gen. McChrystal said.
Special forces are involved in many nonlethal aspects of the battle, using information and working with coalition allies for various goals.
"And a small force has a disproportionate effect on the battlefield, and that's what we're having right now," he said.

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