- The Washington Times - Monday, February 6, 2006

The Pentagon yesterday issued its first comprehensive strategy for defeating Islamic terrorists, saying it has embarked on a war plan to deny extremists the resources they need to operate and survive.

“Once we deny them what they need to survive, we will have won,” declares the 40-page strategy from Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and Marine Gen. Peter Pace, Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman. “In the meantime, we must deny them what they need to operate.”

The National Military Strategic Plan for the War on Terrorism is the latest blueprint that shows how the fight against al Qaeda is consuming more of the Pentagon’s thinking and resources since the September 11, 2001, attacks on the United States.

Some of the themes first surfaced in the National Military Strategy released in March. On Friday, the Pentagon released the Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR). It charted the overall course the military will follow in the next four years to fight a “long war” against terrorists. It calls for new intelligence technology and more special operations forces to hunt down al Qaeda operators under a slogan of “find, fix and finish.”

Also yesterday, the Pentagon asked Congress to approve $439 billion in arms spending for fiscal 2007, which begins Oct. 1. The proposal would fund conventional arms such as the Air Force’s F-22 Raptor stealth fighter, but also earmark money for the long war, such as 4,000 additional commandos, and more unmanned air vehicles that have been used to track and assassinate terrorists. Not included is an expected $70 billion 2006 supplemental appropriation for wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. It will bring total war emergency spending in 2006 to $120 billion, counting $50 billion Congress already has inserted into the Pentagon budget.

The new strategy is meant to be a guidepost for four-star combatant commanders in Europe, the Middle East, Latin America, the Pacific and the United States when they plan counterterror operations.

The strategy paper says that a terror network contains nine components: leadership, safe havens, finance, communications, movement, intelligence, weapons, personnel and an ideology.

To deny terror cells the ability to operate these components, military commands must be able to “contribute to the establishment and maintenance of a global environment inhospitable to violent extremists and all who support them.” They also must be ready to “attack and disrupt terrorist networks abroad so as to cause the enemies to be incapable or unwilling to attack the U.S.”

The military can help governments defeat extremist ideology by promoting a secure environment in which moderate voices are free to express opinions. It also can provide humanitarian assistance and direct contacts between U.S. military personnel and foreign service members.

“The conduct of military operations should avoid undercutting the credibility and legitimacy of moderate authorities opposed to the extremists,” the paper says.

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