- The Washington Times - Monday, January 30, 2006

The Pentagon wants the services to create a “new breed of warrior” who can perform his own skill sets and take on the abilities of a special operation commando in fighting terrorists.

A draft of the Defense Department’s 2005 Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR) says these warriors will be “able to move more easily between disparate mission sets while preserving their depth of skill in primary specialties. Future warriors will be as proficient in irregular operations, including counterinsurgency and stabilization operations, as they are today in high-intensity combat.”

The move is an example of how the war to find and eliminate Islamic terrorists is permeating nearly every aspect of the Pentagon’s long-range planning.

Last year, the department announced that stability operations, commonly called “nation building,” would be a top priority for global combatant commanders, right alongside planning for war. Officials say such operations can bolster a country’s ability to resist al Qaeda, which tries to establish cells in unstable regimes.

The Pentagon also will become more involved in developing “medical countermeasures” in germ warfare under the strategy review, which continues the armed forces’ push to become lighter and more agile.

A $1.5 billion fund will be created to develop counters to “genetically engineered bio-agents,” says a draft of the QDR, due out next week. Mandated by Congress, the QDR is the department’s four-year look at what the 2 million active and reserve forces need to counter existing and future threats.

The plan is heavy on new ideas for finding and fighting terrorists, who often exploit ungoverned areas, such as Somalia or Pakistan’s tribal areas, to hide and plan.

The QDR said the services will develop new long-range unmanned aerial vehicles, which are used to spy on and strike at the enemy.

“The department will also increase procurement of unmanned aerial vehicles to increase persistent surveillance, nearly doubling today’s capacity,” the review says.

The military also plans to focus more on measures to prevent or quickly eliminate terror cells. “In many recent counter-terrorist operations, the time available to apprehend a terrorist, once located, has been measured in mere minutes,” the proposed QDR states.

In one vaguely worded sentence, Pentagon planners write of a problem in getting the proper “authorities” to act. Those delays “hindered the ability of U.S. forces to act swiftly. … The process to get appropriate authorities has often taken months to achieve.”

The QDR, as reported by The Washington Times in early December, will retain a requirement that the military be able to wage and win two wars nearly simultaneously. It also wants the armed forces to be able to conduct a prolonged battle, or “irregular operations,” against terrorists, as is being done in Afghanistan and Iraq.

The QDR calls this a “surge” capability to “conduct a large-scale, potentially long-duration irregular warfare campaign including counter-insurgency and security, stability, transition and reconstruction operations.”

To achieve this goal, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld will ask Congress to continue funding increases in special operations forces — the Green Berets, Navy SEALs and Delta Force commandos, who do much of the counterterror manhunting.

Mr. Rumsfeld, in one of his major decisions after the September 11, 2001, attacks, designated U.S. Special Operations Command as the global command in the war against terrorists, with authority to plan and execute war missions.

Special operations “will increase their capacity to perform more demanding and specialized tasks, especially long-duration, indirect and clandestine operations in politically sensitive environments and denied areas,” the QDR says.

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