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14 May 2003

Rumsfeld Says Iraq War Illustrates the U.S. Military of the Future

(Congressional Report, May 14: Rumsfeld seeks $380 billion budget)
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By Merle D. Kellerhals, Jr.
Washington File Staff Writer


Washington -- U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld says the rapid
military operations over a three-week period in Iraq, coupled with the
defeat of the regime of Saddam Hussein, clearly illustrate how the
U.S. armed forces should work in the future.

"It seems likely the enemy was not able to mount a coherent defense
... in part because the coalition advance was so much faster than
anticipated," Rumsfeld said May 14 in testimony before the Senate
Appropriations Defense Subcommittee.

Rumsfeld was on Capitol Hill to support President Bush's request for a
$380 billion [$380,000 million] defense budget for fiscal year 2004,
which begins October 1. The budget proposal amounts to a 4.2 percent
increase over the current fiscal year's spending, which is part of a
four-year Pentagon budget plan that seeks to save $80 billion by 2009
by canceling or scaling back military programs that don't fit into a
long-term vision developed by Rumsfeld and his staff.

Rumsfeld wants the U.S. military to become a lighter, more mobile
military force that includes highly agile and highly lethal forces and
a worldwide reach. He acknowledged there are some risks to creating
such a force, but he said, "We've tried to balance those risks, and
it's not an easy thing to do."

Included in the budget request is an increase of $1.5 billion for U.S.
special operations forces. Rumsfeld said he wants to add more than
1,800 people to special operations because of the ability of those
forces to do what conventional military forces can't do. He said
operations in Iraq illustrated that ability. Special operations forces
infiltrated Iraq before the start of the war, followed by hundreds
more after hostilities began, seizing airfields, identifying high
value targets, and working to prevent Iraqi forces from firing
missiles at neighboring countries, he said.

(The Washington File is a product of the Bureau of International
Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site:
http://usinfo.state.gov)