Rumsfeld Visits Troops, Officials in Pacific Rim Countries
By Kathleen T. Rhem
American Forces Press Service
TAMUNING, Guam, Nov. 13, 2003 - The United States needs to shed
its Cold War-era force posture and position itself to fight modern
threats, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said today.
The secretary's remarks came midway through his 17-hour flight
from Washington to Guam, where he will visit U.S. military forces
on the island and meet with local officials before heading to Japan
and South Korea for talks with military and civilian leaders, as
well as troop visits in those countries.
"The U.S. has for several years now been very systematically
reviewing our arrangements in the world with various countries,
our force deployment and stationings, and have come to some preliminary
conclusions that we're now at a stage to begin discussing with
our allies and with the Congress," he told reporters traveling
Rumsfeld declined to share his "preliminary conclusions," but
explained hypothetically how such discussion might go.
"Illustratively, you might say theoretically it would be nice
to be able to have some access to the certain location, and there
may be three places where that might make sense," he explained. "You
would begin having preliminary discussions with those countries,
with neighboring countries, with Congress, and then, at some point,
you develop a little greater conviction and visibility as to what's
possible and what's desirable.
"And then," he continued, "at some point after those preliminary
discussions, you might come back with a recommendation."
The secretary said it might be several years before decisions
are made, approved by all parties and implemented. No decisions
are expected to be released during this week's visit.
"I wouldn't want to preview what might ultimately be decided,
because we're just not at that stage," he said.
Representatives from the United States and South Korea have been
discussing the shape of the U.S. footprint in that country for
about a year, a senior defense official said. Japan and the United
States have more recently begun discussing such issues.
A shift in thinking and posture is necessary because the threat
has shifted, Rumsfeld said. The day of static defensive positions
"We're moving worldwide from a static defense to a different
footprint - a footprint that recognizes that it's not possible
today to predict with precision where a threat may come from or
exactly what kind of a threat it might be," he said. "We can reasonably
well identify capabilities that are dangerous. And what the United
States and our friends and allies around the world have to be prepared
to do is, to the extent possible, deter and, if not, defend against
those kinds of capabilities that are increasingly available in
Defending against such threats requires more agility and access
to more far- flung areas of the world.
The continuing nuclear threat posed by North Korea is sure to
be a topic of discussion during Rumsfeld's visit to the region
as well. The secretary noted that President Bush has chosen a diplomatic
track to resolve the problem.