Foreign Strategists Aid U.S. on Terror; Military Open to Wide Debate

Article excerpt

Byline: Sharon Behn, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

TAMPA, Fla. - Foreign military advisers at U.S. Central Command headquarters at MacDill Air Force Base are giving their frank views on the nation's counterterror strategy, and the military is so pleased that it has hired them.

It may be just U.S. lip service to organize coalitions more readily, but specialists from France, Germany and other countries are working with U.S. analysts to address emerging threats in the larger Middle East/Horn of Africa region.

"It's a wide debate," said French Col. Francois Chevant, acknowledging that the analysts don't always agree. But that's the whole point behind the decision to bring in the foreign experts to advise the U.S. military.

"We give this commander what he was asking for - a view through a different set of glasses," said German Col. Wolfgang E. Herbst, acting director of the Combined Planning Group.

The group is made up of top-level military strategists from 20 countries around the world. All have been screened and integrated into the U.S. military command structure, which is paying their salaries while they are on loan from their host militaries.

Their mandate is to help shape policy both for the military and administrators in Washington, meeting with both State Department the Department of Defense officials. …