Pentagon to Stress Speed over Mass; Cites Afghan, Iraqi Experiences

Article excerpt


The Bush administration is nearing completion of a new defense posture that will shift troops and weapons overseas and emphasize rapid deployment over numbers of troops, tanks, ships and aircraft.

"In general, in capabilities, you can just basically look at the lessons learned out of Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom, that speed is more important than mass," a Bush administration official said, referring to the names for military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Four Bush administration officials from the Pentagon, State Department and White House National Security Council staff said talks are under way with foreign governments in Europe and Asia, including China, about the new basing and power-projection plans.

The officials briefed reporters at the Pentagon on the condition of anonymity.

"We need to be rapidly deployable in the capabilities that we have," one official said. "And that rapid deployability is not just in a particular asset, but it's in the whole architecture. It's from the command and control piece, to the major operating units, to the support pieces."

The officials provided no specifics on the plans to move troops and weapons.

However, other defense officials said major force structure changes will be made in Asia and Europe.

In Asia, additional submarines will be deployed at the Pacific island of Guam, where three attack submarines were moved recently. Up to three more attack submarines will be based in Guam to be better positioned to respond to a Chinese attack on Taiwan, officials said.

Also in Asia, the Navy is planning to move another aircraft carrier battle group farther west, probably to Hawaii, to be better positioned to deal with any conflict on the Korean Peninsula. …