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Pentagon seeks an agile military

Report says ‘Cold War’ forces face new threats

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WASHINGTON — The Pentagon will revamp the Army, bolster the Pacific fleet and expand special operations as it seeks to combat new threats from nuclear-armed terrorists to emerging global powers, according to a 20-year plan released Friday.

The 2005 Quadrennial Defense Review will guide the military as it evolves from an industrial-age Cold War force to an information-age operation able to act quickly anywhere.

"We want to be able to reach out faster, reach out deeper and reach out with more impact," said Ryan Henry, the Pentagon's principal deputy undersecretary for policy and a chief architect of the plan.

The 100-page concept document mandated every four years by law will be followed on Monday by President Bush's anticipated $440 billion 2007 defense budget proposal. That calls for funding two types of new fighter jets, one costing $250 million each including research costs, new destroyers, more submarines and research on space-based weapons and combat computer networks. Many of the advanced weapons are designed to replace expensive personnel with less expensive technology.

The QDR calls for being able to fight two wars at once, which has been U.S. policy for decades, but it makes the war on terror the new focus for the military. The document opens with the declaration: "The United States is a nation engaged in what will be a long war."

In a speech Thursday, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld underscored the commitment.

"They (the terrorists) will either succeed in changing our way of life or we will succeed in changing theirs," he said.

The campaign against terrorism outlined in the QDR envisions a new breed of Special Forces warrior capable of rapid strikes and handling weapons of mass destruction as well as nation-building. The new special operators will train extensively in psychological operations, known as psyops, the art of winning over new allies through cultural engagement or confounding enemies with mind games.

The QDR also anticipates major events such as the rise of China, and seeks to discourage any potential arms race by quickly bolstering the Pacific fleet.

"We think China is a growing regional power and we want to partner with them to manage their gradual rise," Henry said.

The QDR calls for keeping at least six aircraft carriers in the Pacific along with 60 percent of the Navy's submarine fleet while also developing Navy capability in shallow and inland water.

The QDR doesn't call for eliminating any major programs, but it cuts in half the fleet of 50-year-old B-52 bombers, perhaps the most iconic weapon of the Cold War.

Lawmakers had little influence in writing the QDR, but they can use their budget authority to shape its implementation through weapons purchases and program funding.

Critics claim the technology-heavy QDR and budget together give short shrift to the basic necessity of putting boots on the ground for extended periods, especially as the Army sends some units back for third tours in Iraq. The QDR and budget are expected to either cut the size of the active-duty Army slightly, or keep it steady at roughly 500,000 troops rearranged into smaller, more agile units.

"Today's Army is severely stretched by deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan," said Missouri Rep. Ike Skelton, top Democrat on the Armed Services Committee. "While this approach appears to provide a solid framework for supporting our national security objectives, it will have no real meaning unless it can be matched with the necessary resources."

Some lawmakers have called for increasing the size of the Army by 30,000 to 100,000 troops.

A growing chorus of retired officers is also voicing concern over the balance between people and equipment.

"The priorities are just way out of balance," said retired Army Col. Dan Smith. "You don't go whole-hog to build these expensive systems if you already dominate the way we do."

Contact John Yaukey at jyaukey@gns.gannett.com

On the Web: www.defenselink.mil/qdr/, Quadrennial Defense Review