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Volume III,  Number 44               December 7 - 13, 2003            Quezon City, Philippines

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US Reorganising Military Might for Service Anywhere in World

BY THE Press Trust of India

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In order to strike at terrorists or meet crises anywhere, the US military is reorganising itself, with small forces utilising to the full its high-tech weaponry and quick resolution of conflicts. US military commanders, working with the Pentagon's Joint Staff, have revised plans for potential wars on the Korean peninsula, in the West Asia, Southeast Asia, Europe, Africa and Latin America, based on the assumptions that conflicts could be fought more quickly and with fewer American troops than previously thought, the Washington Post reported.

The changes reflect advances in precision munitions, greater use of Special Operations Forces, and improved coordination between air, ground and sea forces tested in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

The scope of these plans may be gauged by the fact that according to conventional military thinking, the war against Iraq required half a million soldiers. The US did it with 130,000. In case of a North Korean attack on South Korea, where the US has 37,000 troops, the new plans would allow the US to respond without waiting for ground forces to arrive, by substituting air power for artillery and getting critical equipment like counter-battery radars for pinpointing enemy mortar and artillery fire ahead of the rest of their divisions, one senior Joint Staff officer told the Post. The resulting force might not be as "elegant" as planners would like but "it will certainly be capable," the officer said.

Iraq and Afghanistan, said General Pace, have shown that overwhelming force can be provided faster and with fewer individuals.

General Peter Pace, Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who heads a study that will help refine the Pentagon's war plans, said yesterday that a series of war-gaming exercises last year, starting with the old plans for Iraq and Korea and incorporating "about 84" scenarios, found that timelines for US victories could be shortened significantly. As it is not possible today to predict precisely the nature and origin of threats, more agile forces and more access to a larger number of locations abroad would be needed.

To achieve these goals, General Pace said, the Operational availability Group has recommended looking at building faster Navy cargo ships, providing more Air Force cargo planes and creating modular, interchangeable Army units that would blur the distinctions between heavy armoured divisions and light infantry divisions.

The Pentagon is designing a dramatically changed basing strategy, with a network of smaller outposts in Eastern Europe, Africa and elsewhere as an alternative to the large, permanent bases in Germany and South Korea set up during the Cold War, the Post reported.

Washington, November 18, 2003


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