01
Feb
10

Pentagon shifts its strategy

The Pentagon will no longer shape the U.S. military to fight two major conventional wars at once, but rather prepare for numerous conflicts and not all in the same style, according to a draft of a new strategic outlook the Pentagon is announcing on Monday.

The new mantra for military planners will replace the almost 25-year-old combat planning style of fighting and winning two major conventional wars in two different locations in favor of a fighting force that is capable of protecting U.S. interests around the world from a range of threats, from terrorism to cyber attacks.

The change will be addressed in the 2010 Quadrennial Defense Review, a congressionally mandated document that looks at future threats and the military’s requirements to mitigate them.

“It is no longer appropriate to speak of major regional conflicts as the sole or even primary template for sizing, shaping or evaluating U.S. forces,” according to a draft first obtained by Inside Defense.

The review will come on the same day the Pentagon presents its 2011 budget.

According to Pentagon officials, Defense Secretary Robert Gateswill be asking for $708 billion, including funding for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan — $44 billion more the 2010 budget of $664 billion.

The last major review was released in 2006 and the Pentagon’s view of the world has changed dramatically in the four years since.

The 2006 review was heavily focused on the threat of a large-scale conventional war with China and that country’s saber rattling over Taiwan. It also stressed the need for more of and a greater role for special forces troops for use in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The 2010 review still stresses the threats from China, but will look at the need to defend against a growing threat of cyber attacks — without directly tying China to past cyber attacks, according to Pentagon officials — and China’s focus on preemptively striking and crippling an adversary’s ability to tell what it will do next ahead of a large attack.

“Prudence demands that future conflicts could involve kinetic and non-kinetic (use of explosive weapons and laser weapons) attacks on space-based surveillance and communications,” according to the draft.

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The review will put heavy stress on quenching the insatiable need for more unmanned aerial vehicles, including Predator and Reaper, the Air Force’s premier UAV’s used by the military for both reconnaissance and air strikes. The aircraft are used in Iraq, Afghanistan and over Pakistan and Gates has said the Pentagon needs more.

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