2003 CPEO Military List Archive

From: CPEO Moderator <cpeo@cpeo.org>
Date: 16 Apr 2003 20:43:58 -0000
Reply: cpeo-military
Subject: [CPEO-MEF] Wide change proposed in U.S. military
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Wide change proposed in U.S. military
Rumsfeld submits plan to Congress
By Michael Kilian
Washington Bureau
Published April 15, 2003

WASHINGTON -- Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld on Monday submitted to
Congress a sweeping proposal for changing the U.S. military that would
rewrite Pentagon retirement and retention rules and abolish practices
that have governed the military for generations.

The 204-page document also would expand the secretary's authority to
eliminate reports to Congress and waive rules that interfere with
military readiness.

The package of changes, titled the "Defense Transformation for the 21st
Century Act," would raise the retirement age for senior officers, push
some military jobs into the private sector and exempt the Defense
Department from environmental laws the secretary considers an impediment
to readiness.

Rumsfeld appeared to be taking advantage of the success of the Iraq war
to push changes that have been fiercely resisted by Pentagon brass and
their allies in Congress.

Rumsfeld has argued for restructuring the U.S. military to make it
lighter and more flexible. He contends the military still is configured
for fighting a major conflict in Europe against the defunct Soviet Union
rather than for the more rapid and long-range kind of warfare the U.S.
has been waging in Iraq.

As he said last month at a Defense Department town meeting, "The attacks
of Sept. 11 make transforming the department even more urgent," because
the military is not designed "to fight the shadowy terrorists and
terrorist networks that operate with the support and assistance of
terrorist states."

Rumsfeld submitted his plan at a time when the Pentagon high command is
busy with the Iraq war and Congress is out of town for a two-week spring

Spokesmen for the Senate and the House Armed Services Committees said
there would be no official response to the document until it had been
studied. Rumsfeld asked that the legislative package be adopted as part
of this year's defense authorization bill.

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