29 November 1997

Date: Sat, 29 Nov 1997 10:14:28 -0500
To: TERRORISM@mediccom.org
From: "Malcolm R.Innerarity" <m.innera@pcps.edu>

Defense experts say Pentagon needs to change focus

Copyright (C) 1997 Nando.net
Copyright (C) 1997 The Associated Press 

WASHINGTON (November 28, 1997 3:47 p.m. EST) -- After decades 
of gearing defense planning toward the threat of large-scale
war abroad, the Pentagon should focus more on the risk of 
biological or other unconventional attacks on America 
itself, a congressionally chartered panel has concluded.

Using the phrase "defense of the homeland" to capture its 
idea, the National Defense Panel will recommend to Defense 
Secretary William Cohen and Congress that greater attention 
be paid to emerging threats such as a hit-and-run attack on 
an American city with toxins.

That mission is going to become more important as more 
nations hostile to U.S. interests acquire weapons of mass 
destruction and the means to deliver them, a panel member 
said Friday, speaking on condition he not be identified.

The panel's report, which has been in the works since Cohen 
appointed the members last February, will be made public on 
Monday. Cohen already has seen a final draft of the report, 
officials said.

Among the report's other conclusions:

--The Defense Department needs a "transformation strategy" for 
the 21st century -- a blueprint for further adapting U.S. forces 
from the Cold War era to the security threats that are likely 
to face America and its allies 20 years from now.

--It should devote $5 billion to $10 billion a year to 
developing that strategy through experimentation with new 
weapons and warfighting concepts. This would provide the 
nation with a "hedge" against unforeseen changes in global 

--The Army National Guard's role should be refocused. One 
possibility would be to develop an expertise in responding 
to domestic crises such as limited attacks with chemical 
or biological weapons. This implies reducing the size of 
the Guard, a move favored by the Pentagon but strongly 
opposed by many in Congress.

--Cohen was right in calling earlier this month for two 
additional rounds of military base closings. But instead 
of making those closure decisions in 2001 and 2005, as 
recommended by Cohen, they should be accelerated. Also, 
the military services should find ways to share the use 
of bases.

--For the moment the Pentagon is right to structure its 
forces for the possibility of having to fight two major 
regional wars at the same time -- most likely in the 
Persian Gulf and on the Korean peninsula. But the panel 
describes this as a "low-probability scenario" which soon 
will be outdated. Scrapping the two-war scenario would 
imply reducing the overall size of the U.S. military, 
although the panel does not recommend any specific 
troop-cut number.

The National Defense Panel was created by Congress last 
year at the same time it instructed the Pentagon to make 
a top-to-bottom review of defense programs through 2005. 
The panel was designed to provide an alternative view of 
the Pentagon's internal study -- and to take a 
longer-range look at defense needs.

Four of the panel's nine members are retired generals and 
admirals; the five others are civilian defense experts. The 
chairman is Philip A. Odeen, president and chief executive 
officer of the defense consulting firm BDM International.

As part of its emphasis on "homeland defense," the panel 
said the Clinton administration was right to put off for 
now a decision on when and whether to deploy a national 
missile defense system capable of shooting down ballistic 

The panel concluded that the Pentagon should put itself 
in position to deploy an anti-missile defense over the 
United States "once we get a better idea what the threats 
are," a panel member said Friday.

The panel did not predict any specific attacks on the United 
States but stressed that limited attacks by smaller nations 
or transnational groups are likely to be a growing threat in 
the 21st century. This is an example of what the panel calls 
"asymmetric warfare" -- attacks using unconventional means 
by foes who target U.S. vulnerabilities rather than try to 
match up against its strengths.

By ROBERT BURNS, The Associated Press


No. 218-M


November 21, 1997

The National Defense Panel has announced it will hold a press conference at the National Press Club, Thirteenth Floor, 529 14th Street NW, Washington, D.C., at 9:30 a.m. on Monday, December 1st, to discuss their report, "Transforming Defense - National Security in the 21st Century."

The Panel was mandated by Congress to conduct an independent assessment of 21st century security challenges and to explore innovative and forward-thinking ways to meet them. Its report, a copy of which is due to the Secretary of Defense on December 1st, reviews a range of potential 2020 challenges, identifies the implications for future military capabilities, and describes a commensurate transformation strategy.

The National Defense Panel, composed of nine distinguished civilian and military experts on national security, is chaired by Mr. Philip Odeen.

For further information visit the Panel's web site at www.dtic.mil/ndp or contact Paul Hanley at the National Defense Panel, (703) 602-4175, Ext. 108.