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Our command and control systems have also improved. Today, US Army ground commanders have vastly improved capabilities for tracking the realtime locations of their tactical units. Our air operations have undergone an improved ability to track key enemy forces, friendly units and to obtain faster assessment of the effects of our attacks. The Joint Force Air Component Commander in Operation ENDURING FREEDOM repeatedly demonstrated the ability to re-task all aircraft while airborne and strike emerging targets quickly, in some cases in as little as two hours. Also, our Maritime Component Commanders can now plan a Tomahawk Land Attack Missile mission in a matter of a few hours, when a decade ago it required at least two days.
The Nation's ability to get to a crisis, with the right forces, to execute operations on our timeline, has improved over the past decade. With the strong support of the Congress, we invested in our deployment infrastructure and equipment to allow operational units to deploy faster and arrive better configured to fight. Since 1991, Congressional support of strategic power projection capabilities such as the C-17 aircraft, Large-Medium Speed Roll-On | Roll-Off (LMSR) ship program and both afloat and ground based, prepositioned combat unit sets, contribute significantly to our combat capability.
Additionally, we continue to work with the Nation's medical experts at the Health and Human Services Department to ensure every member of our armed forces will be fully prepared medically with immunizations against potential biological threats. This September, we resumed immunizations against anthrax for military personnel in select units.
These improvements allow our Nation's military to gather intelligence, plan operations, deploy, and execute combat missions much faster than 11 years ago. These improvements ensure that we have a faster decision cycle than ou opponent. These enhancements equate to flexibility and agility in combat, which directly translates into a superior force.
Equally dramatic has been our improvement in the combat power of our forces. In DESERT STORM, only 18 percent of our force had the ability to employ laser guided bombs (LGBs). Of the more than 200,000 bombs employed, only 4 percent were LGBs. Today, all of our fixed-wing combat aircraft have a range of precision attack capability. In addition, all of our bombers and 5 of our 7 primary air-to-ground fighter weapon systems have all-weather precision attack capability with the Joint Direct Attack Munition.
The results of these enhancements are measured in numerous ways. For example, on the first night of our combat operations in Afghanistan, we employed 38 fighter and bomber aircraft to attack 159 separate targets. All aircraft employed precision weapons. Had we relied on a DESERT STORM equipped force, we would have needed roughly 450 aircraft to gain the same level of destruction. In DESERT STORM, we could not have afforded this size
force against so few targets. So in 1991, we used selected precision weapons from F-111s, F-1178 and A-os on key targets that had to be destroyed. On the rest of the targets, we accepted a lower degree of damage. And, in 1991, our attacks required good weather between the aircraft and its target. In Afghanistan, weather was often not a major factor.
The combat power of our Army and Marine forces has improved as well. We have significantly improved the quality and quantity of Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS) with wide-area and GPS aided missiles. Our Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS) has significantly improved its fire rate. Our M-1 tanks continue to have the ability to identify and destroy an Iraqi T-72 tank at twice the range that it can identify and fire at our tanks. Our Bradley Fighting Vehicles, equipped with upgraded fire control systems, now have the ability to fire accurately while on the move. The addition of the LONGBOW to Apache helicopter units has given those forces the ability to destroy twice as many enemy vehicles in roughly half the time—with improved survivability. Finally, some of our soldiers and Marines now have the JAVELIN fire-and-forget antitank system that adds a dramatic new weapon to their fight.
Today, we have made similar improvements to virtually all aspects of our joint team. Through tough, realistic training, our Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen are a ready, capable fighting force. Individually, these improvements are significant. Combined, they reflect an improved joint warfighting team. We still have much to do in regards to fully transforming our forces for the 21st Century, but there should be no doubt that, if called upon, our Armed Forces will prevail in any conflict.
Our armed forces are capable of carrying out our defense strategy. We do have sufficient capability to conduct effective operations against Iraq while maintaining other aspects of the War on Terrorism, protecting the US homeland and keeping our commitments in other regions of the world. Our on-going operations require approximately 15 to 20 percent of our major combat units, such as carriers, fighter and bomber aircraft, and heavy and light Army divisions. The chart below reflects the major combat forces currently deployed to operations or committed overseas.
PREPARED TESTIMONY BY U.S. SECRETARY OF DEFENSE
DONALD H. RUMSFELD
SEPTEMBER 18, 2002
Mr. Chairman, members of the Committee. Thank you for the opportunity to meet with you today.
Last week, we commemorated the one-year anniversary of the most devastating attack our nation has ever experienced - more than 3,000 innocent people killed in a single day.
Today, I want to discuss the task of preventing even more devastating attacks attacks that could kill not thousands, but potentially tens of thousands of our fellow citizens.
As we meet, state sponsors of terror across the world are working to develop and acquire weapons of mass destruction. As we speak, chemists, biologists, and nuclear scientists are toiling in weapons labs and underground bunkers, working to give the world's most dangerous dictators weapons of unprecedented power and lethality.
The threat posed by those regimes is real. It is dangerous. And it is growing with each passing day. We cannot wish it away.
We have entered a new security environment, one that is dramatically different than the one we grew accustomed to over the past half-century. We have entered a world in which terrorist movements and terrorists states are developing the capacity to cause unprecedented destruction.
Today, our margin of error is notably different. In the 20th century, we were dealing, for the most part, with conventional weapons-weapons that could kill hundreds or thousands of people, generally combatants. In the 21s century, we are dealing with weapons of mass destruction that can kill potentially tens of thousands of people-innocent men, women and children.
Further, because of the nature of these new threats, we are in an age of little or no warning, when threats can emerge suddenly-at any place or time-to surprise us. Terrorist states have enormous appetite for these powerful weapons - and active programs to develop them. They are finding ways to gain access to these capabilities. This is not a possibility-it is a certainty. In word and deed, they have demonstrated a willingness to use those capabilities.
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the question facing us is this: what is the responsible course of action for our vanneyDo you believe it is our responsibility to wait for a nuclear, chemical or tasserfocal 9/11? Or is it the responsibility of free people to do something now- to take step to deal with the threat before we are attacked?
The President has made his position clear: the one thing that is not an option is doing nothing.
There are a nurbor of terrorist states pursuing weapons of mass destruction– Iran, Libya, North Korea, Syria, to name but a few. But no terrorist state poses a greater and more immediate threat to the security of our people, and the stability of the world, than the regime of Saddam Hussein in Iraq.
No living dictator has shown the murderous combination of intent and capability -of aggression against his neighbors; oppression of his own people; genocide; support of terrorism; pursuit of weapons of mass destruction; the use of weapons of mass destruction; and the most threatening hostility to its neighbors and to the United States, than Saddam Hussein and his regime.
Mr. Chairman, those facts about Saddam Hussein's regime should be part of this rocord and of our country's considerations:
Saddam Hussein has openly praised the attacks of September 11th.