Rumsfeld sees role for commercial IT at DOD

Rumsfeld sees role for commercial IT at DOD


Defense Secretary-designee Donald H. Rumsfeld emphasized the importance of information technology to the nation's security at his confirmation hearing this month.

One day earlier, outgoing Secretary William S. Cohen had reiterated that the nation must be prepared for cyberwarfare.

As the United States continues to develop tools to fend off conventional weapons, the 21st century military must prepare for new threats to information systems, Rumsfeld told the Senate Armed Services Committee.

'The American people, our forces abroad and our friends and allies must be protected against the threats with which modern technology and its proliferation confront us,' he said.

President George W. Bush in December nominated Rumsfeld as Defense secretary.

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size="2" color="#FF0000">President Bush meets with former DOD secretary William Cohen at a Pentagon briefing.

Rumsfeld served as Defense secretary from 1975 to 1977, but the military has seen dramatic technological growth since the Ford administration.

Now, 10 years after the Gulf War showcased U.S. military technology, the Bush administration faces 'the challenge of bringing the American military successfully into the 21st century so that it can continue to play its truly vital role in preserving and extending peace as far into the future as is possible,' Rumsfeld said.

Rumsfeld pledged to implement Bush's goals for modernizing the armed forces.

He said he would order a comprehensive review of U.S. defense policy, in addition to the regular Quadrennial Defense Review.

Rumsfeld's objectives include:

' Ensuring the readiness and sustainability of deployed forces.

That means to 'inspire the best and brightest to join and stay,' Rumsfeld said.

' Modernizing U.S. command, control, communications, intelligence and space capabilities. These capabilities are 'the foundation upon which U.S. military power is employed,' he said.

' Speeding R&D and acquisition. 'The transformation of U.S. military power to take full advantage of commercially created information technology may require undertaking near-term investment to acquire modern capabilities derived from U.S. scientific and industrial pre-eminence, rather than simply upgrading some existing systems,' Rumsfeld said.

The weapons system acquisition cycle from concept to initial operation generally runs more than eight years, which is unacceptable, he said.

Cohen also noted the importance of new technology to the nation's defense.

The Bush administration will likely face threats of terrorism and weapons of mass destruction, such as the recent bombing of the destroyer USS Cole in Aden, Yemen, that killed 17 sailors and wounded 39, Cohen told a National Press Club audience in Washington. But improved intelligence systems could help safeguard American targets against relatively low-tech weapons.

Cohen and Army Gen. Henry Shelton, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, briefed Bush and his national security team at the Pentagon this month on military policies, readiness and areas of concern.

'There are a number of nations who now have dedicated professional cells who are honing their skills in terms of trying to be in a position to shut down our transportation systems, our energy systems, our financial systems, our banking systems and our communications systems,' Cohen said.

Rumsfeld, Vice President Dick Cheney, Secretary of State-designee Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice, Bush's designated national security adviser, attended the Pentagon briefing with Bush.

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