DOD strategy would take planning from regional commands

The Pentagon intends to shift to a more centralized "global force management" model so it could quickly expand available troops anywhere in the world, according to the department's new National Defense Strategy released March 18.

The plan calls for deploying U.S. military forces from a global perspective rather than a regional one.

"Under this concept, Combatant Commanders no longer 'own' forces in their theaters," the strategy said. "Forces are allocated to them as needed ? sourced from anywhere in the world. This allows for greater flexibility to meet rapidly changing operational circumstances."

The Pentagon released the defense strategy, as well as the National Military Strategy, to guide U.S. efforts to protect the nation against terrorism, war, weapons of mass destruction and other threats.

The 25-page defense strategy document is to serve as a base for next year's sweeping Quadrennial Defense Review, which is the department's chief risk assessment update performed every four years. The military strategy is updated every two years.

The strategy focuses on active, layered defense as well as prevention of and preparedness for surprise attacks.

"Allowing opponents to strike first, particularly in an era of proliferation, is unacceptable," the report said. "The United States must defeat the most dangerous challenges early and at a safe distance before they are allowed to mature."

Revamping technology and business processes also are needed to meet the challenges, the document stated.

"Transformational change is not limited to operational forces. We also want to change longstanding businesses processes within the department to take advantage of information technology," the Pentagon said.

"Since 9/11, the department has updated its strategic thinking, incorporating lessons learned from Iraq, Afghanistan and other operations," said Douglas Feith, undersecretary of defense for policy, in a news release. "We now have a strategy that positions us better to handle strategic uncertainty, recognizes the value of measures to resolve problems before they become crises, and crises before they become wars, and emphasizes the importance of building partnership capacity to address security problems."

About the Author

Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.

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