General to Oversee Homeland Defense
Wednesday, Feb. 6, 2002
WASHINGTON - The Pentagon will unveil within days a new worldwide military command plan that contains a proposal for a new four-star general to oversee homeland defense, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff told the Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday.
The general will be responsible for the defense of North America, including Canada, and will coordinate military efforts toward disaster relief in the United States, Gen. Richard Myers said. The new appointee will also oversee the Joint Task Force for Civil Service Support, which provides immediate medical and rescue response to any chemical, biological or nuclear attack on the country.
Canada 'Fine' With Letting U.S. Defend It " We've started discussions with Canada about this, and they are fine with it, " Myers said.
The duties for the new regional commander-in-chief, to be known as " CINCNORTH, " will be contained in a new version of the unified command plan, which lays out the responsibilities for each of the soon-to-be 10 CINCs (pronounced sink.)
The position would be equivalent in power to the one occupied by Afghan war commander Gen. Tommy Franks. He is commander-in-chief of U.S. Central Command, with responsibility for most of the Middle East and Central Asia.
The general will be responsible for North American Aerospace Defense Command, a joint U.S.-Canada operation now under the purview of the commander-in-chief of U.S. Space Command.
CINCNORTH became a focal point of the command plan after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on New York City and the Pentagon, defense officials said.
The military's Quadrennial Defense Review earlier in the summer had already recommended the creation of a homeland defense command, but the simultaneous terrorist attack underscored the need to have a single person in charge of the military portion of homeland security.
The new CINC would be installed by Oct. 1, 2002, Myers said.
Last week, the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Peter Pace, said at a speech at the National Defense University that one of the details that remain to be worked out is where the new position will be based.
It will need to be near Washington, but not so close that if the capital is attacked again the command's operations would be ineffective. Myers joined Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld before the Armed Services Committee to defend the Pentagon's 2003 budget request of $379.6 billion.
The reception for the two men, roundly lauded for their command of the four-month war in Afghanistan, was overwhelmingly warm and seemed to indicate the budget would face little, if any, opposition.
The amount the Pentagon wants for 2003 is a staggering $48 billion more than it got for 2002, a reflection of the costs associated with the war, the need to replenish stores of expensive satellite-guided munitions, and general concerns about when the next al-Qaeda terrorist attack might occur.
One note of concern was sounded by several Democrats about the amorphous $10 billion war contingency fund built into the budget for undefined future operations.
Democrat: Don't Fight Axis of Evil Armed Services Committee Chairman Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., wanted assurances that the money would not be used to make war on any of the three " axis of evil " without congressional approval.
President Bush in his State of the Union speech identified North Korea, Iraq and Iran as countries that are under close watch by the United States for their sponsorship of terrorism. In North Korea's case, it is its willingness to sell weapons of mass destruction to any customer that worries the administration, Rumsfeld said.
He sidestepped Levin's question, demurring talking about future engagements as the role of the president.
At issue is the Sept. 14 resolution passed by Congress giving the president authority to attack Afghanistan to rout the Taliban and al- Qaeda. There is some fear that the approval might be broadly applied by the White House to other states of concern without consulting Congress.
Sen. Robert Byrd, D-W.Va., a self-avowed " hawk, " expressed deep concerns about a possible incursion into North Korea. Brandishing a copy of the U.S. Constitution, he challenged Rumsfeld to read the section that gives war-making powers to Congress, not the president.
" Does the president have the authority to send troops into North Korea on the strength of the Sept. 14 resolution? " Byrd asked.
" I don't know that I can answer that question effectively, " Rumsfeld said.
Rumsfeld said that his budget, the first he has created from start to finish as defense secretary, reflects six priorities.
First, protecting the United States and military encampments overseas: He is dedicating $300 million to detect and respond to biological attacks against the American people and deployed forces, and $7.8 billion for missile defense.
Second, denying enemies the ability to hide from the U.S. military: He is putting more than $1 billion into unmanned surveillance planes, almost $100 million for a satellite to house radars, $54 million to develop a small diameter bomb, and $1 billion to convert four Trident submarines to carry cruise missiles instead.
Third, projecting power in denied areas: Rumsfeld wants to pump $630 million into the Global Positioning System to make it more accurate to support precision-guided bombs, $83 million to develop unmanned underwater vehicles to clear sea mines, $1.5 billion for a new class of Army tanks and fighting vehicles that are lighter and easier to transport to far-off battles, and $88 million for hyper-velocity missiles that will give lightly armored ground forces the attack capabilities of heavily armored tanks.
Fourth, leveraging information technology: Rumsfeld is dedicating $2.5 billion to information technology that will improve battlefield communications and connections.
Fifth, conducting effective information warfare: He will put $174 million into information technologies that will improve intelligence and targeting, the largest program being the $136 million Automated Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance System.
Sixth, enhancing space operations: Rumsfeld wants to develop systems that can protect U.S. communications and intelligence satellites from enemy attack, and to destroy enemy space systems during wartime. He will dedicate $103.1 million to the development of laser technology that can deny enemies their use of electronics and pinpoint battlefield targets for destruction from space.
Copyright 2002 by United Press International.