Pentagon plans Special Ops revamp
U.S. Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld recently announced a plan to give Special Operations forces greater authority and a substantially larger budget to pursue al Qaeda and other terrorist networks around the world, reported the Washington Post.
The move reflects an effort by the Bush administration to shift the Pentagon's traditional emphasis on combating large forces. The idea is to improve the reach and reaction times of the Pentagon's elite commando units by empowering them to take charge of operations, expanding their numbers and bolstering their equipment, the Post said.
The plan calls for increasing the command's budget from $4.9 billion to $6 billion next year, then adding another $1 billion a year in each of the next five years, officials said.
The command would use the added money also to replace Boeing MH-47 Chinook helicopters and Lockheed MC- 130 transport aircraft lost in operations in Afghanistan, the Philippines and Puerto Rico over the past year and to build up a larger reserve of aviation assets. And it would use the funds to buy more communications gear and unspecified "command and control" equipment, the Post said. In the longer term, officials said, the plan calls for accelerating the purchase of new CV-22 aircraft for the Special Operations Command, provided the tilt-rotor aircraft passes an upcoming round of testing.
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