Plan Of Attack
The Pentagon has a secret new strategy for taking on terrorists--and taking them down
Getting along. While there may be consensus on the broad approach, the devil will be in the hard bargaining over "who's in charge." The most important document to come out of the National Security Council review will be a new presidential directive that reconciles the conflicts among four counterterrorism directives. Two are from the Clinton era; two were signed by President Bush. Clinton's Presidential Decision Directive 39, signed in 1995, for example, gives the State Department the lead role in counterterrorism efforts abroad, but after 9/11, President Bush gave the CIA the lead for disrupting terrorist networks overseas. National Security Presidential Directive 9, signed on Oct. 25, 2001, directs the Pentagon to prepare military plans for eliminating terrorist sanctuaries. Similar overlapping jurisdictions exist for the Justice Department, the Department of Homeland Security, and the new intelligence entities created since 9/11. Since many planks of the Pentagon's new strategy require it to work with these other agencies, resolving these intramural issues will be essential.
Officials say that the Pentagon has proposed that the new National Security Presidential Directive include a mechanism that would allow the president to delegate a particular task in a particular region to whichever entity he deemed best suited to execute it. Would such an approach end the chronic turf warfare that cripples the Washington bureaucracy? Americans are disheartened, according to a July Gallup Poll, in which only 34 percent believe the United States is winning the war on terror. Some commentators note that it has already lasted longer than America's participation in World War II. A more apt analogy, however, may be the Cold War, which was another long, largely nonmilitary struggle. "The president has said this will be a generational struggle," said a senior official involved in the National Security Council review. "We need to make the same kind of commitment."
Going after Osama bin Laden is still part of the plan, but the Pentagon is focusing on more than just al Qaeda's top leaders.
More than ever, foreign partners are key to U.S. success.
Despite progress, the turf battles may never really end.
Rooting Out Terror
These are some of the principal military exercises that the Department of Defense is sponsoring in 2005 to foster cooperation, train U.S. and foreign troops, and improve regional security and counterterrorism capabilities. The principal host country is named; other countries may also participate.
U.S. MILITARY REGIONAL COMMANDS
Covers Central and South America and the Caribbean
Covers Europe, Russia and Western Africa
Covers Middle East, Horn of Africa, South and Central Asia
Covers Southeast and North Asia
NEW HORIZONS (Central America and Caribbean): Annual cooperation and security exercises in Panama, Haiti, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Dominica, Antigua, and elsewhere.