Throughout our history, Americans have shown a talent for innovation and invention. Ulysses S. Grant made skillful use of the rifle, the telegraph, and railroads to win the Civil War. Visionaries like Billy Mitchell predicted the rise of air power as critical to future battles. Patton and Eisenhower's awareness of the importance of armored warfare helped us prepare for World War II.
America is the world's preeminent military power because its leaders have dared properly challenged assumptions and the status quo, invested in and made use of new technologies, and abandoned old certainties and strategies when freedom's defense required it. And we must continue to do so.
We have entered an era of enemies without country or conscience, who operate in small cells scattered across the globe. Yet our forces continue to be arranged essentially to fight large armies, navies, and air forces. The world has changed, and so must we.
This week, in testimony to Congress, I will outline changes underway in the Department of Defense to transform our military to confront these new threats, including changes in America's global posture.
The course we have charted is not novel or sudden. Key points were designated by President Bush before he was even elected.
In a 1999 speech at the Citadel, then-Governor Bush warned of the rise of terrorism, the spread of missile technology, and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction -- what he termed a "world of terror and missiles and madmen."
Calling for a "new spirit of innovation," he outlined ambitious goals: "to move beyond marginal improvements -- to replace existing programs with new technologies and strategies. Our forces in the next century must be agile, lethal, readily deployable, and require a minimum of logistical support. We must be able to project our power over long distances, in days or weeks, rather than months."
During the past 3½ years, much of what then-Governor Bush proposed has started to be put into action.
For example, w e have increased the size of the U.S. Army and are reorganizing it into more agile, lethal and deployable brigades. We are retraining and restructuring the Active and Reserve components to achieve a more appropriate distribution of skill sets, so that individual Reservists and Guardsmen with needed skill sets will mobilize less often and for shorter periods of time. We are increasing jointness between the services, and we are enhancing our communications and intelligence capabilities, among many other activities.
Transformation is about more than just new ways of fighting. It's about new ways of thinking.
Today, our forces are still situated in large part as if little has changed for the last 50 years - as if, for example, Germany is still bracing for a Soviet tank invasion across its northern plain. In South Korea, our troops have been virtually frozen in place where they were when the Korean War ended in 1953.
So we have developed, in frequent consultation with our allies and with Congress, a set of new concepts to govern the way we will align ourselves in the coming years and decades.
Our first notion is that our troops should be located in places where they are wanted, welcomed, and needed. In some cases, the presence and activities of our forces grate on local populations and have become an irritant for host governments. The best example is our massive headquarters in some of the most valuable downtown real estate in South Korea's capital city, Seoul - long a sore point for many South Koreans. Under our proposed changes, that headquarters will be dramatically reduced in size and moved to a location well south of the capital.