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97608. DoD Must Anticipate, Prepare for Future Terrorism


By Douglas J. Gillert

American Forces Press Service



	SAN ANTONIO, Texas -- As long as terrorism remains a threat, 

DoD must focus less on its accomplishments and more on what needs 

to be done to protect U.S. assets at home and worldwide. 

	Army Brig. Gen. Larry Dodgen delivered that message Aug. 19 

at DoD's worldwide conference on anti-terrorism. Dodgen, a DoD 

policy and missions expert for special operations and low-

intensity conflict, said the June 1996 terrorist attack on U.S. 

service members in Saudi Arabia "exposed our fears, made us 

wonder about our soft points and causes us to question to this 

day, how much [protection] is enough."

	Reciting actions taken since the Khobar Towers bombing last 

year, Dodgen said DoD must constantly re-evaluate every action in 

the light of increasing and expanding terrorist capabilities.

	"We must ask ourselves, what have we accomplished with the 

things we have put in place?" Dodgen said. "Are these measures 

effective against the current terrorist threat, and are they 

flexible enough for the future?"

	He said terrorists have a broad arsenal of weapons at their 

disposal and won't hesitate to strike when they sense a 

vulnerability.

	"We must consider how the changing world economy and 

proliferation affects the threats that confront us," Dodgen said. 

"We must anticipate our enemies and methods they will use against 

us, such as weapons of mass destruction, attacks on our 

infrastructure and information systems, and areas as of now 

unknown to us."

	The general said terrorists are as likely to come from the 

U.S. population as from Third World nations. It will become 

increasingly difficult to detect terrorists from the general 

population, he said, and international cooperation will be 

imperative. 

	"As we do today," he said, "our armed forces will find 

themselves working as part of coalition operations. We must 

ensure that our actions are synchronized. Moreover, we must not 

forget the possibility of homegrown terrorists."

	Dodgen urged his audience of anti-terrorism and force 

protection specialists to "look for what doesn't work. This will 

take vigilance, attention to detail and in some cases, courage to 

come forward and call it the way you see it," he said, "[but] 

it's the only way to make sure anti-terrorism measures are 

effective and remain relevant."

	While lauding Pentagon-level initiatives, Dodgen sounded a 

warning about the total force responsibility to combat terrorism. 

"We cannot allow ourselves to become complacent at lower levels," 

he said, "because when our guard is down, the terrorist will 

attack.

	Fear of terrorists carries with it the risk of overreacting 

to the threat, Dodgen said. "We must not allow ourselves to 

become incident driven. Service in our armed forces is inherently 

dangerous, and there is no way to avoid risk. A 'zero defect' 

attitude can make us cautious and timid, jeopardizing success. We 

cannot 'force protection' ourselves to a point where we are 

paralyzed from accomplishing our mission."

	Dodgen forecast "many silent victories and some noisy 

defeats" in the years ahead, adding, "There is no substitute for 

establishing good habits across the board. Each of us -- from 

senior leaders to junior troops -- must walk the talk."



 

 



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