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
"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
"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
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."