August 21, 2004

Lily pad bases

THE RUMSFELD REVOLUTION PROCEEDS: New US strategy: 'lily pad' bases: US forces are moving overseas forces to smaller, transitory bases in places like Kyrgyzstan. (Ann Scott Tyson, 8/10/04, CS Monitor)

....A stone's throw from the airport, the US Air Force is busy replacing the bare "tent city" it built here in late 2001 with hard-walled structures made out of metal shipping containers - a sign the US military is here to stay, at least for the foreseeable future.

"It looks permanent, but it could be unbolted and unwelded if we felt like it," says Col. Mike Sumida, vice commander of the 376th Air Expeditionary Wing here, underscoring the military's new expeditionary mentality...

...Indeed, in many ways, the US air base here models the future posture of the 1.4-million-strong American active-duty forces as they prepare to undertake their biggest global repositioning since the Korean War.

Under dramatic changes envisioned by the Pentagon, tens of thousands of US troops will leave sprawling, citylike cold-war bases in Germany and Korea to return home in coming years. Meanwhile, smaller numbers will shift to austere yet strategically located new bases such as Manas, expanding the military's reach into world trouble spots...

This is good news. Slowly our military, prodded by Donald Rumsfeld and other reformers, moves towards being more flexible and fast-moving. Democrats are against this, of course, partly because Republicans are in charge, but also because they desperately want to pretend that it's still September 10, 2001. And pretend that the ponderous and outdated stuff America is discarding does not include them.

Posted by John Weidner at August 21, 2004 9:44 AM
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