[Marxism] Pentagon to Create Its Own 'Foreign Legion' of Mercenary Troops

Tony Abdo gojack10 at hotmail.com
Wed Apr 21 06:06:51 MDT 2004


Bush Plans Aid to Build Foreign Peace Forces
Mon Apr 19
By Bradley Graham, Washington Post Staff Writer

Facing a chronic shortage of foreign troops for peacekeeping missions, 
President Bush has decided to launch an international drive to boost the 
supply of available forces -- a move that if successful could relieve some 
of the pressure on U.S. soldiers to join such operations, defense officials 
said.

A plan approved by Bush earlier this month calls for the United States to 
commit about $660 million over the next five years to train, equip and 
provide logistical support to forces in nations willing to participate in 
peace operations.

The campaign, known as the Global Peace Operations Initiative, will be aimed 
largely at Africa by expanding the peacekeeping skills of African forces and 
encouraging international military exercises in the region, where U.S. 
officials said much of the need exists.

But African forces developed under the program could be used in peace 
operations anywhere in the world, officials said. And the program also sets 
aside some assistance for armies in Asia, Latin America and Europe to 
enlarge their peacekeeping roles as well.

Pentagon officials who briefed The Washington Post stressed that the plan, 
which Bush has yet to formally announce, is not meant as a unilateral U.S. 
effort. They said Bush intends it to be a broad, multinational push, with 
other countries contributing trainers and additional resources, although 
consultations with potential partner nations remain at an early stage.

The initiative grows out of the frequent struggle by administration 
officials to recruit enough foreign forces for peacekeeping missions. In 
Haiti, the latest case, the administration hopes a force of 6,000 to 7,000 
international troops can be cobbled together under a U.N. mandate to replace 
an interim contingent of about 3,800 led by the United States and including 
French, Canadian and Chilean soldiers.

Many of the world's peacekeeping missions operate under the auspices of the 
United Nations, which currently oversees more than 50,000 troops in 14 
places. That troop number is due to grow by about 20,000 as four other 
planned operations take shape in Haiti, Burundi, Sudan and Cyprus.

But efforts to meet this surge have been handicapped by the demands of U.S. 
and NATO (news - web sites)-led coalitions trying to stabilize Iraq, 
Afghanistan and the Balkans. These operations have sapped troops and 
resources from the United States, Canada and some European countries -- 
traditional sources of support for U.N. peacekeeping missions.

"There is not enough capacity in the world to deal with the requirements," 
said Douglas J. Feith, the Pentagon's undersecretary for policy. "Other 
countries have shown an interest in building up their peacekeeping forces, 
but they need help."

The goal of Bush's initiative is to train about 75,000 additional foreign 
troops who could be deployed on short notice and perform a wide range of 
peacekeeping activities, including the most dangerous and demanding ones.

"This is meant to expand worldwide capacity that could be used by the United 
Nations or by others," Feith said.

By focusing on Africa, Bush is building on a State Department program that 
has provided training assistance to the region since the mid-1990s. But 
funding for that effort -- the African Contingency Operations Training and 
Assistance program -- has stayed below $15 million in recent years.

Another program, known as Enhanced International Peacekeeping Capacities and 
used to fund U.S. training for peace operations worldwide, has received even 
less money.

Administration officials expect to finance Bush's initiative from Pentagon 
as well as State Department accounts. Some of the trainers will come from 
U.S. military ranks, but in certain regions, private contractors are more 
likely to be used, according to Joseph Collins, the Pentagon's deputy 
assistant for stability operations.

Although past U.S. training efforts have succeeded in creating some 
additional peacekeeping capacity, one of the persistent challenges has been 
sustaining units that have received the training.

"They have tended to dissipate as a result of people leaving, dying, getting 
reassigned," Feith said. "So there's a major element in the president's 
initiative that deals with sustainment, which is to say, continual training 
and incentives to keep these units together so they can be used."

On Capitol Hill, a Democratic staff member with a Senate committee -- one of 
the few in Congress who has been briefed on the initiative -- predicted it 
will receive broad bipartisan support. Several independent analysts also 
welcomed the initiative.

"This is an awakening for an administration that hadn't made peacekeeping a 
priority," said Victoria Holt, a senior associate at the Henry L. Stimson 
Center, a Washington research group. "They are recognizing that if they want 
to have other countries participate in peacekeeping, they must provide more 
support."

Bush's plan has been months in the making, according to officials involved 
in drafting it. As early as November 2002, in a speech in Chile to a 
gathering of defense ministers from countries in the Western Hemisphere, 
Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld briefly mentioned the need to do 
something to increase the number of peacekeeping forces available around the 
world.

The president's initiative stops short of establishing standing military 
units that would be devoted only to international peacekeeping -- an idea 
that U.S. officials considered but discarded as unnecessarily restrictive.

It also makes no provision for creating forces within the U.S. military that 
would be reserved for peacekeeping missions. This notion has gained favor 
with some in the Pentagon, including Arthur Cebrowski, director of the 
Office of Force Transformation. But it faces stiff opposition from senior 
Army officials who argue that combat troops can be used for peacekeeping 
when required and that designating a separate peacekeeping-only force would 
sap overall U.S. military strength.

"We are always going to do our share of peacekeeping," Collins said. "What 
we want to avoid is doing more than we have to."

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