New WMD Task Force
The Pentagon's latest strategy review proposes a new military unit that would prevent the transfer of weapons of mass destruction from states such as North Korea and Iran to terrorist groups. The WMD task force would be comprised of several hundred troops, including special operations forces and intelligence personnel, Reporters said. The proposal was included in the Pentagon's 2005 Quadrennial Defense Review, a sweeping assessment of U.S. defense strategy Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld will send to the White House and Congress on Feb. 6.
Portions of an unclassified summary of the document were made available to Reporters, the newspaper said. "A section on combating weapons of mass destruction said future U.S. military forces will have the capability to interdict and 'render safe' weapons of mass destruction before terrorists can use them," the newspaper reported. A Pentagon spokeswoman had no immediate comment on the report. Reporters said Pentagon spokesman Larry DiRita declined to comment on the strategy review which has not been made public. "We have over the past few years focused on ways of having a standing and rapidly deployable task force," DiRita was quoted as saying. "It's something that can respond quickly to a tough problem." Reporters said the Pentagon review stated that a core element of the new joint task force would be the Army's 20th Support Command, which would become a rapid deployment unit "to command and control WMD elimination missions by 2007." "They will possess an expanded ability to locate, tag and track dangerous individuals and other high value targets globally," the review was quoted as saying. Defense officials this week confirmed the planning document calls for the addition of nearly 8,000 troops to its elite Special Operations Forces next year to bolster the U.S. military's ability to fight terrorists and insurgents worldwide.