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Pentagon denies Rumsfeld has decided to drop 2-war strategy

Rumsfeld is conducting a review of defense strategy  

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Bush to discuss strategy at Naval Academy graduation

Budgets on the line


WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The Pentagon denied on Monday a Washington Post report that Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld had decided to abandon the so-called "two major war" strategy that has been the bedrock of U.S. defense thinking for decades.

After meeting with Rumsfeld, Pentagon Spokesman Rear. Adm. Craig Quigley insisted that the secretary has not yet decided what he will recommend following an ongoing review of defense strategy.

The "two-war" strategy calls for the United States to maintain military strength sufficient to fight and win two major wars nearly simultaneously, such as a conflict in the Persian Gulf and on the Korean peninsula.

In its Monday editions, the Washington Post reported that "Rumsfeld is set to unveil sweeping changes in U.S. military strategy, including the formal abandonment of the 'two major war' yardstick."

Bush to discuss strategy at Naval Academy graduation

While issuing the denial, Pentagon officials told CNN that Rumsfeld is scheduled to discuss military strategy and the status of his ongoing defense reviews with President George W. Bush this week, and that Bush was expected to address the subject broadly in a speech to graduates at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis on May 25.

At the White House, press secretary Ari Fleischer said the president hoped the review was completed in time for him to consider it and make it the centerpiece of his commencement address at the academy.

But he also noted that the initial target for the review was this summer, saying it was possible it would not be completed in time to be announced this month.

A senior defense official agreed with the Post, however, when it reported that Rumsfeld's exact recommendations were unclear.

"He appointed about 20 panels to look at everything from what weapons not to buy to how to change personnel policy to how nuclear weapons are commanded and controlled," the report said. "Some of those panels have made recommendations that contradict each other."

"That part is correct," the defense official said.

Budgets on the line

While Rumsfeld deliberated over the reports of his panels and looked forward to the 2002 and 2003 defense budgets, the military services were anxiously awaiting word on how much of a supplemental appropriation for 2001 the Administration would seek from Congress.

Pentagon sources said the Office of Management and Budget is recommending about $3 billion, while the Pentagon insists its needs $5 billion to $6 billion in order to avoid having to cut back on training for the second half of the year.

The services have submitted requests for $8 billion to $10 billion in additional money for the current fiscal year.

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The Pentagon: Headquarters of the United States Department of Defense
Office of Management and Budget

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4:30pm ET, 4/16

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