Military Always Looking for New Ways to Go After Al Qaeda

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Aug. 2, 2002 -- The U.S. military is constantly trying to find new ways to find and kill al Qaeda and Taliban terrorists, Pentagon spokeswoman Victoria Clarke said today during a briefing.

Clarke was talking about news reports that allege Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld is impatient with the pace of progress against the terrorists. She said Rumsfeld is constantly reminding military and civilian personnel about the urgency of taking the battle to the terrorists.

"It is no secret that the secretary wants everyone to understand the sense of urgency about what we're doing," Clarke said. "The threats are real and, despite the success thus far in Afghanistan, we have a long way to go."

She also said that Rumsfeld has full and total confidence in U.S. Central Command chief Gen. Tommy Franks. "He has done an extraordinary job of prosecuting what has been a very unconventional war," she said. "The secretary remains confident that the performance will be terrific going forward."

Clarke and Air Force Brig. Gen. John Rosa of the Joint Staff said the U.S. military continues to search for ways to improve operations against al Qaeda and Taliban. "We've said all along the hunt for these people would get harder the further along we went," she said. "Every single day, hopefully, we're learning lessons. Every single day hopefully, we're improving the way we prosecute this war."

She said this follows along with Rumsfeld's greater vision for the U.S. military. "Secretary Rumsfeld's direction all along is that we're in a very different world and we face very different threats," she said. "It means we need a faster, more adaptive, more flexible, more lethal force. We're always looking at ways to make that happen."

Published reports said the U.S. Special Operations Command would take on a new, more direct, role in the global war on terrorism. "Our special operations forces have been key to the operation since Day 1," Rosa said. He said he would not discuss operations.