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American Forces Press Service

Rumsfeld Discusses Intel Chief, Military Manning

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Aug. 5, 2004 -- President Bush's idea of a national intelligence director outside the White House "is on the mark," Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said Aug. 3.

Rumsfeld, speaking on WJR radio in Detroit, said there is value to having a national intelligence director, as the 9/11 Commission has suggested in its report. Bush had announced his support of the concept the previous day.

The president had also announced the creation of the National Intelligence Center. Under his proposal, the center will be the spot where intelligence from all U.S. and foreign agencies is analyzed. The 9/11 Commission recommended the center be in the White House. Bush has said the center will be outside the White House.

"I think that to the extent possible, activities like that are best out of the White House. And instead, the White House is a place where one would want staff functions, like for the National Security Council staff and the Homeland Security Council staff and the Office of Management and Budget and those types of things in the executive office of the president," Rumsfeld said on the Paul Smith Show. "I think the president made the right call."

On another radio program with Neil Boortz and NewsTalk Radio, Rumsfeld discussed military recruiting and retention. He said the Air Force and the Navy have no problem at all making their recruiting and retention goals. In the Army, active duty recruiting is going well, and the service will make its fiscal 2004 goal.

Army Reserve recruiting also is going well, and the component expects 102 percent of its goal at the end of September, Rumsfeld said.

The Army National Guard is somewhat below its target. "They're at 88 percent, but seem confident that they're going to eventually make the numbers they need," the secretary said.

National Guard officials said that they will be short about 5,000 prior-service personnel at the end of the fiscal year. The shortage will be added to the goal for fiscal 2005.

With respect to retention, overall the military is doing well, Rumsfeld said. The retention for the active components is over 100 percent of target, and reserve component retention is about 99 percent.

In the National Guard, retention is almost 101 percent. DoD officials said that the re-enlistment rate is even higher for units back from Iraq and Afghanistan.

Rumsfeld said the military is studying recruiting and retention and will use all available authorities to attract the best people and keep those valuable personnel assets.

The Army is a special concern. The service has around 12 percent of its force deployed, he said. "They've got 123,000 possibly in Iraq and Afghanistan together and maybe 270,000 deployed all over," Rumsfeld said. "So, needless to say, that does pose some stress on the force.

"On the other hand, when you think they're drawing off a million people, and we're only using 270,000 deployed, it's pretty clear that the problem is not a shortage of people. The problem is that they're 'malorganized.'"

Army Chief of Staff Gen. Peter Schoomaker is working to rebalance the active and reserve components within the service and to increase the combat arm of the Army.

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