Pentagon wants 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 Washington
    Times reported on Friday.

    The WMD task force would be comprised
    of several hundred troops, including special operations forces and
    intelligence personnel, the Times said.

    The Times 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
    February 6.

    Portions of an unclassified summary of the document were made available to The Washington Times, 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.

    The Times 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.”

    The Times
    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.