Other recent articles on Gates:
Gates Criticizes Conventional Focus At Start of Iraq War
While having a military skilled in fighting major conventional ground wars is essential, Gates said, such a war is unlikely in the near future. Yet the Pentagon has placed comparatively too much emphasis on developing high-technology weapon systems aimed at potential state adversaries such as China or Russia that take years to develop, he said, noting that the 2009 budget contains more than $180 billion for such conventional systems.In Visit to Kosovo, Gates Underlines U.S. Support
Such weapons often envision a computerized, idealized version of warfare that Gates suggested is unrealistic.
"Be skeptical of systems analysis, computer models, game theories," he warned, adding that officers should "look askance" at notions of future conflict that imply "adversaries can be cowed, shocked or awed into submission, instead of being tracked down, hilltop by hilltop, house by house."
Instead, Gates said, the Pentagon needs to be able to rapidly purchase and field more low-tech capabilities. "Our conventional modernization programs seek a 99 percent solution in years. Stability and counterinsurgency missions -- the wars we are in -- require 75 percent solutions in months," he said.
He said a new rotation of U.S. forces would keep American troops on the ground here until late 2009, and the U.S. commander in Kosovo, Brig. Gen. Larry Kay, said planning has begun for a U.S. presence in 2010.