Donald Rumsfeld agreed to serve a second term as President Bush’s Defense Secretary to complete unfinished tasks, but also to implement changes.
“We’ve got a lot of work that’s well along, but some of it’s not finished,” said Rumsfeld.
His decision to continue his position was influenced by his health and working relationship with President Bush. Rumsfeld is the oldest Defense Secretary at age 72.
It is still unknown whether Rumsfeld will remain for Bush’s entire second term, but it is believed that the war in Iraq will play a role in his stay.
National elections in Iraq are scheduled to take place January 30. According to Rumsfeld this will mark an “important milestone” as it will possibly help Iraqis gain confidence in their new government, thereby lessening their dependence on US forces.
There are questions as to whether troops will return to US soil within the next four years however, Rumsfeld has been cautious not to make such predictions, but he assures that both US military and coalition forces want to be out by then.
“The president has said they’ll stay as long as they are needed and not a day longer,” said Rumsfeld.
According to the Pentagon, in January, the number of troops will be increased from 138,000 to 150,000 to heighten security measures prior to elections.
Aside from the war in Iraq, changes for the Pentagon are high on Rumsfeld’s to do list. His proposed plans go beyond improving policies, programs and procedures.
“We’ve got a big job to do in the department to see that we are in a process of transforming, which is really a culture; it’s a mindset; it’s an attitude,” said Rumsfeld.
Some major changes he plans to implement include, rebalancing the active-duty and reserve force, revising all contingency plans for military crises around the world, and the repositioning of US forces abroad.
Despite recent criticisms involving the controversial reports of the Abu Graib Prison scandal, Rumsfeld seems optimistic about updating military establishment to ready the US for any challenges that may come about.