--Interview with the Chairman of the National Defense Panel，Philip A. Odeen 访国防小组委员会主席菲利普•奥迪恩
MR.CHEN BOJIANG: Recently, I have read some documents1 on future warfare and the national defense development of the United States from Defenselink2 （on the web）.One of the most impressive documents I read was a national defense panelist3 report titled ”Transforming Defense-National Security in the 21st century.” I am very interested in interviewing its authors. And as the Chairman of the National Defense Panel，I feel honored to have the opportunity to interview you today.
“Transforming Defense-National Security in the 21st century” focused on the long term issues facing U.S. defense and national security. Obviously this ”transformation” could not take place over night. How long do you think it will take for this ”transformation” to be complete? Will there be several stages in this ”transformation” that you can currently identify?
MR.PHILIP A.ODEEN:I think the transformation will take 15 years, 20 years, a long time. Because the equipment has to change, and the cycle for designing and building new equipment is very long, and we also have lots of modern equipment, and it's too expensive to replace it all, so you have to replace it gradually over time. So it will take many years. And some of today's equipment will still be very useful, but some of it will have to be replaced in that timeframe4.
Secondly, it requires the military to come up with new concepts for operations, for using forces. And this is something you don't invent. You have to think about them. You have to experiment. You have to do exercises. And that takes many years as well.
And finally, the people have to think differently, so it will take time for new generations of leaders to emerge and move up in the structure, and for today's leaders to retire and leave. So it's hard for somebody that's a general officer today to think about doing things in a very different way. He wants to do things the way we've done them in the past, so you'll have to change some equipment, you have to change the concept, but also change the people.
So, I think it will take 15 years, perhaps 20 years for it to be complete. Now you will see change gradually over time, and the American forces have changed quite significantly over the last 10 years, really, since, say, before the Wall5 came down, before Desert Storm, before the Iraq situation, and today.
There have been many changes in terms of smart weapons6 and big improvements in communications and the use of computers. These army experiments at Fort Irwin7 last year, brought new ways to use telecommunications and information technology, so there are changes all the time, but I think in 15 or 20 years there will be more basic changes.
Army structure will change. Army divisions will go away and some kind of new smaller units will emerge. But it will be a long time. There will be brigades, or regiments8, or something, yes; smaller units. And probably more joint--There will be joint units. There will be combined Air Force and Army units, or Marine and Army units.
MR. CHEN: According to the analysis of this report, the transformation aimed at meeting all the U.S. security needs in 2020, covers all aspects of national defense. In your opinion, what is the most important aspect of the transformation? What are some of the difficulties one is likely to come across in this transformation process?
MR. ODEEN: Probably the most difficult one is the personnel--the human part of it, getting people to think differently, and getting people to think about different ways to use forces, different ways to operate, different tactics, and so on. As that changes, they will find ways to use today's weapons in different ways, but also they will be willing to accept the fact that new weapons and different kind of weapons will have to emerge. And probably the biggest change will be continued improvement in information, information technology access. So the intelligence information from the various sensors9 could make it rapidly available to the people flying airplanes，or tanks, or the people firing weapons. So you can take advantage of that information and immediately use it, as opposed to today, where the information is collected, and it goes to the headquarters, and the people analyze it and study it, and then eventually it gets to the troops, and it takes hours to go. This will be very quick. It will be real time10 .I think the biggest obstacle is for people to think differently and act differently, and other things will happen.
MR. CHEN: Implementing a transformation like that described in the report is expected to be complicated and will require a delicate11 balance between near term challenges and long-term challenges. What do you think about this balance? Or in other words, what do you think is the best way to deal with the near term and long term challenges?
MR. ODEEN: That's a very good question. The difficulty the U.S. military has in investing in new technologies and new thinking is that they're so involved in current operations. I mean, there's the force in Bosnia. They have small groups of people in Africa and elsewhere. We have a lot of forces right now in the Middle East because of the Iraq issue on the inspection12 team.
And there's so much--that takes money and energy, and it's delaying investments that would be important, useful investments, that could be made now that should be made now to begin to develop the new technologies for the future. So it's taking longer than we had expected.
And there's a concern also about--in thinking about the future there's still a lot of focus to the Middle East, to the Iraq situation still a lot of concern about Korea and the very unstable situation in North Korea, which I'm sure you people follow very closely as well, where there are various serious economic problems, and food shortages and a very large military, maybe some leadership issues there with the new leadership.
So it's difficult for the American military not to pay most of its attention to those two areas, plus the Bosnia situation is very unstable. And so they are distracted13 guess in a way, and their resources, their money, their budgets14, their time are focused on these near-term issues, rather than the long term. So that's the major issue I think. That's a very good question.
MR.CHEN:I noticed that the report used some classic quotes15 which included a quote by a famous ancient Chinese military thinker Sun Tzu. What do you see as the relationship between historical versus16 modern military thought，and foreign versus U.S. military thought?
MR. ODEEN: I'm not a military historian, but among my friends, Sun Tzu is quoted very often. I mean, sort of the basic principles and ideas he enumerated17 are still very current today I think. There's a very basic sort of thing.
I think many American military thinkers have studied the older history. In fact, at West Point18, the military academy19, they study military history, and they study other pasts like the Civil War20.They go back and study these old battles of 100,150 years ago, as well as much earlier, and I think it's very useful, very important.
Practise Listening to Words 词汇听力练习:
1.document  n. 文件
6.smart weapons 智能武器
7.Fort Irwin 欧文堡（美军基地名）
8.regiment  n. （军队的）团
9.sensor  n. 传感器
10.real time 实际时间
11.delicate  adj. 精细的
12.inspection  n. 检查
13.distract  vt. 分散
14.budget  n. 预算
15.quote  n. 格言
16.versus  prep. 与……相对
17.enumerate [ ] vt. 列举
18.West Point 西点（军校）
19.academy  n. 学院，学术
military academy 军校
20.Civil War （美国）内战