U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates outlined plans Wednesday to reorganize the war-stretched U.S. Army to better meet the challenges of unconventional warfare.
In his keynote address delivered at the annual meeting of the Association of the United States Army, Gates said that taking into account lessons from Iraq and the Cold War, unconventional warfare will be the Army's future focus.
The type of unconventional, irregular warfare seen today in Iraq will "remain the mainstay of the contemporary battlefield for some time," he said.
Therefore, Gates said that he favors proposals to transform the U.S. Army into a force dedicated to the training of foreign militaries, learning other languages and customs, and enhancing counterinsurgency abilities.
Gates' remarks come at a time when U.S. military officials are debating proposals to reorganize and transform the U.S. Army.
Some officers have come out in favor of a plan to transform many Army units into specialized forces that would be specifically dedicated to the training of foreign militaries.
However, others feel that Army units should remain generalists, so they are trained to perform a wide variety of tasks.
Gates favors reorganization, and reportedly believes that the nation is not likely to face a conventional war any time in the near future and therefore must reorganize in preparation for future unconventional, small conflicts.