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The Pentagon’s Defense Science Board, in a briefing to Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, proposed the creation of interagency task forces to plan and help implement the transition to and from potential hostilities, the weekly Inside the Pentagon reported Thursday.

The new approach is aimed at giving new structure to a process — seen most recently in Iraq — in which postconflict plans and funding have largely been cobbled together in ad hoc fashion, delaying stability and reconstruction, experts say.

Under the proposal, the task forces would bring together about 250 regional and functional experts from the National Security Council staff, intelligence community, State Department, Pentagon, Justice Department and other agencies to identify a small number of possible crisis areas, Inside the Pentagon reported.

Then the task forces would plan in detail how the government would handle a period before and during a crisis — presumably with diplomacy in a leading role, aimed at avoiding hostilities. The interagency groups would go on to craft details of the use of force and the postcombat phases of stability and reconstruction, participants in the study told the paper.

Initial reaction to the DSB recommendations among Rumsfeld and his top civilian and military deputies was positive, sources close to the panel were reported as saying.

The study and its recommendations were strongly influenced by the Bush administration’s failure to coordinate adequate postwar plans for the stability and reconstruction of Iraq, despite more than a year of combat planning, DSB participants told the paper.

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