DRONES IN, BASES OUT

President Bush's plan to drastically scale back the number of U.S. troops in Asia And Europe may come as a surprise to many. But at the Defense Department's labs and research centers, they've seen this coming for a long time.That's why the Pentagon has been working on a series of weapons that would allow America's military to fight a battle overseas -- while keeping our forces based, for the most part, here at home.Hypersonic missiles, with ranges over 3,000 miles, could strike at targets a continent away. Killer drones, deployed from aircraft carriers, could penetrate deep into enemy territory. Giant blimps could haul troops and equipment directly to the battlezone without the need for billion-dollar airfields or deep-water ports.But here's the catch: none of these systems are even remotely close to being ready for prime-time. So what happens in the near term? As Phil Carter points out, the U.S. military is going to replace their old, permanent installations with a series of easy-to-install, easy-to-rip-out "lilypad bases."

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