WASHINGTON, Aug. 5 (UPI) -- A new Pentagon counter-terrorism plan calls for making arrangements with some foreign countries to allow U.S. commandos on their soil to attack terrorist cells, according to a published report Monday.
The Washington Times reports that Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld wants such procedures in place so special operations forces can act on intelligence in hours, not days or weeks.
The newspaper said it was too early to predict whether such agreements could be reached with all nations where al Qaida cells exist.
Senior defense officials also want such clandestine missions deemed acts of war so they stay outside the control of civilian law enforcement, the officials said.
Rumsfeld last month ordered his top special operations officer, Gen. Charles R. Holland, to devise a more aggressive plan to capture or kill members of al Qaida.
Officials said the plan will rely heavily on the military's most elite counter-terrorism units. The plan also shifts more planning responsibility to Gen. Holland's headquarters, U.S. Special Operations Command at MacDill Air Force base in Florida.
The Washington Times first reported on the new plans last week. Officials told the newspaper that Rumsfeld was impatient at the pace at which al Qaida members were being killed or captured.
Although the main target is al Qaida, the plan does not limit attacks to just one group. One official told the Times that if, for example, a Middle East terrorist group is found responsible for killing Americans, the military could be dispatched to find or eliminate them.