President Obama was at the Pentagon today flanked by his Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and his Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, General Martin Dempsey to outline a dramatic plan to cut military spending. Part of that focus is a reduction of Army and Marine troops and reductions in nuclear weapons.
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said, “The changes won’t come without risk.” But he called it acceptable and, because of budget restraints, inevitable.
Obama went on to say,
“Our military will be leaner, but the world must know the United States is going to maintain our military superiority,”
Obama unveiled the results of an eight-month defense strategy review that is intended to guide decisions on cutting hundreds of billions from planned Pentagon spending over the coming decade. He plans to include the details in his 2013 defense budget which he will submit to Congress next week. It is expected that he will cite a stronger focus on Asian and Middle Eastern areas and a reduced concentration on Europe.
Both Panetta and Dempsey said they anticipate heavy criticism of their new strategy.
Republican were more than happy to quickly reply.
Rep. Howard “Buck” McKeon chairman of the House Armed Services Committee immediately issued a statement saying,
“This is a lead-from-behind strategy for a left-behind America.”
Panetta said that he understands that smaller budgets mean the US will have to take “some level of additional but acceptable risk.”
Dempsey said he was more than happy with the outcome saying,
“It’s not perfect. There will be people who think it goes too far. Others will say it doesn’t go nearly far enough. That probably makes it about right. It gives us what we need.”
Obama said the military will be reshaped between now and 2020 with an emphasis on countering terrorism, maintaining a nuclear deterrent, protecting the U.S. homeland and “deterring and defeating aggression by any potential adversary.”
The new strategy announced by Obama focuses on improving U.S. capabilities in the areas of cyberwarfare, missile defense, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance.
NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen praised the U.S. strategy, calling it consistent with the alliance’s vision for collective defense.