President Obama announced a new strategy that will cut more than $450 billion in defense spending over the next 10 years, but do it in a responsible way that allows the military to remain the pre-eminent military force in the world.
“As commander in chief, I am determined that we meet the challenges of this moment responsibly and that we emerge even stronger in a manner that preserves American global leadership, maintains our military superiority and keeps faith with our troops, military families and veterans,” Obama said at a press conference with Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Martin Dempsey.
The president announced the military will be reshaped over time with an emphasis on countering terrorism, maintaining a nuclear deterrent, protecting the U.S. homeland, and deterring and defeating aggression by any potential adversary.
Obama announced no new capabilities or defense initiatives. He described a U.S. force that will retain much of its recent focus, with the exception of fighting a large-scale, prolonged conflict like the newly ended Iraq mission or the ongoing war in Afghanistan.
Obama said the emerging strategy overhaul is designed to contend with hundreds of billions of dollars in budget cuts and refocus the United States’ national security priorities after a decade dominated by the post.-Sept. 11 wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
The strategy, devised through a comprehensive review by civilian and military leaders, centered on the military the country needs after the “long wars of the last decade are over,” Obama said.
The president vowed to avoid mistakes made in downsizing the military after past wars, such as the “hollow force” of the late 1970s and early 1980s that followed the Vietnam War. “We will ensure that our military is agile, flexible and ready for the full range of contingencies,” Obama said.