News / USA

Obama Unveils Strategy for Smaller, Agile Future US Military

US President Barack Obama speaks about the Defense Strategic Review at the Pentagon in Washington, January 5, 2012.
US President Barack Obama speaks about the Defense Strategic Review at the Pentagon in Washington, January 5, 2012.

President Barack Obama and U.S. defense officials have unveiled the results of a new strategy review to maintain U.S. military superiority with leaner and more efficient forces capable of responding to global challenges.

U.S. Defense Priorities

  • Continue to take an active approach to countering extremist and terrorist threats.
  • Continue to place a premium on U.S. and allied military presence in, and support of, partner nations in and around the Middle East.
  • Develop innovative, low-cost, small presence approaches to achieve security objectives.
  • Conduct operations to counter the proliferation of WMD.
  • Rebalance toward the Asia-Pacific Region.

The strategic review was ordered by President Obama last year to help guide Pentagon decision-making and setting of priorities in an atmosphere of budget austerity, and sharp partisan debate over deficits and debt.

In recognition of its significance, Obama appeared with Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta and the military Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Martin Dempsey as the results were formally announced at the Pentagon.

Obama pointed to the end of U.S. combat operations in Iraq, the drawing down of forces from Afghanistan, the killing of Osama bin-Laden, and the successful NATO operation in Libya.  He said these have brought the United States to a moment of transition.

"As we look beyond the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the end of long-term, nation-building with large military footprints, we will be able to ensure our security with smaller conventional ground forces," said the president.  "We will continue to get rid of outdated Cold War-era systems so that we can invest in the capabilities we need for the future, including intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance; counter terrorism; countering weapons of mass destruction; and the ability to operate in environments where adversaries try to deny us access."

Related video report by Luis Ramirez

Obama said military forces will be "agile, flexible and ready for the full range of contingencies and threats."  The U.S. presence in the Asia-Pacific region will be strengthened, and Obama said, as he did in Australia in November, that reductions "will not come at the expense of this critical region."

US South Pacific Military Buildup

Secretary Panetta said the new strategy is aimed at cutting defense spending in a balanced way by about $487-billion over 10 years, but should not mean a choice between national security and fiscal responsibility.

Panetta said a "smaller, ready and well-equipped" joint force would focus on the Pacific, and the Middle East.

"This region is growing in importance to the future of the U.S. economy and our national security,' he said. "This means, for instance, improving capabilities that maintain our military's technological edge and freedom of action.  At the same time, the U.S. will place a premium on maintaining our military presence and capabilities in the broader Middle East."

Panetta said the U.S. military must be able to fight in several conflicts at the same time, and "confront and defeat more than one adversary at a time."

John Blaxland, Senior Fellow at the Australian National University's Strategic and Defense Center, discusses the impact of U.S. military budget cuts:

Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Dempsey was asked by a reporter what message the results of the defense review would send to Iran.

"The message that we have had consistently for Iran is that we expect them to be a responsible member of the community of nations, not deny freedom of navigation, freedom of movement, freedom of access, and we are determined that they will not acquire a nuclear weapon," he said.

In his remarks, President Obama said details would be emerging in coming weeks.

"I would encourage all of us to remember what President Eisenhower once said.  That “each proposal must be weighed in the light of a broader consideration: the need to maintain balance in and among national programs.”  After a decade of war, and as we rebuild the source of our strength, at home and abroad, it is time to restore that balance," he said.

Obama said the U.S. defense budget will grow more slowly over the next 10 years, but it will meet U.S. global responsibilities.

Asked about force reductions in specific areas, such as Europe, Secretary Panetta said the United States will maintain commitments to Europe, and Joint Chiefs Chairman Dempsey said the countrty will always act on the foundation of traditional strategic partnerships, such as NATO.

You May Like

At Khmer Rouge Court, Long-Awaited Verdict Approaches

First phase of trial, which is coming to an end, has focused on forced exodus of Phnom Penh in 1975 - and now many are hopeful justice will be served More

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities More

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

Downing of Malaysian airliner, allegations of cross-border shelling move information war in war-torn country to a new level More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
July 31, 2014 8:13 PM
The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict in Gaza, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities. Probably the most important destination is the local bakery. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Gaza City.
Video

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

President Obama and Central American leaders recently agreed to come up with a plan to address poverty and crime in the region that is fueling the surge of young migrants trying to illegally enter the United States. VOA’s Brian Padden looks at one such program in Honduras - funded in part by the United States - which gives street kids not only food and safety but a chance for a better life without, crossing the border.
Video

Video 'Fab Lab' Igniting Revolution in Kenya

The University of Nairobi’s Science and Technology Park is banking on 3-D prototyping to spark a manufacturing revolution in the country. Lenny Ruvaga has more for from Nairobi's so-called “FabLab” for VOA.
Video

Video Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelter

Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Rapid Spread of Ebola in West Africa Prompts Global Alert

Across West Africa, health officials are struggling to keep up with what the World Health Organization describes as the worst ebola outbreak on record. The virus has killed hundreds of people this year. U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders are watching the developments closely as they weigh what actions, if any, are needed to help contain the disease.
Video

Video Michelle Obama: Young Africans Need to Embrace Women's Rights

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama urged some of Africa's best and brightest to advocate for women's rights in their home countries. As VOA's Pam Dockins explains, Obama spoke to some 500 participants of the Young African Leaders Initiative, a six-week U.S.-based training and development program.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.
Video

Video Study: Latino Students Most Segregated in California

Even though legal school segregation ended in the United States 60 years ago, one study finds segregation still occurs in the U.S. based on income and race. The University of California Los Angeles Civil Rights Project finds that students in California are more segregated by race than ever before, especially Latinos. Elizabeth Lee reports for VOA from Los Angeles.

AppleAndroid