Thursday, January 5, 2012

U.S. To Drop Long-War Ability, Focus on Pacific

The Pentagon will abandon its ability to fight long, drawn-out wars like the ones fought in Afghanistan and Iraq as it enters the next decade.
IN AN EIGHT-PAGE document detailing a new U.S. defense strategy, the Pentagon said the U.S. military will shrink in size and will focus its efforts on the Pacific. (File photo / U.S. Air Force)
Instead, the size of the U.S. military will shrink, as expected, and the Pentagon will focus its efforts on the Pacific as China's military and influence in the region grows, according to the eight-page strategy designed to inform more than $450 billion in cuts to planned defense spending over the next decade.
The president also said the Defense Department will re-examine its mix of active-component and reserve troops, with the expectation that reserves will continue to play the prominent role they have during the past decade.
The strategy backs the Air Force's new bomber program, which the service had lobbied for extensively during the last year.
In addition, the strategy notes the United States is "investing in a long-term strategic partnership with India."
The Pentagon will abandon its long-time ability to fight two major wars simultaneously but will still be able to deny an aggressor in a second region while already engaged in another.
In Europe, the U.S. military posture will "evolve," however, the strategy does not say how.
The military will reduce its nuclear weapons stockpile, but the strategy does not mention specific weapons programs.
President Barack Obama is scheduled to discuss the strategy during a late morning briefing at the Pentagon. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and other senior defense officials are also scheduled to appear.
The Pentagon also plans to cut overhead, headquarters and other support spending, though the strategy does not propose specific cuts. The strategy says defense must find further efficiencies in its business practices.
Defense also plans to reduce the growth of compensation and health-care costs, though the strategy said "we will keep faith with those who serve."

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