U.S. military changes at a glance
- January 5, 2012 - 8:28 PM
New focus: The military's emphasis will be on countering terrorism, maintaining a nuclear deterrent, protecting the U.S. homeland, and "deterring and defeating aggression." A prominent theme is a renewed commitment to security in the Asia-Pacific region that relies more on naval and air power in the Pacific and the Strait of Hormuz as a counterbalance to China and Iran.
Fewer ground troops: Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has concluded that the Army has to shrink even below current targets, dropping from about 570,000 to 490,000 soldiers over the next decade. A smaller Army would be a clear sign that the Pentagon does not anticipate conducting another expensive, troop-intensive counterinsurgency campaign nor would the military be able to carry out two sustained ground wars at one time.
Budget and weapons cuts: The administration is in the final stages of deciding cuts in the 2013 budget, which President Obama will submit to Congress next month. The strategy is meant to accommodate about $489 billion in defense cuts over 10 years. An additional $500 billion in cuts may be required starting in January 2013. Panetta is expected to propose cuts to next-generation weapons, including delays in purchases of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter jet, but not to any of the 11 aircraft carriers.
© 2013 Star Tribune