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Thursday, January 5, 2012

Obama Outlines Military Strategy Going Forward

President Barack Obama, followed by Defense Secretary Leon Panetta arrive for a news briefing on the defense strategic guidance at the Pentagon, Thursday. (AP)

With the war in Iraq over, and the Afghanistan War winding down, President Obama Thursday spelled out his vision of the military in the years ahead, driven by the push to cut Pentagon spending by at least $450 billion dollars over the next decade.

Speaking in a rare appearance in the Pentagon briefing room, Obama said the U.S. military will be smaller with fewer ground troops, and there will be more focus on bolstering an American presence in Asia and the Middle East.

He said that the U.S. will be able to confront more than one enemy and defeat them.

“In no small measure, that’s because we’ve built the best trained, the best led, best equipped military in history and I intend to keep it that way,” he said.

But expensive weapons systems will only be delayed, not cut, and a commission is expected to study the sensitive issue of reductions in costly benefits for troops.

The new strategy is designed to refocus the United States’ national security priorities after a decade dominated by the post.-Sept. 11 wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

The Associated Press contributed reporting.


  • Greg Jaffe, military reporter for the Washington Post

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  • Anonymous

    Not all wars are unchosen.  George W Bush proved that with Iraq.  Thanks for wasting our resources on that futile mess.

  • Dave

    Come on Robin.   You say we can’t choose who provokes a war with us, but look at Iraq.  We chose to provoke that war, for reasons we may never really know.   You ask if we’ll be able to fight multiple wars in the future.   I would ask, how well have we fought multiple wars in the past?   It seems to me we ignored the Afghan war as we put our emphasis on Iraq.  If we’d concentrated on Afghanistan, where the Al Queada threat came from, we could have ended that war years ago.   We have to be smarter going forward.

  • Robin

    Of course!! I only meant, what Andrew Bacevich and others have said to us, you can’t predict the wars that come to you.

    Thanks for weighing in.

  • Harvey

    The current level of military spending is detrimental to America’s security. We may be winning the imaginary war but we’re losing the peace. If we don’t reinvest a greater proportion of GDP on American soil for infrastructure, education, research social welfare there will be little left to defend in a few more decades.

  • Ysocks

    In this plan, is there anything mentioned about National Guard servicemembers no longer leaving the country? Because everytime I tell someone my fiance is going overseas they get a confused look on their face. They say “I thought the National Guard stayed stateside…”

  • John Howard

    The following is an excerpt from Eisenhower’s Farewell Address to the Nation:
    “In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of
    unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the
    military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of
    misplaced power exists and will persist”

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Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

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