The 13-year-old lion was not only a tourist favorite, but also, a research animal. The beloved lion was being studied by the Oxford University Conservation Unit.
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.