Obama unveils army cuts

pmaitra

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Barack Obama sets out plans for leaner military in historic strategy shift

Barack Obama sets out plans for leaner military in historic strategy shift

President says armed forces will move away from large-scale ground warfare and focus more on China in wake of budget cuts
President Barack Obama has unveiled plans for America's military future, outlining a historic shift towards a smaller and leaner force that will focus on China and move away from large-scale ground warfare that has dominated the post-9/11 era.

Obama became the first president to announce a strategy change directly from inside the Pentagon – a theatrical gesture designed to underline the significance of the shift. Mindful of the dangers of displaying any weakness over national security in an election year, Obama said he was determined to maintain US military supremacy around the world, but he admitted that the review involved a move to "smaller conventional ground forces" and the removal of "outdated cold war-era systems".

The immediate incentive for the change in tack, set out in a Pentagon strategy paper, is the fiscal crisis and the Congress-led drive for spending cuts. Currently, the Pentagon is under orders to slash $487bn from the resources it had expected to receive over the next 10 years, and those cuts could rise to close to $1tn if Congress fails to reach agreement on alternative reductions by January next year.

Details of the impact of the cuts on military deployments and systems will gradually be rolled out in upcoming budget announcements. For now, Obama and his main advisers, the defence secretary Leon Panetta and general Martin Dempsey, chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, stuck to the highlights.

Among the casualties of the new-look military will be the two elements of the military that have formed the kernel of American global might over the past decade: the army and the marine corps. But with the Iraq war over and US commanders struggling to draw back from Afghanistan, that emphasis on the long-term massive ground mission is seen as fading as a priority, and both will face reductions in personel likely to involve tens of thousands of troops from the current Army numbers of 570,000.

There will also be a move away from the decades-old mantra of US military planners that America must be capable of fighting two wars at any one time. "The two-war paradigm has been an anchor in the way we think about the future. That paradigm is a residual of the cold war," Dempsey said.

That is likely to be siezed upon by Republicans as evidence that the Obama administration is damaging US capability around the world. Obama anticipated that criticism, saying: "Yes our military will be leaner, but the world must know the United States is going to maintain our military superiority with armed forces that are agile, flexible and ready for the full range of contingencies and threats."

For good measure, he added that the defence budget would continue to be larger than it was at the end of George Bush's term, and larger than the military spending of the next 10 countries put together.

"Make no mistake, we will have the capability to defeat more than one force at any time," Panetta concurred.

The dream of a modern military based on speed and stealth rather than overwhelming ground force has long been desired by military strategists. Donald Rumsfeld made a move towards it in the opening months of the Bush era, but was thrown off course by the 9/11 attacks and the angry US reaction to them in Afghanistan and then Iraq.

Now the Pentagon hopes to get back on that track, with new strategic goals and ambitions. Top of that list, the review has concluded, will be the emerging powers of the Asia-Pacific region amid mounting Pentagon concern about China's growing naval power and investment in high-tech weaponry.

"All trends are shifting to the Pacific. Our strategic challenges will largely emanate out of the Pacific region," Dempsey said.
In terms of the fighting force itself, the increasing reliance on technological warfare is certain to be extended, with the unmanned drone as its centrepiece. Critics on the left are likely to focus on that aspect as evidence of the Obama administration's disrespect for international law and civilian lives.

Panetta said: "As we reduce the overall defence budget, we will protect and in some cases increase our investments in special operations forces, new technologies like unmanned systems, space and in particular cyberspace capabilities and in the capacity to quickly mobilise."

Panetta and Dempsey both recognised that cuts in the strength of US troops would carry security risks. But they said the risks were preferable to doing nothing.

Panetta issued a clear and yet unspoken challenge to the Republican majority in the House of Representatives that has led resistance to the administration's budget plans. He said that if Congress continued along its path towards a further $500bn in defence cuts in January, the country's national security would be in jeopardy and there would be demoralisation within what he called a "hollowed" military force.

Official Document: http://www.defense.gov/news/Defense_Strategic_Guidance.pdf

Source and Video: Barack Obama sets out plans for leaner military in historic strategy shift | World news | guardian.co.uk
 

Minh

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Top of that list, the review has concluded, will be the emerging powers of the Asia-Pacific region amid mounting Pentagon concern about China's growing naval power and investment in high-tech weaponry.

"All trends are shifting to the Pacific. Our strategic challenges will largely emanate out of the Pacific region," Dempsey said.

Untill US actually have a fleet in SEA, this is just more of political talk,talk and talk some more.
 

pankaj nema

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All such plans will be lost in the SYSTEM or more specifically the PENTAGON bureaucracy

If ANYONE thinks that the Military Industrial Complex of the mighty USA
will take such plans lying down he should get a brain scan done
 

pmaitra

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Top of that list, the review has concluded, will be the emerging powers of the Asia-Pacific region amid mounting Pentagon concern about China's growing naval power and investment in high-tech weaponry.

"All trends are shifting to the Pacific. Our strategic challenges will largely emanate out of the Pacific region," Dempsey said.

Untill US actually have a fleet in SEA, this is just more of political talk,talk and talk some more.
Perhaps an attempt to wean away some of the warmongers ahead of the elections?
 

Minh

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Perhaps an attempt to wean away some of the warmongers ahead of the elections?
Yes,of course i think this president is one the best at foriegn relations president. He did said he's a pacific president?:). People see him as weak on China and foriegn policies. But good speech at Austrialia though:)
 

Ray

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[h=1]Obama unveils army cuts
- Strategy embraces smaller military, no grinding wars [/h]
Washington, Jan. 5: President Obama outlined a broad new military strategy for the US today, one that refocuses the armed forces on threats in Asia and the Pacific region, continues a strong presence in West Asia but makes clear that American ground forces will no longer be large enough to conduct prolonged, large-scale counterinsurgency campaigns like those in Iraq and Afghanistan.

In an unusual appearance in the Pentagon briefing room, Obama put his mark on a military strategy that moves away from the grinding wars he inherited from the Bush administration and relies more on naval and air power in the Pacific and the Strait of Hormuz as a counterbalance to China and Iran.

Obama's strategy embraces hundreds of billions of dollars in cuts to the military, making it an awkward codicil to the uneasy relationship he has shared with the military since his first days in office.

In a letter accompanying the new strategy, the President wrote: "We must put our fiscal house in order here at home and renew our long-term economic strength."

But in an election year when he has been under assault from Republican presidential candidates for cutting the military budget and for what they say is his weak response to Iranian threats, Obama also said that the US would "avoid repeating the mistakes of the past when our military was left ill-prepared for the future".

To that end, the President wrote, his administration will continue to invest in counterterrorism, intelligence gathering, cyberwarfare and countering the proliferation of nuclear weapons.

Obama arrived at the Pentagon early today to describe the new strategy with his defence secretary, Leon E. Panetta, and with Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Officials said it was the first time in history that a President had held a news conference at the Pentagon. "Now, we're turning the page on a decade of war," Obama said in his prepared remarks.

He said the country needed to remain prepared. "We cannot afford to repeat the mistakes of the past—after World War II, after Vietnam—when our military was left ill-prepared for the future," he said. "So, yes, our military will be leaner, but the world must know — the United States is going to maintain our military superiority."​
Panetta has concluded that the army has to shrink even below current targets, dropping to 490,000 soldiers over the next decade, but that the US should not cut any of its 11 aircraft carriers, according to Pentagon officials and military analysts briefed on the secretary's budget proposals.

The new military strategy is driven by at least $450 billion in Pentagon budget cuts over the next decade. An additional $500 billion in cuts could be ordered if Congress follows through on plans for deeper reductions. As part of the new reality, Panetta is expected to propose cuts in coming weeks to next-generation weapons, including delays in purchases of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter jet.

Delaying the F-35 would leave its factories open, giving the manufacturer, Lockheed Martin, a chance to work out continuing problems in developing the plane while freeing up money that otherwise would be devoted to buying it in the next year or two.

In the past few days, senior aides to both Panetta and Gen. Dempsey said few specific details on Pentagon budget cuts would be released before the final budget proposal is finished later this month. But a number of Pentagon officials, military officers and military budget specialists briefed on Panetta's plans discussed specific programmes on the chopping block on the condition of anonymity.

The defence secretary has made clear that troop reductions should be carried out carefully, and over several years, so that combat veterans are not flooding into a tough employment market and military families do not feel that the government is breaking trust after a decade of sacrifice, officials said.
Obama unveils army cuts
It appears that given the US fiscal position, there is a need to cut out unproductive expenses.

But is cutting the Army's share of the pie wise?

Apparently, the US appears to believe that issues of the Middle East and Afghanistan is as good as over and instead issues around the Pacific is getting to be problematic.

How far is this thinking correct?

What will be the effect on the elections?
 

Armand2REP

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He didn't reveal any cuts, just that there would be.
 

HeinzGud

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It appears that given the US fiscal position, there is a need to cut out unproductive expenses.

But is cutting the Army's share of the pie wise?

Apparently, the US appears to believe that issues of the Middle East and Afghanistan is as good as over and instead issues around the Pacific is getting to be problematic.

How far is this thinking correct?

What will be the effect on the elections?
Well for the current economical climate in US and in EU cuts in military should be expected for sure. Typically US administration would try to cut some Naval expenditures like Carrier battle groups which becoming increasingly expensive to maintain and obsolete in some areas like the Atlantic command. Cuts in ground forces are also predictable but cuts in Air Force wouldn't happen as for the current trend in Defense thinking of Aerial warfare.

For the US middle east now getting less burdensome due to the fact US ambitions in ME are almost complete militarily and politically. However if they need they have some fail safe mechanism like Israel to balance the ME.

However US force deployment in Pacific has to be increased due to the fact the rising military mights in those areas. In Pacific US have far larger burdens that they cannot ignore like Japan, South Korea and Taiwan. Therefore increase in manpower and military power is likely in Pacific.
 

Ray

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US has merely shifted troops from Iraq to Kuwait.

It is not cutting the naval assets or is it?

The US is shifting its focus towards China and the Pacific and the Navy alone can have some effective influence.
 

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