Even With Cuts, Military Will Remain Capable, Official Says

WASHINGTON, Jan. 6, 2012 — Defense Depart­ment offi­cials will use the mil­i­tary strat­e­gy guid­ance that Pres­i­dent Barack Oba­ma announced yes­ter­day to tie num­bers to the department’s fis­cal 2013 bud­get request, Pen­ta­gon Press Sec­re­tary George Lit­tle said today.

The bud­get request is expect­ed to be deliv­ered to Capi­tol Hill in ear­ly Feb­ru­ary.

Offi­cials will use the strat­e­gy review to set fund­ing lev­els and pri­or­i­ties as the depart­ment seeks to trim $487 bil­lion through fis­cal 2022, Lit­tle said.

In a meet­ing with reporters, Lit­tle cor­rect­ed what he said was a mis­per­cep­tion in media cov­er­age that the strat­e­gy guid­ance means the U.S. mil­i­tary will be able to han­dle only one war going for­ward.

“The doc­u­ment did not say that we are going down to fight one war,” he said. “What the doc­u­ment said was that we are pre­pared to address a full spec­trum of threats. This coun­try is poised to take on more than one nation­al secu­ri­ty chal­lenge at a time.”

The mil­i­tary will be pos­tured to defeat aggres­sion and take on chal­lenges from oth­er coun­tries and non­state actors, he added.

“That is an invi­o­lable prin­ci­ple on the way ahead on our defense strat­e­gy,” Lit­tle said. “It is sim­ply wrong to sug­gest that we are going back to some one-war con­struct – if that ever exist­ed.”

Being able to fight two wars has been an impor­tant pil­lar in mil­i­tary doc­trine, Lit­tle said. Still, the nation must adapt as the threats change and the secu­ri­ty land­scape has changed.

“We have threats that can come from nation states, we have threats that can come from non­state actors like al-Qai­da,” he said. “We have to be flex­i­ble enough and adapt­able enough to address con­tin­gen­cies that arise from any of those sources.

“Let me be very clear,” he con­tin­ued. “If we take on more than one threat from a state or non­state actor, we will be pre­pared to address those threats, and we will win.”

Not every­thing the Defense Depart­ment has done has been tied to a two-war strat­e­gy, Lit­tle not­ed.

“We are pre­pared today to deal with var­i­ous con­tin­gen­cies,” he explained. “There may be new prob­lems that might arise, and new domains. We are think­ing ahead, and that is the prop­er thing to do.

“No one should leave this room think­ing that we will only be able to fight one war at a time,” he con­tin­ued. “That is not what the strate­gic guid­ance out­lines.”

U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs)

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