Military Will Remain Ready, Capable Force, Budget Official Says

ARLINGTON, Va., Feb. 15, 2012 — The strat­e­gy-based bud­get pro­pos­al sent to Con­gress ear­li­er this week will help to main­tain the world’s finest fight­ing force capa­ble of defeat­ing any adver­sary, the Pentagon’s top bud­get offi­cial said yes­ter­day.

“This is a bud­get plan that is based on a strat­e­gy,” said Robert F. Hale, the Defense Department’s comp­trol­ler. “It’s a pack­age … that we think is knit­ted togeth­er to pro­vide a mil­i­tary that can quick­ly con­front and defeat any adver­sary any time, any­where.”

Speak­ing at Avi­a­tion Week’s Defense Tech­nol­o­gy and Afford­abil­i­ty Require­ments Con­fer­ence here, Hale said the Pentagon’s fis­cal 2013 bud­get request pro­pos­es changes to man­ning, force struc­ture and infra­struc­ture for a lean­er and respon­sive mil­i­tary.

“We hope that Con­gress, as they debate it, will debate it as a whole,” he said.

Hale stressed that the bud­get request makes more dis­ci­plined use of defense resources.

“We rec­og­nized we’re going to have to reduce forces and cut back on our invest­ments, and we’re going to do that based on a strat­e­gy — not just across the board,” he said. “There are sev­er­al goals to that strat­e­gy. We know we have to have a lean­er force, we know it has to be small­er, but we want it to be agile [and] ready in a peri­od of sig­nif­i­cant threat.”

Hale not­ed the Defense Depart­ment will look to rebal­ance its glob­al pos­ture to the Asia-Pacif­ic region and toward the Mid­dle East while main­tain­ing a world­wide pres­ence and strength­en­ing rela­tion­ships with part­ners and allies.

“If we have to fight, we’ll fight with part­ners,” he said. “We know that, so we need to strength­en our alliances.”

The bud­get request gives a high pri­or­i­ty to some invest­ments in the future force and cuts back on oth­er pre­vi­ous­ly pro­ject­ed invest­ments, giv­en the real­i­ty of sig­nif­i­cant reduc­tions in defense spend­ing over the next decade, Hale said.

The Pentagon’s chief finan­cial offi­cer not­ed Defense Sec­re­tary Leon E. Panetta’s pledge that he would not break faith with the men and women serv­ing in the mil­i­tary and that he would ensure they are the finest fight­ing force in the world.

“Over­all, we want to do what Sec­re­tary Panet­ta says is a main com­mit­ment of his — we sup­port a mil­i­tary that can quick­ly con­front and defeat aggres­sion from any adver­sary, any time, any­where,” Hale said.

Sig­nif­i­cant reduc­tions in man­ning, par­tic­u­lar­ly in the Army and Marine Corps, will be spread over the next five years, Hale said.

“If you’re going to make cuts of this mag­ni­tude, we’ll have to dis­es­tab­lish units,” he added. “We made force struc­ture reduc­tions that will save in oper­at­ing costs, per­son­nel costs, and some direct­ly relat­ed invest­ments, about $50 bil­lion over the Future Years Defense Pro­gram.”

As the mil­i­tary shrinks in num­bers and units, Hale said, it also needs to con­sol­i­date its infra­struc­ture. The Defense Depart­ment has asked Con­gress for two rounds of base realign­ment and clo­sure author­i­ty in 2013 and 2015, Hale said.

Hale empha­sized the goal of the bud­get pro­pos­al is a force that’s pre­pared to answer the nation’s call despite a new fis­cal real­i­ty.

“We want this force not to just be lean­er and small­er, but also agile and ready,” he said.

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