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DoD reviewing strategy in wake of budget cuts

Mar. 18, 2013 - 05:21PM   |  
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WASHINGTON — The Pentagon has launched a new military strategy review that will examine how planned U.S. defense spending reductions will impact future Defense Department operations.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel put Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton Carter and Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, in charge of the review, which will “examine the choices that underlie the Department of Defense’s strategy, force posture, investments, and institutional management — including all past assumptions, systems, and practices,” Pentagon Press Secretary George Little said in a statement.

The announcement of the new strategy review comes a little more than a year after the Obama administration unveiled a sweeping military strategy that called for placing a greater emphasis on the Asia-Pacific region.

Unveiled by President Barack Obama himself during an unprecedented briefing at the Pentagon in January 2012, the so-called strategic guidance was supposed to be DoD’s foundation for the next decade.

But since then DoD has been hit with sweeping budget cuts, most recently a $46 billion in 2013 that kicked in on March 1. A total of $500 billion in defense spending reductions are looming if current law is not modified by Congress.

Defense officials have warned that any significant spending cuts would impact DoD’s ability to carry our its existing strategy.

“As I stand here today, I don’t yet know whether, or if, or how much our defense strategy will change, but I predict it will” Dempsey said at a Monday event at the Center for Strategic and International Studies think tank.

“We’ll need to re-look at our assumptions and we’ll need to adjust our ambitions to match our abilities,” he said. “That means doing less, but not doing less-well.”

The new review will look at how that strategy will be impacted.

“This Strategic Choices and Management Review will define the major decisions that must be made in the decade ahead to preserve and adapt our defense strategy, our force, and our institutions under a range of future budgetary scenarios,” Little said on Monday. “The review will take the 2011 Defense Strategic Guidance as the point of departure, and it will examine whether the assumptions made in that strategy are still applicable.”

The review’s findings — expected by May 31 — will “frame the Secretary’s guidance for the Fiscal Year 2015 budget and will ultimately be the foundation for the Quadrennial Defense Review due to Congress in February 2014,” Little said.

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