Guidance Guards Against All Threats
Guidance Guards Against All
Threats, Officials Say
By Lisa Daniel, American Forces Press Service.
Washington D.C. -- (AFPS)
-- January 5, 2012 – New military strategy guidance unveiled at the Pentagon
today does not change the Defense Department’s longstanding commitment to
prevail against any adversary anywhere, top officials said.
President Barack Obama joined Defense Secretary Leon E.
Panetta and Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff,
at a Pentagon briefing to present the 10-year plan titled “Sustaining U.S.
Global Leadership: Priorities for 21st Century Defense.”
The plan drops the wording of a longstanding DOD paradigm for
the military to be capable of fighting and prevailing in two land wars
simultaneously. The new guidance stresses an agile and flexible force capable of
responding to disparate and complicated threats.
“We will be fully prepared to deter and defeat aggression,”
it says. “Even if we are committed to a large-scale operation in one theater, we
will be able to deny an opportunistic adversary the ability to achieve its
objectives in another theater.”
“Make no mistake, we will have the capability to confront and
defeat more than one adversary at a time,” Panetta said at the briefing.
Dempsey said the issue should not be framed as whether the
United States will fight its enemies, but how.
“That two-war paradigm has been a bit of an anchor, frankly,
in trying to help us figure out the future,” he said. “We have to figure out the
how without tying ourselves to paradigms that are residuals of the Cold War.”
The guidance directs the military to be able to conduct
operations “across the full spectrum,” the chairman said. “It’s a matter of
scope, scale, risk, reversibility -- those are issues we continue to work on as
we work on this living document.”
That principle is not new, Panetta and Dempsey said.
“The structure for making defense decisions always has been,
can the United States confront more than one enemy and be able defeat them?”
Panetta said. “That remains the fundamental question: can we confront and defeat
any enemy that confronts us? And the answer to that question, with the joint
force we are creating here, is that we can.
“The nature of warfare today is that as you engage, you have
to look at how you do it, what forces you use, and what exactly is involved,” he
continued. “The reality is we could face a land war in Korea and at the same
time, threats in the Strait of Hormuz. We have the ability with this joint force
to be able to do that -- to confront them and be able to win -- and that’s what
The strategic guidance is the result of a review Obama
requested to guide long-term military budget decisions. With budgets expecting
to decrease by more than $400 billion – or perhaps as much as $1 trillion – over
10 years, administration officials have insisted that the cuts be done
strategically to not “hollow out” the force. Pentagon leaders would not discuss
specific cost-cutting measures, which they said will be revealed when Obama
sends his budget request to Congress in the coming weeks.
Budget cuts will not come at the expense of U.S. strategic
interests, Obama and other leaders said at today’s briefing, naming the Asia-Pacific
region and the Middle East as areas of top importance.
The military will increase its institutional weight and focus
on enhanced presence, power projection, and deterrence in Asia-Pacific, Panetta
said. “This region is growing in importance to the future of the United States’
economy and our national security,” he added, and will require improved U.S.
military technologies and freedom of action.
At the same time, the military will place a premium on
maintaining a presence in the Middle East to deter aggression and support
political progress, Panetta said, as it continues to strengthen partnerships
with key allies around the world.
The military also will continue its commitments to Europe
while adapting and evolving its presence in Europe and continuing to share in
NATO responsibilities, the secretary said.
The military will use “innovative methods” -- including low-cost
and small-scale operations, rotational deployments and exercises -- to maintain
its presence in Latin America, Africa and elsewhere, Panetta said.
Michele Flournoy, undersecretary of defense for policy, said
at a later briefing that the past 10 years of war has necessitated “pioneer
approaches” around the world that will continue with small teams and strategic
foreign military sales, among other things.
“We’re going to stay engaged, we’re going to keep our
relationships and we’re going to keep investing,” she said.
Leon E. Panetta
Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey
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Panetta Speech Video
Panetta Speech Transcript
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