Obama: Defense Strategy Will
Maintain U.S. Military Pre-eminence
By Jim Garamone, American Forces
Washington D.C. -- (AFPS)
-- January 5, 2012 – President Barack Obama today announced a defense strategy
he said will allow the military to defend the United States and its national
interests while cutting military spending in a responsible, balanced manner.
President Barack Obama briefs the press on a new defense
strategy as Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta and Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey,
chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, prepare to offer remarks at the Pentagon,
Jan. 5, 2012. Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter, members of the Joint
Staff and service secretaries participated in the briefing.
DOD photo by Erin A. Kirk-Cuomo
The president spoke about the conclusions of the defense
strategy guidance at the Pentagon briefing room today.
The strategy guidance's bottom line is that the United States
armed forces will remain the pre-eminent military force in the world, the
president said in a letter attached to the review.
White House and Pentagon planners will use the strategy to
fund the budget Obama will submit to Congress in February. The strategy will
lead to more than $450 billion in defense cuts over the next 10 years.
“As commander in chief, I am determined that we meet the
challenges of this moment responsibly and that we emerge even stronger in a
manner that preserves American global leadership, maintains our military
superiority and keeps faith with our troops, military families and veterans,”
The president stressed that this is a moment of transition
for the military; after 10 years of war, he said, now is the time to make these
changes. He pointed to successes against al-Qaida -- including killing Osama bin
Laden -- as well as the withdrawal from Iraq and the beginning of the turnover
of areas in Afghanistan to Afghan control as signs that the sacrifices American
soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, Coast Guardsmen and civilians are having an
As the conflicts end, the U.S. military will regroup and
focus on broader challenges, especially as they pertain to the Asia-Pacific
region, the president said. Obama had vowed to shift the focus during a trip to
the region last year.
The United States also will work to maintain progress in the
Middle East, Central Asia and North Africa. “We are supporting political and
economic reform and deepening partnership as to ensure regional security,” he
The strategy is not limited to the Defense Department, Obama
said. All aspects of the U.S. government must work together, he explained,
including diplomacy, development, homeland security and intelligence.
The president vowed to avoid mistakes made in downsizing the
military after past wars, such as the “hollow force” of the late 1970s and early
1980s that followed the Vietnam War. “We will ensure that our military is agile,
flexible and ready for the full range of contingencies,” Obama said.
The United States will continue to invest in capabilities to
combat the full-range of threats, the president said. He specifically mentioned
investing in intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance programs and
counterterrorism capabilities, combating anti-access technologies, countering
weapons of mass destruction and prevailing in all domains, including the cyber
“Most importantly, we will keep faith with our troops,
military families and veterans who have borne the burden of a decade of war and
who make our military the best in the world,” the president said. While the
military must make tough fiscal choices, Obama said, funding will continue to
focus on wounded warriors, mental health programs and families.
Obama Remarks Video
Panetta Speech Video
Panetta Speech Transcript
Defense Strategic Guidance
Photo Essay: Obama, Panetta, DOD Leaders Hold Briefing On New Defense Strategy
Transcript: Defense Strategic Guidance Media Roundtable at the Pentagon
Transcript: Obama's Remarks