President Barack Obama announced the Pentagon’s new defense strategic guidance in a press conference earlier today. Not surprisingly, the strategy outlines some of the compromises and cutbacks that will be required as a result of the budget crunch, which includes more than $450 billion in defense cuts over the next ten years. Despite what many are calling crippling cuts, Obama emphasized that America’s military strength would not be diminished.
“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,” Obama said.
Noting the death of Osama bin Laden and the pull-out of defense forces from Iraq, President Obama said the military will move on to pursue broader challenges in other areas of the world.
While major cuts will mean major changes and certainly challenges for defense contractors, there are emerging or even expanding arenas in defense, including intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, counterterrorism, and cybersecurity, all of which were highlighted as areas of acute interest as the military looks to advance its strategy and adjust its boot print in a post-Cold War, post 9/11 era.
This falls directly in line with the defense and intelligence community’s increasing focus on cyber warfare, drones, and streamlining capabilities. Defense leaders were quick to point out that cuts were not optional, but representative of the financial crisis America is facing.
“But I believe that in every crisis there is opportunity,” said Defense Secretary Leon Panetta. “Out of this crisis, we have the opportunity to end the old ways of doing business and to build a modern force for the 21st century that can win today’s wars and successfully confront any enemy and respond to any threat and any challenge of the future.”