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Obama unveils his plan for leaner, cheaper military

By Misty - Posted on 05 January 2012

Washington (CNN) -- President Barack Obama traveled to the Pentagon Thursday to unveil his plan for a leaner, cheaper military that will retain the ability to fight terrorism and confront new threats from countries like China and Iran.

"We are determined to maintain a ready and capable force, even as we reduce our overall capacity," the administration said in a summary of its defense priorities released as the president began to speak. "Our global responsibilities are significant; we cannot afford to fail."

The administration singled out China and Iran, pledging to keep sea lanes open and successfully combat missile, electronic, cyber and other threats.

pdf link to 8 page Pentagon Defense Strategic Guidance report:


The Defense Strategic Guidance document is a very interesting read.

  • It mention development of a new stealth bomber, but there seems to be a specific focus on cyber, a less-traditional warfare environment. Which only makes sense;
  • Sounds to me we're going to use standoff weapons from air and sea, e.g. more drone strikes;
  • There's also an indication of troop drawdown in Europe which implies base closures in that theater. Very interesting.

I applaud this move. 


CNN Erin Burnett just had a former five star general and the former head of the Navy on her show. Both said that the President was 100% correct in his decision and it does not weaken US military presence in any way. They said its about fighting smarter.

Interestingly, there are 202,178 (that right 202 thousand) US military assets/bases around the world. Surely it is right we cut some of that back.

The Pentagon is attacking the elephant in the room... The spiralling cost of pay and benefits for troops and their families.

Report from two days ago:

Todd Harrison Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments: What will happen is by the year 2039, the entire defense budget would be consumed by pay and benefits for military personnel and retirees.

In a shift of doctrine driven by fiscal reality and a deal last summer that kept the United States from defaulting on its debts, Mr. Panetta is expected to outline plans for carefully shrinking the military — and in so doing make it clear that the Pentagon will not maintain the ability to fight two sustained ground wars at once/…/

Military benefits and salaries, although politically difficult to cut, are first in the line of sight of many defense budget analysts. Scaling back the Pentagon’s health care and retirement systems and capping raises would yield hundreds of billions of dollars in projected savings over the next decade.

As it stands now, the Pentagon spends $181 billion each year, nearly a third of its base budget, on military personnel costs: $107 billion for salaries and allowances, $50 billion for health care and $24 billion in retirement pay.

One independent analyst, Todd Harrison of the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, a nonpartisan policy and research group in Washington, has calculated that if military personnel costs continue rising at the rate they have over the past decade, and overall Pentagon spending does not increase, by 2039 the entire defense budget would be consumed by personnel costs.


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