Conflict & Justice

Military budget cuts: Defense Secretary Panetta to introduce revamped defense strategy


Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta speaks to the media at the Pentagon on September 30, 2011, in Arlington, Virginia.


Mark Wilson

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta will present his strategy to help the Pentagon cut billions of dollars from the defense budget this week, The New York Times reported.

The new strategy plan, which is expected to shrink the military, will make it clear that the United States is not in the position to take part in two sustained ground wars at the same time. The strategy is a response to the current fiscal reality the country is facing, and takes into account the deal made last summer that kept the US from defaulting on its debts, The Times reported.

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The review of the nation’s military budget was announced last year by former defense secretary Robert Gates, who said it was important for the public and Congress to fully understand the strategy choices the military faced due to $450 billion in additional reductions through 2021, including about $261 billion through 2017, Bloomberg BusinessWeek reported. There is broad agreement from the left, right and center that the $450 million cut, which is 8 percent of the Pentagon’s base budget, is an acceptable number, The Times reported.

Panetta’s upcoming plan will provide basis for the fiscal year 2013 Defense Department budget. The exact numbers will come later in January as a part of President Barack Obama’s budget and will reflect the second year of a 10-year plan to cut $489 billion from defense spending, the Washington Post reported. Panetta has said a reduction of $1 trillion, or 17 percent of the base budget, would be harmful to national security, The Times reported.

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The plan will also combine the strengths of the US Navy and US Air Force in order to enable long-range strikes, Bloomberg BusinessWeek reported. The Navy will increase funding to develop unmanned submarines and the plan could employ a new generation of bombers, a new cruise missile and drones launched from aircraft carriers.