New Pentagon strategy recasts military in Obama's image (VIDEO)
The new Pentagon strategy unveiled Thursday is aimed at trimming defense spending. But Obama took the opportunity to overhaul the military's priorities so they match his own.
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The specifics of the new defense strategy he released Thursday will trickle out in coming weeks as the administration lays out its next budget. But its contours bear the president’s imprint to a significant degree, with Defense Secretary Leon Panetta saying Mr. Obama was involved in long and detailed review discussions.
Both in reorienting the Pentagon’s attention toward the Pacific and away from the long and costly boots-on-the-ground invasions that characterized the last decade, Obama has put his stamp on the military. The fact that he, for the first time, delivered such an announcement from the Pentagon itself underscored the message.
Indeed, while the impetus for the review might have been the need to cut Pentagon spending by at least half a trillion dollars, Obama said the strategy is about more than just budgeteering.
“Now, we’re turning the page on a decade of war,” he said.
Iran’s recent saber-rattling and its threats to put a choke hold on the global economy by closing the Strait of Hormuz point to why the strategy has the broader Middle East as one of its two geographical focal points. The other is the Asian Pacific, where the strategy stresses the threat a potentially adversarial China could pose to American interests.
On terrorism, the administration’s enhanced use of unmanned aircraft and special forces – for example, striking at terrorist safe havens in Pakistan – suggests the direction Obama sees the US military taking.
Since taking office, Obama has also emphasized the need for strengthened relations with America’s traditional allies. One reason for that is the administration’s desire to see those allies – and in particular the Europeans – play a larger role in defending their own strategic interests and depending less on American military might. The NATO-led Libya intervention was a template for this Obama defense doctrine.