President Obama joined Defense Secretary Leon Panetta at the Pentagon on January 5 to announce a revised national security strategy, responding in part to budget cuts imposed on the Pentagon last year.
The overall defense budget is now $662 billion, but $489 billion in cuts over the next 10 years have already been approved by Congress. Another $500 billion in cuts may be implemented starting in 2013 if Congress does not adopt other measures to reduce the deficit.
The new plan will move the U.S. further from being able to fight two major wars at the same time, like the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan or a possible conflict with North Korea. However, analysts suggest that the United States already falls well short of that goal, as was demonstrated when forces were diverted from Afghanistan during the conflict in Iraq.
The strategy envisions a “rebalancing” of forces away from Europe and toward the Asia-Pacific region, where China is seen as a rising, and possibly hostile, power. The document recommits the U.S. to its Asian allies, particularly India. Commitments to the Middle East and Israel are maintained.
The new strategy also places an increased emphasis on cyberwarfare, special operations forces, stealth technology, and counter terrorism.