Panetta: Military Will
Be Smaller, More Agile, Deployable
January 16, 2012
To accomplish the new mission sets
for the 21st century, the United States needs a smaller, quicker, more
agile military, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said today.
That is the basis behind the recently released strategy review that will
set the stage for the fiscal 2013 Defense Department budget request.
“Our budget is, basically, designed to reinforce the new missions we are
talking about and that agile, deployable and ready force that has to
move quickly,” Panetta said during an interview on his way to Fort
Force structure will come down in the years to come, the secretary said,
but the military will continue to be able to engage in the full range of
conflicts even with spending $487 billion less over the next 10 years.
The Army will get smaller, but the reduction will be slow and balanced
as recommended by Army Chief of Staff Gen. Raymond T. Odierno, Panetta
The way the force will be used will change under the strategy, the
secretary said. While there will remain forces in Asia and the Middle
East – two areas of particular focus for the United States – other areas
will not be uncovered. Rotational forces – the way Army Special Forces
currently deploy – will expand to conventional forces. The rotational
deployments mean the military “will be in a position to cover not only
the area that will be a primary focus … but we will be able to cover the
world,” he said.
new air-sea battle doctrine will allow the military to handle more than
one conflict at a time. “The example I’ve used is if we are in a land
war in Korea and Iran does something in the Strait of Hormuz – to go
after that and to deal with that threat is largely going to be the
responsibility of the Air Force and Navy,” Panetta said. “Same if we are
in Afghanistan and something breaks out in the Taiwan Straits or the
South China Sea, … confronting that would largely be a naval and air
The secretary is adamant that the budget will not be reduced on the
backs of service members. He specified there will be no changes to
military retirement for those serving today.
“We are going to design the requirements for any commission that looks
at retirement,” he said. “One of the requirements is that those already
serving are fully grandfathered.”