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George Little, DOD: Even With Cuts, Military Will Remain Capable

January 09, 2012

Defense Department officials will use the military strategy guidance that President Barack Obama announced yesterday to tie numbers to the department’s fiscal 2013 budget request, Pentagon Press Secretary George Little said.

The budget request is expected to be delivered to Capitol Hill in early February.

Officials will use the strategy review to set funding levels and priorities as the department seeks to trim $487 billion through fiscal 2022, Little said.

In a meeting with reporters, Little corrected what he said was a misperception in media coverage that the strategy guidance means the U.S. military will be able to handle only one war going forward.

“The document did not say that we are going down to fight one war,” he said. “What the document said was that we are prepared to address a full spectrum of threats. This country is poised to take on more than one national security challenge at a time.”

The military will be postured to defeat aggression and take on challenges from other countries and nonstate actors, he added.

“That is an inviolable principle on the way ahead on our defense strategy,” Little said. “It is simply wrong to suggest that we are going back to some one-war construct – if that ever existed.”

Being able to fight two wars has been an important pillar in military doctrine, Little said. Still, the nation must adapt as the threats change and the security landscape has changed.

“We have threats that can come from nation states, we have threats that can come from nonstate actors like al-Qaida,” he said. “We have to be flexible enough and adaptable enough to address contingencies that arise from any of those sources.

“Let me be very clear,” he continued. “If we take on more than one threat from a state or nonstate actor, we will be prepared to address those threats, and we will win.”

Not everything the Defense Department has done has been tied to a two-war strategy, Little noted.

“We are prepared today to deal with various contingencies,” he explained. “There may be new problems that might arise, and new domains. We are thinking ahead, and that is the proper thing to do.

“No one should leave this room thinking that we will only be able to fight one war at a time,” he continued. “That is not what the strategic guidance outlines.”

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