Panetta readies military's future
December 23rd, 2011
11:48 AM ET

Panetta readies military's future

By Barbara Starr

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta is days away from unveiling the long awaited strategic review of the future of military forces, its global role and missions in early January, a senior Pentagon official tells CNN.  The strategy is expected to be the fundamental blueprint for the future of the US military over the next decade.

The so-called “comprehensive strategic review” is nearly done and scheduled to be made public by Panetta according to the official with direct knowledge of the review. He declined to be identified until the review is made public.

The review, which was ordered by the previous defense secretary, Robert Gates, will provide a policy road map for the military and become a guide for where the planned more than $450 billion in budget cuts could be made, the official said.

“This will review the kinds of capabilities the military needs going forward,” he said. “It’s going to provide the overarching strategic guidance.”

The report will review current military missions and capabilities and recommend on a broad level which ones should continue, which can be discontinued, and where new areas of military emphasis may be undertaken. It comes against as the Pentagon increasingly emphasizes 21st century capabilities like cyber-warfare  and decreases emphasis on more traditional large scale land warfare.

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has spoken recently about the need for the military to be able to respond rapidly to a crisis, even with a smaller budget constrained force.

“We’re going to be developing a smaller, lighter, more agile, flexible joint force that has to conduct a full range of military activities that are necessary to defend our national interests,” Panetta told the New York Times last month. “So even though they’re going to be smaller and lighter, we’ve got to make sure they always maintain a technological edge.”

Observers will be watching closely to see what the report says about the traditional military goal to be able to conduct two regional contingency operations. Even with the end of the Iraq war, and the expected downsizing in Afghanistan, the threats posed by Iran and North Korea still may play heavily in any Pentagon decision making.

The official emphasized the report won’t be a shopping list of future military roles and missions, but rather a broad look at what is needed for the future.

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  23. Sayan Majumdar

    It is important for United States to cooperate with robust regional allies in every continent, no longer she is able to deal with diverse threats (both from State and sub-State actors) across the Globe on her own.


    December 27, 2011 at 8:47 am | Reply
  24. John

    China's economy will surpass the U.S. economy by the end of 2012. Also, anyone in the service that openly opposes the maintenance of military benefits is honestly an open scumbag. For those who haven't served, volunteer to get shot at in a 3rd-world country, where you see your buddy's limbs blown off, while you're away from your wife and kids for 8 to 12 months, and then let our country know how you feel about supporting military benefits.

    December 27, 2011 at 6:49 am | Reply
    • Sayan Majumdar

      Relax, nearly 27-percent of Chinese GDP has found itself in internal debt, mostly irrecoverable, results of “unplanned” growth.


      December 27, 2011 at 8:51 am | Reply
    • Joe

      Those people volunteer. Some people might want to go while others don't believe in war at all. The fact to the matter is, I don't believe you have respect in other people's opinions... "volunteer to get shot at in a 3rd-world country, where you see your buddy's limbs blown off, while you're away from your wife and kids for 8 to 12 months, and then let our country know how you feel about supporting military benefits." Did anyone tell that soldier to go to the army for benefits? You don't only go for your own personal desires. You go for honor, duty and service to the United States of America! Sure, America does "support military benefits," but you got to think "does the government, which hasn't got a surplus in a couple of decades, have the money to do all those wonderful things?" I think not, considering the fact that the government is in a 14+ trillion debt crisis right now. Now I'm not saying that that American soldiers go to the army only for benefits, but how can the government that has no money give those benefits? Loan more or Tax more? The government can't do either.

      January 5, 2012 at 8:11 pm | Reply
  25. bob

    I think we should shut the Air Force down for one year.

    December 26, 2011 at 11:15 pm | Reply
  26. jerry

    I dont trust this old clinton leftist...thats ok, the new present will clean up this mess. We ned to kick this CARPET BAGGING president and his mob to the curb and get some adult supervision in office.

    December 25, 2011 at 12:54 pm | Reply
  27. Jacob

    The US military should still have the capability to prosecute and win a traditional war against another industrialized nation, like China. Yes the battlefield is changing and we're fighting terrorists now but we should still always be able to fight another industrialized country and win.

    December 25, 2011 at 12:30 pm | Reply
    • 2011cnn2011

      We need to start winning at peace not war. We need to take care of our own and let the world take care of their own...

      December 25, 2011 at 12:34 pm | Reply
  28. eric mills

    Chris Hedges had this to say, in his 2009 Pulitzer Prize-winning book, EMPIRE OF ILLUSION: THE END OF LITERACY AND THE TRIUMPH OF SPECTACLE:

    "War and rampant militarism–we now have 761 military bases we maintain around the globe–drains the lifeblood out of the body politic."

    Recommended reading. Plus his recent THE WORLD AS IT IS: DISPATCHES ON THE MYTH OF HUMAN PROGRESS, a provocative collection of his Truthdig essays.

    December 24, 2011 at 3:48 pm | Reply
  29. jerry

    this is another Clinton leftist...I don't trust him...period.

    December 24, 2011 at 1:12 pm | Reply
    • James

      Yea, one of those peace hippies and his Iran, miidle east, pakistan threats ... 171 military bases ... New missile base in Romania ... What a pussy liberal!

      December 25, 2011 at 8:04 am | Reply
      • jerry

        they retreated from idiot... backed off by Putin.

        December 25, 2011 at 1:06 pm |
  30. idiots

    You can reallly see how smart someone is by reading some of these comments. anyone that thinks donald rumsfield and the bush's attacked our own country is just short of a idiot. buy a comic book and go read about narnia since you live in a fake world. and as far as the gop in bed with israel..... whats so bad about being allies with the strongest country out there in the middle east.. whats wrong with protecting them from the same people that attack us? and by the way.....whats so bad about the patriot act?have 3000 americans die on obama's watch like bush and see what whack job policy he and his adminstration would come up with! the goverment can listen to my phone conversation anytime they want! i dont plan on straping any bombs onto myself and head to times sqaure. its a new age of war people.....

    December 24, 2011 at 8:21 am | Reply
    • jerry

      you know the real stupid electorate bought the systematic destruction of President Bush. I'm old enough to remember how the left and media treated Regan and look at how history is treating him now. Many Americans just can't think for themselves, have very little knowledge of history, and don't study the issues. Hopefully the clear thinking nonpartisan voter will pull us through this mess as they have in the past.

      December 24, 2011 at 1:16 pm | Reply
  31. m

    In other words, the report will be so vague as to make any sense of where the military is headed impossible to discern.

    December 24, 2011 at 2:52 am | Reply
  32. VRage13

    Good luck sir. Remember, your liberal socialist boss will do everything he can to steal from the military, reneg on what was promised to the miltary, just to give it to others in an order to buy votes so he can remain in power. We, the 1% of Ammericans that protect the 99% have earned our promised retirement packages. Don't sacrifice a penny of our earned retirement. Our retirement is NOT an entitlement. We worked for it protecting America and now America needs to honor that agreement. We are told to keep faith in America, is up to you to give us a reason to keep that faith that America will do what is right and keep her promises to those who protected the masses.

    December 23, 2011 at 8:42 pm | Reply
    • m

      You volunteered and were paid for your service. Everyone knows the military has an insatiable need for more money regardless of how well it's spent. It is criminal that a department of that size is incapable of performing a financial audit. Until that is done, the military should be kept on a very short lease.

      December 24, 2011 at 2:57 am | Reply
      • VRage13

        So you feel that the military members, the true 1% that risked thier lifes to do what was asked of them in order to protect the 99%, should not expect the 99% or the gov't to honor the committment made to us despite the fact we served honorably and faithfully sacrificing greatly to fulfill our committment to you. Is that what you are saying? I have no problem with outsiders conducting audits, I have been through many as a stewart of the US citizens money. When I enlisted in 1986 we were promised free healthcare for life for us and our families. Yet while on active duty I pay health and dental insurance. When I retire it gets worse. I have to pay social security but I am not allowed to collect it, even in retirement. So how much more do you want the true 1%-ers to sacrifice? All I am asking for is that the gov't honor 100% of its committment to me just as I have to it. You can sue your employer if they defualt on thier committment, I can. So I have to rely on the SecDef and the truly grateful Americans to help keep this at the forefront of every budget and planning talks.

        December 24, 2011 at 8:23 pm |
  33. KeithinAustin

    Good luck Leon! Your Boss and his legion of Liberal minions will do everything possible to gut Military spending to pay for entitlements in return for votes.

    December 23, 2011 at 7:45 pm | Reply
  34. Catmandew

    Africa we been helpin everyone else in da world why not them too! Then they will stab us in da back like everyone else da Mexicans Canadiens Chinese Japanese! Why we need big military!

    December 23, 2011 at 7:41 pm | Reply
  35. International_Bro (GA)

    As a member of the US Navy I must say that even though my career is def on the chopping block along with thousands others in the service, this is is much needed policy. Although I've seen a number of good people sent home I've also seen a lot of dirt bags sent packing. With any fundamental change there will be casualties but I'm willing to sacrifice and do my part to bring certainty back to our country and confidence in our democracy. USA!!!

    December 23, 2011 at 7:39 pm | Reply
    • HVGC

      I second this, as a memeber of the USMC and i have the MOST job security if you can put two and two together, i agree with Bro. The Marines are supposed to be an "elite" thin fighting force but in recent years has turned into a circus. i am glad we will be going from 202,000 to around 160,000. Some great men will be finding a new life but the vast majority are useless slobs degrading our profession.

      December 23, 2011 at 10:14 pm | Reply
  36. Catmandew

    Y`all are really takin this muslim thing too far! They are a bunch of cowards we need to build up our military to be sure we can wipe them off the planet!

    December 23, 2011 at 7:33 pm | Reply
  37. Andrew Hall

    I can still never figure Panetta out. On the one hand, he's a Knight of Malta and is often accused of complicity in secret societies. On the other hand – he literally went on record as saying "America's enemies are defined by extremism, not faith" – as good as saying "Islam is not the enemy" and indicating a very clean break from the Bush-era corruption in the Project For The New American Century that bombed America on 9/11 just to start a new Crusade against Islam. And he's ACTUALLY WILLING to start looking at how to make Defense cuts to help return America to a balanced budget.

    All I can say is – compared to Rumsfeld, the man is looking damn near a hero – Knight of Malta or not. I truly hope that he will be allowed to undo the horrendous damage that Donald Rumsfeld, both George Bushes, and the rest of the PNAC did to this country when they had our military attack our own country on the most evil day in recent American history – September 11, 2001.

    December 23, 2011 at 6:02 pm | Reply
  38. Jason

    Because even Satan's minions know that a nuclear and military ability to destroy the planet and it's people 900 times is a little bit dumb.

    December 23, 2011 at 4:36 pm | Reply
  39. Cassandra Chu

    ... stop fighting Israel's wars and start focusing on America. Somehow the AIPAC got in bed with the GOP and the Military Complex and spent all of our money. The anti-Arab anti-Muslim racism has become disgusting. These wars are about Christians killing Muslims because of Jews.

    December 23, 2011 at 4:34 pm | Reply
  40. jeffro

    China will be content for the next 10 years selling American consumers cheap electronincs, lending money to the U.S government, and manipulating it's currency.

    December 23, 2011 at 3:34 pm | Reply
  41. First

    In before Chinese propagandists pose as Americans and try to talk us out of a) having a military, b) exaggerate China's capabilities, and c) try to make us seem like the bad guy for standing up to them.

    December 23, 2011 at 1:27 pm | Reply
    • Leo from Boston

      Why is it always China that gets spoken of as an opposition to the US militarily? I think in the near future you'll see us more involved in Africa then in China..

      December 23, 2011 at 2:01 pm | Reply
    • Cassandra Chu

      ... America is going to go downhill and fall, just like the Roman Empire. We're trying to Police the World and are becoming a Police State here at home via unnecessary Homeland Security and so-called Patriot Acts. While Obama licks Netanyahu's boots, China will surpass the U.S. economically...

      December 23, 2011 at 4:38 pm | Reply

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