Obama ending two-war strategy
January 4th, 2012
01:43 PM ET

Obama ending two-war strategy

By Chris Lawrence

The United States should give up the capability to fight two major ground wars simultaneously, according to a Pentagon review that will be presented this week, a U.S. official said Wednesday.

The review will be publicly outlined by President Barack Obama, the White House announced. The president will join Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen Martin Dempsey on Thursday at the Pentagon to discuss the military posture vision.

The official, who was not authorized to speak publicly, said the strategic review presents priorities to guide the military into the future, but "they are proposals, not all of them set in stone."

The review sets forth potentially big changes in U.S. strategy, including, the official said, removing up to 4,000 troops from Europe and downsizing the overall ground forces even further. The 2012 budget request already called for cuts of 27,000 soldiers and 20,000 Marines in the next four years, and those numbers could increase.

The military would not maintain its ability to wage two large conflicts at the same time, such as it did in Iraq and Afghanistan, the official said.

But the United States would still be able to deploy troops and equipment to "deter a second adversary" while engaged in a major ground conflict. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta has said the military needs to be able to respond rapidly to a crisis, even with a smaller budget constrained force.

The official said the report is not expected to call for massive cuts to weapons programs.

The review took eight months, the official said, and builds upon themes from the Quadrennial Defense Review conducted in 2010. That QDR called for greater cooperation between services, particularly the Air Force and Navy.

The official said the Pentagon will put forward a proposal to continue to allow the U.S. military "to conduct long-range strikes and protect its interests and allies around the world."

The review was conducted in light of potential limits on federal spending and the need to reduce the Pentagon's budget.

Currently, the Pentagon is committed to nearly half a trillion dollars in cuts over the next decade and could be on the hook for another half trillion dollars if Congress does not find a way around automatic cuts that enacted after the failure to reach an agreement on the federal budget.

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