Joined by Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey, President Obama appeared in the Pentagon briefing room Thursday to speak about his plan to carry out deep cuts in the U.S. defense budget. He announced that the United States would be shifting its attention to Asia as it scraps Cold War era programs in Europe, among other changes in priorities. He added, "Our military will be leaner, but the world must know—the United States is going to maintain our military superiority with Armed Forces that are agile, flexible and ready for the full range of contingencies and threats." The new strategy comes after last summer's Budget Control Act mandated $489 billion in cuts over the next 10 years with the failure of the deficit "super committee" to come up with an alternative plan.
According to White House press secretary Jay Carney, the president met with top defense officials six times since September to develop the new strategy, which will also reportedly cut troop numbers by as much as 10 percent. Though Obama did not go into details during briefing, he anticipated criticisms of the plan,
Some will no doubt say the spending reductions are too big; others will say they’re too small. It will be easy to take issue with a particular change. But I would encourage all of us to remember what President Eisenhower once said—that "each proposal must be weighed in the light of a broader consideration: the need to maintain balance in and among national programs." After a decade of war, and as we rebuild the sources of our strength—at home and abroad—it’s time to restore that balance.
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