The Pentagon, Secretary of State Leon Panetta, and President Barack Obama have announced plans for the future of our military, which are unavoidable and reasonable long term.
The philosophy behind the defense plans is that present costs for military spending, and trying to have the capability for involvement in two major wars at the same time, is unsustainable in the present economic climate.
Instead, involvement in one major war, with ability to send troops to a second theater of war, with eventual commitment of some troops from the first theater of war over time, is the best that America can do.
Also, the goal is to face the reality that future military personnel cannot have the same expenditures on families, health care costs, salaries, and pensions, as those costs now are beginning to become a financial burden on the American treasury.
Also, the major focus will be on the area of Asia and the Pacific, rather than the Middle East, where so much effort has been concentrated . The thought is that China, North Korea, and Pakistan are the major challenges for the long term future, and should be given the focus of our attention, without forgetting about Iran.
The one way not mentioned to change this reality is to start heavier taxation, particularly of the wealthy, as cutting of entitlements, such as Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid is not acceptable in any major fashion. We will have tp pay as we go if we want everything to be what everyone wants, but right now, that is not possible, so we need to concentrate on where it is felt the major challenges are in the future.
We must also face a more restrained use of military force in general, and more modest foreign policy goals, and deal with the internal problems this nation faces.
Conventional forces will be de-emphasized in favor of counter terrorist actions and “irregular” warfare, and greater investment in long range stealth bombers and anti missile systems.
Fighting regional wars, as in Iraq and Afghanistan, will be no longer a goal of the military, causing long periods of commitment and wearing down the budget costs.
The goal is to cut defense spending by $480 billion over the next decade, but if Congress fights over it, automatic cuts could rise to $1 trillion!
Special Forces troops, elite counter terrorist troops, and armed drones are the future of the military, with a decline in conventional ground forces.
The Army and Marine Corps would decline in numbers, and fewer troops would be stationed in Europe, in order to allow greater deployment into the Asia-Pacific theater.
This plan for the future will lead to a fight in Congress, but what else is new?