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Hagel Tasks Civilian, Military Leaders to Examine Strategy

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, March 18, 2013 – Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has tasked senior civilian and military personnel to examine the Defense Department’s strategic assumptions, given changes in the fiscal environment, Pentagon Press Secretary George Little said today.

Hagel asked Deputy Defense Secretary Ash Carter and Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, to lead the effort. Their deadline is May 31.

The secretary asked them to examine the choices underlying the department’s strategy, force posture, investments and institutional management. This examination will include past assumptions, systems and practices, Little said in a meeting with reporters.

The new examination follows up on the Defense Strategic Guidance. That guidance called for rebalancing military forces toward the Asia-Pacific region, supporting partner nations and building partnership capacity, ensuring access to the global commons, countering the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and winning the wars of today.

Officials used that guidance -- released in January 2012 -- to form the fiscal 2013 budget request. That request took into account the $487 billion cut in the DOD budget over 10 years.

As an equivalent additional spending cut over the next decade loomed under a sequestration mechanism in budget law, then-Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta and Dempsey said sequestration could make the defense strategic guidance moot. Sequestration triggered this month, leading to the look at the strategy’s assumptions today.

“This Strategic Choices and Management Review will define the major decisions that must be made in the decade ahead to preserve and adapt our defense strategy, our force and our institutions under a range of future budgetary scenarios,” Little said. “The results of this review will frame the secretary’s guidance for the fiscal 2015 budget and will ultimately be the foundation for the Quadrennial Defense Review due to Congress in February 2014.”


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