AirTalk for January 26, 2012

Pentagon announces fundamental redesign

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The Pentagon.

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has just unveiled how the Pentagon will deal with $487 billion in cuts over the next ten years. As "The Wall Street Journal" reports, money will shift away from troop numbers and toward special-operations bases and drones. The fleet of armed unmanned aircraft is expected to increase 30 percent. The Department of Defense will also slow down purchases of next-generation stealth fighters.

"Our approach was to use this as an opportunity to maintain the strongest military in the world, to not hollow out the force," Panetta said in a statement prepared for the news briefing. The strategy follows President Barack Obama's directives outlined earlier this month. As fewer resources are needed for larger wars, the Administration believes leaner, covert military operations could help further American interests. Criticism of the strategy continues.

Today, Senator John Cornyn (R-Texas) warned, "Taking us back to a pre-9/11 military force structure places our country in grave danger." Cornyn is a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee which will hold hearings on the new budget plan.

WEIGH IN:

What will change for bases around the world? Is this a fundamental change in American foreign policy and military policy? How does it square with ever-shifting geo-politics? Is there a range of opinions within the Pentagon? What's the reaction from other military powers?

Guest:

Julian Barnes, Pentagon Reporter, The Wall Street Journal


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