WASHINGTON - The Pentagon chief says the U.S. will have to make some tradeoffs and take some extra risks under the new military strategy laid out to absorb federal budget cuts.
Defense Secretary Leon PanettaThursday in a news conference with President Barack Obama and the top ranking U.S. military chief, Gen. Martin Dempsey.
Panetta said future budgets will mean smaller U.S. armed forces and some greater risk. But he said the country does not have to choose between national security and fiscal responsibility.
Panetta said at this point in history, in a changing world, the Pentagon would have been forced to make a strategy shift anyway. He says the money crisis merely forced the government to face the shift that is taking place now.
The new national defense strategy addresses two issues at once. It streamlines the military in an era of tighter budgets and reassesses defense priorities in light of China's rise and other global changes.
Overall, the new defense strategy hints at a reduced U.S. military presence in Europe and says Asia will be a bigger priority. It also emphasizes improving U.S. capabilities in the areas of cyberwarfare and missile defense.
China is a particular worry because of its economic dynamism and rapid defense buildup. A more immediate concern is Iran, not only for itsbut also for its nuclear ambitions.