The Naval Postgraduate School & The U.S. Department of Homeland Security

President Obama and DoD Announce Plan for "Smaller and Leaner" Military

Cover, Sustaining U.S. Global Leadership: Priorities for 21st Century DefenseThe Department of Defense (DoD) released today the strategy Sustaining U.S. Global Leadership: Priorities for 21st Century Defense. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta stated in a letter attached to the report that the "country is at a strategic turning point after a decade of war and, therefore, we are shaping a Joint Force for the future that will be smaller and leaner, but will be agile, flexible, ready, and technologically advanced. It will have cutting edge capabilities, exploiting our technological, joint, and networked advantage." From the report: "Over the last decade, we have undertaken extended operations in Iraq and Afghanistan to bring stability to those countries and secure our interests. As we responsibly draw down from these two operations, take steps to protect our nation's economic vitality, and protect our interests in a world of accelerating change, we face an inflection point. This merited an assessment of the U.S. defense strategy in light of the changing geopolitical environment and our changing fiscal circumstances. This assessment reflects the President's strategic direction to the Department and was deeply informed by the Department's civilian and military leadership, including the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Secretaries of the Military Departments, and the Combatant Commanders. Out of the assessment we developed a defense strategy that transitions our Defense enterprise from an emphasis on today's wars to preparing for future challenges, protects the broad range of U.S. national security interests, advances the Department's efforts to rebalance and reform, and supports the national security imperative of deficit reduction through a lower level of defense spending. This strategic guidance document describes the projected security environment and the key military missions for which the Department of Defense (DoD) will prepare. It is intended as a blueprint for the Joint Force in 2020, providing a set of precepts that will help guide decisions regarding the size and shape of the force over subsequent program and budget cycles, and highlighting some of the strategic risks that may be associated with the proposed strategy."