President Barack Obama will unveil a revised US military strategy on Thursday designed to reflect fiscal constraints and a greater focus on the potential threat posed by a rising China, officials said.
The plan calls for confronting possible challenges from Iran and China with air and naval power while shifting away from counter-insurgency campaigns requiring large ground forces, officials and analysts said.
The “defense strategic review” is supposed to set out an approach for the US military in a more frugal era, as Obama’s administration prepares for more than $450 billion in defense cuts over the next ten years.
n a politically-charged election year, US officials have sought to portray the president as taking a careful approach to defense spending, with the Pentagon insisting any reductions will be informed by a review of military strategy.
The review argues for a smaller, agile force that will expand the military’s role in Asia while maintaining a strong naval presence in the Middle East, a defense official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told AFP.
Under the plan, the American military would be prepared to deny any attempt by Iran to disrupt vital oil routes in the Gulf and to counter any effort by China to dominate international waters in the South China Sea, the official said.
Counter-insurgency operations, like those in Iraq and Afghanistan, will receive a lower priority under the new plan, officials said, enabling the administration to scale back the size of the Army and Marine Corps.