Military budget faces major overhaul

Thursday, January 5, 2012 - 5:10pm

President Obama rolled out a new strategy for cutting the military budget by hundreds of billions of dollars Wednesday.

In a rare appearance at the Pentagon, Mr. Obama put his personal stamp on the new, smaller military budget, a change in priorities after a decade of war in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"The world must know the United States is going to maintain our military superiority with armed forces that are agile, flexible and ready for the full range of contingencies and threats," he said.

At least $480-billion will be cut over the next decade, but details won't come out until after the president releases his budget next month.

Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta says everything was on the table, including health plans for retirees, but he promised benefits for those who served.

"We are going to protect ah the benefits that are provided to our um troops and to their families. At the same time, as I said, we have some responsibility to try and control costs in this area," he said.

While cuts will be massive, there will be more investments in special operation forces and unmanned tools like drones.

Military experts say cutting troops on the ground is risky.

"Anytime you cut the force, which is what he's doing particularly when you cut the Army, any time you reduce the size of the force, you're taking risk," says Colonel Jack Jacobs (Ret.), an NBC Military analyst.

The Pentagon says the military will focus less on Europe now and more on the Asia-Pacific and middle east regions.

While the cuts are huge and more may come from Congress, the president says the defense budget will still be larger than it was at the end of the Bush administration.

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