Guam - Standing side by side President Barack Obama and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta unveiled the military's strategy for the future, one that includes projections of more than $450 billion cuts over the next decade. The guidance outlined broadly today emphasizes the need to rebalance the military's force structure and investments toward the Asia Pacific region and the Middle East.
President Obama: As I made clear in Australia, we will be strengthening our presence in the Asia Pacific, and budget reductions will not come at the expense of that critical region. We're going to continue investing in our critical partnerships and alliances, including NATO, which has demonstrated time and again -- most recently in Libya -- that it's a force multiplier. We will stay vigilant, especially in the Middle East.
Leon Panetta: These are the areas where we see the greatest challenges for the future. The U.S. military will increase its institutional weight and focus on enhanced presence, power projection, and deterrence in Asia- Pacific. This region is growing in importance to the future of the United States in terms of our economy and our national security. This means, for instance, improving capabilities that maintain our military's technological edge and freedom of action.
Panetta added the force for the future is one that is smaller and leaner whose great strength will be more agile, more flexible, ready to deploy quickly, innovative and technologically advanced. Reacting to today's release of DOD's strategic guidelines Guam Delegate Madeleine Bordallo says its reiterates the President's pledge that budgets cuts will not come at the expense of strengthening our military presence in our region. Specific details of the guidance are expected to be released in the coming weeks.