4-star: Budget cuts will force global strategy changes

4-star: Budget cuts will force global strategy changes

One of the Pentagon’s top officers warned that the military’s fundamental strategy for how it would confront two simultaneous crises in different parts of the world will have to change if Capitol Hill rejects the Obama administration’s 2016 defense budget request.

Adm. James “Sandy” Winnefeld, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs, said the nation faces a “pivotal” moment as lawmakers decide whether to lift the budget caps and the sequestration mechanism that was passed into law in 2011.

“There is no free lunch,” Winnefeld said Tuesday at a conference of defense business leaders in Washington.

President Obama formally requested $534 billion for the Pentagon’s base budget next fiscal year, about 7 percent above the $499 cap that was written into law a few years ago with the Budget Control Act. Winnefeld said anything below $534 will trigger massive changes in the military’s strategy and its footprint of forward-deployed forces around the world.

“Those are going to have to change if we go below the president budget submission,” Winnefeld said.

At its core, the current military strategy states that “if deterrence fails,” the Defense Department “will be able to defeat one adversary’s aggressive actions in a major campaign and deny the objectives of or impose costs on a second adversary,” Winnefeld said.

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