Austin Outlines Priorities in Memo to DOD

Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III on March 4 outlined his top priorities for the department, leading with fighting the COVID-19 pandemic and countering China.

“I am committed to ensuring that the department develops the right people, priorities, and purpose of mission to continue to defend our nation from enemies foreign and domestic,” Austin wrote. “This will require aligning our priorities and capabilities to a changing and dynamic threat landscape.”

The memo is broken up into three priorities: Defending the nation, taking care of people, and succeeding through teamwork.

  • Defense of the nation: Austin highlights the need to defeat COVID-19, prioritize China as the pacing challenge, address advanced and persistent threats, innovate and modernize the department, and tackle the climate crisis.
  • People: the Pentagon needs to grow its talent, build resilience and readiness, and ensure accountable leadership.
  • Teamwork: Austin writes the military needs to join forces with allies and partners, work in partnership with the nation, and build unity within the department.

“We need resources matched to strategy, strategy matched to policy, and policy matched to the will of the American people,” Austin wrote. “I believe that focusing our efforts on the priorities I have articulated here will help us develop that policy, fashion that strategy, and acquire those resources.”