DOD Ponders Strategy Update

The Pentagon is “considering” whether, due to the budget pressures it faces, it must reshape the defense strategic guidance that the Obama Administration issued last year, Adm. James Winnefeld, Joint Chiefs vice chairman, told the House Armed Services Committee on Aug. 1. “If the financial situation gets worse, we might have to provide an update,” said Winnefeld. Deputy Defense Secretary Ash Carter, during the same hearing, told legislators that the Pentagon’s Strategic Choices and Management Review concluded that the Defense Department could still “implement the main tenets” of the guidance under DOD’s Fiscal 2014 budget proposal. However, continuing to operate under the spending limits of the budget sequester would “bend” or “break” certain areas of the strategy, said Carter. Any “mid-term update” to the strategy is likely to be less detailed than the original, said Winnefeld. “We reframed the [Joint Chiefs] Chairman’s risk assessment this year. Rather than being sort of a regional tour de horizon, we tried to frame it in what we called ‘national security interest’ or ‘national defense priorities,'” said Winnefeld. “That is the approach we would take if we were to provide an update,” he said. (Carter-Winnefeld prepared remarks) (See also Strategic Choices.)