Now that the military mission in Iraq is complete and the transition in Afghanistan is under way, the United States will shift its focus to the Asia Pacific while maintaining a watchful eye on the Middle East, said President Obama Thursday. The President announced the new strategic guidance during the first ever Presidential briefing with reporters at the Pentagon. “We seek the security of our nation, allies, and partners. And we seek a just and sustainable international order where the rights and responsibilities of nations and peoples are upheld, especially the fundamental rights of every human being,” said Obama. The new policy was shaped with the current economic environment in mind, though Obama said he was committed to maintaining an “agile, flexible, and ready” military. At the same time, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance, counterterrorism, countering weapons of mass destruction, operating in anti-access environments, and cyber capabilities will remain top priorities. “The fiscal choices we face are difficult ones, but there should be no doubt—here in the United States or around the world—we will keep our armed forces the best trained, best led, best equipped fighting force in history,” said Obama. (Obama’s remarks)
The Air Force will begin its 71st annual Operation Christmas Drop on Dec. 4. The weeklong exercise is a yearly tradition that delivers supplies such as food, fishing equipment, school books, and clothes to remote islands in the Pacific. It is the longest-running Department of Defense humanitarian mission.