Determining the US military’s future warfighting strategy must drive the discussions on how to trim up to $400 billion from the Pentagon’s budget over the next 12 fiscal years since the world stage is so dynamic and dangerous, said Joint Chiefs Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen, Thursday. “The level of national security challenges is, from my perspective, at near an all-time high if not an all-time high,” Mullen told reporters in Washington, D.C. “That really . . . argues for very careful consideration of how we move ahead here.” He said it’s critical to avoid “just making the relatively easy decision” of cashing in force structure to achieve savings. Another no-no is to settle for being “the best counterinsurgency force we can be in the future and that’s it,” he argued. “We still have high-end warfighting requirements that we are going to have to resource. And those are important programs that have to come in on cost and on schedule.”
U.S. Air Force F-35s and F-22s regularly deploy deep into the Pacific region from Alaska, Utah, and Hawaii. In the future, though, the head of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command would like to see the Air Force permanently station fifth-generation aircraft west of the international date line—closer to China.