The United States must reconsider its national security strategy in light of major upcoming budget cuts, asserts a new Center for New American Security report. The world has changed dramatically since the Obama Administration released its strategy in May 2010, with developments like the imminent withdraw of troops from Iraq, the “Arab Spring,” and China’s rapid military buildup, states Hard Choices: Responsible Defense in an Age of Austerity. Add in significant defense budget cuts, which could range from $350 billion to $850 billion over the next decade, and some changes are going to have to take place, it states. However, that doesn’t mean that the United States must scale back completely. Instead, the Western Pacific and Indian Ocean should remain a priority, and the Middle East and Mediterranean Basin also will remain areas of “vital interest,” according to the report. However, the United States should “pursue a more limited defensive military posture” in South and Central Asia, it argues.
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.