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President Obama's Defense Policy Agenda


President Obama's Defense Policy Agenda
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The following article sets forth President Obama's goals and underlying principles for defense policies and plans under his administration during his first term.

The White House
Defense - Guiding Principles

"The Obama Administration is investing in a strong, agile, well-trained, and well-equipped U.S. military that can fight and win the nation’s wars. U.S. Armed Forces must be able to prevail in current operations and the missions they are most likely to face, while developing capabilities to deter potential adversaries and provide a hedge against other risks and contingencies. Our policies will incorporate lessons from our experience in Iraq and Afghanistan. First and foremost, we will ensure that our troops have the training, equipment and support that they need when they are deployed, and the care that they and their families need and deserve.

Strategies to Succeed in Current Conflicts

  • Afghanistan: "The President’s new strategy for Afghanistan and Pakistan will ensure that all elements of national power are engaged and integrated in an effort to defeat al Qaeda to prevent attacks on the homeland and on our Allies and partners.

    We are asking our friends and allies to join us with a renewed commitment. We also will regularly assess the progress of our efforts and those of the governments of Afghanistan and Pakistan through clear measurements to ensure ongoing informed accountability.

    See Afghanistan War News & Views Hub for details about U.S. involvement in the war in Afghanistan.

  • Iraq: "Because of the skilled efforts of our troops and commitment of the Iraqi people to building a better life through a peaceful political process, violence in Iraq has reduced substantially.

    Because of this, we are moving forward with a responsible drawdown of our combat forces, transferring security to Iraq's forces. Under the Strategic Framework Agreement and Security Agreement, Iraqi personnel have taken the lead in security operations and will continue to assume greater responsibility.

    See Iraq War Facts, Results & Statistics for details about U.S. involvement in the Iraq War.

  • Communicate the Full Costs of Our Operations: "The American people deserve an honest accounting of the cost of our involvement in our ongoing military operations. We will move away from ad hoc funding of long-term commitments through supplemental and include future military costs in the regular budget so that we have an honest, more accurate, and fiscally responsible estimate of Federal spending.
Take Care of Our Troops, Military Families, Veterans

  • Expand Ground Forces to Meet Military Needs and Improve Quality of Life: Increasing end strength in the Army and Marine Corps will help units retrain and re-equip properly between deployments, reduce the strain on military families, and help put an end to stop loss. We also plan to halt end strength reductions in the Air Force and Navy.

  • Lighten Burdens on Our Brave Troops and Their Families: Those in uniform are not the only ones who serve; military families are a top priority for this Administration. The President has announced plans to raise military pay and continue providing quality child-care, job-training for spouses, and expanded counseling and outreach to families that have known the separation and stress of war.

  • Serve Our Veterans: The President is committed to giving veterans the care they were promised and the benefits they have earned. For additional information on veterans’ issues, visit the Veterans Issues Page.
See Obama's Veterans Policy - Domestic Agenda for more information.

Rebalance Defense Capabilities for the 21st Century

  • Institutionalize Irregular Warfare Capabilities: We must ensure our troops have the equipment they need to prevail in current operations, including assets that provide critical information, protection, and mobility. We will increase intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) support for troops in the field and research and development. We will increase spending on helicopters and crews and grow U.S. Special Operations capabilities.

  • Preserve Air Supremacy: We must preserve our unparalleled airpower capabilities to deter and defeat any conventional competitors, quickly respond to crises across the globe, and support our ground forces. We intend to make a greater investment in advanced technology and essential systems like fifth-generation F-35 fighters.

  • Maintain Dominance at Sea: We must recapitalize our naval forces, replacing aging ships and modernizing existing platforms, while adapting them to the 21st century. We will focus on increasing naval capabilities that support presence, stability and counterinsurgency operations in coastal regions.

  • Missile Defense: To better protect our forces and those of our allies, we intend to field more of our most capable theater missile defense systems, including the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense System and Standard Missile 3 programs, and convert additional Aegis ships to increase ballistic missile defense capabilities.

  • Space: The full spectrum of U.S. military capabilities depends on our space systems. To maintain our technological edge and protect assets in this domain, we will continue to invest in next-generation capabilities such as operationally responsive space and global positioning systems. We will cooperate with our allies and the private sector to identify and protect against intentional and unintentional threats to U.S. and allied space capabilities.

  • Cyberspace: U.S. national security also depends on a functioning and resilient cyber domain. The United States will lead international and domestic efforts to ensure the security of the global information infrastructures continue to invest in cyberspace, and increase collaboration with the private sector and allies to protect this critical domain.
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