On January 3, 2012, the Defense Department (“DoD”) issued a “Guidance Document” explaining how it intends to revise its priorities, given significant impending budget cuts. It is difficult to draw specific conclusions. Nevertheless, several changes appear to be in the works.

  • The focus of DoD efforts will shift away from Europe and toward the Middle East and South Asia. The document stated that the United States “was investing in a long-term strategic partnership with India” in an effort to promote security in the Indian Ocean region.
  • The document pointed out that while China’s military power is increasing, that nation needed to provide “greater clarity of its strategic intention in order to avoid causing friction in the region.”
  • DoD intends to work with other Middle Eastern nations “to prevent Iran’s development of a nuclear weapon capability and counter its destabilizing policies.”
  • Significant investments are expected to be made to “sustain our undersea capacities, develop a new stealth bomber, improve missile defenses and improve our space-based capabilities.”
  • United States military manpower will be reduced over the coming decade. The size of the reduction was not specified.

This strategic document offers little in the way of concrete details. Some of those details will begin to emerge when the proposed budget for fiscal year 2012/13 is unveiled later this year.