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Adding another voice to the chorus telling us what we already knew--that the Pentagon’s post-2001 “spigot” of cash is being turned down a couple twists--Deputy Sec. of Defense William Lynn III said this morning that future budgeteers are simply “not going to have the luxury” of spending what they need, when they need to.Every element of the federal government is going to have to start tightening its belt in this new economic environment, he continued, and “defense will be no exception.” Pretty standard stuff, right? We’ve been seeing high-level officials talk like this for quite some time now. It’s boilerplate. But then Lynn came with something a little different. The Pentagon’s Number Two predicted that even with (relatively) constrained resources, the military must still plan for a series of “long-range commitments” and must maintain an “adequate force structure” to engage in long-term conflicts against enemies that use “asymmetric” tactics like those employed by the Taliban or Hezbollah. What?That’s right. Despite a decade fighting two insurgencies with only a vague end in sight that keeps getting pushed down the road by two or three year increments, the Pentagon’s leadership sees more of the same in the future. Lynn pointed out that Pentagon planners have never been able to correctly predict the future, which means that it has to prepare for everything all at once, but his prediction for more war, and more long deployments, was frustratingly vague. Did he mean training and advising missions? Libya-style operations? Another large-scale land war? Whatever he meant, it sure sounded like a quiet warning against any big cuts in defense budgets.
pentagon, DoD, budget, wellington, ar99
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