Hagel orders review of military strategy to cope with sequester cuts

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is ordering a fresh review of the U.S. military strategy adopted last year in light of the budget cuts under sequestration.

Hagel instructed senior Pentagon leaders last week to conduct a two-month review in order to provide the framework for the 2015 Pentagon budget and the Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR) that’s due in February 2014.

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“The review will take the 2011 Defense Strategic Guidance as the point of departure, and it will examine whether the assumptions made in that strategy are still applicable,” Pentagon press secretary George Little said in a statement.

Senior military leaders have warned that the across-the-board cuts under sequestration would force them to abandon the strategy rolled out at the beginning of 2012 that places a new emphasis on the Asia-Pacific region.

Pentagon officials have said that the current strategy was designed to grapple with the $487 billion in cuts that were part of the 2011 Budget Control Act, but cannot withstand the deeper sequestration cuts.

Joint Chiefs Chairman Martin Dempsey predicted in a speech on Monday that the current military strategy was going to have to change.

“I don’t yet know how much our defense strategy will change, but I predict it will,” Dempsey said at a Center for Strategic and International Studies event. “We’ll need to relook our assumptions. We’ll need to adjust our ambitions to match our abilities. That means doing less, but not doing it less well.”

Little said that the review would look at the Pentagon’s strategy, force posture, investments and previous assumptions and practices.

It is designed to look forward and define the major decisions that need to be made over the next decade to adapt to “a range of future budgetary scenarios.”

Hagel has asked that the review’s conclusions be presented to him by the end of May, Little said.