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Publications – the budget’s silver lining for the U.S. Army

Yes, the President’s proposed 2013 budget hit the Army hard, as expected, but there were some surprisingly silvery linings for the service:

The Army may be in the cross-hairs of the budget cutters, but it’s had a surprisingly good week. While the number of soldiers will drop to 490,000 as long expected, the service is getting a lot of what it wanted to cushion that fall – starting with time….

There are some particularly interesting hints on national strategy:

The Pentagon has started to caveat its grand strategic mantra of a “pivot to Asia” – i.e. shifting from the land wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to preparing for “AirSea Battle” against China….This is particularly good news for the Army because [Defense Secretary Leon] Panetta specifically promised the U.S. won’t walk away from the ground presence it’s had in the Middle East since 1990.

But ultimately the Army needs to get proactive, not just reactive, and go beyond fighting off cuts to deciding what its defining mission will be in the coming post-Afghanistan era:

At the latest of a series of conferences on the future of the Army, junior officers openly debated with top generals over how to sell the service to the Congress, the country, and its own war-weary soldiers wondering whether to get out. Should the Army seek the clarity of a new crusade to replace counterinsurgency in the Middle East? Or should the service present itself as the nation’s jack of all trades, humbly ready to take on any mission?

Those three points come from three pieces I wrote for AOL Defense in recent weeks. Click on any excerpt above to read the article it’s from, or go to my profile page on the AOL website to see all my recent stories.

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