Yesterday Defense Secretary Panetta gave the House Armed Services Committee a teaser on the Pentagon’s strategy review. Among many other tidbits, he testified that:
If we decide that we've got to maintain our force structure presence in the Pacific in order to deal with China and China's expanding role in that part of the world, if -- and because of the other issues that exist, obviously, in that very sensitive part of the world, and if we decide that the Middle East is also a very important area where we have to maintain a presence as well, then just by virtue of the numbers that we're dealing with, we will probably have to reduce our presence elsewhere, presence perhaps in Latin America, presence in Africa.
It turns out that, even as he was speaking these words, US combat forces were deploying to Africa. This afternoon the White House notified Congress that:
On October 12, the initial team of U.S. military personnel with appropriate combat equipment deployed to Uganda. During the next month, additional forces will deploy, including a second combat-equipped team and associated headquarters, communications, and logistics personnel. The total number of U.S. military personnel deploying for this mission is approximately 100. These forces will act as advisors to partner forces that have the goal of removing from the battlefield Joseph Kony and other senior leadership of the LRA.
Now that’s news. We look forward to hearing how Secretary Panetta squares this mission with the priorities he sketched out to Congress just yesterday.