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“Modest reforms to pay and compensation will improve readiness and modernization. It will help keep our all-volunteer force sustainable and strong. Keeping faith also means investing sufficient resources so that we can uphold our sacred obligations to defend the nation and to send our sons and daughters to war with only the best training, leadership and equipment. We can’t shrink from our obligations to one another. The stakes are too high.”

Gen. Martin E. Dempsey

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Only The First Shoe

Even as Secretary Panetta and General Dempsey hit the Sunday morning talk show circuit last weekend to defend the new defense strategic guidance, not everyone was convinced by the Obama Administration’s insistence that strategy is driving the Pentagon’s spending decisions. As BFAD’s own Gordon Adams told Reuters, "This is a classic resource-driven strategy document. That's not a criticism, that's just a reality. It's inevitable. Strategy always wears a dollar sign.”

To underscore this point, it’s worth stating the obvious: The entire strategic review process was explicitly undertaken and publicly unveiled to accommodate the defense savings required by Congress. Secretary Panetta explained on Sunday morning:

We're coming out of a decade of war. We're facing a huge budget crisis in this country. The Congress said to us that we have to reduce the defense budget by $487 billion. And I think the question isn't whether we're going to do this, the question is how.

But the defense builddown isn’t likely stop at $500 billion. As Gordon Adams told the Washington Post, additional cuts can be expected as Congress attempts to outmaneuver the sequester. "That's inevitable," he said. "Only one shoe has fallen here. There's another shoe to fall."