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Defense spending cuts, reshaped Pentagon strategy on President Obama's radar

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The massive $662 billion defense budget planned for next year is $27 billion less than Obama wanted and $43 billion less than Congress gave the Pentagon this year.

(Photo: Associated Press)

The Pentagon announced no specifics on the size of expected troop reductions; the Army and Marine Corps already are set to shrink beginning in 2015.

The document said the Pentagon will have to find savings in pay and health care benefits for members of the military, but it offered no specifics. Factors guiding the Obama administration's approach to reducing the defense budget are not limited to war-fighting strategy.

They also include judgments about how to contain the growing cost of military pay and health and retirement benefits.

The administration is expected to form a commission to study the issue of retirement benefits, possibly led by a prominent retired military officer.

The administration is in the final stages of deciding specific cuts in the 2013 budget, which Obama will submit to Congress next month.

The strategy to be announced by Panetta and Dempsey is meant to accommodate about $489 billion in defense cuts over the coming 10 years, as called for in a budget deal with Congress last summer.

An additional $500 billion in cuts may be required starting in January 2013.

A prominent theme of the Pentagon's new strategy is what Panetta has called a renewed commitment to security in the Asia-Pacific region.

The administration is not anticipating military conflict in Asia, but Panetta believes the U.S. got so bogged down in Iraq and Afghanistan after 9/11 that it missed chances to improve its strategic position in other regions.

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