The Washington Times Weekly - - Geopolitics -

Newly minted Deputy De­fense Sec­re­tary Robert Work is­sued a state­ment to the Pen­tagon work­force last week that ap­pears to play down the U.S. mil­i­tary’s role in pro­ject­ing power. In­stead, he urged Pen­tagon work­ers to help project “in­flu­ence.”

Mr. Work, who took of­fice May 5, for­merly served in the Navy Depart­ment, and was one of the ar­chi­tects of the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion’s pivot to Asia pol­icy, which con­gres­sional crit­ics say lacks sub­stance.

De­fense of­fi­cials said the pol­icy was toned down by pol­i­cy­mak­ers who feared up­set­ting Bei­jing with the orig­i­nal, mus­cu­lar Air Sea Bat­tle Con­cept, which called for new weapons and re­newed al­liances aimed at de­feat­ing China in a fu­ture con­flict. The pol­icy was trans­formed in­stead into a largely diplo­matic and eco­nomic pro­gram lack­ing fund­ing and other re­sources.

In his note, Mr. Work pledged “to do ev­ery­thing pos­si­ble to main­tain Amer­ica’s mil­i­tary edge.”

“We are and will re­main a global power whose po­si­tion in the world is un­der­pinned by our abil­ity to project global in­flu­ence in con­cert with other el­e­ments of na­tional power, and our al­lies and part­ners over­seas,” he said in nu­anced lan­guage re­flec­tive of the ad­min­is­tra­tion’s pol­icy of avoid­ing the use of mil­i­tary force.

“We must also bal­ance the need to main­tain the dayto-day readi­ness of our forces in or­der to project mil­i­tary power when­ever and wher­ever needed with our abil­ity to pre­vail against fu­ture threats and chal­lenges,” Mr. Work said.

The chal­lenge for Mr. Work and De­fense Sec­re­tary Chuck Hagel is main­tain­ing the tech­no­log­i­cal edge and readi­ness of U.S. mil­i­tary forces at a time of fis­cal aus­ter­ity.

Un­der Pres­i­dent Obama, the mil­i­tary has been forced to cut $465 bil­lion in spend­ing, and faces an­other $500 bil­lion or more in fu­ture cuts.

The cuts come amid the need for new mil­i­tary equip­ment and weapons for mod­ern­iza­tion, and to re­place worn-out equip­ment from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Con­tact Bill Gertz at @Bil­lGertz.

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