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Budget reflects leaner force, U.S. says

  |   Feb. 16, 2012 at 12:34 PM
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WASHINGTON, Feb. 16 (UPI) -- A budget proposal sent to Congress this week keeps the U.S. military in a leadership role as a leaner and more agile fighting force, a budget official said.

A U.S. budget proposal outlines $487 billion in defense spending cuts over the next 10 years. Robert Hale, the top budget official at the U.S. Defense Department, said it was a strategy-based proposal.

"We know we have to have a leaner force, we know it has to be smaller, but we want it to be agile (and) ready in a period of significant threat," he said at a defense technology forum in Washington.

Hale said that as the United States shifts focus from conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, the military should embrace regional partners in order to maintain a global presence.

"If we have to fight, we'll fight with partners," he said. "We know that, so we need to strengthen our alliances."

Marion Blakey, president and chief executive officer of the Aerospace Industries Association, said the budget proposal struck a "direct hit" on the aerospace and defense industry.

Hale, however, said the budget takes a disciplined approach to defense resources.

"We recognized we're going to have to reduce forces and cut back on our investments, and we're going to do that based on a strategy -- not just across the board," he said.

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