WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — Carter held an open “town hall” meeting where he responded to troops’ questions about the upcoming downsizing of the US Army from 490,000 to 450,000 over the next two fiscal years.
“Carter thanked soldiers at Fort Bragg, North Carolina for their past service and said they will be the ‘tip of the spear’ for the new strategic era the world is entering,” the News reported after his comments on Friday.
The cuts are mandated by the congressionally-approved sequestration process, which generates automatic spending caps.
“We have, as you well know, been understandably, totally and very successfully focused on Iraq and Afghanistan,” the News reported Carter as saying.
However, the 14-year era of military campaigns in those countries was drawing to a close, and now the US armed forces are facing new challenges, the Defense Secretary explained.
Carter pointed out the US military needed a flexible strategy to deal with different kinds of threats simultaneously.
“[V]ery few countries can combine the principles and values that we stand for with the awesome combat power that you represent.”
Airborne and special forces are going to be the cornerstone of future US combat power, Carter concluded.