With all the distractions from the lamest of lame duck White Houses and Congressional sessions, it is reassuring to hear that Team Obama is already on the ramparts watching and preparing for the barbarians at the gate, who might see our current economic struggles, as a chance to kick us while we're down.
MANAMA (Reuters) - Defense Secretary Robert Gates warned the United States' enemies on Saturday against trying to take advantage of the early months of the new Washington administration to test U.S. resolve.As discussed earlier here at BRD, Gates has laid out a rational plan for improvement in our national defense, the new National Defense Strategy, it shows the Obama Administration will seek to apply American military and economic power in smarter ways, that will yield more optimal results from the application of our increasingly scarce and precious resources.
Gates, who will stay on under Obama, said extensive planning has gone into preparing for the transition.
"Anyone who thought that the upcoming months might present opportunities to test the new administration would be sorely mistaken," he told the Manama Dialogue conference, organized by the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies.
"President Obama and his national security team, myself included, will be ready to defend the interests of the United States and our friends and allies from the moment he takes office on January 20th."
Gates, a former CIA director, said the security of the Gulf had long been a central concern for Washington and he brought a message of continuity and commitment from Obama to U.S. allies in the region.
The defining principle of the Pentagon's new National Defense Strategy is balance. The United States cannot expect to eliminate national security risks through higher defense budgets, to do everything and buy everything. The Department of Defense must set priorities and consider inescapable trade-offs and opportunity costs.
The strategy strives for balance in three areas: between trying to prevail in current conflicts and preparing for other contingencies, between institutionalizing capabilities such as counterinsurgency and foreign military assistance and maintaining the United States' existing conventional and strategic technological edge against other military forces, and between retaining those cultural traits that have made the U.S. armed forces successful and shedding those that hamper their ability to do what needs to be done.
Robert M. Gates, U.S. Secretary of Defense
Foreign Affairs magazine, Jan/Feb 2009 issue