The document will call for a greater shift toward Asia in military planning and a move away from big, expensive wars like Iraq and Afghanistan, which have dominated U.S. operations for most of the past decade, said a senior military official.
In particular, the plan calls on the military to invest in weaponry to overcome efforts by potential adversaries such as China to use long-range missiles and sophisticated radar to keep U.S. forces at bay.
The strategy is different from past Pentagon reviews in that it establishes clear priorities for the military, the official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity because the plan had not been publicly released.
The strategy review will not spell out potential $480 billion to $1 trillion in spending cuts that the Pentagon is facing over the next decade. Details of those reductions will begin to trickle out next month, when the Obama administration releases its proposed federal budget for 2013.
The consequences of those anticipated cuts, however, are already being felt in the defense industry.
On Wednesday, Boeing announced that it will shutter a factory in Wichita that produces military airplanes for refueling, an early casualty of what is expected to be a wave of closings among defense contractors.
“In this time of defense budget reductions, as well as shifting customer priorities, Boeing has decided to close its operations in Wichita to reduce costs, increase efficiencies and drive competitiveness,” Mark Bass, vice president and general manager, said in a statement.
Boeing, Lockheed-Martin, Northrop Grumman and other major defense companies have warned that budget reductions could mean the loss of hundreds of thousands of U.S. jobs.
“There is a standard playbook the defense industry applies when military spending cuts loom: It starts with cutting workers and cutting facilities,” said Loren Thompson, a defense industry consultant at the Lexington Institute. “There will be substantial cuts in the size of defense companies going forward.”
At least some of the 2,160 jobs at Boeing’s Wichita plant will be relocated. The refueling tanker operations will move to a Boeing facility in Washington’s Puget Sound, the company said. Other plant operations will be transferred to San Antonio and Oklahoma City.
The first layoffs at the Wichita plant, once nicknamed “the air capital of the world,” are expected in the third quarter of this year.