The winding down of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan marks a pivot point for the U.S. military, which must now focus on looming threats such as the rising military might of China, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said Monday.
Panetta used his first visit to Japan as Pentagon chief to sound an emerging theme of the Obama administration: America will remain a global economic and military power despite coming budget reductions, and the Asia-Pacific region will be central to U.S. national security strategy.
In a question-and-answer session with U.S. and Japanese troops at Yokota Air Base, Panetta ticked off a list of threats that he said demand more U.S. attention as it completes its departure from Iraq this year and targets 2014 for the withdrawal of combat forces from Afghanistan. He mentioned cyberattacks, the nuclear ambitions of Iran and North Korea, Mideast turmoil and “rising powers” — an allusion to China.
Read the rest of the story: Panetta: US military at ‘turning point’ as wars wind down, will refocus more on Asia, China.