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His economic council today President Obama we'll also meet.
With few military commanders in the situation room in the White House at 5 PM.
The topics of course Afghanistan and Iraq here to tells how the new commander in chief we'll juggle a 650 billion dollar defense budget.
Against a one point two trillion dollar projected deficit.
A retired lieutenant colonel John little president and CEO of the consulting firm defense solutions and retired major.
General Tom Wilkinson -- CEO of the US naval institute good morning gentlemen thank you very much for being here.
Let me start with you colonel little -- tell us.
We talk about Iraq and Afghanistan I imagine that the new commander in chief.
Has to garner some trust some confidence -- long.
Those who are going to fight for this country he talked about in his speech yesterday.
What does -- need to do first.
As far as garnering trust I would say that the the military has.
The commander in chief has got to trust and confidence of our military.
As you know we we we actually make our take our -- to the constitution.
It's as far as the officer corps and the and the military goes we -- we basically will serve.
And were apolitical but.
Clearly I think the from last night I got this distinct impression that the military is very very enthusiastic.
About president -- -- and the new administration.
They fully support his initiatives.
And so as far as trusting confidence I I say that when the leadership was brought in and the new commander in chief gives strategic guidance and priorities.
-- the military leadership will follow and to a superb job.
You know at general -- I imagine that we deployment and and beefing up the military particularly after what we've been -- -- Over the past seven to eight years are gonna be top priorities.
How does he go about doing that -- talking about all these other initiatives and and spending plans to stimulate the economy should defense be priority number one priority number two how would you address it.
Well I think it's very clear to everyone that he was elected because of the economic crisis.
And it's also very clear from his inaugural address that the economy is job one.
And we should expect that because national security is a function of our economic power as well.
So with job too being working the wars and bringing the military back into some form.
He's gonna spend 5 o'clock this afternoon as I understand it with his senior military advisors and he's got to think about something.
It isn't just bringing people home from Iraq or changing the war.
-- in fact if you were to listen to one of the greatest strategist of the air Lewis Carroll from Alice in wonder.
There is a point when he meets when Alice meets the Cheshire cat.
And asked which road should I take in the cats response is it depends on where you want to end up.
He has to set the tone as the commander in chief about where he wants to end up.
And then those in the military and in the National Security Council and State Department can provide him.
With the plans and the guidelines that are necessary to achieve that goal.
So it you know a lot of people have said -- general with this and that because he -- Defense Secretary Gates.
That perhaps the transition here will not be quite as complicated that some of the plans that President Bush put in place.
May actually remain -- that.
Either change or or help perhaps this transition.
Secretary Gates is a very unique individual and clearly he is found common cause with the president or he would not be there.
And what that means is it's a confidence thing so already in the Defense Department I am sure that the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the chairman admiral Mullen.
Are working plans that -- lead to where President Obama wants to take us.
To move these wars forward to some type of closure.
And I'm sure they've also talked about the goals that they're gonna use.
As a definition of end game America wants no -- to stand up and share and say thank you we've done it.
And clearly president Obama's gonna have to articulate that in ways his predecessor might not have done very well.
You -- -- I am original also -- this is morale and standing behind our troops something that he echoed throughout his speech yesterday.
But -- you know people have been redeployed and redeployed to three times in Iraq.
And there's a sense of exhaustion and surrounding that war we now know he wants to focus more -- we've known over the election cycle.
That he wants to focus more on Afghanistan.
Does this mean.
That you know we're just -- deploying and the fact of the matter is we need to recruit a lot more members into the military.
Excellent question the the question of recruitment are our army and -- Marine Corps.
Or are basically on on a very very good path to increase the yen's strength of our army by 65000.
As well so Marine Corps by about 27000.
I think the the downturn in the economy has in fact helped our recruiting efforts across both we'll probably all services but particularly the army and Marine Corps.
So from a recruiting standpoint that led to -- force structure and -- alleviate the pressure on those units set in wrote -- have been rotating.
With a high degree of frequency -- to both Iraq and Afghanistan so.
-- recruiting effort has clearly and will help the situation.
And so I my point is that I think that we have a a redeployment.
Plan that's in place.
It seems to me that when the president was campaign the president elect at the time.
He gave strong signals that we would go on a a redeployment.
Of potentially sixteen months.
From my judgment in my experience as -- war planner and an exercise officer.
I'm certain that we've got very very good deliberate.
Well thought out redeployment and contingency plans to meet the needs of this new strategic decision by the commander in chief.
I will gentlemen we will anticipate and wait to see live at 5 PM meeting looks like.
Colonel at all and general -- thank you very much gentlemen for joining me this morning.
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