The Pentagon is putting tens of thousands of soldiers, the A-10 and U-2 aircraft, and billions of dollars on the chopping block in the budget proposal outlined by Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel this week.
But while the focus is on cuts right now, analysts say it's investment and innovation that will get the military into fighting shape for a high-tech future.
What weapons and programs can best ensure U.S. security in a changing world?
“It all depends what you think the concept of war in the future is going to be,” said Sam Tangredi, a retired Navy captain who analyzes military policy as a San Diego associate with Strategic Insight, a Washington-based planning-consulting firm.
Paul Scharre, project director for the 20YY Warfare Initiative at the Center for a New American Security, said he was glad to see the budget plan continues development of the long-range bomber in an era when U.S. ships and air bases are targeted by long-range precision guided missles.
And he said the boost in special operations forces — for counterterrorism and providing assistance to allies without sending in thousands of ground troops — is also critical.
Here are some of the other areas where analysts think the Defense Department should be spending:
Scharre favors Navy investment in a stealthier, more expensive line of unmanned carrier-launched aircraft (UCLASS) that could reach inside enemy airspace from further away, evading anti-ship missiles — and do more than a cheaper version some favor for counter-terrorism missions.