Saturday, January 07, 2012

Panetta, Hammond Discuss Strategy in Pentagon Meeting

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON  – Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta and British Defense Secretary Phillip Hammond talked defense strategy and the way ahead during a meeting yesterday at the Pentagon.

It was Panetta’s first meeting with Hammond, and it came following President Barack Obama’s announcement of the new U.S. strategic defense guidance.

Officials will use the guidance to set spending priorities in the president’s fiscal 2013 defense budget request. The aim is to set priorities in a constrained fiscal environment, as the department plans to trim $487 billion from the budget over the next 10 years.

The British also are under tight budget constraints, and plan to cut 8 percent out of their $59 billion annual defense budget over the next four years.

“They spent a good part of their meeting discussing innovative approaches to defense in an era of fiscal austerity, and agreed that NATO must continue to invest in military capabilities despite the imperative to achieve fiscal discipline,” Pentagon Press Secretary George Little said following the meeting.

The two men also discussed ongoing operations in Afghanistan, Little said. The British have 9,100 service members in the country – the second-largest foreign military presence. The British and U.S. secretaries discussed planning for transition to Afghan security lead.

“They touched on multiple regional issues” Little said, “to include relations with Pakistan and the threat of a nuclear armed Iran.”

The defense leaders also signed a “Statement of Intent on Carrier Cooperation and Maritime Power Projection” that will serve as the framework for increased cooperation and interoperability on the use of aircraft carriers. It also provides the basis for the U.S. Navy to assist the Royal Navy in developing its next generation of aircraft carriers, Little said.

“This cooperation is a cutting-edge example of close allies working together in a time of fiscal austerity to deliver a capability needed to maintain our global military edge,” he added.

Britain is building two angled-deck aircraft carriers that are scheduled to enter service in 2016 and 2018. The carrier version of the F-35 joint strike fighter will fly off the new ships.

Financial Responsibility: Pro-active or Reactive

By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class (AW) LaTunya Howard, Navy Personnel Command Public Affairs

MILLINGTON, Tenn. (NNS) -- The beginning of a new year is an excellent time for Sailors to review their financial plan, said a Navy financial specialist, Jan. 6.

"Far too many Sailors react to their spending rather than being proactive by planning ahead," said Chief Yeoman Shahana Ledee, Navy Personnel Command (NPC) command financial specialist. "A financial review should be at the top of the new year's resolutions."

Ledee said financial planning is key to good fiscal health. Sailors should consider using a budget worksheet to account for all income and expenses for their household. Investments, retirement savings, entertainment, travel and unexpected incidents are items often excluded from family planning.

"Debt elimination can be accomplished faster with written short and long-term goals," said Ledee. "Hold yourself accountable by tracking your spending. You'll minimize impulse buying and possibly have more to save or invest.

When considering a major purchase, Ledee reminds Sailors to consider all expenses associated.

"Purchasing a vehicle involves more than making its payment," said Ledee. Sailors must factor in maintenance, repairs, insurance and any additional cost associated with driving the vehicle. If you're interested in buying a home, be realistic about what you can afford, as it also involves more than making a payment. Consider the cost of utilities, property taxes, homeowner fees, insurance and any additional costs that will be required each month.

"Sailors should also keep in mind that poor fiscal health can cost more than money, it can cost their career," said Ledee. "Many individuals who lose their security clearance do so due to poor fiscal health. There are numerous free resources available to help us reduce that statistic."

Military OneSource at provides free financial assistance for service members and their families. The "Money Management" section of the website features financial information and resources that can help service members with estate planning, credit and collections, budgeting, saving and investing and taxes.

Military OneSource web site also offers free federal and state tax preparation and filing assistance.
For more information on financial planning, budgeting or investing contact the command financial specialist, or call NPC customer service center at 1-866-U-ASK-NPC or email