After victories in nearly all crucial battleground states, President Barack Obama won a second term on Tuesday night. His re-election has far-reaching implications for much of the United States, and that is especially true for the Armed Forces, who will see changes in everything from foreign policy to the size and role of the troops, according to Military Times.
Size of the military
Former Governor Mitt Romney had pledged to increase Pentagon spending, something Obama steadfastly opposed. In the budget he sent to the Department of Defense earlier this year, it was clear that Obama wanted to shift the focus of the Armed Forces from the sheer number of ground forces available to a military that is more streamlined and capable.
There is likely to be reduction in the number of soldiers serving in both the Army and the Marine Corps. Experts estimate that when American forces leave Afghanistan in 2014, the number of troops in the Army will drop to 490,000 over the subsequent five years. The number of Marines will drop to about 186,000.
Obama's re-election also denotes a shift in where the Armed Forces will turn their attention. For the last decade, the United States has been bogged down in the Middle East, but the president has made it clear he is interested in pivoting away from that region and focusing more on Asia.
"I think Obama will have to clarify a bit more just what he means by the pivot. He will have to put some substance behind the rhetoric and really explain it early on in the second term," Christopher Preble of the CATO Institute told Military Times.
On the home front
The re-election also has some ramifications for servicemembers leaving the Armed Forces, their families and veterans. One of the chief goals of Obama's first term was employment and homelessness among vets. So far, it has made considerable progress, but there is still a long way to go.
With his second term, Obama may try to get the veterans jobs bill through Congress that failed earlier this fall. The legislation would have made it easier for vets to enter the workforce but it was blocked by Republicans who had issues over how to pay for it.
Obama will also have to address the threat of sequestration, across the board budget cuts to military spending, if a deficit reduction plan is not agreed upon. The deep slashes could impact military benefits for thousands of troops.