"The time of deploying large ground forces with big military footprints to engage in nation building overseas, that's coming to an end," the commander in chief said in a speech to 3,000 at New Jersey's Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, a launching point for deployments to Afghanistan.
"Going forward our military will be leaner," Obama said. "But as your commander in chief, I'm going to make sure we keep you ready for the range of missions that we ask of you. We are going to keep you the best trained, the best led, the best equipped military in the history of the world because the world will still be calling."
U.S. and NATO troops closed their operational command in Afghanistan last week after 13 years of war. Some troops will remain, however, to carry out operations against Taliban and al-Qaida targets and train Afghan troops and police, who will assume full responsibility for security in the country.