U.S. Overseas Military Presence

U.S. Overseas Military Presence: What Are the Strategic Choices?

Lynn E. Davis
Stacie L. Pettyjohn
Melanie W. Sisson
Stephen M. Worman
Michael J. McNerney
Copyright Date: 2012
Published by: RAND Corporation
Pages: 68
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  • Book Info
    U.S. Overseas Military Presence
    Book Description:

    The role of the United States and its global military presence are under debate in the face of changing strategic and economic realities. The authors present a menu of global postures and compare them in terms of the U.S. Air Force bases, combat forces, active-duty personnel, and base operating costs. Ultimately, the choice will depend on perspectives on the role overseas military presence can play in achieving U.S. global security interests.

    eISBN: 978-0-8330-7384-6
    Subjects: History, Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-ii)
  2. Preface
    (pp. iii-iv)
  3. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  4. Figures
    (pp. vii-viii)
  5. Tables
    (pp. ix-x)
  6. Summary
    (pp. xi-xiv)
  7. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xv-xvi)
  8. Abbreviations
    (pp. xvii-xviii)
  9. CHAPTER ONE Introduction
    (pp. 1-6)

    The current U.S. overseas military is largely the outcome of responses to threats as they emerged historically and over time, in Western Europe and in East Asia to the Soviet Union; in the Middle East to the ambitions, nuclear and otherwise, of Iraq and Iran; and around the world to the hostile activities of al-Qaeda and other terrorist organizations.¹ Today, however, the Soviet Union has transitioned from a peer competitor to something less, while China’s economic standing and military capabilities allow it increasingly to challenge U.S. global leadership. The United States has removed the threat of a weapons of mass...

  10. CHAPTER TWO Path to Defining Future Global U.S. Postures
    (pp. 7-18)

    In our approach to defining the future U.S. overseas presence, we focused directly on achieving specific U.S. security interests. Our review of recent U.S. strategy and defense documents, including the recent DoD strategic guidance, identified a list of seven discrete and enduring interests:

    protect U.S. allies and partners from state adversaries

    promote U.S. influence in key regions

    dissuade military competition and arms races

    protect Americans from terrorist attacks

    restrict the flow of illegal trade and the proliferation of dangerous materials

    ensure the flow of commerce and key resources

    respond to humanitarian emergencies and regional conflicts.¹

    In principle, each of these...

  11. CHAPTER THREE Comparison of Global Postures
    (pp. 19-28)

    This chapter compares the global postures in terms of their operational performance; ability to support the broader U.S. security interests; and base, personnel, and cost characteristics.

    Drawing on other RAND analyses, we looked at the operational performance of the bases in the global postures in different scenarios in Northeast Asia and Southwest Asia.¹ The scenarios were representative of the different U.S. global security interests described in Chapter Two. In Northeast Asia, the scenarios were Chinese conflicts with Taiwan, Japan, and Vietnam; North Korean attacks on South Korea; counterinsurgency in the Philippines; terrorist attacks in Indonesia; a humanitarian emergency in Sri...

  12. CHAPTER FOUR Strategic Choices: Overseas U.S. Military Presence
    (pp. 29-32)

    The overseas U.S. military presence is changing. Reductions are occurring as a result of the drawdown from Iraq and Afghanistan. What, if any, military bases and forces will remain in Afghanistan and Central Asia remains uncertain, given the complexity of the political situations in these countries. Pressures on defense spending have led to cuts in Army and USAF force structure, and the services have chosen to reduce some of their presence in Europe. The rest of the bases and military forces in the global U.S. posture are primarily those left at the end of past U.S. wars. Even the call...

  13. APPENDIX A Protecting The Global Commons: Confusing Means With Ends
    (pp. 33-36)
  14. APPENDIX B Database of Current U.S. Bases Overseas
    (pp. 37-42)
  15. APPENDIX C Comparison of Global Postures
    (pp. 43-46)
  16. Bibliography
    (pp. 47-50)