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Overseas Basing of U.S. Military Forces

Overseas Basing of U.S. Military Forces: An Assessment of Relative Costs and Strategic Benefits

Michael J. Lostumbo
Michael J. McNerney
Eric Peltz
Derek Eaton
David R. Frelinger
Victoria A. Greenfield
John Halliday
Patrick Mills
Bruce R. Nardulli
Stacie L. Pettyjohn
Jerry M. Sollinger
Stephen M. Worman
Copyright Date: 2013
Published by: RAND Corporation
Pages: 482
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Overseas Basing of U.S. Military Forces
    Book Description:

    This independent assessment is a comprehensive study of the strategic benefits, risks, and costs of U.S. military presence overseas. The report provides policymakers a way to evaluate the range of strategic benefits and costs that follow from revising the U.S. overseas military presence by characterizing how this presence contributes to assurance, deterrence, responsiveness, and security cooperation goals.

    eISBN: 978-0-8330-7917-6
    Subjects: Business, Technology, History

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-ii)
  2. Preface
    (pp. iii-iv)
  3. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-x)
  4. Figures
    (pp. xi-xiv)
  5. Tables
    (pp. xv-xviii)
  6. Summary
    (pp. xix-xxxvi)

    The United States is at an inflection point in its defense planning due to a number of factors: the end of the Iraq War, the planned end of U.S. combat operations in Afghanistan in 2014, increased emphasis on security commitments and threats in the Pacific, and fiscal constraints. The 2012 Defense Strategic Guidance sets the course for this shift and has significant implications for overseas military posture, which needs to be designed to effectively and efficiently support the strategy as an integral component of overall defense capabilities. To that end, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year (FY) 2012...

  7. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xxxvii-xxxviii)
  8. Abbreviations
    (pp. xxxix-xliv)
  9. CHAPTER ONE Introduction
    (pp. 1-36)

    The U.S. military posture offers broad scope and geographic reach to contribute to the nation’s security objectives. It is a physical expression of the enduring global interests of the United States. The presence of U.S. forces and access to bases in so many countries provides flexibility to address those security objectives. It allows U.S. forces to respond quickly to a variety of situations, such as natural disasters and countering piracy. It allows U.S. forces to train more often with partners and, of course, to fight the nation’s wars.

    The United States not only responds to world events but also seeks...

  10. CHAPTER TWO Strategic Considerations: Benefits of Overseas Posture to Contingency Response
    (pp. 37-72)

    An important strategic benefit often attributed to forward military presence is its contribution to contingency response by enabling military forces to respond quickly to a wide range of situations and geographic regions. Indeed, U.S. overseas posture has its roots in contingency responsiveness, particularly where there have been threats of major wars by strong adversaries, epitomized by positioning large forces in Europe and Northeast Asia, and this is where attention often first turns when posture changes are considered. While this role still remains, the nature of threats has evolved considerably, U.S. combined arms response capabilities have changed dramatically, and partner capabilities...

  11. CHAPTER THREE Strategic Considerations: Benefits of Overseas Posture for Deterrence and Assurance
    (pp. 73-86)

    This chapter begins by describing the role that the overseas defense posture plays in deterring potential adversaries. It then discusses how a forward presence might actually detract from U.S. interests. The chapter concludes with a discussion of the complement of deterrence: assurance.

    One of the expected benefits of foreign presence is its contribution to deterrence. A 2004 DoD report to Congress on the global U.S. posture opens with this rationale: “Together with our overall military force structure, our global defense posture enables the United States to assure allies, dissuade potential challengers, deter our enemies, and defeat aggression if necessary.”¹ The...

  12. CHAPTER FOUR Strategic Considerations: Benefits of Overseas Posture for Security Cooperation
    (pp. 87-100)

    U.S. government strategic guidance documents, such as the 2012 Defense Strategic Guidance, 2010 QDR, and DoD defense posture reports to Congress, assert that overseas posture provides significant strategic benefits, including improved security cooperation between the United States and partner countries.

    DoD doctrine defines security cooperation as “activities undertaken by the Department of Defense to encourage and enable international partners to work with the U.S. to achieve strategic objectives.”¹ Examples of security cooperation include programs that train and equip foreign partners, provide professional military education, conduct military exercises, and exchange information. Security cooperation is a means to several important U.S. national...

  13. CHAPTER FIVE Risks to Investing in Facilities Overseas
    (pp. 101-120)

    This chapter discusses various types of risk that might accompany overseas posture. It begins by discussing political risk, that is, the risk that a host nation might deny the United States use of facilities established in a given country. This might occur because the country does not support the operation that the United States is undertaking, as was the case in Operation Iraqi Freedom, when a number of countries denied the United States access for refueling or overflight. This included some longtime allies such as Turkey, which refused to allow the United States to stage forces from its soil. The...

  14. CHAPTER SIX Installation Conditions
    (pp. 121-130)

    In assessing trade-offs between alternative postures, future restoration and modernization (R&M) costs at different facilities could be a factor in policy choices. Differences in estimates of current requirements for R&M among locations offer the best available insights into this question. Were these requirements to differ among locations, disparities in the physical condition of facilities would be largely responsible. Differences in facilities’ conditions do not just affect current R&M needs, but could also affect future costs, including more near-term recapitalization requirements.¹ To the extent that anticipated needs differ between U.S. and overseas facilities, these differences would need to be integrated into...

  15. CHAPTER SEVEN Host-Nation Support and U.S. Payments to Other Countries
    (pp. 131-166)

    This chapter responds to the NDAA requirement to determine both direct payments and other contributions from host nations supporting U.S. military facilities overseas and direct payments by the United States to host nations for use of facilities, ranges, and lands. It puts these contributions and payments in the context of posture analysis by reporting on the ways in which they can affect the relative costs of maintaining an overseas presence and discussing how to factor them into analyses of alternative postures. Flows can occur bilaterally, as in the case of host-nation support (HNS) and U.S. payments to the governments of...

  16. CHAPTER EIGHT Relative Costs of Overseas Basing and Rotational Presence
    (pp. 167-234)

    This chapter lays out the analyses we conducted to determine the incremental costs of maintaining the broad range of U.S. installations and forces overseas—by region and type—versus in the United States, and it explains how we embedded the results of these analyses in models that provide a policy-relevant way of comparing how total DoD costs are likely to change as the result of posited posture changes. In doing so, this chapter describes three cost-assessment methodologies and the derived cost models developed to comprehensively estimate the cost effects of changes in posture. The first methodology determines the relative recurring...

  17. CHAPTER NINE Illustrative Postures
    (pp. 235-252)

    To understand the consequences of changing the United States’ current overseas posture, we developed three illustrative alternate postures that served as inputs into strategic benefit, cost, and risk models. Each posture emphasizes a different goal—cost-reduction, global responsiveness and engagement, or preparation for major contingencies (see Table 9.1). These illustrative postures are not actual policy proposals; rather they are analytic tools that enabled us to evaluate the range of strategic benefits and costs that would follow from revising U.S. overseas military presence. Because each illustrative posture prioritizes a particular objective, the analyses allow us to estimate the scope and type...

  18. CHAPTER TEN Analysis of Illustrative Postures
    (pp. 253-286)

    One of the objectives of this work is to assess the advisability of the retention, closure, realignment, or establishment of facilities overseas in light of fiscal constraints and evolving requirements. To inform this assessment, Chapter Nine presented three illustrative overseas postures that posit various changes in facilities and other aspects of posture. These were designed to explore a range of reasonable changes to the U.S. military posture. The illustrative postures serve as an analytic framework for examining the costs and benefits of changes in the U.S. overseas posture. As such, they are tools for evaluating and illuminating the effects of...

  19. CHAPTER ELEVEN Conclusions
    (pp. 287-304)

    This report responds to legislation that called for an independent assessment of the overseas basing presence of U.S. forces. It specifically asked for an assessment of the location and number of forces needed overseas to execute the national military strategy, as well as an assessment of the advisability of changes to overseas basing in light of potential fiscal constraints and the changing strategic environment. We conclude that there are some enduring minimum overseas posture needs that are necessary to execute the current national security strategy. The location and minimum number of forces needed are generated by formal commitments, critical deterrence...

  20. APPENDIX A Cost Analysis Appendix
    (pp. 305-360)
  21. APPENDIX B Detailed Cost Analysis Results
    (pp. 361-378)
  22. APPENDIX C Security Cooperation Cost Differential Between Forward-Based and U.S.-Based Forces
    (pp. 379-382)
  23. APPENDIX D U.S. Military Overseas Prepositioned Equipment
    (pp. 383-388)
  24. APPENDIX E Deployment Analysis Scenario APOD and APOE Details
    (pp. 389-392)
  25. APPENDIX F USFJ-Related Costs Borne by Japan
    (pp. 393-394)
  26. APPENDIX G Analysis of Missile Threat to Bases for the Postures
    (pp. 395-408)
  27. APPENDIX H Detailed Estimates of Host Nation Contributions from Japan, South Korea, and Germany
    (pp. 409-412)
  28. APPENDIX I Summary Tables of Illustrative Postures
    (pp. 413-424)
  29. References
    (pp. 425-438)