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Research Report

Global Futures and Implications for U.S. Basing

Franklin D. Kramer
C. Richard Nelson
Copyright Date: Jun. 1, 2005
Published by: Atlantic Council
Pages: 32
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Table of Contents

  1. (pp. v-vi)
    Henry E. Catto Jr.

    Examination of America's basing, force structure and forward engagement strategies is a never-ending process. These studies have been particularly vigorous since the end of the Cold War and there is no sign the situation will become less urgent in the future. To help all concerned understand these problems, the Atlantic Council has organized a study group to examine the geopolitical context that will likely frame the security environment of the next 20 to 40 years, and to identify the implications of U.S. bases in foreign countries.

    Thorough examination of basing problems over the years has shown the matter to be...

  2. (pp. xii-xiv)

    To maintain U. S. security in an increasingly globalized world will require the effective use of all elements of national power. Bases can be important for military reasons, but, if properly utilized, they have significant diplomatic value as well and can support U. S. informational and even economic goals. Given the unpredictability of future challenges and difficulties the United States will face, maintaining a flexible base network will be extremely valuable to overall U. S. national security strategy.

    In order to maintain access to existing bases and gain options for new bases, the United States will need to commit substantial...

  3. (pp. 1-12)

    This report provides the working group’s insights about the future of overseas bases derived from U.S. experience over the last 60 years. It highlights key assumptions about the future security environment, proposes recommendations and identifies issues that need further study.

    Overseas bases are best understood as an integral part of a network of political relationships rather than a collection of units, installations or facilities. In the past, these political relationships were primarily about deterrence and providing forward forces against a specific threat. Now the political relationships are much more diverse and the bases provide a wide range of contingent capabilities....

  4. (pp. 12-13)

    The nature of overseas bases also will undergo substantial changes. They will probably be combined increasingly with host-nation and multinational forces and they will include broader capabilities to support interagency operations including reconstruction, stability, public health (given the bioterrorism threat as well as the threat of infectious diseases from natural causes and disasters) and other functions beyond more traditional military missions.

    Intelligence fusion centers on overseas bases can be useful in adapting to the changing nature and scope of international security affairs, including terrorism and proliferation. These centers can include host country intelligence officers, local law enforcement authorities and perhaps...

  5. (pp. 14-16)

    Protecting and enhancing U.S. security in an increasingly globalized world will require the effective use of all elements of national power. Bases can be important for military reasons, of course, but if properly utilized, they have very important diplomatic value as well as and can also support United States informational and even economic goals. Given that the precise difficulties that the United States will face are impossible to predict, maintaining a flexible base network will contribute significantly to implementing overall U.S. national security strategy.

    Without an agreed upon common purpose with host countries, it cannot be assumed that we will...

  6. (pp. 17-18)

    Overseas bases are developed through a series of incremental decisions that focus mainly on short-term needs. Yet experience of shows that many temporary bases tend to take on a more permanent character. What is lacking is a long-term investment strategy for overseas bases that takes into account the wide range of factors discussed in this report. Such a strategy would address the entire base network to determine priorities and investment requirements. It could build on individual base development plans which would, in turn, be linked to negotiations with host nations to include infrastructure development to insure that the bases are...