Are US troops stationed overseas – some in bases occupied since 1945 – still essential supports for defence policy? President Joe Biden has charged Secretary of Defense Lloyd J Austin with conducting a global posture review to ensure the footprint of American forces worldwide is appropriate and supports strategy, the Pentagon announced on 5 February.
Diplomacy and defence must go hand-in-hand, Austin said in a written statement after the President gave a speech indicating his belief that the Departments of Defense and State must work more closely together. "We in the Department must be ever-ready to buttress the hard work of diplomacy, to support it with the capabilities our nation needs to make clear our determination and to secure our interests when challenged […] If we must fight, we must win. That requires a laser-focus on talent and training, innovation and leadership, forward presence and readiness."
Part of this reshaping will depend on a global posture review, which will examine the US military's footprint, resources and strategies. "This review will help inform the secretary's advice to the commander-in-chief about how we best allocate military forces in pursuit of our national interests," a Pentagon spokesman stated. The review will be led by the Acting Undersecretary of Defense for Policy, in close coordination with the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Close consultation with allies and partners around the world will be a feature of the review, which is slated to be completed by mid-2021, MON understands.
The review will examine existing deployments and determine whether relevant basing is best for the nations’ interests, taking any and all treaty or other obligations and agreements into consideration. Commitments such as rotational forces in Poland and Korea will be considered – but those forces will remain unaffected during the review process. The President has also ordered that movement of US forces from Germany is to cease until the review is completed. The Pentagon emphasized that all US deployed forces will be considered – land, air and naval units.