In the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2012, Congress included a routine reporting requirement, “The Secretary of Defense shall commission an independent assessment of the overseas basing presence of United States forces.” That report—with twelve authors—was published yesterday by RAND: “Overseas Basing of U.S. Military Forces: An Assessment of the Relative Costs and Strategic Benefits.” It is, by far, the most impressive and comprehensive study of the scope, benefits, risks, costs, and consequences of America’s global military presence. Many citizens and policymakers are unaware of the number of troops stationed overseas to execute U.S. defense strategy: recent Pentagon data lists over 172,000 U.S. servicemembers on permanent or rotational deployments around the world (not including the 66,000 troops in Afghanistan). Read more »
David C. Gompert, “Sea Power and American Interests in the Western Pacific,” Rand Corportation, to be published June 3, 2013, pp. 160-162.
If we are indeed in for a change in the basic premise of sea power, the main reason would be that globalization is making cooperative maritime security more attractive and even compelling. But why would globalization favor cooperation over confrontation at sea? This is a legitimate question: After all, economic interdependence did not prevent naval rivalry or, for that matter, world war a century ago. More to the point at hand, why would the common economic interests of China and the United States, including secure trade, foster maritime cooperation when such an approach was not pursued by Great Britain and Germany, also major trading partners when they became rival sea powers? The answer is complex but worth examining. Read more »