The U.S. is planning the most comprehensive restructuring of its overseas military forces since the end of the Korean War in 1953. Under a plan announced on August 16th by President George W. Bush, over the next ten years, sixty-thousand to seventy-thousand troops and nearly one-hundred thousand family members and civilian employees will return to the United States.
But this movement of personnel to the U.S. is only part of the story. Strengthening alliances is another part. The U.S. will continue to maintain a large contingent of forces in Europe. U.S. capabilities in Asia will be improved to meet both traditional challenges and new ones like global terrorism. Fewer U.S. troops in Europe, Asia, and the Persian Gulf region will also help to improve U.S. relations with host nations and local populations.
More than three years ago, the U.S. began a review of its overseas military deployments. Administration officials have been consulting with members of Congress as well as with U.S. allies and friends. President Bush says the troop redeployment plan takes into account “the challenges posed by today’s threats and emerging threats”:
“Over the coming decade, we will deploy a more agile and flexible force, which means that more of our troops will be stationed and deployed from here at home. We’ll move some of our troops and capability to new locations, so they can surge quickly to deal with unexpected threats. . . . There will be savings as we consolidate and close bases and facilities overseas no longer needed to face the threats of our time and defend the peace."
“The world has changed a great deal,” says President Bush, and the U.S. military “posture must change with it. . .so we can be more effective at projecting our strength and spreading freedom and peace.”