Changes Ahead

Future Directions for the U.S. Overseas Military Presence

by Richard L. Kugler

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U.S. military forces stationed abroad play vital roles. As regional political and military dynamics shift, so too will the United States need to adjust its overseas military posture to accommodate new objectives and missions in new places. In general, that posture will need to become more flexible and more expeditionary, covering a wider array of challenges and broader geographic areas. Such changes can be unsettling to accomplish and may even worry allies and friends. Yet the United States cannot adequately reassure foreign countries with an outdated force posture. Planning for these changes should not be based on marginal adjustments to arbitrary manpower levels but should assess strategic objectives, missions, and requirements before considering the implications for manpower, units, activities, and money. This planning also should establish coherent goals and orderly means of reaching them, rather than muddle along in incremental ways that lack direction or can be blown off course by the shifting political winds. This study offers eight options that can be used to help guide thinking and planning for the coming era of change.

Table of Contents

  • Chapter One

    Introduction

  • Chapter Two

    Current U.S. Overseas Presence

  • Chapter Three

    The Impact of Future International Conditions on the U.S. Overseas Presence

  • Chapter Four

    New Purposes and Geography for U.S. Overseas Presence

  • Chapter Five

    Toward Different and Better Forces

  • Chapter Six

    Options for Future U.S. Overseas Presence

  • Chapter Seven

    Conclusions

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