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This report considers how the United States should reposture its forces, adjust its policies, and change its military operations in the Asia-Pacific region, all in the context of reduced resources and increased burden-sharing by allies and security partners. It assesses six alternative U.S. regional force postures that might develop over the next 15 years. Each posture is examined from three perspectives: (1) regional responses to the posture, (2) performance in hypothetical contingencies if deterrence fails; and (3) comparative cost. The analysis indicates that the base force posture reflected in the current Future Year Defense Plan is probably the best compromise now for sufficient reassurance of U.S. security partners, deterrence of possible opponents, adequate performance in representative contingencies, and acceptable cost. If threats and uncertainties decline markedly, somewhat lower postures would be acceptable. Risks start to increase rapidly at postures below the base force level. The authors recommend a variety of threat reduction, posture enhancement, and hedging measures.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation report series. The report was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1948 to 1993 that represented the principal publication documenting and transmitting RAND's major research findings and final research.

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