U.S. Overseas Military Posture
Apr 29, 2013
This independent assessment is a comprehensive study of the strategic benefits, risks, and costs of U.S. military presence overseas. The report provides policymakers a way to evaluate the range of strategic benefits and costs that follow from revising the U.S. overseas military presence by characterizing how this presence contributes to assurance, deterrence, responsiveness, and security cooperation goals.
An Assessment of Relative Costs and Strategic Benefits
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Section 347 of the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act called on the Department of Defense to commission an independent assessment of the overseas basing presence of U.S. military forces. As the recipient of that commission, RAND's National Defense Research Institute conducted an independent assessment of the advisability of changes in the overseas basing presence of U.S. forces based on an evaluation of strategic benefits, risks, and costs. The report characterizes how overseas presence contributes to assurance of allies, deterrence, contingency responsiveness, and security cooperation, along with the risks involved with investing in facilities overseas. It breaks new ground in the understanding of the costs associated with overseas presence, including how permanent and rotational presence costs compare, and provides cost models for policymakers to weigh alternative posture options. To support this understanding of costs the report also lays out the conditions of U.S. installations and levels of host nation support.
The report concludes that there are certain minimum requirements necessary to carry out the current national security strategy, but it is prudent, based upon the net value produced, to maintain an overseas posture that goes beyond these minimums. Additionally, it combines benefit, cost, and risk considerations to distill a number of strategic judgments that have implications for the advisability of considering identified posture changes.
Strategic Considerations: Benefits of Overseas Posture to Contingency Response
Strategic Considerations: Benefits of Overseas Posture for Deterrence and Assurance
Strategic Considerations: Benefits of Overseas Posture for Security Cooperation
Risks to Investing in Facilities Overseas
Host-Nation Support and U.S. Payments to Other Countries
Relative Costs of Overseas Basing and Rotational Presence
Analysis of Illustrative Postures
Cost Analysis Appendix
Detailed Cost Analysis Results
Security Cooperation Cost Differential Between Forward-Based and U.S.-Based Forces
U.S. Military Overseas Prepositioned Equipment
Deployment Analysis Scenario APOD and APOE Details
USFJ-Related Costs Borne by Japan
Analysis of Missile Threat to Bases for the Postures
Detailed Estimates of Host Nation Contributions from Japan, South Korea, and Germany
Summary Tables of Illustrative Postures
The research described in this report was prepared for the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD). The research was conducted within the RAND National Defense Research Institute, a federally funded research and development center sponsored by OSD, the Joint Staff, the Unified Combatant Commands, the Navy, the Marine Corps, the defense agencies, and the defense Intelligence Community.
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