Estimating the Value of Overseas Security Commitments

An Interactive Visualization

What would happen to the U.S. economy if the United States reduced its overseas security commitments, which include U.S. troops stationed abroad as well as U.S. security treaties? In Estimating the Value of Overseas Security Commitments, RAND researchers estimate that the trade-related losses from reductions in such commitments would be more than triple the budget-related gains. These results rely on a statistical relationship found in this research between U.S. security commitments and subsequent U.S. bilateral trade.

This tool lets you explore the likely economic effects of different possible reductions in U.S. security commitments, based on RAND’s statistical analysis. This analysis focused on a 50-percent worldwide reduction in U.S. security commitments, which is the maximum reduction that the RAND team feels can be defensibly estimated. This tool allows the user to explore reductions between 0 and 50 percent.

Additionally, this tool allows the user to compare the trade-related losses from such reductions to possible budgetary gains. Three scenarios for gains are offered, each based on previous analyses by other experts. The tool describes each of these scenarios and calculates the budgetary gains suggested by these experts. Although the tool sets a default level of reduced commitments for trade-related losses corresponding with each scenario for budget-related gains, the tool allows for exploration of other scenarios.