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Global Posture Review Will Tie Strategy, Defense Policy to Basing

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American service members are based around the world and some of those overseas bases have been occupied since World War II. But are the troops still needed there?

President Joseph R. Biden Jr. has tasked Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III to conduct a global posture review to ensure the footprint of American service members worldwide is correctly sized and supports strategy.

Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III smiles while talking on a phone at a desk.
Partner Call
Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III speaks with Australian Minister of Defense Linda Reynolds in Washington, Jan. 26, 2021.
Photo By: Lisa Ferdinando
VIRIN: 210126-D-BN624-0037

Biden also envisions the Defense Department and the State Department working more closely together. Diplomacy and defense must go hand-in-hand, Austin said in a written statement after the president's speech.

"We in the Department must be ever-ready to buttress the hard work of diplomacy, to support it with the capabilities our nation needs to make clear our determination and to secure our interests when challenged," he wrote. "If we must fight, we must win. That requires a laser-focus on talent and training, innovation and leadership, forward presence and readiness."

A tank fires a large blast in the middle of a field.
Poland Blast
Soldiers fire an M1 Abrams tank during live-fire and screening training at Drawsko Pomorskie Training Area, Poland, July 21, 2020, during Defender-Europe, an exercise designed to build strategic readiness.
Photo By: Jason Johnston, Army
VIRIN: 200721-A-RY767-0011C

Part of this reshaping will depend on the global posture review, Pentagon Press Secretary John F. Kirby said during a news conference today. The global posture review will examine the U.S. military's footprint, resources and strategies. "This review will help inform the secretary's advice to the commander-in-chief about how we best allocate military forces in pursuit of our national interests," Kirby said. 


The global posture review will be led by the acting undersecretary of defense for policy in close coordination with the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

U.S. officials will consult often with allies and partners around the world as they perform the review, Kirby said. The review should be finished by mid-year. 

The review will use American defense strategy and look where service members are based, and if this is the best place to be based. This will, of course, take into consideration any treaty or agreement. Commitments — like the rotational forces in Poland and Korea — will be considered and those deployments will continue even as the review goes on. President Biden said the movement of U.S. forces from Germany will stop until the review is completed. 

A man standing at a lectern briefs members of the press.
Press Briefing
Pentagon Press Secretary John F. Kirby briefs the media in the Pentagon Briefing Room, Feb. 5, 2021.
Photo By: Air Force Staff Sgt. Brittany Chase
VIRIN: 210205-D-BM568-4006M

It is not just forward-deployed land or air forces that will be considered. Naval forces and where they operate will be part of the equation, Kirby said. 

There are on-going operations in Afghanistan and Iraq and each country has about 2,500 U.S. troops based there. The footprint will be considered, but no decision will be made without discussions with NATO allies and other partners, Kirby emphasized.

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