Release
Immediate Release

Statement by Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III on the Initiation of a Global Force Posture Review

Feb. 4, 2021

President Biden’s call today for American leadership on the world stage, and in particular his belief that diplomacy should be our first tool of choice, is reassuring not only to the men and women of the Department of Defense, but to our fellow citizens as well.  It means the United States, never afraid to fight when we must, will also never be afraid to engage in difficult discussions and negotiations.

Of course, it also means that 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.  If we must fight, we must win.  That requires a laser-focus on talent and training, innovation and leadership, forward presence and readiness. 

At the direction of the President, the Department will therefore conduct a global force posture review of U.S. military footprint, resources, strategy and missions.  It will inform my advice to the Commander-in-Chief about how we best allocate military forces in pursuit of national interests.  The review will be led by the Acting Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, in close consultation with the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. 

We will consult our allies and partners as we conduct this review.  As I said on my first day in the job, no one succeeds at this business alone.  From Afghanistan and the Middle East, across Europe, Africa and our own hemisphere, to the wide expanse of the Western Pacific, the United States stands shoulder-to-shoulder with allies old and new, partners big and small.  Each of them brings to the mission unique skills, knowledge and capabilities.  And each of them represents a relationship worth tending, preserving and respecting.  We will do so.

As President Kennedy once observed, diplomacy and defense are not mutually-exclusive.  They complement one another.  They each make the other stronger.  And each alone will likely fail.

Today, President Biden reminds us that risk of such failure is still high, and that the costs of American leadership -- also high -- are still worth paying.  He reminds us that the American people are safer when we act in concert with our allies and in accordance with our values.  And he challenges us to remember that, while force may be the final, diplomacy must be the first arbiter of our peace and security.