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  • Troop Repositioning Continues


    U.S. embarks on global shuffle of military forces
    By Will Dunham

    WASHINGTON, June 13 (Reuters) - The United States has begun a dramatic realignment of its military forces abroad, making key changes in the Middle East and Asia and preparing a restructuring in Europe to confront emerging 21st century threats.

    U.S. officials say the changes are intended to enable American forces to combat terrorism and rogue states armed with weapons of mass destruction.

    Some moves already have been made in Saudi Arabia and South Korea in the aftermath of the Iraq war, and a major reduction in U.S. forces in Germany is expected to follow.

    A central element of the restructuring is the creation of stripped-down bases in eastern Europe, Central Asia and elsewhere, and a de-emphasis on big permanent bases in nations such as Germany, defense analysts said.

    "We have been reviewing our presence around the world, in every portion of the globe," Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said this week. He argues U.S. forces still are arranged as if the Soviet Union existed.

    Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz has said America now faces "a very different threat" requiring a new approach. "It's appropriate to look at how those forces are postured, how we can get the most effectiveness out of them," he said.

    "The concept behind the Pentagon's decision to change our basing structure is this ability to be flexible to respond to a broad array of unknown threats around the world," said defense analyst Charles Pena of the Cato Institute.

    "So rather than lumping all your forces in one area that you think is strategic, you spread your forces around the world so that if something happens you have some ability to get there quickly."

    Defense analyst Daniel Goure of the Lexington Institute said the realignment is the most significant since the retrenchment after the Cold War, when U.S. troop levels in Europe plummeted from 300,000 to 100,000.

    "In terms of moving into new places rather than coming back from places, this is the first time we have been doing that in just about 40 years," Goure said.

    The United States announced in April that nearly all its 5,000 troops would be pulled out of Saudi Arabia, from which it had staged air patrols for a decade over southern Iraq. The move increased the importance of U.S. military facilities in other states in the region such as Qatar, Kuwait and Bahrain.

    KOREAN AND GERMAN BASES
    On June 5, the United States and South Korea announced an agreement to shift U.S. troops from the demilitarized zone, separating South Korea and North Korea, and establish "hub bases" south of Seoul.

    Germany, an opponent of the U.S.-led war in Iraq, is expected to see a major decline in U.S. troops, although Ramstein Air Base is expected to be remain unscathed. Germany currently hosts 68,000 U.S. troops, but U.S. officials say many of them could be relocated, primarily to eastern Europe.

    Pentagon officials have not revealed the scope of the reductions in Germany, a front-line state in the Cold War. Goure said the realignment may leave only 15,000 U.S. troops there.

    Former Soviet bloc countries such as Romania, Bulgaria and Poland could benefit from the shift of U.S. forces out of Germany, with analysts noting it is cheaper to maintain bases in such places and there are fewer environmental and other constraints than in western Europe.

    Patrick Garrett, an analyst with the Globalsecurity.org military think tank, said Turkey might end up like Saudi Arabia with virtually no U.S. troop presence, particularly if America ends up with long-term access to bases in Iraq. He said the United States may give up Turkey's Incirlik Air Base.

    Despite local resentment of U.S. troops in Okinawa, Pentagon officials said there are no plans to relocate the 20,000 Marines stationed there to elsewhere in the Pacific.

    Analysts said key Pacific countries for U.S. forces in coming years might include Australia, Singapore and even Vietnam. A defense official said the Philippines, mentioned as a possible site for bases, has made it clear "they have no desire" for that.
    "As soon as men decide that all means are permitted to fight an evil, then their good becomes indistinguishable from the evil that they set out to destroy."-Christopher Dawson - The Judgement of Nations, 1942

  • #2
    Deltapooh,

    I don't think this is a good thing for us. I still would rather to have a few strategic bases instead of spreading out our troops across the world. So, if a major war were to break out, we would have to collect a lot of our troops from various bases around the world which is a time-consuming process, much more than deploying from a large base.

    I can understand the prespective behind this, but I would still want to have at least two or four strategic bases while the rest can act as sort of outposts with sufficient striking power to deal with any local threats.

    I seriously think relocating some troops from Germany is a mistake. Germany is sort of center of the world, and could rapidly deploy some of troops to anywhere within Europe and Middle East. Moving to the Eastern European bases could be counter-productive as they have poor transportation systems to deal with such large deployments.

    The best way to deal with any new threat is improving our modes of transportation, that means spending big bucks on building faster, bigger, and better cargo planes, ships, and other such transports. This would give us an increase in speed of deployment without reducing our divisions overrall.

    Dan
    Major James Holden, Georgia Badgers Militia of Rainbow Regiment, American Civil War

    "Aim small, miss small."

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Cheetah772


      I don't think this is a good thing for us. I still would rather to have a few strategic bases instead of spreading out our troops across the world. So, if a major war were to break out, we would have to collect a lot of our troops from various bases around the world which is a time-consuming process, much more than deploying from a large base.

      I can understand the prespective behind this, but I would still want to have at least two or four strategic bases while the rest can act as sort of outposts with sufficient striking power to deal with any local threats.

      Dan
      The US will still have their major bases in this scheme. Pre-positioned equipment will be placed in specific strategic areas of the world (Diego Garcia, Kuwait, etc...).
      Considering the geo-political situation as it is, Germany has lost much of it's value as a US base.
      There is also the local political position to consider here. Germany may not always be willing to allow US forces to transit their territory for a US adventure.

      Originally posted by Cheetah772

      Moving to the Eastern European bases could be counter-productive as they have poor transportation systems to deal with such large deployments.

      The best way to deal with any new threat is improving our modes of transportation, that means spending big bucks on building faster, bigger, and better cargo planes, ships, and other such transports. This would give us an increase in speed of deployment without reducing our divisions overrall.

      Dan
      This is of some concern; especially in Eastern Europe and Central Asia.
      I think we may see the US improving it's RORO capabilities and it's long range strategic airlift capabilities (C-17s) in the not too distant future.

      Under this program, I can envision the bulk of US main forces (read heavy armor) being kept in the continental US while several detachments are spread throughout the world. Of course, an emphasis for large permanent deployments would be required for certain areas.

      In the case of a crisis situation, forces based in the US could be quickly dispatched to the crisis area to mate up with pre-positioned equipment.

      In this way a substantial force could quickly and efficiently be gathered for any contngency. The watchword now is flexibility.
      Scientists have announced they've discovered a cure for apathy. However no one has shown the slightest bit of interest !!

      Comment


      • #4
        Europe is stable, and will remain so for some years to come. Countries like the UK, France, Italy, and other major European powers are all investing in expanding their sphere of influence. Major theater wars are very unlikely, at least in the form we have come to know it as. The more likely scenarios have countries involved in several regional conflicts simultaneously.

        The US needs to re-align forces to combat the small scale regional threats, as well as the growing theater-threat from China. If we don't seize upon the opportunity now, the US, along with the rest of the world, will find itself on equal ground strategically with China in the Asian region. Deterrence under those conditions are extremely dangerous and costly. If you have two sides competing for the same things from an even playing field, chances are someone will get stupid and start a fight. So the rule is "firstest with the mostest."

        The US can't wait for Europe to catchup either. Most of the European countries are only recently embracing the "Asian Doctrine." They are still at least ten to twenty years away from being able to assert "physical" authority in Asia.

        Unfortunately, the clock is ticking for the emergence of China on the global playing field. We have eight to ten years to increase our footprint in Asia. Otherwise, the Chinese will be pulling into ports at the same time we are. In twenty years, China will likely sail it's first CVBG around the globe.

        We can't depend on the UN either. It doesn't matter who obeys the rules. As the Cold War proved, the UN alone can do little to oppose a power economic and political force. If it were really effective, neither the US or the USSR would ever have gained the kind of dominance it did.

        In short, the US needs to be dominate, assertive, and commanding NOW. We need to make our presence felt where-ever we have to. Yet, the US must realize that just because it appears we don't need the world right now, it is really not the case. A country with limited expanding partnerships is likely to strangle itself. Europe will need to play a role in Asia, and elsewhere. The US should be first to graps a commanding position, but still retain the kind of flexibility and understanding that encourages partnership.

        At the same rate, as I stated before, Europe will need to loose some of it's apprehensiveness about the use of aggressive foriegn policy. Aggressive doesn't mean conquering the world. It does mean making sure the world, particularly your enemies, know you are willing to plant your foot in their *ss the moment they step out of line.

        The troop repositioning is something we wanted to do for years. However, concerns about Europe, and questions about our new agenda slowed this progress. I'm glad we are turning away from Europe and toward the greater threats that lay east. We have enormous economic and political interest in that region. Whoever dominates Asia will dictate to the world. The US is in position to take over without the kind of fight we saw in Europe. However, success depends on our ability to manage assertiveness with cooperation. I question whether or not the current administration is capable of that.

        Eitherway, we're making the right move. Before the second Gulf War, I said fighting that war would further our Asian agenda. I once got flamed by some Brits (not from this forum) who said it was a dumb statement by a warmonger. We are now in position to combat the growing threat of China. We need to seize that opportunity. I don't want to wake up one morning wth news reports of a Chinese Battle Group sailing thirteen miles off the cost while we're twiddling our thumbs in Europe.
        "As soon as men decide that all means are permitted to fight an evil, then their good becomes indistinguishable from the evil that they set out to destroy."-Christopher Dawson - The Judgement of Nations, 1942

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