U.S. Global Defense Posture, 1783-2011

U.S. Global Defense Posture, 1783-2011

U.S. Global Defense Posture, 1783-2011

U.S. Global Defense Posture, 1783-2011

Excerpt

Today, in response to changes in the political, fiscal, and strategic environments, the United States is revising its global defense posture. The Department of Defense has announced a number of initiatives that are a part of its rebalancing toward Asia, while, at the same time, maintaining a significant presence in Southwest Asia, even as U.S. forces are drawn down in Afghanistan. As these plans move forward, it is important to recognize that America’s overseas military presence, as it currently exists in terms of scope and scale, is largely a legacy of the Cold War and that, over the past two centuries, the United States repeatedly adjusted its posture in response to the emergence of new types of threats, technological innovations, and the availability of overseas bases. Understanding past U.S. postures, what they looked like, why they were implemented, and why they changed can provide important insights for policymakers as they look to modify today’s global defense posture in the coming years.

This monograph is a product of the RAND Project AIR FORCE (PAF) continuing program of self-initiated research. Support for this research was provided by the research and development provisions of PAF’s contract with the U.S. Air Force. The study described in this report was administered by the Strategy and Doctrine Program within PAF.

This research should be of interest to officials in the services, combatant commands, and the Department of Defense, as well as to those in the broader defense policy community.

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