December 30, 2021

The Unmet Promise of the Global Posture Review

This article was originally published by War on the Rocks.

You would be forgiven for assuming that America’s pivot or rebalance to the Indo-Pacific was a strategy being executed in the real world. But you’d still be wrong. The latest example of this “say-do gap” is the Defense Department’s newest review of its global military posture. After frenetic and even schizophrenic changes to troop deployments and basing throughout the Middle East and Europe during the Trump administration, many hoped this Global Posture Review would reflect a more concerted effort to link America’s global military footprint to its national strategy. Amidst a growing and intensifying competition with China, expectations rose that the review would mean more forces and bases in the Indo-Pacific, to strengthen deterrence by enhancing the survivability of U.S. forces and adding advanced capabilities.

The review missed an opportunity to realign U.S. military presence overseas with the strategic priorities laid out in the interim National Security Strategic Guidance.

Despite the Biden administration’s hype, the review failed to deliver on its promises. The public summary of the classified review suggests that, in the eyes of senior Pentagon leaders, America’s global posture did not require significant changes after all. Instead, the review took credit for earlier decisions the Biden administration made about the U.S. military footprint, and left the door open to future alterations following the release of the National Defense Strategy in early 2022. In response, the inability of the posture review to produce new announcements about U.S. basing, access, or force deployments — particularly in the Indo-Pacific — has been met with disappointment and exasperation from many onlookers.

Read the full article from War on the Rocks.

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