Rebalancing U.S. Forces: Basing and Forward Presence in the Asia-Pacific is an essential introduction to U.S. basing in the Pacific for defense and intelligence analysts, military planners, and strategists, and is recommended reading for students of security studies.
The Russian National Security Strategy establishes its military defense and status as a world power as two of its most enduring strategic security interests. It further notes, the top threats to its national security include North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), foreign militaries’ encroachment on its borders, and armed conflicts in neighboring countries. In response to these threats, Russia’s military doctrine prioritizes national defense, strategic deterrence, and the mobilization and deployment of forces in “dangerous strategic directions”. Given these interests, threats, and military priorities, the string of military outposts of the former Soviet Union from the Baltic to the Black Sea can serve either as defensive or offensive means. Assessing the defensive and offensive dispositions of these outposts aids in evaluating their role and utility in Russia’s military strategy.
The national security strategy of the United States since World War II has included overseas basing as a strategic deterrence, first to counter the rising Iron Curtain of the Soviet Union and People’s Republic of China and more recently in the Middle East. There were valid arguments for maintaining military bases in Europe and Asia after the Second World War. However, in the 21st Century should the U.S. invest billions to maintain hundreds of overseas bases that endure because of 19th and 20th Century threats?