Understanding the Deterrent Impact of U.S. Overseas Forces
RAND ARROYO CENTER SANTA MONICA CA SANTA MONICA United States
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In the aftermath of Russian military aggression against Ukraine in2014, and with tensions over North Koreas nuclear program rapidly escalating, many are looking to U.S. overseas military presence as acritical element of deterrence.1 At the same time, U.S. overseas military commitments are increasingly coming into question at home, both among the public at large and among many foreign- and defense-policy experts. Within these broad debates about the contributions of U.S. forward posture to international stability are nested narrower debates about the types of forces required to deter aggression, the scale on which they must be deployed, and where they should be stationed. On one end of the debate, several prominent American realists have called for a grand strategy of offshore balancing, in which the United States would maintain its military forces in the United States, dispatching them abroad only as an option of last resort. On the other side of the debate, some advocate for expanding the number of U.S. forces permanently stationed overseas to bolster U.S. deterrence in critical regions of Europe and Asia. Yet others see in standoff weaponry and long-range strike technologies an intermediate option the opportunity to deter potential aggressors from air and sea without maintaining a sizable U.S. military footprint in foreign countries.
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- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics