Latest Cato Research on Military Infrastructure https://www.cato.org/ en When Debating Base Closure, Look at the Data https://www.cato.org/blog/when-debating-base-closure-look-data James Knupp, Christopher A. Preble <p>Despite <a href="https://www.forbes.com/sites/realspin/2017/03/08/support-pentagons-call-for-brac/#18533dc362e8">years</a> of calls from the Pentagon for a new round of Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC), Congress has refused to authorize one since 2005. With the Department of Defense running at <a href="https://www.heritage.org/sites/default/files/2019-08/IB4992.pdf">22 percent excess capacity</a> and constant calls for more money for operations and modernization, Congress should allow the Pentagon to reallocate funds away from unnecessary bases into more urgent projects. But fears of communities losing their bases and watching their local economies suffer as a result has kept talk of a new BRAC off the table.</p> <p>BRAC opponents should take a look at some of the data measuring the economic health of post‐​BRAC communities. Research shows that while there may be some short‐​term pain, in the long run most communities rebound — and oftentimes end up in a much stronger position before. A presentation last year at the <a href="https://baseredevelopment.org/">Association of Defense Communities’ Base Redevelopment Forum</a> looked at three very different cases: Pease Air Force Base in Portsmouth, New Hampshire (1988); Bergstrom Air Force Base in Austin, Texas (1991); and the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard (1991). With both large and small communities represented, the evidence reveals BRAC’s actual effects.</p> <p>We looked at four measures of economic and community health: housing prices, municipal bond rating, tax revenue per capita, and population growth. As the following charts show, these measures did not change in the same ways for each case, reflecting more regional trends than national.</p> <p>For housing prices, we used data from the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) on single family home prices and looked at an index of median single‐​family home prices for each community compared to the national index. These indices from the FHFA used sales and appraisals of single‐​family homes and are not seasonally adjusted. The chart reflects the change over time to median home prices. We have set both the local and national indexes to begin at the same date and an index value of 100. Values over 100 represent an increase in value, values under 100 represent a decrease.</p> <p> <div data-embed-button="embed" data-entity-embed-display="view_mode:media.blog_post" data-entity-type="media" data-entity-uuid="d749b283-6496-4125-ba2a-78731eca101a" data-langcode="en" class="embedded-entity"> <div class="embed embed--infogram js-embed js-embed--infogram"> <div class="infogram-embed" data-id="_/4jf6q9dWcnui1NICY9eL" data-type="interactive" data-title="BRAC Housing Prices"></div> </div> </div> </p><p>As can be seen in the charts, in all three cases housing prices were at or above their values within 10 years of base closure. In the case of Philadelphia, housing prices remained relatively steady, following the national trend, while Austin’s post‐​closure housing prices actually grew at a faster rate than the national trends. Only Portsmouth, New Hampshire, saw a significant drop in home prices following the closure of Pease AFB, but within a decade its housing market has rebounded, and price changes today are on par with national trends.</p> <p>As a measure of a community’s economic health, municipal bond rating is about as literal as it gets. Using information from <a href="https://muse.jhu.edu/book/65866">Michael Touchton and Amanda J. Ashley’s research</a>, we looked at what these communities had as their bond ratings before closure, and several years after closure.</p> <p> <div data-embed-button="embed" data-entity-embed-display="view_mode:media.blog_post" data-entity-type="media" data-entity-uuid="68f863bd-7c73-4b38-9eb9-0aa05d25b9f8" data-langcode="en" class="embedded-entity"> <div class="embed embed--infogram js-embed js-embed--infogram"> <div class="infogram-embed" data-id="d9dcb1c1-65a9-4cfa-8d68-b593c745ad05" data-type="interactive" data-title="BRAC - Bond Rating"></div> </div> </div> </p><p>In each case, bond ratings increased, sometimes substantially. In the cases of Portsmouth and Philadelphia, both went from Ba (below investment grade) to Aaa, the highest grade possible.</p> <p>Another key marker is total tax revenue, but that must be controlled for population growth. We looked at tax revenue per capita and found in each of the three cases this key metric has increased over time. Only Austin experienced a brief decline, and it quickly recovered.</p> <p> <div data-embed-button="embed" data-entity-embed-display="view_mode:media.blog_post" data-entity-type="media" data-entity-uuid="0469ec8c-67ff-4b53-823b-4741a26750f8" data-langcode="en" class="embedded-entity"> <div class="embed embed--infogram js-embed js-embed--infogram"> <div class="infogram-embed" data-id="9ef262c2-2b6b-4fff-8f68-d2852c18ce84" data-type="interactive" data-title="BRAC - Tax revenue per capita"></div> </div> </div> </p><p>And finally, we decided to look at population growth. One of the biggest fears with base closure is that associated job losses will cause people to move away in search of better prospects elsewhere.</p> <p> <div data-embed-button="embed" data-entity-embed-display="view_mode:media.blog_post" data-entity-type="media" data-entity-uuid="139cc9ae-c068-4fee-9ef1-508f7672c2ad" data-langcode="en" class="embedded-entity"> <div class="embed embed--infogram js-embed js-embed--infogram"> <div class="infogram-embed" data-id="a0cb57b4-b76f-4cdd-b5a0-26d5034ceba7" data-type="interactive" data-title="BRAC - Population"></div> </div> </div> </p><p>Here, the picture is more mixed. Both Portsmouth and Philadelphia experienced population loss, with Portsmouth seeing a 21.5 percent decline between 1990 and 2000. As the smallest of the communities studied (population 26,160), the loss of the base would prove more significant than for Austin or Philly. At closure, Pease had employed over 4,500 people, both active duty military and civilians. The Air Force had also estimated that Pease created <a href="https://www.des.nh.gov/organization/divisions/waste/hwrb/fss/dod/pease.htm">2,466 secondary jobs</a> in the surrounding communities. As for Philadelphia, the city had been experiencing population losses for at least a decade prior to the closure of the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard, but it has begun to recover somewhat, so its hard to say whether the base closure had an effect or not. By comparison, Austin has seen considerable population growth, likely due to a number of factors completely unrelated to the closure of Bergstrom AFB.</p> <p>These three cases, and these measures of economic health, are merely snapshots into how base closure can affect a community, but they provide an important perspective. Taken together, they reveal how post‐​BRAC communities recover following a base closure. These facts should be taken into consideration in any future discussion over whether or not to authorize another BRAC round.</p> Wed, 15 Jan 2020 15:11:39 -0500 James Knupp, Christopher A. Preble https://www.cato.org/blog/when-debating-base-closure-look-data How to “Salvage Community” after Military Base Closure https://www.cato.org/blog/how-salvage-community-after-military-base-closure Christopher A. Preble <p>It has been nearly 14 years since the Pentagon trimmed its excess base capacity through a Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) round. Despite repeated requests by various Secretaries of Defense, Congress has blocked the military services from reallocating resources away from unnecessary overhead and toward more urgent priorities.<br /><br /> Much of Congress’s reluctance comes from the perception that base closures are devastating for nearby town and municipalities. In the immediate term, job losses follow whenever a base closes, and the cost of transferring and redeveloping property can be daunting. In most instances, however, elected officials, civic leaders, and interested businesses and non‐​profits join forces to convert former defense facilities into something else. The best cases deliver benefits throughout the community, including renters and homeowners, students, recreational users — and, of course, businesses and their employees.<br /><br /> A just‐​published book, <em><a href="https://www.amazon.com/Salvaging-Community-American-Rebuild-Military/dp/1501700065/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=salvaging+community&amp;qid=1567649141&amp;s=gateway&amp;sr=8-1">Salvaging Community: How American Cities Rebuild Closed Military Bases</a></em> (Cornell University Press, 2019), explores why some communities have been more successful than others. We hosted one of the authors, Michael Touchton, for a discussion here at Cato last week. Touchton, Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of Miami, along with his co‐​author, Boise State University’s Amanda J. Ashley, explore a range of different measures of a given community’s financial health, before, during and after a nearby base closes, and assess the factors that contribute to either expeditious conversion — or frustrating and costly delays. Several organizations, including the <a href="https://www.defensecommunities.org/">Association of Defense Communities</a> and <a href="https://www.defense.gov/explore/story/Article/1843141/dod-office-helps-military-communities-adapt-to-change/">DoD’s Office of Economic Adjustment</a>, exist to help with such transitions. Nevertheless, communities are often unprepared. Touchton and Ashley’s work could bridge that gap.<br /><br /> </p> <p> </p><div data-embed-button="image" data-entity-embed-display="view_mode:media.blog_post" data-entity-type="media" data-entity-uuid="44fd39c5-7440-4154-aafc-fbaf4807c5c8" data-langcode="und" class="embedded-entity"> <img srcset="/sites/cato.org/files/styles/pubs/public/wp-content/uploads/71lbjliqwcl.jpg?itok=yOPrSHAc 1x, /sites/cato.org/files/styles/pubs_2x/public/wp-content/uploads/71lbjliqwcl.jpg?itok=eO6Ud7p2 1.5x" width="700" height="1050" src="/sites/cato.org/files/styles/pubs/public/wp-content/uploads/71lbjliqwcl.jpg?itok=yOPrSHAc" alt="Media Name: 71lbjliqwcl.jpg" typeof="Image" class="component-image" /></div> <p><br /><br />It begins with a unique and <a href="https://dataverse.harvard.edu/dataset.xhtml?persistentId=doi:10.7910/DVN/BRRNM9&amp;widget=dataverse@harvard">proprietary data set</a> with information on 122 bases closed under BRAC. That alone was a signature achievement, requiring the authors to draw information from a wide range of sources including “public records from the DoD, the Census Bureau, other federal agencies, community redevelopment master plans, publicly available documentation of redevelopment outcomes on city, state, and local government website, and extensive e‐​mail and phone inquiries to supplement public records.” The metrics compiled include observed outcomes (dependent variables) such as job creation, revenue generation, municipal bond rating, and “equitable conversion benefits” – an indexed assessment of the various uses of former military land. Factors deemed relevant to success or failure include the diversity of funding sources, the number of public, private, and nonprofit partners, surrounding economic conditions at the time of closure, and the costs of environmental remediation. <br /><br /> But, Touchton and Ashley explain, “the quantitative data reveal only general relationships surrounding redevelopment rather than the causal mechanisms driving redevelopment performance.” Accordingly, Salvaging Community also includes an in‐​depth review of three California cases — the Naval Training Center in San Diego, now Liberty Station; the former Fort Ord in Monterey County; and Naval Air Station Alameda, a short distance across the bay from San Francisco’s financial district. I have visited all three of these sites, and previously written about San Diego, <a href="https://www.cato.org/blog/thoughts-liberty-station-former-naval-training-center-san-diego">here</a> at the Cato blog, and Fort Ord at this year’s International Studies Association meeting (<a href="http://web.isanet.org/Web/Conferences/Toronto%202019-s/Archive/364889a4-6fc9-41e8-bb05-5c48867d34ae.pdf">PDF</a>), but I learned additional details in this fine book.<br /><br /> Touchton and Ashley identify effective governance as a major factor in successful redevelopment. The different entities that take ownership of the land must be incorporated within a decision‐​making structure that mitigates jurisdictional infighting. Local non‐​profits and private businesses should also be involved in both the planning and execution of base conversion. Taking the process step by step, and ensuring maximum buy‐​in among all stakeholders, can ensure a steady stream of revenue to fund environmental remediation, removal of structures unsuitable for preservation and reuse, and construction of new infrastructure.<br /><br /> Base closures are never going to be easy or without consequence. Communities near shuttered bases do experience job losses, and a decline in tax revenue, but, on the whole, a typical community will see a return to pre‐​closure employment and revenue levels within 5–10 years. And the resulting redevelopment nearly always benefits many within the community — not merely those working for or with the U.S. military and the federal government.<br /><br /> Explains the Heritage Foundation’s <a href="https://www.heritage.org/defense/report/making-the-case-new-round-brac">Frederico Bartels</a>, “A new round of BRAC would allow the [defense] department to free time, money, and manpower in installations for other uses.” But that is unlikely so long as fear of the short‐​term economic repercussions of these closures, and an inability to see the opportunities when former military bases are opened up to new civilian uses, persists. Those looking for new information that might break the political log‐​jam in Congress should definitely check out Touchton and Ashley’s <em>Salvaging Community</em>.<br /><br /><em>Thanks to research associate James Knupp for help organizing the event and with this blog post.</em></p> Thu, 05 Sep 2019 12:05:00 -0400 Christopher A. Preble https://www.cato.org/blog/how-salvage-community-after-military-base-closure John Glaser participates in a base closure policy event hosted by the Overseas Base Realignment and Closure Coalition Affairs https://www.cato.org/multimedia/media-highlights-tv/john-glaser-participates-base-closure-policy-event-hosted-overseas Fri, 02 Nov 2018 13:26:00 -0400 John Glaser https://www.cato.org/multimedia/media-highlights-tv/john-glaser-participates-base-closure-policy-event-hosted-overseas A Visit to San Diego’s Liberty Station https://www.cato.org/blog/thoughts-liberty-station-former-naval-training-center-san-diego Christopher A. Preble <p>San Diego, CA — Over the course of my research into the conversion of former military bases, more than one person has suggested that I take a look at <a href="https://libertystation.com/">Liberty Station</a>, the former Naval Training Center located in the Point Loma district of San Diego, that is now a thriving mixed‐​use community.<br /><br /> Operated for over 70 years as a Navy training base, NTC San Diego was included in the 1993 BRAC. It officially closed in April 1997. The city designated a master developer, Corky McMillin Cos. in 1999 to execute the reuse plan, and the site now hosts shops and businesses, schools, a megachurch, private homes, open spaces, and a vibrant arts district.<br /><br /> I visited there for the first time this week, and now I understand why the Pentagon’s Office of Economic Adjustment calls Liberty Station <a href="http://www.oea.gov/project/naval-training-center-san-diego">“one of the most successful base reuse projects in the country.”</a><br /><br /> Several people who have lived in San Diego for decades, and who have special understanding of Liberty Station’s history, were able to explain to me why that’s been the case.<br /><br /> “San Diego is a Navy town,” explained Jerry Selby, a program manager for the City of San Diego, and “San Diegans wanted [Liberty Station] to succeed.” There was extensive community input, and considerable planning. With some other closed bases, the local communities couldn’t come together on what they should become. “By contrast, Liberty Station was a defined piece of land. You could get your head around what it could — and should — be.”<br /><br /> I met Alan Ziter at <a href="https://thelotent.com/site/venueLibertyStation">The Lot</a>, a movie theater complex in the historic Luce Auditorium, with an adjoining restaurant and bar that offers terrific views of the former base. As executive director for the <a href="https://ntcfoundation.org/">NTC Foundation</a>, the non‐​profit organization established in 2000 that’s responsible for the renovation and reuse of 26 historic properties in ARTS DISTRICT Liberty Station, Ziter has a unique perspective on what has been accomplished, and what remains to be done.</p> <p> </p><div data-embed-button="image" data-entity-embed-display="view_mode:media.blog_post" data-entity-type="media" data-entity-uuid="232454fc-7262-4c19-878f-645dca36de3f" data-langcode="und" class="embedded-entity"> <img srcset="/sites/cato.org/files/styles/pubs/public/wp-content/uploads/rsz_the_lot.jpg?itok=Ccx_-G8p 1x, /sites/cato.org/files/styles/pubs_2x/public/wp-content/uploads/rsz_the_lot.jpg?itok=x28cw2Ip 1.5x" width="700" height="525" src="/sites/cato.org/files/styles/pubs/public/wp-content/uploads/rsz_the_lot.jpg?itok=Ccx_-G8p" alt="Media Name: rsz_the_lot.jpg" typeof="Image" class="component-image" /></div> <p>“This place was always about education and training,” Ziter explained as we walked among the galleries and past dance studios, “and I like to think that’s what it still does — except now for the arts.”<br /><br /> They do other educating, too, at Liberty Station. What started with High Tech High in the early 2000s is now the High Tech Village, a campus that also includes High Tech Middle and High Tech Elementary, all part of the San Diego Unified School District.<br /><br /> San Diego is home to Balboa Park, one of the finest urban parks in the country. But the flat open spaces of NTC Park on Liberty Station’s east side, along the San Diego Bay, have become popular with soccer players, picnickers, and 5K racers.<br /><br /> In one section of NTC Park are sets of black granite markers and trees along a paved walkway. Each set memorializes a submarine lost in World War II, 52 in all, and includes the story of how the boat was lost, and the names of those now “on eternal patrol.” It’s a simple but powerful <a href="https://coolsandiegosights.com/2014/01/18/52-boats-memorial-at-ntc-liberty-station/">memorial</a>. <br /><br /> I was tempted to read them all, but I wanted to make my way to <a href="http://libertypublicmarket.com/">Liberty Public Market</a>, a throng of eateries and boutique shops reminiscent of Boston’s Faneuil Hall or Philadelphia’s Reading Terminal Market, though on a smaller scale.</p> <p> </p><div data-embed-button="image" data-entity-embed-display="view_mode:media.blog_post" data-entity-type="media" data-entity-uuid="d1f820b2-f8de-44f4-8199-85834dbc5b63" data-langcode="und" class="embedded-entity"> <img srcset="/sites/cato.org/files/styles/pubs/public/wp-content/uploads/rsz_market.jpg?itok=C0k9GdpV 1x, /sites/cato.org/files/styles/pubs_2x/public/wp-content/uploads/rsz_market.jpg?itok=bpyZUxO0 1.5x" width="700" height="681" src="/sites/cato.org/files/styles/pubs/public/wp-content/uploads/rsz_market.jpg?itok=C0k9GdpV" alt="Media Name: rsz_market.jpg" typeof="Image" class="component-image" /></div> <p><br /><br />One of the other big attractions in the retail area is <a href="https://www.stonebrewing.com/visit/bistros/liberty-station">Stone Brewing</a>, a sprawling restaurant and brew‐​pub that features more than 40 beers on tap. Business was steady but not crowded on a Wednesday evening. Maggie helped me navigate the extensive menu. She came to San Diego nine years ago from Chicago, and she’s been working at Stone for five. <br /><br /> She explained that it was a pretty typical weekday evening, but that it’s very busy on the weekends. People come with kids and big groups. They just say, “let’s meet at Stone,” knowing they’ll be able to seat them. You generally don’t need to reserve a room or big table, she explained, although they also have numerous rooms and meeting spaces suitable for private events. <br /><br /> My favorite part of the story? When I pointed out what a really terrific space it was, and all the more remarkable for having once been a former Navy mess hall, she chuckled. “I know! My grandfather trained here during the Korean War.” <br /><br /> Liberty Station has managed to preserve the historic charm of this place that hosted hundreds of thousands of sailors on their way to war. It honors the memory of those who didn’t return. And it is now one of the coolest places that I’ve ever visited, in one of my favorite American cities. You should definitely check it out.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> </p> Thu, 02 Aug 2018 17:06:00 -0400 Christopher A. Preble https://www.cato.org/blog/thoughts-liberty-station-former-naval-training-center-san-diego Another BRAC Now https://www.cato.org/articles/another-brac-now Fri, 13 Apr 2018 13:58:00 -0400 Christopher A. Preble https://www.cato.org/articles/another-brac-now The Future of BRAC: A Conversation https://www.cato.org/multimedia/events/future-brac-conversation Rep. Adam Smith (D-WA), Christopher A. Preble, Joe Gould <p>Representative Smith and Christopher Preble will discuss the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) process, including their findings from a&nbsp;new article they are copublishing in&nbsp;<em>Strategic Studies Quarterly</em>&nbsp;about BRAC, its impact on defense communities, and the future. For a&nbsp;number of years, the U.S. military — with support of presidents from both parties — has sought congressional authorization to rid itself of excess infrastructure. Unfortunately, Congress continues to stand in the way, often citing concerns about the effect of closures on local communities. In failing to authorize a&nbsp;BRAC round, however, Congress is doing more harm than good. Local communities are deprived of the support and clarity BRAC would provide, and they are denied access to property that could be put to productive use. Our military is forced to allocate resources away from training and equipping our soldiers in order to maintain unnecessary and unwanted infrastructure. Meanwhile, tens of billions of taxpayers’ dollars continue to be wasted. Debate over the BRAC process needs to be better informed by context and a&nbsp;real‐​world understanding of downstream effects, particularly the less‐​appreciated way that closing excess facilities positively affects communities. This conversation aims to do just that.</p> Wed, 14 Mar 2018 13:21:00 -0400 Rep. Adam Smith (D-WA), Christopher A. Preble, Joe Gould https://www.cato.org/multimedia/events/future-brac-conversation Another BRAC Now https://www.cato.org/blog/another-brac-now Christopher A. Preble <p>Last month, Congress <a href="https://www.cato.org/publications/commentary/our-military-isnt-depleted-its-overworked">authorized</a> a&nbsp;massive increase in defense spending as part of a&nbsp;two‐​year budget deal. In 2018 alone, the Pentagon will receive an additional $80 billion, increasing the topline number to $629 billion. War spending will push the total over $700 billion. Though such a&nbsp;windfall might prompt Defense Department to ignore cost‐​saving measures, the <a href="https://www.whitehouse.gov/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/budget-fy2019.pdf">White House pledged</a> that “DOD will also pursue an aggressive reform agenda to achieve savings that it will reinvest in higher priority needs.” Noticeably absent, however, was another Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC), even though Secretary of Defense James Mattis, and at least four of his predecessors, have called for such authority in order to reduce the military’s excess overhead, most recently estimated at 19 percent.<br><br> Congress’ unwillingness to authorize a&nbsp;round of base closures should surprise no one. But congressional inaction doesn’t merely undermine military efficiency. In the most recent <a href="http://www.airuniversity.af.mil/Portals/10/SSQ/documents/Volume-12_Issue-1/Smith.pdf"><em>Strategic Studies Quarterly</em></a><em>,</em> ranking member of the House Armed Services Committee, Rep. Adam Smith (D-WA) and I&nbsp;explain how the status quo is actually hurting military communities.</p> <blockquote><p>To be sure, closing a&nbsp;military base can be disruptive to surrounding economies, and for some communities it may be economically devastating. But such cases are the exception, not the rule. Evidence shows that most communities recover, and some do so quite rapidly. A&nbsp;2005 study by the Pentagon Office of Economic Adjustment researched over 70 communities affected by a&nbsp;base closure and determined that nearly all civilian defense jobs lost were eventually replaced.8 The new jobs are in a&nbsp;variety of industries and fields, allowing communities to diversify their economies away from excessive reliance on the federal government.</p> </blockquote> <p>Rep. Smith and I&nbsp;are not alone in our assessment of the impact that congressional inaction on BRAC has on local communities and our military. In June of last year, over 45 experts from various think tanks of differing ideological and political bents signed onto an <a href="https://www.cato.org/publications/public-comments/open-letter-brac">open letter</a> urging Congress to authorize a&nbsp;BRAC round.<br><br> In a&nbsp;2016 letter to congressional leaders, then‐​Deputy Secretary of Defense <a href="https://object.cato.org/sites/cato.org/files/wp-content/uploads/osd003607-16_res_final.pdf">Robert Work explained</a> that “local communities will experience economic impacts regardless of a&nbsp;congressional decision regarding BRAC authorization. This has the harmful and unintended consequence of forcing the Military Departments to consider cuts at all installations, without regard to military value.… Without BRAC, local communities’ ability to plan and adapt to these changes is less robust and offers fewer protections than under BRAC law.”<br><br> Further, an overwhelming majority of the communities represented by the Association of Defense Communities would prefer a&nbsp;BRAC to the current alternative. This should not come as a&nbsp;shock because, as Smith and I&nbsp;note, “Local communities have been deprived of the support BRAC would provide and have been denied access to property that could be put to productive use.”<br><br> Just to recap, nearly everyone—from think tank experts to DOD officials and from presidents to local community leaders—want a&nbsp;BRAC. Alas, a&nbsp;few key members of Congress stand in opposition.<br><br> BRAC has proven to be a&nbsp;fair and efficient process for making the difficult but necessary decisions related to reconfiguring our military infrastructure and defense communities. Rather than continuing to block base closures for parochial reasons, Congress should permit our military the authority to eliminate waste while providing vital defense resources where they are most needed, and give communities the clarity and financial support they need to convert former military bases to new purposes.<br><br> If you would like to hear more, Rep. Smith and I&nbsp;will be discussing the issue at the Cato Institute on March 14 at 9&nbsp;am. Click <a href="https://www.cato.org/events/future-brac-conversation">here</a> for more information and to register.</p> Fri, 02 Mar 2018 14:52:00 -0500 Christopher A. Preble https://www.cato.org/blog/another-brac-now All I Want for Christmas…Is a BRAC https://www.cato.org/blog/all-i-want-christmasis-brac Christopher A. Preble <p>Five successive Secretaries of Defense have asked Congress for permission to reduce excess and unnecessary military bases. The fairest and most transparent way to make such cuts is through another Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) round. So far, however, the SecDefs' requests have gone unanswered. For their sake, but mostly for the sake of the men and women serving in our armed forces, I want one, too. All I want for Christmas is a BRAC.</p> <p>According to <a href="https://1yxsm73j7aop3quc9y5ifaw3-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/101717_DoD_BRAC_Analysis.pdf" target="_blank">the Pentagon's latest estimates</a>, the military as a whole has 19 percent excess base capacity. If it helps to visualize the nature of the problem, nearly 1 in every 5 facilities that DoD operates are superfluous to U.S. national security, or their functions could be consolidated into other facilities elsewhere. This is important because requiring the military to carry so much overhead necessarily compels the services to divert resources away from more important things -- from salaries and benefits for military personnel, to maintenance and upkeep for their equipment, and even to the purchase of new gear.</p> <p>As Secretary of Defense James <a href="https://www.politico.com/f/?id=0000015c-9f04-d070-a57d-fffe4c600001" target="_blank">Mattis said in congressional testimony earlier this year</a>: </p> <blockquote><p>Of all the efficiency measures the Department has undertaken over the years, BRAC is one of the most successful and significant – we forecast that a properly focused base closure effort will generate $2 billion or more annually – enough to buy 300 Apache attack helicopters, 120 F/A-18E/F Super Hornets, or four Virginia-class submarines.</p> </blockquote> <p>There are two leading arguments against a BRAC, but neither is very convincing. The first envisions a vastly larger military -- especially a larger Army -- and concludes that a BRAC at this time would be premature because it would deny some hypothetical future military the land and other facilities it needs in order to train and operate effectively.</p> <p>But BRAC rounds don't eliminate every square inch of infrastructure not deemed essential in the present-day; they merely grant the Pentagon the authority to more efficiently allocate scarce resources, and respond to changing circumstances. Each of the past five BRAC rounds have cut an average of about 5 percent excess capacity. The military will always retain a surplus as a hedge against future contingencies. </p> <p>What's more, the latest estimate was constructed around the force structure from 2012, when the U.S. military was engaged in major operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. Given other pressures on the defense budget, and federal spending in general, it seems highly unlikely that the military will grow back to 2012 levels. But in the extreme scenario in which the military's needs are dramatically greater than at any time in the recent past, I'm confident that the federal government could obtain what it needs. After all, the U.S. military was tiny for most of our history, and yet we somehow managed to find new locations for bases when they were truly needed for the nation's security (e.g., World War II).   </p> <p>The second argument against BRAC has less to do with the military's requirements, and is more about the impact of base closures on local communities. For the Pentagon, BRAC is like a shiny package wrapped with a bow under the Christmas tree. For locals, BRAC is a lump of coal in the stocking.</p> <p>Except that we shouldn't look at BRAC in this way. To be sure, base closures are disruptive to communities that have grown dependent upon the economic activity that a base generates. A few places have struggled to adapt after their local base closed and the troops moved away. But the actual experiences of defense communities reveal a more complex, and ultimately more optimistic, reality. Most communities are able to find more productive uses for properties previously trapped behind fences and barbed wire. Most are able to attract new businesses, from a diverse array of industries. Some have taken pride in granting the public access to newly open space. The array of uses for former bases is practically limitless (see, for example, <a href="https://www.cato.org/blog/reuse-two-military-bases-atlanta" target="_blank">Atlanta, Georgia</a>; <a href="http://www.businessinsider.com/austin-bergstrom-international-airport-is-on-a-hot-streak-2016-3" target="_blank">Austin, Texas</a>; <a href="http://www.theforecaster.net/after-10-years-job-creation-at-former-brunswick-base-exceeds-expectations/" target="_blank">Brunswick, Maine</a>; <a href="https://www.cato.org/blog/benefits-base-closures-glenview-illinois-edition" target="_blank">Glenview, Illinois</a>; and <a href="http://nationalinterest.org/blog/the-skeptics/what-democrats-can-learn-philadelphias-navy-yard-17080" target="_blank">Philadephia, Pennsylvania</a>). A future BRAC round could be less disruptive than in the past if affected communities plan well, take account of lessons learned elsewhere, and apply some best practices to ease the transition.</p> <p>As Secretary <a href="https://federalnewsradio.com/defense/2017/10/dod-says-it-has-19-percent-more-facilities-than-it-needs-even-assuming-a-larger-military/" target="_blank">Mattis practically pleaded</a> in a cover letter to the most recent report:</p> <blockquote><p>every unnecessary facility we maintain requires us to cut capabilities elsewhere. I must be able to eliminate excess infrastructure in order to shift resources to readiness and modernization.</p> </blockquote> <p>If Congress doesn't grant his wish, perhaps Secretary Mattis will climb onto Santa Claus's lap, and whisper his desires into the jolly old elf's ear -- but I hope, for both men's sake, it doesn't come to that.</p> <p></p> Wed, 13 Dec 2017 16:26:10 -0500 Christopher A. Preble https://www.cato.org/blog/all-i-want-christmasis-brac The Benefits of Base Closures – Glenview, Illinois Edition https://www.cato.org/blog/benefits-base-closures-glenview-illinois-edition James Knupp <p>Last month, Secretary of Defense <a href="https://insidedefense.com/daily-news/mattis-now-time-another-brac-round#.WeYiJdYsWYM.twitter">James Mattis urged Congress</a> to allow the Pentagon to reduce its excess overhead. Mattis has requested this authority before — as have at least four of his predecessors (Carter, Panetta, Hagel and Gates) — but the latest request accompanies <a href="https://insidedefense.com/sites/insidedefense.com/files/documents/oct2017/10172017_brac2.pdf">a new Pentagon report</a> that assesses the military’s infrastructure needs based on a much larger force structure than the one it has today. Even if the military, and especially the Army, were to grow back to the levels seen when the United States was actively fighting wars in both Afghanistan and Iraq (2012), the DoD is carrying 19 percent excess capacity. Such waste clearly impacts military effectiveness. As Mattis explained in a letter accompanying the report, “every unnecessary facility we maintain requires us to cut capabilities elsewhere.”<img alt="" height="563" src="https://object.cato.org/sites/cato.org/files/wp-content/uploads/img955848.jpg" width="750" /> Although the leading Democrat on the House Armed Services Committee, Adam Smith (D-WA), and a handful of other lawmakers, agree with Mattis’s assessment, and would allow the Pentagon to cut such obviously wasteful spending, many others in Congress remain opposed to a new round of base closures. Kay Granger (R-TX), chairwoman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense <a href="https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-06-12/mattis-to-excoriate-congress-over-pentagon-budget-uncertainty">said in May</a> that she had “never seen [BRAC] save much money.” Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK) called plans for base closure “disappointing” and “dangerous.” “Clearly, base closure rounds,” <a href="http://amp.washingtontimes.com/news/2017/sep/11/closing-us-military-bases-comes-at-the-wrong-time/">Inhofe wrote in September</a>, “cost the American taxpayers an exorbitant amount of money upfront and take years to recoup the initial investment.” This is incorrect. The closure of hundreds of unnecessary military bases in five successive BRAC rounds have saved American taxpayers billions of dollars. Even the much‐​maligned fifth and final BRAC round, initiated in 2005, is <a href="http://www.politifact.com/virginia/statements/2015/may/15/rob-wittman/rob-wittman-says-2005-brac-round-base-closings-has/">expected to deliver net savings in 2018</a>. Secretary Mattis explained in testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee in June that a “properly focused base closure effort” could generate $2 billion or more annually. But we shouldn’t assess the benefits of base closures solely on the basis of possible savings to the Department of Defense; that amounts to looking through the wrong end of the telescope. Although BRAC does generate real savings, the greater economic benefits accrue to communities near affected bases when they put underutilized facilities to more productive uses. In that sense, military bases aren’t closed, they’re opened. I visited such a place on Wednesday: the former Glenview Naval Air Station, about 20 miles northwest of Chicago. During World War II, the Navy trained pilots to land on aircraft carriers, in this case <a href="http://www.encyclopedia.chicagohistory.org/pages/520.html">two converted passenger steamers on Lake Michigan</a>. The Navy didn’t have actual aircraft carriers to spare. More than 17,000 naval aviators underwent training at Glenview, including George H.W. Bush. But the naval air station was included in the 1993 BRAC list, and Glenview took charge of clearing some 1100 acres, funded infrastructure improvements, and subdivided and sold parcels to private developers. About 400 acres were preserved as open space and parkland. To the untrained eye, few would realize that there was ever a naval base here. I’ve been aware of Glenview for years, even though I had never visited before. I knew what to look for. The street names betray the area’s storied past. Independence and Constitution Avenues are pretty common, and one even encounters the occasional Patriot Boulevard. But one doesn’t often find Nimitz Drive, Kitty Hawk Lane, or Admiral Court in a typical American subdivision. The beautiful homes, many with three‐​car garages, and backing to golf courses and open space, command top dollar on the real estate market. A review of a few of the listings for the houses with For Sale signs on their front lawns found asking prices between $760,000 and $875,000. Phoebe Co, a realtor with Berkshire Hathaway, explained that condos in the area go for as low as $300,000, but some of the newer townhomes sell for $800,000 or more. Single family homes selling for more than $1 million are not atypical. Glenview is a coveted location not merely for its pleasant neighborhoods, and ample green space with bike and walking paths. It is also in close proximity to the headquarters of a number of Fortune 500 companies (we drove past Allstate’s sprawling campus on the way back to O’Hare), and an easy commute to downtown Chicago — about 40 minutes by train during rush hour. The centerpiece of Glenview’s redevelopment of the former base property is The Glen Town Center, which includes retail shops at street level, and apartments above them for rent. These properties are ringed by attractive brick rowhomes. Here one finds the most visible remaining remnant of the former base: the air station’s control tower is now home to a Dick’s Sporting Goods, a Carter’s children clothing store, and a Von Maur department store. Three statues – a pilot, a sailor, and a ground crewman – stand around a fountain across the street. Painted plaques by the store fronts celebrate the many units that served at the base. Jeanne Fields, assistant property manager for the Aloft apartments, explained that renters value the convenience of living so close to shopping and dining. The Glen is “very unique,” Fields said. “You don’t usually have urban style living in the suburbs.” People who want city living without the city can get it at The Glen. And they’re willing to pay: rentals start at $1600 for a 1 bedroom, and go as high as $5000 for the largest two‐​bedroom unit. Fields reported that more than 90 percent of the units are currently occupied. I strolled around The Glen with my colleague Harrison Moar, stopped in at the ubiquitous Starbucks, and ate lunch at the Yard House (allegedly home of the “World’s Largest Selection of Draft Beers”). The sprawling restaurant can accommodate 250 diners, and seemed surprisingly busy for a Tuesday at Noon. The many families with young children probably weren’t there for the 100+ beers on tap, but Harrison and I might have tried one. Alex at the front told us that this was a pretty typical lunchtime crowd, and that the restaurant was even busier later in the week, and on weekends. Those who believe that base closures will devastate a local economy need to be aware of cases like Glenview (and Philadelphia, and San Francisco, and San Antonio, and Brunswick). To be sure, some places will take longer to recover (e.g. Brooklyn), and a few might never see economic activity comparable to when the nearby bases boomed (e.g. Limestone, Maine). But those who would keep unnecessary military bases open in order to shield local communities from the possible negative economic impacts are saying, in effect, that their parochial concerns should outweigh the needs of the nation. And elected officials who doubt that their base will ever be successfully converted betray a curious lack of faith in their own constituents’ ability to make productive use of valuable real estate.</p> Thu, 02 Nov 2017 09:44:42 -0400 James Knupp https://www.cato.org/blog/benefits-base-closures-glenview-illinois-edition John Glaser discusses the upsides of shutting military bases on The Bob Zadek Show https://www.cato.org/multimedia/media-highlights-radio/john-glaser-discusses-upsides-shutting-military-bases-bob-zadek Sun, 01 Oct 2017 09:59:00 -0400 John Glaser https://www.cato.org/multimedia/media-highlights-radio/john-glaser-discusses-upsides-shutting-military-bases-bob-zadek It’s All about Those (Military) Bases https://www.cato.org/multimedia/power-problems/its-all-about-those-military-bases John Glaser <p>This week we ask John Glaser: why does the U.S. have so many military bases around the world? Show notes: <ul> <li>Guest Bio: <a href="https://www.cato.org/people/john-glaser">John Glaser</a></li> <li>John Glaser, “<a href="https://www.cato.org/multimedia/multimedia/withdrawing-overseas-bases-why-forward-deployed-military-posture-unnecessary-0">Withdrawing from Overseas Bases: Why a&nbsp;Forward‐​Deployed Military Posture Is Unnecessary, Outdated, and Dangerous</a>”</li> </ul> Tue, 12 Sep 2017 14:31:00 -0400 John Glaser https://www.cato.org/multimedia/power-problems/its-all-about-those-military-bases Withdrawing from Overseas Bases: Why a Forward‐​Deployed Military Posture Is Unnecessary, Outdated, and Dangerous https://www.cato.org/multimedia/cato-out-loud/withdrawing-overseas-bases-why-forward-deployed-military-posture-unnecessary-0 John Glaser <p>An audio version of Policy Analysis #816, “<a href="https://www.cato.org/publications/policy-analysis/withdrawing-overseas-bases-why-forward-deployed-military-posture">Withdrawing from Overseas Bases: Why a&nbsp;Forward‐​Deployed Military Posture Is Unnecessary, Outdated, and Dangerous</a>.”</p> Wed, 06 Sep 2017 14:15:00 -0400 John Glaser https://www.cato.org/multimedia/cato-out-loud/withdrawing-overseas-bases-why-forward-deployed-military-posture-unnecessary-0 Christopher A. Preble discusses recent U.S. Navy collisions on Background Briefing with Ian Masters https://www.cato.org/multimedia/media-highlights-radio/christopher-preble-discusses-recent-us-navy-collisions-background Mon, 21 Aug 2017 11:34:00 -0400 Christopher A. Preble https://www.cato.org/multimedia/media-highlights-radio/christopher-preble-discusses-recent-us-navy-collisions-background Why BRAC Might Be Back https://www.cato.org/publications/commentary/why-brac-might-be-back Christopher A. Preble <div class="lead mb-3 spacer--nomargin--last-child text-default"> <p>There is a&nbsp;dispute&nbsp;<a href="https://www.cato.org/blog/hasc-vs-sasc-brac" target="_blank">brewing</a>&nbsp;between House Armed Service Committee (HASC) Chairman Mac Thornberry (R-TX) and others in the House, versus John McCain (R-AZ) and Jack Reed (D-RI), the leaders of the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC). At issue is the need for a&nbsp;new Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) round. The HASC version of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) explicitly prohibits the Pentagon from carrying out a&nbsp;new BRAC. An&nbsp;<a href="https://21stcenturypartnership.com/mccain-reed-draft-brac-proposal-designed-to-overcome-opposition/" target="_blank">amendment</a>&nbsp;to the SASC NDAA, drafted by McCain and Reed, would allow for one.</p> </div> , <div class="mb-3 spacer--nomargin--last-child text-default"> <p>There are some modest signs that opposition to BRAC is softening in both houses of Congress. When Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-TX)&nbsp;<a href="http://clerk.house.gov/evs/2016/roll310.xml" target="_blank">attempted</a>&nbsp;to amend the BRAC‐​less NDAA last year, he garnered just 157 votes. Rep. Tom McClintock (R-CA) fared slightly better this year. His<a href="http://clerk.house.gov/evs/2017/roll365.xml" target="_blank">&nbsp;amendment</a>, which would have stripped the BRAC prohibition from the NDAA, failed 175 to 248, but nineteen HASC members, including ranking member Adam Smith (D-WA), voted for BRAC. And Republicans were far more likely to support BRAC than last year (ninety‐​five ayes, vs. thirty for O’Rourke’s amendment). Heritage Action had&nbsp;<a href="http://heritageaction.com/key-votes/amendments-house-ndaa-h-r-2810/" target="_blank">urged</a>&nbsp;passage of the McClintock amendment, and that probably helped, as did the fact that it’s now a&nbsp;Republican administration asking for a&nbsp;BRAC.</p> <p>There is still a&nbsp;ways to go, however, and it is up to the Senate to grant the Pentagon the authority it has been requesting for years.</p> <p>Chairman Thornberry continues to argue that the Pentagon can’t be trusted to assess what its infrastructure needs actually are. A “BRAC Facts” one‐​pager&nbsp;<a href="https://armedservices.house.gov/news/defense-drumbeat/brac-facts-setting-record-straight" target="_blank">issued</a>&nbsp;last week to discourage House members from voting on the McClintock amendment implied that Secretary of Defense James Mattis wasn’t sure about whether his department had more property than it needs.</p> <p>But this really isn’t in dispute, and the HASC’s selective quoting of Secretary Mattis shouldn’t obscure this fact. Mattis believes strongly in the need for a&nbsp;BRAC, as do other Pentagon officials.</p> <p>On Wednesday, for example, Lucian Niemeyer, Donald Trump’s nominee for assistant secretary of defense (ASD) for energy, installations and environment,&nbsp;<a href="https://www.armed-services.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/Niemeyer_APQs_07-18-17.pdf" target="_blank">reiterated</a>&nbsp;the administration’s commitment to BRAC: “The department needs the ability to optimize bases, realign forces and add new capabilities within a&nbsp;process that prioritizes military value defined by a&nbsp;national military strategy.”</p> <p>The other objection to a&nbsp;new BRAC round is that the United States can’t afford it. The up‐​front costs of implementing a&nbsp;BRAC, opponents argue, will not be offset soon enough to justify the expenditures. This is also incorrect, but could certainly be addressed in legislation. The McCain and Reed amendment, for example,&nbsp;<a href="https://federalnewsradio.com/dod-reporters-notebook-jared-serbu/2017/07/mccain-reed-float-trial-balloon-for-another-brac-round/" target="_blank">specifically caps</a>&nbsp;implementation costs at $5 billion, requires that the round will generate net savings in seven years, and prohibits the inclusion of any individual facility that cannot demonstrate anticipated net savings within ten years.</p> <p>The critical point to consider is whether the military must carry more than 20 percent excess inventory, or whether it could get by with merely 16 or 18 percent more than it needs. And if the Pentagon is correct, and it could safely relinquish underutilized facilities, that would save money.</p> <p>But I&nbsp;think that the focus on the taxpayer savings, literally costs foregone, is too narrow. We should also be taking into consideration how underutilized facilities could be put to more productive uses by local communities.</p> <p>In his SASC testimony Wednesday, Niemeyer highlighted the challenges facing defense communities in recent years, as the uncertainty of BRAC continues to hang over them. “Most are ready for the opportunity provided by BRAC to make their bases more efficient and effective,”&nbsp;<a href="http://mailchi.mp/defensecommunities/president-softens-stance-on-border-wall-funding-252965?e=32e2b8fc1e" target="_blank">Niemeyer explained</a>.</p> <p>And BRAC should be seen as an opportunity to boost economic growth, as&nbsp;<a href="http://mrra.us/brunswick-landing/" target="_blank">has happened</a>&nbsp;at Brunswick Landing in my home state of Maine. Jeffrey Jordan of the Midcoast Regional Redevelopment Authority showed me around on Friday. We sampled a&nbsp;delicious P-3 Pale Ale at the new Flight Deck Brewing, one of over 100 businesses located on the site of the former Brunswick Naval Air Station, closed under the 2005 BRAC round.</p> <p>Jordan told me that Sen. Angus King had attended the ribbon cutting for&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pressherald.com/2017/03/24/flight-deck-brewing-takes-off-at-brunswick-landing/" target="_blank">Flight Deck Brewing</a>&nbsp;in March. And we learned that Sen. King has also visited the online home furniture retailer&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wmtw.com/article/in-need-of-school-supplies-teacher-panhandles-for-help/10340147" target="_blank">Wayfair</a>. Andrew Cantillo greeted us at the door of a&nbsp;modern facility that was once the Navy Exchange building. The facility employs 150, with plans to grow to 200 soon.</p> <p>I also stopped at the former Pease Air Force Base in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, which closed in 1988. Pease International&nbsp;<a href="http://www.peasedev.org/" target="_blank">is now home</a>&nbsp;to over 250 businesses employing nearly 9,600 people. A&nbsp;2015 study of the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.peasedev.org/documents/peaseimpact2015.pptx" target="_blank">economic impact</a> of Pease’s closure found that “The Seacoast economy has outperformed the New Hampshire economy in both the short and long term, due in no small part to the success of Pease.” It also estimated that “the economy has added nearly 32,000 jobs since Pease closed.”</p> <p>These <a href="http://brooklynnavyyard.org/">and</a> <a href="http://www.navyyard.org/" target="_blank">other</a> <a href="https://www.cato.org/blog/reuse-two-military-bases-atlanta">cases</a>&nbsp;are why I&nbsp;like to say that bases aren’t closed—they’re opened.</p> <p>We&nbsp;<a href="http://docs.house.gov/meetings/AS/AS00/20170612/106090/HHRG-115-AS00-Bio-MattisJ-20170612.pdf" target="_blank">should listen</a>&nbsp;to Secretary Mattis: BRAC “is essential to improving our readiness by minimizing wasted resources and accommodating force adjustments.”</p> <p>It is obvious, however, that the secretary needs some help making the case. I&nbsp;don’t believe that President Trump can be counted on to do it. As he discovered with the abortive effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act, threatening tweets aren’t enough to dislodge determined opposition to his legislative priorities.</p> <p>Here’s an idea: we should encourage those senators who have seen successful base conversations in their states to help make the case to their skeptical colleagues. Senators Shaheen and Hassan of New Hampshire, for example, could boast about Portsmouth’s success. Or Senators King or Collins could invite people to join them for an adult beverage in Brunswick.</p> <p>The possibilities are endless.</p> </div> Tue, 25 Jul 2017 14:25:00 -0400 Christopher A. Preble https://www.cato.org/publications/commentary/why-brac-might-be-back The Case against U.S. Overseas Military Bases https://www.cato.org/publications/commentary/case-against-us-overseas-military-bases John Glaser <div class="lead mb-3 spacer--nomargin--last-child text-default"> <p>Over the last several decades, the&nbsp;<a href="https://www.foreignaffairs.com/reviews/review-essay/thinkers-and-tinkerers" target="_blank">digital revolution</a>&nbsp;has fundamentally transformed business best practices. The changes have been slow to penetrate the public sector, however, which remains tied to traditional thinking and practices. U.S. Secretary of State&nbsp;<a href="https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/united-states/2016-12-16/rex-files" target="_blank">Rex Tillerson</a>&nbsp;is trying to review all aspects of the State Department to get it up to speed, which is all to the good. But even bigger game would be the Pentagon, the world’s largest bureaucracy. The strategy, structure, and funding priorities of the U.S. military were set decades ago, in response to an entirely different geopolitical, economic, and technological environment.</p> </div> , <div class="mb-3 spacer--nomargin--last-child text-default"> <p>Consider today’s elaborate and expensive network of U.S. overseas military bases, which first emerged as coaling stations for navy ships a&nbsp;century and a&nbsp;half ago. Modern surveillance and targeting technology have made the bases increasingly vulnerable, and the presence of U.S. military bases can militarize disputes and antagonize opponents that would have otherwise been more docile. U.S. bases can also encourage allies to take risks they might have avoided, thus heightening instability and entangling the United States in peripheral conflicts. Finally, forward‐​deployed forces are a&nbsp;temptation for U.S. leaders: they can make calls for intervention—even where core U.S. interests are not at stake—seem more reasonable.</p> <p>As the circumstances of international politics have changed, and as innovations in technology have both shortened travel times and made in‐​place forces more vulnerable, the strategic and operational utility of overseas bases deserves renewed scrutiny. The three main strategic justifications for overseas bases—to deter adversaries, reassure allies, and enable rapid contingency response by the U.S. military—are no longer sufficient to justify a&nbsp;permanent peacetime military presence abroad.</p> <p><strong>The Deterrence Problem</strong></p> <p>The deterrence value of overseas military bases is frequently exaggerated. For starters, it is hard to actually demonstrate. Because success is measured by the absence of an unwanted action by an adversary, determining whether something did not happen because of deterrence, because the adversary had no intention to attack in the first place, or because of some other reason is inherently challenging.</p> <p>This problem plagues many areas of U.S. foreign policy. For example, analysts such as the Brookings Institution’s Michael O’Hanlon and&nbsp;<a href="https://www.brookings.edu/on-the-record/okinawa-and-security-in-east-asia/" target="_blank">Richard C. Bush</a>&nbsp;and policymakers alike&nbsp;<a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/02/world/asia/james-mattis-us-korea-thaad.html" target="_blank">claim</a>&nbsp;that the U.S. military presence in South Korea is the only thing deterring a&nbsp;unilateral North Korean attack. But South Korea’s economy is 40 times the size of North Korea’s, South Korea has twice the population of North Korea, and South Korean military capabilities far exceed those of Pyongyang. These glaring gaps in economic and military power likely deter the North from attacking the South and would continue to do so even absent U.S. military power in the region.</p> <p>Similarly,&nbsp;<a href="https://csis-prod.s3.amazonaws.com/s3fs-public/legacy_files/files/media/csis/pubs/070326_iranoil_hormuz.pdf" target="_blank">advocates</a>&nbsp;of a&nbsp;forward‐​deployed posture in the Middle East regard the U.S. Navy’s presence in Bahrain and its daily patrolling of the Persian Gulf as the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.inss.org.il/publication/the-strait-of-hormuz-assessing-and-neutralizing-the-threat/" target="_blank">principal deterrent</a>&nbsp;to Iran attempting to close the Strait of Hormuz. But Iran exports most of its oil via the strait and would impose serious economic damage on itself if it attempted to close it. Such an attempt would also threaten the vital interests of the regional powers as well as external powers that rely on the free flow of oil from the region. Iran would thus run unacceptably high risks of retaliation by an international coalition of states and would probably be deterred even&nbsp;<a href="https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/persian-gulf/2016-12-12/getting-out-gulf" target="_blank">without the permanent U.S. naval presence in the Gulf</a>.</p> <p>Sometimes, efforts to deter can backfire. Stationing military bases near an adversary can cause fear that generates counteraction. Russia’s actions against Georgia in 2008 and Ukraine in 2014 have been blamed on a&nbsp;lack of deterrence or diminished U.S. credibility, but they&nbsp;<a href="https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/russia-fsu/2014-08-18/why-ukraine-crisis-west-s-fault" target="_blank">derive</a>&nbsp;more from&nbsp;<a href="https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/ukraine/2016-04-18/russias-perpetual-geopolitics" target="_blank">Moscow’s insecurities</a>&nbsp;about the expansion of U.S.-led Western economic and military institutions into former Soviet republics and even up to the Russian border. Post–Cold War NATO expansion is the source of profound anxiety and lingering resentment in Moscow. Following Russian President Vladimir Putin’s annexation of Crimea, the Russian leader&nbsp;<a href="https://www.cfr.org/backgrounder/north-atlantic-treaty-organization-nato?cid=soc-twitter-in-nato-080316" target="_blank">decried</a>&nbsp;NATO expansion as an attempt at containment, and when in 2015 NATO invited Montenegro to be the newest member of the alliance, the Kremlin warned that further expansion eastward “cannot but result in retaliatory actions.” Indeed, one could say that forward deployment in some cases contributes to the insecurity it purports to prevent.</p> <p><strong>New Technological Advances</strong></p> <p>One of the prominent arguments in favor of maintaining an indefinite U.S. military presence with such bases is that it would be too difficult and time‐​consuming to secure host governments’ permission for access during a&nbsp;crisis in which U.S. forces were needed. That concern is overstated. To begin with, the ability to use bases for new missions is always conditional on host government permission. Basing agreements typically stipulate that the United States must consult with host nation governments before conducting any nonroutine operations. A&nbsp;2016 RAND Corporation&nbsp;<a href="https://www.rand.org/pubs/research_reports/RR1339.readonline.html" target="_blank">study</a>&nbsp;concludes, “The presence of large permanent bases does&nbsp;<em>not</em>&nbsp;increase the likelihood of securing contingency access.” But, more to the point, the United States has historically not had trouble securing basing access in wartime. Indeed, it&nbsp;<a href="http://www.rand.org/content/dam/rand/pubs/research_reports/RR200/RR201/RAND_RR201.pdf" target="_blank">has been able to</a>&nbsp;add new operating facilities overseas for every major conflict in the past 40&nbsp;years.</p> <p>For combat operations that do not rise to the level of a&nbsp;crisis requiring massive mobilization of forces, technological advances in military capability, travel, and communications have made deployment from the continental United States sufficient. This is particularly so with air campaigns. According to the Pennsylvania State University professor&nbsp;<a href="https://www.amazon.com/Strategic-Basing-1200-2000-Strategy-History/dp/0415701767" target="_blank">Robert Harkavy</a>, “The development of longer range aircraft and ships, plus the development of techniques for aerial refueling of planes and at‐​sea refueling of ships has had the effect of greatly decreasing the number of basing points required by major powers to maintain global access networks.”&nbsp;<a href="http://www.rand.org/content/dam/rand/pubs/monographs/2005/RAND_MG404.pdf" target="_blank">Carrier‐​based airpower</a>&nbsp;can now be used to conduct major campaigns with round‐​the‐​clock sorties well beyond coastal reaches in remote areas on short notice and without access to nearby bases.</p> <p>Even beyond air strikes, U.S. troops can deploy from the United States to virtually any region fast enough. In emergencies, according to&nbsp;<a href="http://www.rand.org/content/dam/rand/pubs/research_reports/RR200/RR201/RAND_RR201.pdf" target="_blank">RAND</a>, “Lighter ground forces can deploy by air from the United States almost as quickly as they can from within a&nbsp;region.” An armored brigade combat team, for example, can get from Germany to Kuwait in approximately 18&nbsp;days, only about four days faster than if it deployed from the East Coast of the United States. Admittedly, deploying heavy forces by air in bulk is not plausible for contingencies requiring massive ground troops. But contingencies that truly depend on extremely rapid deployment are rare.</p> <p><strong>The Risk of Entanglement</strong></p> <p>Forward‐​deployed forces are more vulnerable to attack than forces stationed at home. Thanks to robust deterrence, U.S. overseas bases are not at risk of bombardment in the immediate future, but certain plausible scenarios could make them priority targets. If conflict breaks out over Taiwan or maritime territorial disputes in the East or South China Sea, it could trigger&nbsp;<a href="https://www.cnas.org/publications/reports/first-strike-chinas-missile-threat-to-u-s-bases-to-asia" target="_blank">Chinese actions against U.S. assets</a>. A&nbsp;large percentage of U.S. facilities—more than 90 percent of U.S. air facilities in Northeast Asia—are within range of Chinese ballistic missiles. Bases offer only a&nbsp;marginal increase in deterrence at added risk to forward‐​deployed troops.</p> <p><a href="http://nationalinterest.org/commentary/entrapment-abandonment-asia-8697?page=show" target="_blank">Entanglement</a>&nbsp;is another risk exacerbated by the attempt to reassure allies with overseas bases. Much academic literature, including&nbsp;<em><a href="http://www.cornellpress.cornell.edu/book/?GCOI=80140100514850" target="_blank">Reputation and International Politics</a></em>&nbsp;by the University of Washington’s Jonathan Mercer and&nbsp;<em><a href="http://www.cornellpress.cornell.edu/book/?GCOI=80140100149690" target="_blank">Calculating Credibility</a></em>&nbsp;by Dartmouth’s Daryl Press, has&nbsp;<a href="http://www.cornellpress.cornell.edu/book/?GCOI=80140100514850" target="_blank">questioned</a>&nbsp;the need to take military action solely for the sake of credibility. But the presence of military bases in or near a&nbsp;conflict zone can intensify calls to intervene to satisfy credibility concerns, thus making entanglement more likely.</p> <p>In the past, the United States stumbled into conflicts because of the entangling influence of credibility, commitments, and the capabilities presented by a&nbsp;forward military presence. By December 1945, U.S. General John R. Hodge recommended full withdrawal of U.S troops from Korea. Secretary of War Robert Patterson argued the same in April 1947. In 1948, the National Security Council proposed withdrawing all U.S. troops by the end of the year. The Joint Chiefs of Staff&nbsp;<a href="https://books.google.com/books?id=S1MiZwdZPPMC&amp;pg=PA96&amp;lpg=PA96&amp;dq=%E2%80%9CKorea+is+of+little+strategic+value+to+the+United+States%E2%80%9D&amp;source=bl&amp;ots=I6HUhY8AcK&amp;sig=8qTqABOh30gX1nTrugnDmZcZkcc&amp;hl=en&amp;sa=X&amp;ved=0ahUKEwjnu8L6jpPVAhXDNiYKHdzUCToQ6AEIKDAA#v=onepage&amp;q=%E2%80%9CKorea%20is%20of%20little%20strategic%20value%20to%20the%20United%20States%E2%80%9D&amp;f=false" target="_blank">explained</a>&nbsp;that “Korea is of little strategic value to the United States” and warned that the lingering military presence risked entangling the United States in a&nbsp;war following some provocation on the peninsula. That indeed happened in 1950 when the North invaded the South. Unfortunately, calls to withdraw had gone unheeded.</p> <p>The presence of forces abroad can also tempt policymakers to get involved in elective wars that they could more easily forgo if the United States lacked in‐​theater bases. In NATO’s 2011 intervention in Libya’s civil war, for example, the United States bombed Libya from warships in the Mediterranean and from air bases in Spain, Italy, and Germany, among other nearby locations. The weak arguments in favor of U.S. involvement, which included conjectural claims about impending humanitarian disaster and&nbsp;<a href="https://www.cato.org/blog/hegemonic-blackmail-allied-pressure-us-interventions" target="_blank">pressure from NATO allies</a>, might have been harder to sell politically if U.S. forces had not already been deployed in the area.</p> <p><strong>The Future of U.S. Defense Policy</strong></p> <p>Advocates of a&nbsp;forward‐​deployed posture contend that it has been a&nbsp;driving force in creating a&nbsp;more peaceful world since the end of World War II by dampening the effects of anarchy and by preventing conflicts from spiraling out of control. This argument is the essence of the logic behind deterrence and reassurance. But other plausible causal explanations exist for the&nbsp;<a href="https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&amp;rct=j&amp;q=&amp;esrc=s&amp;source=web&amp;cd=1&amp;cad=rja&amp;uact=8&amp;ved=0ahUKEwjhw4Dqh5PVAhXFQSYKHUjVD_IQFggoMAA&amp;url=https%3A%2F%2Fcsis-prod.s3.amazonaws.com%2Fs3fs-public%2Flegacy_files%2Ffiles%2Fpublication%2Ftwq12SummerTertrais.pdf&amp;usg=AFQjCNHlMBzCtzBddKCXOAmfPlPc74STlQ" target="_blank">lack of a&nbsp;great‐​power war since 1945</a>. Although trade and economic interdependence are not always sufficient to stave off conflict between potential belligerents, there is&nbsp;<a href="http://press.princeton.edu/titles/10403.html" target="_blank">solid evidence</a>&nbsp;that the two factors do reduce the likelihood of war. The destructive power of modern conventional militaries has also made war prohibitively costly in many cases, and the fact that most of the world’s great powers possess nuclear weapons has likely been a&nbsp;major factor in the decline of international conflict. Normative changes in how people see war, from a&nbsp;noble and virtuous ambition to a&nbsp;barbaric last resort, have also&nbsp;<a href="https://www.amazon.com/Retreat-Doomsday-John-Mueller/dp/0465069398" target="_blank">contributed to peace</a>&nbsp;among nations.</p> <p>The U.S. forward‐​deployed military posture should reflect real U.S. defense interests. The remarkably secure position of the United States, along with the relatively peaceful state of international politics, should allow a&nbsp;withdrawal from this global network of overseas military bases. Rather than defending the security of other states and attempting to stabilize regions of conflict around the world, the United States should encourage allies to carry the burden of their own defense and extricate itself from regional disputes, lest it get drawn into conflicts in which its vital interests are not at stake.</p> </div> Tue, 25 Jul 2017 08:55:00 -0400 John Glaser https://www.cato.org/publications/commentary/case-against-us-overseas-military-bases Withdrawing from Overseas Bases: Why a Forward‐​Deployed Military Posture Is Unnecessary, Outdated, and Dangerous https://www.cato.org/publications/policy-analysis/withdrawing-overseas-bases-why-forward-deployed-military-posture John Glaser <div class="lead mb-3 spacer--nomargin--last-child text-default"> <p>The United States maintains a&nbsp;veritable empire of military bases throughout the world—about 800 of them in more than 70 countries. This forward‐​deployed military posture incurs substantial costs and disadvantages, exposing the United States to vulnerabilities and unintended consequences. The strategic justifications for overseas bases—that they deter adversaries, reassure allies, and enable rapid deployment operations—have lost much of their value and relevance in the contemporary security environment.</p> </div> , <div class="mb-3 spacer--nomargin--last-child text-default"> <p>Deterrence is usually achieved by means other than nearby U.S. military bases, and a&nbsp;forward‐​deployed presence frequently exacerbates international tensions by causing fear and counterbalancing efforts by adversaries. In an era of reduced global threats, reassurance is not as important as it was during the early years of the Cold War, and most U.S. allies are wealthy and powerful enough to provide for their own defense. Furthermore, overseas bases are not necessary to retain long‐​range capabilities for most military interventions, thanks to revolutions in technology that have reduced travel times. Finally, forward bases and the rapid deployment capabilities they enable tempt policymakers to take military action for bad reasons, or in pursuit of counterterrorism goals that are not well served by the deployment of ground forces.</p> <p>In the absence of a&nbsp;major peer competitor, and in an era of low security threats, the policy of maintaining a&nbsp;constant worldwide overseas military presence is unwise. The United States should withdraw its permanent peacetime military presence abroad and abandon its forward‐​deployed posture in Europe, the Middle East, and Asia.</p> <p><strong><em><a href="https://www.cato.org/multimedia/multimedia/withdrawing-overseas-bases-why-forward-deployed-military-posture-unnecessary">Download or watch a&nbsp;video</a> on 4&nbsp;reasons Why We Should Withdraw from Our Overseas Bases</em></strong></p> </div> , <div class="mb-3 spacer--nomargin--last-child text-default"> <h2>Introduction</h2> <p>In contemporary foreign policy debates, analysts and policymakers largely take America’s worldwide constellation of overseas military bases for granted. But America’s forward‐​deployed military posture—that is, its policy of maintaining a&nbsp;large overseas military presence—incurs substantial risk. Even under a&nbsp;strategy of primacy—the view that a&nbsp;peaceful world order and our own national security depend on maintaining a&nbsp;preponderance of U.S. power—the extent of U.S. overseas basing creates needless cost and danger. A&nbsp;less aggressive strategy requiring fewer overseas bases would greatly reduce both military spending and security dangers to the United States.</p> <p>Particularly in the absence of a&nbsp;peer competitor such as the Soviet Union, overseas bases have become liabilities. By buttressing commitments to allies of the United States, overseas bases may, in some cases, deter adversaries and prevent spirals of conflict, but those military bases create several problems.</p> <p>The first problem is that modern surveillance and targeting technology have made the bases increasingly vulnerable, even while increasing our allies’ ability to marshal their own defenses and to cooperate with U.S. forces outside the allies’ theater. Second, the presence of U.S. military bases can militarize disputes and can antagonize opponents who otherwise would have been more docile. Third, U.S. bases can encourage allies to take risks they might otherwise avoid, thus heightening instability and entangling the United States in peripheral conflicts. Finally, forward‐​deployed forces are a&nbsp;temptation for U.S. leaders; they can set in motion calls for intervention where core U.S. interests are not at stake.</p> <p>The U.S. government does not keep a&nbsp;comprehensive and accessible account of its network of overseas bases. The most inclusive estimates are that at present the United States controls approximately 800 overseas facilities in more than 70 countries.&nbsp;<sup><a href="#_idTextAnchor000">1</a></sup>&nbsp;Base types fall into about five basic categories, ranging from Main Operating Bases—which hold tens of thousands of troops deployed for long periods of time, often with their families—to En Route Facilities Structures, which merely store weaponry and other equipment.</p> <p>To get an idea of the scope of the U.S. military presence, consider that in Europe alone, about 80,000 active‐​duty personnel are stationed at more than 350 installations, 39 of which are major bases in the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, Norway, Denmark, Belgium, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Greece, and Kosovo.&nbsp;<sup><a href="#_idTextAnchor001">2</a></sup>&nbsp;Smaller bases are located in Ireland, Poland, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Turkey, and Georgia. The U.S. Navy’s Sixth Fleet rotates three destroyer squadrons, up to 40 ships, and 175 aircraft in the Mediterranean Sea, relying on several fixed bases on land. The United States maintains approximately 200 tactical nuclear weapons throughout the region. Europe is a&nbsp;major logistical hub for U.S. operations abroad, with more than 95 percent of U.S.-based units bound for Iraq and Afghanistan transiting the European Command area of responsibility.&nbsp;<sup><a href="#_idTextAnchor002">3</a></sup></p> <p>In the Middle East, deployment numbers can be difficult to determine with precision because troops are stationed on a&nbsp;temporary and rotational basis, and the U.S. government keeps much information about deployed troops secret. But there are approximately 50,000 troops in the region currently, not including military or civilian contractors.&nbsp;<sup><a href="#_idTextAnchor003">4</a></sup>&nbsp;As of February 2017, major bases still exist in Afghanistan, where approximately 12,900 U.S. forces still operate, and Iraq, where about 7,500 troops currently rotate in and out. An air base is stationed in Jordan, where there are more than 2,500 troops, and a&nbsp;small number of U.S. troops are in Israel for surveillance and ballistic missile defense.&nbsp;<sup><a href="#_idTextAnchor004">5</a></sup>&nbsp;U.S. Navy, Air Force, and Army installations are located in Egypt—in Cairo, at Port Said, along the Suez Canal, and in the Sinai Peninsula—as well as in Kuwait, which holds more than 13,400 troops. Major Air Force bases are located in Qatar, at Al Udeid, and in the United Arab Emirates, at Al Dhafra, where there are more than 5,200 and 1,800 troops, respectively. The U.S. Navy’s Fifth Fleet maintains a&nbsp;permanent presence of more than 6,400 personnel in Bahrain, from which it launches daily patrols of the Persian Gulf. Small bases and training facilities are also located in Yemen, Oman, and Saudi Arabia.</p> <p>In the Asia Pacific area, there are more than 154,000 active‐​duty military personnel (330,000 if you include civilians). There are 49 major bases located in Japan, South Korea, Australia, Singapore, Guam, the Marshall Islands, and the Northern Mariana Islands.&nbsp;<sup><a href="#_idTextAnchor005">6</a></sup>&nbsp;Smaller bases are positioned in Hong Kong, Thailand, Cambodia, the Philippines, and elsewhere. The Obama administration’s “Asia‐​pivot” aspired to greater basing access and troop presence in countries such as Vietnam and the Philippines. Rotating through the Asia Pacific are five aircraft carrier strike groups, including as many as 180 ships and 1,500 aircraft, two‐​thirds of the Marine Corps’ combat strength, five Army Stryker brigades, and more than half of overall U.S. naval strength.&nbsp;<sup><a href="#_idTextAnchor006">7</a></sup></p> <p>The United States also maintains many small bases in almost two dozen African countries—including Djibouti, Niger, Chad, Burkina Faso, Mauritania, Ghana, Liberia, South Sudan, and Uganda—as well as a&nbsp;relatively small number in Latin America—including those in Honduras, Cuba, Colombia, Peru, Chile, Argentina, and Brazil. Bases are also kept in such remote outposts as Greenland, Iceland, American Samoa, and Antarctica. The estimated total cost of maintaining this overseas base and troop presence ranges from about $60 billion to $120 billion annually.&nbsp;<sup><a href="#_idTextAnchor007">8</a></sup></p> <p>America’s global military presence is the tangible manifestation of the grand strategy of primacy that has driven the U.S. approach to the world for decades. Primacy, according to proponents William Kristol and Robert Kagan, means maintaining a&nbsp;preponderance of U.S. power—a “benevolent hegemony”—over the international system.&nbsp;<sup><a href="#_idTextAnchor008">9</a></sup>&nbsp;According to an internal Pentagon memo in 1992, a&nbsp;forward‐​deployed military presence serves the core objective of “convincing potential competitors that they need not aspire to a&nbsp;greater role or pursue a&nbsp;more aggressive posture to protect their legitimate interests.”&nbsp;<sup><a href="#_idTextAnchor009">10</a></sup>&nbsp;Bases abroad help expand the domain of American influence and responsibility, enabling Washington to use force to police the world and suppress conflict spirals.&nbsp;<sup><a href="#_idTextAnchor010">11</a></sup></p> <p>America’s forward‐​deployed posture is not intended to protect the nation from direct attack. Rather, its goal is to provide security for other states and protect against contingencies that, for the most part, would not involve vital U.S. interests. Indeed, as a&nbsp;recent Rand Corporation analysis put it, “military facilities used primarily for power projection are not defensive strongholds but rather launching pads and logistical hubs that support operations beyond their immediate vicinity.”&nbsp;<sup><a href="#_idTextAnchor011">12</a></sup>&nbsp;In other words, U.S. bases overseas are not about national defense per se. They are an insurance policy on stability abroad.</p> <p>The argument of this paper is that this posture should be narrowed to prioritize U.S. defense interests. Despite the tendency of policymakers and the news media to exaggerate dangers and inflate threats from abroad, much scholarship shows that international conflict and overall levels of violence are at historic lows. The remarkably secure position of the United States, along with the relatively peaceful state of international politics, enables a&nbsp;withdrawal from this global network of overseas military bases. Rather than defending the security of other states and attempting to stabilize regions of conflict around the world, the United States should encourage allies to carry the burden of their own defense and should extricate itself from regional disputes lest it get drawn into conflicts in which its vital interests are not at stake. This paper evaluates the main strategic justifications for overseas bases, offers critiques of the current policy, and explores some additional costs and drawbacks of the status quo. The concluding sections propose an alternative posture consistent with a&nbsp;grand strategy of restraint—namely, withdrawing from all but a&nbsp;few overseas bases.</p> <h2>The Rationale for Overseas Military Bases</h2> <p>Historically, great powers constructed foreign military bases for essentially imperial purposes—to acquire additional territory, colonize new lands, control distant resources for the material benefit of the state, enable future conquest, and out‐​compete other empires. Throughout ancient Greece, rivalrous Athens and Sparta competed for basing access. Rome set up garrisons that extended from Britannia across the Mediterranean to the Persian Gulf.&nbsp;<sup><a href="#_idTextAnchor012">13</a></sup>&nbsp;China’s Second Ming Empire constructed a&nbsp;network of bases all across the Indian Ocean, from the Strait of Malacca to the Gulf of Aden.&nbsp;<sup><a href="#_idTextAnchor013">14</a></sup>&nbsp;The European empires, starting with Portugal and Spain in the 15th century and ending with the British and French in the 20th, used military bases across Asia, Africa, and the Americas, often as a&nbsp;means to satisfy mercantilist ends of monopolizing trade opportunities through colonization and strengthening the home economy at the expense of rivals. As coal‐​powered sea travel proliferated in the 19th and early 20th centuries, military bases served logistical requirements for refueling ships on trade routes and military missions.</p> <p>Today, though, the strategic rationale for overseas military bases has changed significantly. The explosion of world trade has made the need for military garrisons for purposes of trade and ensuring access to resources dubious.&nbsp;<sup><a href="#_idTextAnchor014">15</a></sup>&nbsp;Conquest by great powers has declined, partly because of the ascendancy of post–World War II norms of territorial integrity and self‐​determination.&nbsp;<sup><a href="#_idTextAnchor015">16</a></sup>&nbsp;Furthermore, the destructive power of modern militaries, especially through nuclear weapons, has discouraged the kind of aggressive expansionism common among the empires of old.</p> <p>Maintaining overseas military bases is a&nbsp;uniquely American preoccupation: the United States has approximately 800 military bases; France and the United Kingdom have roughly 12 each; and Russia, the adversary with the next most overseas bases, has about 9.&nbsp;<sup><a href="#_idTextAnchor016">17</a></sup>&nbsp;The adoption of this worldwide American network of military bases began in World War II.</p> <p>America’s share of world power at the end of the war was stupendous. Unlike the other great powers, the United States was largely untouched by combat, it accounted for more than half of the world’s manufacturing production, and it possessed two‐​thirds of the world’s gold reserves. It also had the greatest per capita productivity, the most powerful conventional military in the world, and a&nbsp;monopoly on nuclear weapons.&nbsp;<sup><a href="#_idTextAnchor017">18</a></sup>&nbsp;The goal of policymakers was to preserve that position for as long as possible and to ensure U.S. security and prosperity by “maintaining the division of Eurasia’s industrial might, preserving freedom of the seas, and … preventing the consolidation of Persian Gulf oil.”&nbsp;<sup><a href="#_idTextAnchor018">19</a></sup></p> <p>In the past, America’s favorable geography, isolated from Eurasia, allowed it to remain aloof as long as there was a&nbsp;rough balance of power among the great nations.&nbsp;<sup><a href="#_idTextAnchor019">20</a></sup>&nbsp;But for policymakers at the end of World War II, the development of airpower and nuclear weapons, not to mention the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, had established a&nbsp;new sense of vulnerability previously attenuated by the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.&nbsp;<sup><a href="#_idTextAnchor020">21</a></sup>&nbsp;The postwar environment of enfeebled war‐​torn allies in Western Europe, a&nbsp;devastated U.S.-occupied Japan, and an empowered Soviet Union precluded a&nbsp;swift return to an offshore balancing strategy, in which America could let locals handle aggressors except when the stakes became too high.&nbsp;<sup><a href="#_idTextAnchor021">22</a></sup>&nbsp;The goal of a&nbsp;rough balance of power remained, and policymakers determined that forward deployment was required to maintain it.</p> <p>Throughout the Cold War, overseas military bases had three functions. First, they were intended to prevent the buildup of military capabilities, or development of nuclear weapons, by states then under U.S. occupation, particularly Germany and Japan. The goal, explains the international relations scholar Christopher Layne, was “to foreclose the possibility that the West European states would re‐​nationalize their security policies” and thus “strip them of the capacity to take unilateral, national action.”&nbsp;<sup><a href="#_idTextAnchor022">23</a></sup>&nbsp;Second, large numbers of ground, air, and naval forces were garrisoned in Europe and along the Asian littoral to deny territorial advances or attacks by the Soviet Union. Third, bases were to contain the Soviets and ensure against the outbreak of war through extended deterrence.</p> <p>Today’s justifications for overseas bases have changed, but the bases remain as strong a&nbsp;part of the nation’s grand strategy as ever. Although the number of troops stationed abroad has declined since 1990, the United States still maintains the same forward‐​deployed posture more than a&nbsp;quarter century after the fall of the Soviet Union. Shed of military competition from the Soviet Union and unencumbered by external constraints on its power, the United States has been free to broaden the conception of its national interests. Not only does America take preventive actions to stave off potential peer competitors, but it also uses its military power, albeit selectively, in the name of protecting human rights, promoting democracy and the rule of law, disciplining rogue states, imposing regime change, engaging in nation‐​building missions, and managing local disputes around the globe.</p> <p>Three broad strategic justifications motivate today’s forward‐​deployed posture: (1) to deter potential aggressors, (2) to reassure friends and allies, and (3) to enable a&nbsp;rapid military response for any operational contingency. The first two justifications are designed to demonstrate the trustworthiness of America’s threats and promises and thus to bolster the credibility of U.S. security guarantees. The third is based on the assumption that being there is essential for rapid deployment in military interventions.</p> <p>To deter aggressors, bases serve as “a tangible indicator of American willingness to fight” should an adversary attack a&nbsp;U.S. ally or otherwise destabilize a&nbsp;region through military action.<sup><a href="#_idTextAnchor023">24</a></sup>&nbsp;They serve as a&nbsp;tripwire, by putting the lives of American soldiers at risk and thus triggering U.S. military intervention in case of attack. It would be very difficult politically for the United States to renege on a&nbsp;security guarantee if U.S. troops were already caught up in the fighting. Finally, large, permanent garrisons require a&nbsp;lot of time and resources to abandon, thus making it difficult to withdraw amid conflict, no matter how peripheral the strategic interests at stake.&nbsp;<sup><a href="#_idTextAnchor024">25</a></sup></p> <p>By bolstering U.S. credibility to intervene in response to attack, forward deployment is intended to simultaneously deter adversaries and reassure allies. The combination of dissuading adversaries from aggression and making allies feel safer is meant to enhance global peace and stability. That set of reasons is the logic of hegemonic stability theory, sometimes described as the “American pacifier.”&nbsp;<sup><a href="#_idTextAnchor025">26</a></sup>&nbsp;The presence of the American military is supposed to discourage nuclear proliferation, conventional arms races, and war.</p> <p>The third argument is that overseas bases provide the logistical infrastructure necessary for rapid response to any major military contingency, or what is sometimes called “contingency responsiveness.” As a&nbsp;recent Rand Corporation study explains, “In‐​place forces provide the immediate capabilities needed to counter major acts of aggression”; they “provide the initial response necessary to prevent quick defeat while awaiting the arrival of aerial, maritime, and ground reinforcements.”&nbsp;<sup><a href="#_idTextAnchor026">27</a></sup>&nbsp;Any contingency that necessitates major military mobilization to a&nbsp;war zone will require substantial reinforcements, the bulk of which will be deployed from the continental United States. However, because that action can take days or weeks, forward‐​deployed forces are intended to rapidly respond to crises in which initial military successes may be decisive.</p> <h2>A Critique of U.S. Military Base Posture</h2> <p>As the circumstances of international politics have changed in the post–Cold War years, and as innovations in technology have both shortened travel times and made in‐​place forces more vulnerable, the strategic and operational utility of overseas bases deserves renewed scrutiny. This section critiques the three main strategic justifications for overseas bases mentioned previously—deterrence, reassurance, and contingency responsiveness—and explores some additional costs and drawbacks of maintaining a&nbsp;permanent peacetime military presence abroad.</p> <h3>Deterrence and Reassurance</h3> <p>The deterrence value of overseas military bases is frequently exaggerated. As Robert Johnson argues, the Soviet threat throughout the Cold War spurred “undue alarmism,” and “even without American forces deployed in Western Europe, a&nbsp;Soviet attack was extremely unlikely.”&nbsp;<sup><a href="#_idTextAnchor027">28</a></sup>&nbsp;The Soviets were not as expansionist as generally feared and were easier to contain than many analysts and policymakers thought. Yet, as Alexander L. George and Richard Smoke write, “by 1956 the United States’ reliance on deterrence threats and alliance commitments as the primary tools of foreign policy vis‐​à‐​vis the Soviet Union had become a&nbsp;rigidified response to almost any perceived communist encroachment anywhere in the world,” and indeed had “the negative effect of reinforcing the policy‐​makers’ tendency to rely too heavily on deterrence … in lieu of … diplomacy.”&nbsp;<sup><a href="#_idTextAnchor028">29</a></sup></p> <p>Deterrence is difficult to demonstrate.&nbsp;<sup><a href="#_idTextAnchor029">30</a></sup>&nbsp;Because success is measured by the absence of an unwanted action by the adversary, determining whether something did not happen because of deterrence, or because the adversary had no intention to attack in the first place, or some other reason, is inherently challenging.&nbsp;<sup><a href="#_idTextAnchor030">31</a></sup>&nbsp;That problem plagues many areas of U.S. foreign policy. For example, analysts and policymakers alike claim that the U.S. military presence in South Korea is the only thing deterring a&nbsp;unilateral North Korean attack. But South Korea’s economy is 40 times the size of North Korea’s, South Korea has twice the population of North Korea, and South Korean military capabilities so far exceed that of Pyongyang’s that there is little question which side would win an all‐​out war. These glaring gaps in economic and military might deter the North from attacking the South even absent U.S. military power in the region.</p> <p>Similarly, advocates of a&nbsp;forward‐​deployed posture in the Middle East regard the U.S. Navy’s presence in Bahrain and its daily patrolling of the Persian Gulf as the principal deterrent that would stop a&nbsp;state like Iran from attempting to close the Strait of Hormuz.&nbsp;<sup><a href="#_idTextAnchor031">32</a></sup>&nbsp;But Iran exports most of its oil via the strait and would impose serious economic damage on itself in attempting to close it. Such an attempt would also threaten the vital interests of the regional powers as well as external powers that rely on the free flow of oil from the region. Iran would thus run unacceptably high risks of retaliation by an international coalition of states and would probably be deterred even without the permanent U.S. naval presence in the Gulf.&nbsp;<sup><a href="#_idTextAnchor032">33</a></sup></p> <p>Several trends that are unrelated to forward deployment contribute to general deterrence and stability, making overseas bases superfluous. Advocates of the United States’ forward‐​deployed posture contend that it is a&nbsp;driving force in creating a&nbsp;more peaceful world by dampening the effects of anarchy and by ameliorating conflict spirals.&nbsp;<sup><a href="#_idTextAnchor033">34</a></sup>&nbsp;This argument is the essence of the logic behind deterrence and reassurance. But other plausible causal explanations exist for the lack of a&nbsp;great‐​power war since 1945.&nbsp;<sup><a href="#_idTextAnchor035">35</a></sup>&nbsp;Although trade and economic interdependence are not always sufficient to stave off conflict between potential belligerents, there is solid evidence that the two factors do reduce the likelihood of war.&nbsp;<sup><a href="#_idTextAnchor036">36</a></sup>&nbsp;The destructive power of modern conventional militaries has also made war prohibitively costly in many cases, and the fact that most of the world’s great powers possess nuclear weapons has likely been a&nbsp;major factor in the decline of international conflict.&nbsp;<sup><a href="#_idTextAnchor038">37</a></sup>&nbsp;Normative changes in how people see war also contribute to peace among nations. War is increasingly seen as an abhorrent last resort instead of a&nbsp;glorified mission that creates masculine virtue.&nbsp;<sup><a href="#_idTextAnchor039">38</a></sup></p> <p>The absence of a&nbsp;true hegemonic threat in this increasingly stable international environment undermines the case for permanent alliances and the bases that underlie them. The rise of an expansionist European power bent on continental domination is nowhere on the horizon. And it is not clear that U.S. military forces on the ground are the reason for this. In any case, the countries in Europe and East Asia would likely confront any rising hegemon in the absence of U.S. bases and security commitments. As a&nbsp;prosperous and militarily capable continent, Europe is especially able to handle such an unlikely development without the presence of an extra‐​regional military power.&nbsp;<sup><a href="#_idTextAnchor041">39</a></sup></p> <p>Finally, advocates of forward deployment argue that the United States’ overseas presence prevents nuclear proliferation by reassuring host nations. The record on that score is decidedly mixed.&nbsp;<sup><a href="#_idTextAnchor042">40</a></sup>&nbsp;Bases and security guarantees can reassure some allies and thereby discourage proliferation, most notably in Japan and South Korea. However, host nations are not always reassured. Some U.S. allies—for example, the United Kingdom, France, and Israel—developed and have retained nuclear weapons despite U.S. protection.</p> <h3>Contingency Responsiveness</h3> <p>Overseas bases are generally thought to be the frontline forces needed to successfully prosecute a&nbsp;war. However, a&nbsp;forward‐​deployed presence is often more about deterrence than about operational convenience. During the Cold War, for example, a&nbsp;chief purpose of troops in Europe was to guarantee U.S. involvement in a&nbsp;conflict, not to be particularly useful in battlefield scenarios. As President Dwight D. Eisenhower once commented in reference to the 1958–59 Berlin crisis, “If resort to arms should become necessary, our troops in Berlin would be quickly overrun, and the conflict would almost inevitably be global war. For this type of war, our nuclear forces were more than adequate.”&nbsp;<sup><a href="#_idTextAnchor043">41</a></sup></p> <p>A Rand Corporation report on basing posture reiterates that point for today: “the forces that are forward‐​deployed are not sufficient of themselves to address conflicts of every scope.”&nbsp;<sup><a href="#_idTextAnchor044">42</a></sup>&nbsp;Indeed, “after the initial phase of operations to stabilize or even resolve a&nbsp;situation, the response by the U.S. military to a&nbsp;contingency of any substantial size will come primarily from forces deployed from bases in the United States.”&nbsp;<sup><a href="#_idTextAnchor045">43</a></sup></p> <p>One of the prominent arguments in favor of maintaining an indefinite military presence is that it would be too difficult and time consuming to secure host governments’ permission for access during a&nbsp;crisis in which U.S. forces were needed. That concern is overstated. To begin with, the ability to use bases for new missions is always conditional on host government permission. Basing agreements typically stipulate that the United States must consult with host nation governments before conducting any nonroutine operations. A&nbsp;2016 Rand Corporation study concludes, “the presence of large permanent bases does&nbsp;<em>not</em>&nbsp;increase the likelihood of securing contingency access.”&nbsp;<sup><a href="#_idTextAnchor046">44</a></sup>&nbsp;But, more to the point, we have historically not had trouble securing basing access in wartime. Indeed, the United States has been able to add new operating facilities overseas for every major conflict in the past 40&nbsp;years.&nbsp;<sup><a href="#_idTextAnchor047">45</a></sup></p> <p>For combat operations that do not rise to the level of a&nbsp;crisis requiring massive mobilization of forces, deployment from the continental United States is sufficient because of technological advances in military capability, travel, and communications. This is the case with deployments generally, but particularly so with air campaigns. According to Robert Harkavy, a&nbsp;basing expert at Pennsylvania State University, “the development of longer range aircraft and ships, plus the development of techniques for aerial refueling of planes and at‐​sea refueling of ships has had the effect of greatly decreasing the number of basing points required by major powers to maintain global access networks.”&nbsp;<sup><a href="#_idTextAnchor048">46</a></sup>&nbsp;Carrier‐​based air power can now conduct major campaigns with around‐​the‐​clock sorties well beyond littoral reaches in remote areas on short notice and without access to nearby forward bases.&nbsp;<sup><a href="#_idTextAnchor049">47</a></sup></p> <p>The United States’ long‐​range bombers can deliver nonrefueled payloads for missions of up to 8,800&nbsp;miles, and tanker refueling “can extend that almost indefinitely,” says Harkavy.&nbsp;<sup><a href="#_idTextAnchor050">48</a></sup>&nbsp;In the 1991 Gulf War, the United States flew B‐​52s from Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana to conduct bombing raids against Iraq in roundtrip missions that exceeded 10,000&nbsp;miles and took only 30&nbsp;hours.&nbsp;<sup><a href="#_idTextAnchor051">49</a></sup>&nbsp;“During the first three weeks of the American buildup to the Gulf War,” according to Kent Calder, professor at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, “the United States moved more troops and equipment than in the first three months of the Korean War.”&nbsp;<sup><a href="#_idTextAnchor052">50</a></sup></p> <p>In 1999, U.S. Air Force bombers conducted attacks against Serbian targets from the continental United States. In a&nbsp;2000 North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) exercise, the Global Hawk drone vehicle “provided direct, unmanned support for amphibious operations in Portugal from its station at Eglin Air Base in Florida,” and the following year it flew 7,500&nbsp;miles across the Pacific to Australia.&nbsp;<sup><a href="#_idTextAnchor053">51</a></sup>&nbsp;Drone technology has advanced dramatically in the ensuing years. In the initial operations against Taliban‐​held Afghanistan in 2001, B-2 stealth bombers based at Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri flew 44‐​hour missions with the help of aerial refueling capabilities “without using any bases in the vicinity of Afghanistan at all,” reports Calder.&nbsp;<sup><a href="#_idTextAnchor054">52</a></sup>&nbsp;And although the United States made use of in‐​theater bases in Kuwait, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates to conduct operations against Saddam Hussein’s Iraq in 2003, it also flew bombing missions from a&nbsp;transcontinental distance. In addition to bombers’ ability to complete missions without nearby bases, cruise missiles launched from deployed naval assets can supplant the need for in‐​theater bases.</p> <p>Even beyond airstrikes, U.S. troops can deploy to virtually any region fast enough that they can be based in the continental United States. In emergency situations, according to Rand, “lighter ground forces can deploy by air from the United States almost as quickly as they can from within a&nbsp;region.”&nbsp;<sup><a href="#_idTextAnchor055">53</a></sup>&nbsp;An armored brigade combat team can get from Germany to Kuwait in approximately 18&nbsp;days, only about 4&nbsp;days more quickly than if it deployed from the East Coast of the United States.&nbsp;<sup><a href="#_idTextAnchor056">54</a></sup>&nbsp;U.S.-based forces could handicap contingency responsiveness in certain smaller missions. The transit time to the Taiwan Strait, for example, for a&nbsp;carrier strike group deployed from Yokosuka, Japan, would take 3&nbsp;to 5&nbsp;days, whereas deployment from the West Coast would take up to 16&nbsp;days. However, basing capacity in Hawaii or Guam can cut those transit times considerably.&nbsp;<sup><a href="#_idTextAnchor057">55</a></sup></p> <p>Admittedly, deploying heavy forces by air in bulk is not plausible for contingencies requiring massive ground troops. But contingencies that truly depend on extremely rapid deployment are rare. The United States tends to have the luxury of intervening at its own pace. And, given America’s relative insulation from external threats, it’s not clear that speedy intervention is even desirable. For one thing, reducing the emphasis on rapid response would likely signal to allies the need to cut back on free riding (that is, spending less on the military in the expectation that the United States will carry their defense burden).</p> <p>Moreover, robbing the executive branch of the ability to rapidly insert the United States into a&nbsp;military conflict abroad may indeed be a&nbsp;good thing. Since World War II, constitutional restrictions on the president’s war‐​making powers have eroded. But the Framers of the Constitution were wise to constrain the president’s war‐​making powers. Affording the executive a&nbsp;speedy response with in‐​place forces, therefore, not only undermines the rule of law but also can intensify war proneness. As Bernard Brodie once wrote, “the notion that it is incontestably good to expand the chief executive’s options is rather peculiar” because “it runs directly counter to the basic tenets of constitutional government” and because “one way of keeping people out of trouble is to deny them the means for getting into it.”&nbsp;<sup><a href="#_idTextAnchor058">56</a></sup></p> <h3>Vulnerability, Counterbalancing, and Entanglement</h3> <p>Keeping U.S. troops permanently stationed abroad presents several strategic problems. First, such forces are more vulnerable to attack than forces stationed at home. Even though the preponderance of U.S. power and the general decline in international war probably mean that U.S. overseas bases are not at risk of bombardment in the immediate future, certain plausible contingencies could make them priority targets. If conflict breaks out over Taiwan or maritime‐​territorial disputes in the East China Sea or the South China Sea, the United States would be obligated to intervene against China to fulfill its security guarantee to Taiwan, Japan, or the Philippines, which would then trigger Chinese actions against U.S. assets.&nbsp;<sup><a href="#_idTextAnchor059">57</a></sup>&nbsp;To take another example that is now more remote, thanks to the recently negotiated nuclear deal with Iran, if Israel were to preventively strike one of Iran’s nuclear facilities, the United States would be implicated immediately because of its promises to fight to defend Israel.&nbsp;<sup><a href="#_idTextAnchor060">58</a></sup>&nbsp;According to a&nbsp;2012 report, U.S. bases in Bahrain would be a&nbsp;priority target in Iranian retaliatory strikes.&nbsp;<sup><a href="#_idTextAnchor061">59</a></sup></p> <p>For facilities based in certain countries, particularly in the Middle East, the risk of terrorist attacks on military bases has increased in recent years. Not only are homemade explosives and car bombs easier to access and produce, but also—especially after the damage done by the post‐​9/​11 wars in Iraq and Afghanistan—an anti‐​American narrative has become even more popular, making U.S. bases desirable targets for terrorist attacks.</p> <p>Overseas bases can inspire blowback in the form of terrorism. According to Robert Pape, “the principal cause of suicide terrorism is resistance to foreign occupation.”&nbsp;<sup><a href="#_idTextAnchor062">60</a></sup>&nbsp;Infamous examples, like the 1983 bombings of the Marine barracks in Beirut, Lebanon, that killed 241 Americans, and the al Qaeda attack in 2000 on the USS&nbsp;<em>Cole</em>&nbsp;off the coast of Yemen, are illustrative.&nbsp;<sup><a href="#_idTextAnchor063">61</a></sup>&nbsp;But bases can also motivate attacks on U.S. soil. The presence of U.S. military bases in Saudi Arabia was one of the most prominent grievances cited by al Qaeda in the lead‐​up to the 9/11 attacks.&nbsp;<sup><a href="#_idTextAnchor064">62</a></sup>&nbsp;And the post‐​9/​11 surge in the U.S. military presence in the Middle East coincided with a&nbsp;massive increase in the rate of terrorist attacks inspired by anti‐​Americanism.&nbsp;<sup><a href="#_idTextAnchor065">63</a></sup></p> <p>In addition to terrorism, the development of extremely accurate intermediate‐ and long‐​range ballistic missiles and modern satellite‐​based sensors, among other innovations, makes overseas bases susceptible to asymmetric attacks that are very difficult to defend against. China, in particular, has invested heavily in these capabilities, meaning that a&nbsp;large percentage of U.S. facilities—more than 90 percent of U.S. air facilities in northeast Asia—are in high‐​threat areas. China’s conventional theater‐​strike system, the DF-21, “can hit all military facilities along the entire Japanese archipelago,” says Toshi Yoshihara, the chair of Asia‐​Pacific Studies at the U.S. Naval War College.&nbsp;<sup><a href="#_idTextAnchor066">64</a></sup>&nbsp;Michael J. Lostumbo and others write that these weapons and others like them “could cripple an airbase, incapacitate an aircraft carrier, and devastate concentrated ground forces.”&nbsp;<sup><a href="#_idTextAnchor067">65</a></sup>Granted, the tripwire effect of U.S. forward bases, along with the fact that U.S. allies benefit from these capabilities as well, means that deterrence remains robust in Asia. Still, Chinese strategic planners have discussed striking U.S. bases in the unlikely scenario that inadvertent escalation results in an outbreak of conflict.&nbsp;<sup><a href="#_idTextAnchor068">66</a></sup>&nbsp;In other words, bases offer only a&nbsp;marginal increase in deterrence at added risk to forward‐​deployed troops.</p> <p>Another major strategic problem with a&nbsp;forward‐​deployed military posture is that it can sometimes have the opposite of its intended effect. Stationing military bases near an adversary can cause fear that generates counteraction instead of scaring an adversary into submission.&nbsp;<sup><a href="#_idTextAnchor069">67</a></sup>&nbsp;The most intense crisis of the Cold War period may have had its origins in such a&nbsp;dilemma. In June 1961, the Kennedy administration placed Jupiter ballistic missiles in Turkey, bordering the Soviet Union. It was partly in response to that decision that the Soviet Union decided to place its own missiles in Cuba, precipitating a&nbsp;dangerous crisis between the nuclear powers in October of that year.&nbsp;<sup><a href="#_idTextAnchor071">68</a></sup>&nbsp;Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev reportedly called the deployment of Jupiter missiles “an intolerable provocation” and told his ambassador to Cuba, “Inasmuch as the Americans already have surrounded the Soviet Union with a&nbsp;circle of their military bases and missile installations of various designations, we should repay them in kind, let them try their own medicine.”&nbsp;<sup><a href="#_idTextAnchor072">69</a></sup></p> <p>Today, the U.S. military presence in Europe is tasked, in part, with deterring Russian military aggression. And on those recent occasions in which Russia has acted out militarily, as it did against Georgia in 2008 on the side of separatists in South Ossetia and Abkhazia and in Ukraine in 2014, advocates of a&nbsp;forward posture blame the incursions on a&nbsp;lack of deterrence or diminished American credibility. But Russia’s interventions in Georgia and Ukraine derive more from Moscow’s insecurities about the expansion of U.S.-led Western economic and military institutions into former Soviet republics, and even up to the Russian border, than from insufficient U.S. military presence in Eastern Europe.&nbsp;<sup><a href="#_idTextAnchor073">70</a></sup>&nbsp;Post–Cold War NATO expansion is the source of profound anxiety and lingering resentment in Moscow.&nbsp;<sup><a href="#_idTextAnchor074">71</a></sup>&nbsp;Following Vladimir Putin’s annexation of Crimea, the Russian leader decried NATO expansion as an attempt at containment, and, when in 2015 NATO invited Montenegro to be the newest member of the alliance, the Kremlin warned that further expansion eastward “cannot but result in retaliatory actions.”&nbsp;<sup><a href="#_idTextAnchor075">72</a></sup>&nbsp;One could say that forward deployment contributes to the insecurity it purports to prevent.</p> <p>Bases can also motivate nearby adversaries to pursue nuclear weapons. Iran’s expansion of nuclear enrichment in the run‐​up to the recent nuclear deal between Iran, the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Russia, China, and Germany, for example, was likely understood by many in Tehran as a&nbsp;measure of protection from the United States. After all, the United States habitually intervenes in the region, is allied with Iran’s two most vociferous enemies (Israel and Saudi Arabia), and has carried out regime change and years of military occupation in the countries on Iran’s immediate east and west flanks. In addition, while bases in Japan and South Korea have arguably helped dissuade these countries from developing nuclear weapons, the U.S. presence creates pressure for North Korea to do so. Pyongyang’s efforts to secure a&nbsp;deliverable nuclear weapon may be partly motivated by a&nbsp;desire for the prestige associated with such capabilities, but fear of U.S. military power in South Korea, and a&nbsp;desire to deter an attack by either or both countries, are also significant motivators. Proximate U.S. military forces and an adversarial relationship with Washington helped motivate China’s 1964 acquisition of nuclear weapons.&nbsp;<sup><a href="#_idTextAnchor076">73</a></sup>&nbsp;And, in recent years, U.S. actions in Iraq and Libya have signaled to potential rogue states the wisdom, rather than the danger, of obtaining a&nbsp;nuclear deterrent, or at least maintaining a&nbsp;threshold breakout capability.&nbsp;<sup><a href="#_idTextAnchor077">74</a></sup></p> <p>Entanglement is another risk exacerbated by the attempt to reassure allies with overseas bases.&nbsp;<sup><a href="#_idTextAnchor079">75</a></sup>&nbsp;If U.S. troops are stationed abroad to demonstrate credibility, and then the United States refuses to intervene in the event of conflict, U.S. policymakers will suffer political costs, even if the circumstances do not involve vital U.S. interests. Much academic literature has questioned the need to take military action solely for the sake of credibility.&nbsp;<sup><a href="#_idTextAnchor082">76</a></sup>&nbsp;But the presence of military bases in or near a&nbsp;conflict zone can intensify calls to intervene to satisfy credibility concerns, thus making entanglement more likely.</p> <p>Allies can entrap a&nbsp;security patron into war with their rivals by pursuing high‐​risk strategies. U.S. military presence can encourage this moral hazard, sometimes called “reckless driving.”&nbsp;<sup><a href="#_idTextAnchor083">77</a></sup>&nbsp;Current U.S. posture is plagued by plausible scenarios of entrapment in its commitments to Taiwan, Japan, and the Philippines over territorial and maritime sovereignty disputes with China. In 2012, the Philippines engaged in an intense and potentially dangerous two‐​month naval standoff with China, a&nbsp;much more capable military power, over the disputed Scarborough Shoal in the South China Sea. Heightened nationalist sentiments certainly played a&nbsp;role in the quarrel, but the unequal power dynamics between the two states raises reasonable questions about whether the relatively weak Philippines was emboldened to challenge a&nbsp;much stronger China because of the United States’ security guarantee and nearby military bases. That kind of moral hazard is a&nbsp;liability that could pull the United States into conflicts unconnected to its direct security and economic interests. Fundamentally, moral hazard is a&nbsp;function of the commitment, but it is exacerbated by the physical presence of bases and troops.</p> <p>In the past, the United States stumbled into conflicts because of the entangling influence of credibility, commitments, and the capabilities presented by a&nbsp;forward military presence. Examples include such major wars as Korea and Vietnam. In the case of Korea, the United States established what was supposed to be a&nbsp;temporary military presence there following the Japanese surrender in August 1945. The U.S. military presence reflected prior agreements between President Franklin D. Roosevelt and Soviet Premier Joseph Stalin at Yalta to establish a&nbsp;multinational trusteeship that would, in Philip Bennett’s words, “guide the Koreans to self‐​government.”&nbsp;<sup><a href="#_idTextAnchor084">78</a></sup>&nbsp;By December 1945, U.S. Gen. John R. Hodge recommended full withdrawal. Secretary of War Robert Patterson argued the same in April 1947. In 1948, the National Security Council proposed withdrawing all American troops by the end of the year. The joint chiefs explained that “Korea is of little strategic value to the United States” and warned that the lingering military presence risked entangling the United States in a&nbsp;war following some provocation on the peninsula. That entanglement indeed happened in 1950 when the North invaded the South.&nbsp;<sup><a href="#_idTextAnchor085">79</a></sup>&nbsp;Unfortunately, calls to withdraw had been unheeded.</p> <p>Similarly, in Vietnam, despite years of a&nbsp;slow trickle of troop deployments, President Lyndon Johnson was able to get congressional authorization for a&nbsp;massive escalation in military involvement only after a&nbsp;U.S. warship allegedly clashed with Vietnamese naval vessels in the Gulf of Tonkin, 12 nautical miles off the coast of Vietnam. The warship, the USS&nbsp;<em>Maddox</em>, was conducting electronic warfare support measures to assist U.S. military advisers in South Vietnam. The notion that American troops deployed to the area were in danger helped entangle the United States in what became one of the most costly quagmires in American history.</p> <p>The presence of forces abroad can also tempt policymakers to get involved in elective wars that we could more easily forgo if we lacked in‐​theater bases. In NATO’s 2011 intervention in Libya’s civil war, for example, the United States bombed Libya from warships in the Mediterranean and from air bases in Spain, Italy, and Germany, among other nearby locations. The weak arguments in favor of U.S. involvement, which included conjectural claims about impending humanitarian disaster and pressure from NATO allies, might have been harder to sell politically if U.S. forces had not already been deployed in the area.&nbsp;<sup><a href="#_idTextAnchor086">80</a></sup></p> <h3>American Values Abroad?</h3> <p>The United States has frequently supported dictators abroad to secure basing access. “American policy does frequently back dictators,” according to Calder. “And the tendency to back dictators—and to refrain from demanding their removal—appears to be greater where bases are involved, America’s democratic ideals … notwithstanding.”&nbsp;<sup><a href="#_idTextAnchor087">81</a></sup>&nbsp;U.S. support for the Somozas in Nicaragua, Mobutu in Zaire, Park Chung Hee in Korea, Papadopoulos in Greece, Franco in Spain, Marcos in the Philippines, and Karimov in Uzbekistan conforms to this trend.&nbsp;<sup><a href="#_idTextAnchor088">82</a></sup></p> <p>Uzbekistan is an illustrative example. Following 9/11, Uzbekistan served as a&nbsp;convenient logistical hub for U.S. troops fighting in landlocked Afghanistan. Accordingly, Washington increased support to Uzbekistan’s authoritarian regime of Islam Karimov, but concerns about human rights plagued the relationship from the beginning. In 2005, Karimov ordered troops to fire indiscriminately on a&nbsp;crowd of thousands of protesters and at one point cordoned off the site of the protest and “conducted a&nbsp;systematic slaughter of unarmed civilians,” killing hundreds in what came to be known as the Andijan massacre.&nbsp;<sup><a href="#_idTextAnchor089">83</a></sup>&nbsp;The Karimov regime earned a&nbsp;reputation for its systematic use of brutal torture methods, including electric shock, asphyxiation, and boiling people alive.&nbsp;<sup><a href="#_idTextAnchor090">84</a></sup>&nbsp;U.S. support has ebbed and flowed over the years—at one point prompting the Karimov regime to order the closure of the U.S. air base at Karshi‐​Khanabad in response to public U.S. criticism—but the current Uzbek regime continues to benefit from lavish economic and military support from Washington.&nbsp;<sup><a href="#_idTextAnchor091">85</a></sup></p> <p>Support for dictators in return for basing access has been an element in U.S. foreign policy for a&nbsp;long time, but even bases in relatively democratic countries can involve the sacrifice of liberal values. As far back as the early years of the Eisenhower administration, “[o]verseas military bases were beginning to provoke anti‐​American sentiment in the countries where they were located,” writes John Lewis Gaddis.&nbsp;<sup><a href="#_idTextAnchor092">86</a></sup>&nbsp;Resentment over the presence of foreign bases can linger for generations. In 1991, the&nbsp;<em>New York Times</em>&nbsp;reported that the Philippine Senate “assailed [the U.S. military presence] as a&nbsp;vestige of colonialism and an affront to Philippine sovereignty,” and President Corazon C. Aquino ordered full withdrawal.&nbsp;<sup><a href="#_idTextAnchor093">87</a></sup>&nbsp;Public opinion in Okinawa, Japan, is resoundingly opposed to the U.S. military base presence on the territory, a&nbsp;feeling that is exacerbated by the recurrent problem of crimes and misbehavior by U.S. troops there. From 1972 to 2011, the Okinawan prefectural government documented 5,747 criminal cases involving GIs, including more than a&nbsp;thousand violent offenses.&nbsp;<sup><a href="#_idTextAnchor094">88</a></sup>&nbsp;In June 2016, the alleged murder of a&nbsp;20‐​year‐​old Okinawan woman by a&nbsp;U.S. Marine veteran working as a&nbsp;civilian contractor prompted a&nbsp;protest in the capital of the Okinawan Prefecture with 65,000 people in attendance.&nbsp;<sup><a href="#_idTextAnchor095">89</a></sup>&nbsp;Such popular opposition can be difficult to square with purported American values about the importance of democracy.</p> <h3>Cost</h3> <p>The financial burden on U.S. taxpayers of maintaining a&nbsp;global military base presence is exceedingly difficult to calculate, primarily because neither the Pentagon nor Congress provides reliable estimates to the public. Most of the estimates they do provide are not comprehensive. According to Rand, “stationing forces and maintaining bases overseas does entail measurably higher direct financial costs to [the Defense Department]” as compared with bases in the continental United States.&nbsp;<sup><a href="#_idTextAnchor096">90</a></sup>&nbsp;It costs an average of $10,000–$40,000 more per year to station a&nbsp;single member of the military in Europe or Asia, in zones without war, than in the United States.&nbsp;<sup><a href="#_idTextAnchor097">91</a></sup>&nbsp;The annual recurring fixed costs for a&nbsp;single overseas base—before any personnel, transport, equipment, or operational costs are factored in—range from $50 million to $200 million per year.&nbsp;<sup><a href="#_idTextAnchor098">92</a></sup></p> <p>For fiscal year 2015, the Pentagon’s Overseas Cost Summary (OCS) estimated the total cost of overseas bases, facilities, and personnel stationed abroad at about $19.6 billion.&nbsp;<sup><a href="#_idTextAnchor099">93</a></sup>&nbsp;There are several problems with this tally. The Center for Strategic and International Studies estimates that the overall cost of the U.S. military presence in the Asia Pacific alone is more than half that amount, about $12 billion per year (excluding expenditures for equipment or U.S. Naval fleet operations).&nbsp;<sup><a href="#_idTextAnchor100">94</a></sup>&nbsp;And according to Barry Posen, “between 15–20 percent of annual U.S. military spending”—between $91 billion and $121 billion for fiscal year 2016—is allocated “to the maintenance of forces for military action” in the Middle East alone. “Billions spent on the war in Iraq are not included in this estimate,” he explains.&nbsp;<sup><a href="#_idTextAnchor101">95</a></sup></p> <p>Furthermore, the OCS estimate includes an asterisk that lists 65 countries, with bases and facilities lumped into a&nbsp;single “Other” category comprising “countries with costs less than $5 million.” However, that list mysteriously excludes countries that are known to have U.S. bases costing well over $5 million, such as Kosovo, Honduras, and Colombia, which together cost hundreds of millions of dollars.&nbsp;<sup><a href="#_idTextAnchor102">96</a></sup>&nbsp;The list also excludes U.S. territories, such as Guam, and as much as $4.6 billion in military construction spending at “unspecified locations”—a figure found in the Pentagon budget but omitted from the OCS.&nbsp;<sup><a href="#_idTextAnchor103">97</a></sup></p> <p>Some of the annual expenses of overseas bases are offset by host nations that cover the costs of U.S. bases in their territory. Although data are “scant and scattered,” one rough estimate that incorporates everything from direct cash payments to tax and lease discounts and in‐​kind goods and services, concludes that the total annual host nation support for U.S. bases abroad amounts to about $7 billion to $8.5 billion.&nbsp;<sup><a href="#_idTextAnchor104">98</a></sup>&nbsp;But far more often the United States is footing the bill for its own overseas facilities. Frequently, Washington even pays host governments in return for basing rights. According to former deputy assistant secretary of defense James Blaker, approximately 18 percent of total foreign military and economic aid is payment for basing access,&nbsp;<sup><a href="#_idTextAnchor105">99</a></sup>&nbsp;which amounted to about $6.3 billion in fiscal year 2014.&nbsp;<sup><a href="#_idTextAnchor106">100</a></sup></p> <p>Part of the discrepancy in cost estimates comes from the fact that there are several official methods of measuring the costs of America’s overseas presence. Narrower measures involve tallying how much more overseas bases cost as compared with domestic bases, or simply calculating personnel costs plus construction and maintenance costs. More inclusive methods add indirect operating costs, such as administrative support, investment in weapons procurement, health care, and equipment repairs. The most comprehensive estimates include the cost of training, recruiting, and maintaining domestically based forces that will become available to fulfill military commitments in coordination with in‐​place forces.&nbsp;<sup><a href="#_idTextAnchor107">101</a></sup></p> <p>Keeping to what he calls a “very conservative estimate,” American University’s David Vine estimates a&nbsp;total of $71.8 billion in annual cost for overseas bases, facilities, and personnel, excluding those in use in active war zones.&nbsp;<sup><a href="#_idTextAnchor108">102</a></sup>&nbsp;This total doesn’t include nonessential operations and missions that the United States engages in because it has a&nbsp;network of bases at its disposal, such as humanitarian missions, show‐​of‐​force patrols, counternarcotics efforts, and anti‐​piracy operations.</p> <p>Although the specific total outlay is hard to pin down, the cost of our permanent peacetime overseas military presence is substantial. Closing redundant bases abroad, or at least consolidating forces at fewer bases, could provide considerable savings that could be left in more productive sectors of the economy. The Rand Corporation’s Cost Reduction Posture—an illustrative scenario in which some overseas bases would be closed, relocated, or consolidated at fewer locations—suggests that modest reductions in the overall overseas posture could yield up to $3 billion in annual savings even without jettisoning any of our current treaty obligations or security arrangements.&nbsp;<sup><a href="#_idTextAnchor109">103</a></sup>&nbsp;Other studies by the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, the Congressional Budget Office, and the Center for American Progress estimate that cutting our overseas bases and personnel in Europe and Asia by one‐​third could save between $7 billion and $12 billion a&nbsp;year.&nbsp;<sup><a href="#_idTextAnchor110">104</a></sup>&nbsp;More thoroughgoing reforms that involve reducing overseas presence and commitments could reduce annual defense spending by 25 percent or more.&nbsp;<sup><a href="#_idTextAnchor111">105</a></sup></p> <h2>The Case for Reducing America’s Global Military Footprint</h2> <p>The United States is arguably the most secure great power in history. No nation in the world credibly threatens to attack or invade the United States. With weak and pliant neighbors to its north and south, vast oceans to its east and west, and a&nbsp;superior nuclear deterrent, it has achieved a&nbsp;level of protection from external threats without parallel. The United States accounts for almost 40 percent of worldwide defense spending and possesses the most capable and sophisticated military in history.&nbsp;<sup><a href="#_idTextAnchor112">106</a></sup>&nbsp;A&nbsp;globe‐​straddling forward‐​deployed military presence is a&nbsp;costly burden that elevates peripheral interests to the level of vital ones, takes on security responsibilities that can and should be fulfilled by other states, and produces negative unintended consequences for U.S. interests.</p> <p>A forward‐​deployed military posture is useful, if decreasingly so, for a&nbsp;grand strategy of primacy, which posits that the United States, as the most powerful and righteous state, has the capacity and the obligation to maintain military bases throughout the world to uphold global peace and stability in an otherwise dangerous international system. But primacy does not yield strategic benefits commensurate with the costs and risks it imposes. As Robert Jervis, professor of international affairs at Columbia University, has written, “the pursuit of primacy was what great power politics was all about in the past,” but in a&nbsp;world of nuclear weapons, with “low security threats and great common interests among the developed countries,” the game is not “worth the candle.”&nbsp;<sup><a href="#_idTextAnchor113">107</a></sup>&nbsp;Charles Glaser, professor of political science and international affairs at George Washington University, similarly argues that primacy, and the worldwide military presence associated with it, is “much overrated.” The United States can protect core national interests without it and, in fact, the strategy causes the United States to “lose track of how secure it is and consequently pursue policies that are designed to increase its security but turn out to be too costly and/​or to have a&nbsp;high probability of backfiring.”&nbsp;<sup><a href="#_idTextAnchor114">108</a></sup>&nbsp;Nor does U.S. dominance reap much in the way of tangible economic rewards. Daniel Drezner, professor of international politics at Tufts University, contends, “The economic benefits from military predominance alone seem, at a&nbsp;minimum, to have been exaggerated.… There is little evidence that military primacy yields appreciable geoeconomic gains” and therefore “an overreliance on military preponderance is badly misguided.”&nbsp;<sup><a href="#_idTextAnchor115">109</a></sup></p> <p>Alternatively, a&nbsp;grand strategy of restraint holds that the preeminent power of the United States, coupled with an increasingly peaceful world, means it can afford to pull back from its worldwide military presence and rein in its activist foreign policy.&nbsp;<sup><a href="#_idTextAnchor116">110</a></sup>&nbsp;The foregoing critique suggests that the sprawling U.S. basing system does not provide enough value to justify its continued existence. Instead, the U.S. presence abroad should be minimized to match with the dearth of acute threats and limited strategic benefits to U.S. interests. This section will make the case for withdrawing the U.S. base presence from three key regions—Europe, the Middle East, and Asia.</p> <h3>Europe</h3> <p>Europe is the simplest case for the withdrawal of U.S. military bases. One of the most stable regions on the planet, Europe contains four great powers—the United Kingdom, France, Germany, and Russia. Conflict between any of them is unlikely. European Union member states have a&nbsp;combined gross domestic product (GDP) greater than that of the United States. Great Britain, France, and Germany are all liberal democracies and have advanced, peaceful relationships based on closely aligned political, diplomatic, and economic interests. That statement does not apply to Russia, but the United Kingdom and France possess nuclear weapons, making military conflict even in the event of deteriorated relationships extremely unlikely. In Europe especially, the costs of conflict, even in a&nbsp;conventional war, have become prohibitive, while the gains have greatly diminished.</p> <p>In addition to the declining utility of war, Europe is politically and culturally unique in the extent to which the memory of the devastation of the world wars has contributed to the decline of militarism and a&nbsp;greater focus on social stability and economic well‐​being.&nbsp;<sup><a href="#_idTextAnchor117">111</a></sup></p> <p>Even in a&nbsp;pure balance‐​of‐​power analysis, none of the major states of Europe is strong enough to make a&nbsp;bid for regional hegemony, something nuclear weapons make essentially impossible. Russia, the regional power that generates the most calls for a&nbsp;U.S. presence, has an aging population and a&nbsp;relatively weak economy that is overreliant on oil and natural gas. Its GDP is about $1.36 trillion, not much higher than Spain’s.&nbsp;<sup><a href="#_idTextAnchor118">112</a></sup>&nbsp;Although Russia possesses nuclear weapons, such weapons are not useful for offense and do not aid in coercive diplomacy, as Todd S. Sechser, associate professor of politics at the University of Virginia, and Matthew Fuhrmann, associate director of political science at Texas A&amp;M University, show in empirical studies.&nbsp;<sup><a href="#_idTextAnchor119">113</a></sup>&nbsp;In terms of conventional weapons and forces, the Russian military is comparatively frail, lagging behind the other great powers.&nbsp;<sup><a href="#_idTextAnchor120">114</a></sup>&nbsp;Extended offensive operations against other states would put considerable strain on Russia and thus would be unsustainable for very long.&nbsp;<sup><a href="#_idTextAnchor121">115</a></sup></p> <p>NATO was established to contain Soviet growth and influence on the European continent. That objective has been achieved and an American exit from the military alliance is overdue.&nbsp;<sup><a href="#_idTextAnchor123">116</a></sup>&nbsp;U.S. presence in Europe, especially in former Warsaw Pact states and former Soviet republics, arguably does more to provoke Russian meddling than to deter it. And bases in Europe do not provide much of an operational or tactical advantage for the United States, even for unlikely contingencies, meaning that even if Washington upheld its current set of security commitments there, it could fulfill those obligations with a&nbsp;dramatically reduced overseas presence.&nbsp;<sup><a href="#_idTextAnchor125">117</a></sup>&nbsp;Even though the positioning of U.S. military bases throughout the European nations did once pacify relations between Europe and Russia, the European Union is now rich and powerful enough to achieve that objective on its own.&nbsp;<sup><a href="#_idTextAnchor126">118</a></sup></p> <h3>Middle East</h3> <p>Since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, terrorism has risen to the top of the list of national security priorities. Vast sums of money, considerable manpower, and a&nbsp;slew of new base sites abroad have been devoted to fighting Islamic terrorist groups. However, contrary to the bulk of the rhetoric from policymakers, terrorism does not represent an existential threat to the United States.&nbsp;<sup><a href="#_idTextAnchor127">119</a></sup>&nbsp;Terrorism is a&nbsp;problem to be managed, not a&nbsp;war to be won. And a&nbsp;forward‐​deployed military posture is not very useful in addressing it. Indeed, U.S. military presence was one of the primary motivators and recruiting mechanisms of al Qaeda in the lead‐​up to 9/11, and U.S. military action in the region post‐​9/​11 served as an even more potent generator of Islamic jihadism.&nbsp;<sup><a href="#_idTextAnchor128">120</a></sup></p> <p>In most cases, a&nbsp;sensible military solution to terrorism does not exist, and heavy‐​handed military action can exacerbate the problem by fueling resentment and recruitment. The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), for example, is an outgrowth of the Sunni insurgency that rose up to fight U.S. forces in Iraq&nbsp;<sup><a href="#_idTextAnchor129">121</a></sup>&nbsp;and subsequently gained strength in the Syrian civil war.&nbsp;<sup><a href="#_idTextAnchor130">122</a></sup>&nbsp;Fighting blowback with more of the same interventionism that generated it in the first place is unlikely to produce desirable results.&nbsp;<sup><a href="#_idTextAnchor131">123</a></sup></p> <p>The traditional justification for U.S. policy in the Middle East has been to secure the free flow of oil through the Persian Gulf via a&nbsp;forward‐​deployed posture, thereby stabilizing prices. But the argument that maintaining such a&nbsp;military posture in the Middle East protects the free flow of oil is flawed. According to Joshua Rovner, professor at Southern Methodist University, and Caitlin Talmadge of George Washington University, the policy of “large, permanent peacetime land forces in the Gulf” is not particularly useful for oil security. That policy has often been “just as counterproductive as the vacuums created by hegemonic absence,” generating regional instability and making the terrorist threat worse through blowback.&nbsp;<sup><a href="#_idTextAnchor132">124</a></sup>&nbsp;Rovner and Talmadge argue that even if the United States had fostered a&nbsp;forward‐​deployed posture before Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait, it’s not clear that this posture would have deterred Saddam Hussein.&nbsp;<sup><a href="#_idTextAnchor133">125</a></sup>&nbsp;It is possible that “the economic and political stakes may have been so high that, from his perspective, a&nbsp;different American force posture might not have affected his calculations.”&nbsp;<sup><a href="#_idTextAnchor134">126</a></sup>&nbsp;Similarly, Rovner and Talmadge conclude, it is “unclear that a&nbsp;hegemonic presence in the region could have done much to prevent” the OPEC oil embargo of 1973.&nbsp;<sup><a href="#_idTextAnchor135">127</a></sup>&nbsp;As Eugene Gholz and Daryl Press conclude, “the day‐​to‐​day peacetime presence of U.S. military forces in the Persian Gulf region is not merely ineffective; it is probably counterproductive for protecting U.S. oil interests.”&nbsp;<sup><a href="#_idTextAnchor136">128</a></sup></p> <p>The United States does have interests in the security and supply of oil, but those interests are often exaggerated, and the region’s energy resources are not as vulnerable as is often claimed.&nbsp;<sup><a href="#_idTextAnchor137">129</a></sup>&nbsp;Strictly in terms of the U.S. economy, the direct reliance on Persian Gulf oil imports is modest and declining.&nbsp;<sup><a href="#_idTextAnchor138">130</a></sup>&nbsp;But the price of oil is determined by global supply and demand, not by reliance on specific geographic sources. Fortunately, the United States is relatively insulated from price spikes associated with supply disruptions. Although a&nbsp;major disruption could cause an economic downturn, today’s economy is better equipped to deal with sudden changes in energy markets than it was in the 1970s. Kenneth Vincent explains that the causes are reduced oil imports and consumption, more flexible labor markets and monetary policies, and “reduced energy intensity of economic output—or the amount of energy required to produce a&nbsp;dollar of GDP.”&nbsp;<sup><a href="#_idTextAnchor139">131</a></sup>&nbsp;In every major oil shock since 1973, global energy markets adapted quickly through increasing production from other sources, rerouting shipping transportation, and putting both private and government‐​held inventories around the world into use. These market adjustments mitigated the ramifications of the shocks and stabilized prices and supply.&nbsp;<sup><a href="#_idTextAnchor140">132</a></sup></p> <p>The balance of power, both in the region and globally, is favorable for energy security. The threat of an external power gaining a&nbsp;foothold in the Persian Gulf region is not in the cards in the policy‐​relevant future. The Soviet Union is long gone, and today’s Russia suffers from systemic economic problems that hinder its potential to project power in the Middle East. China, although increasingly powerful in its own sphere, lacks the political will to dominate the Gulf.&nbsp;<sup><a href="#_idTextAnchor141">133</a></sup></p> <p>Regionally, the circumstances are similarly advantageous. According to Rovner, “the chance that a&nbsp;regional hegemon will emerge in the Persian Gulf during the next twenty years is slim to none. This is true even if the United States withdraws completely.”&nbsp;<sup><a href="#_idTextAnchor142">134</a></sup>&nbsp;There are only three potential major powers in the region: Iraq, Iran, and Saudi Arabia. None of them possesses the capabilities necessary to conquer neighboring territories or gain a&nbsp;controlling influence over Persian Gulf oil resources. In addition to being too weak to make a&nbsp;bid for regional dominance, all three are bogged down and distracted by internal problems. Overall, the region is in a&nbsp;state of defense dominance: the major states are too weak to project power beyond their borders, but they do have the capability to deter their neighbors. Deterrence works well in this environment because the costs of offensive action remain prohibitively high.&nbsp;<sup><a href="#_idTextAnchor143">135</a></sup></p> <p>Some scholars argue that the decreased importance of Persian Gulf oil means the United States should completely phase out its military commitment to the region during the next 10&nbsp;years.&nbsp;<sup><a href="#_idTextAnchor144">136</a></sup>&nbsp;But even if Washington rejects that position and continues to factor in military intervention to deal with supply disruptions and other contingencies, maintaining a&nbsp;peacetime military presence in the region is not necessary. The United States can rely on carrier‐​based airpower and long‐​range bombers if military intervention in a&nbsp;crisis becomes necessary.&nbsp;<sup><a href="#_idTextAnchor145">137</a></sup></p> <h3>East Asia</h3> <p>The United States’ military presence in East Asia has several goals. It is meant to deter and contain China, to stave off spirals of conflict, to bolster the credibility of security agreements that bind the United States to defend allies, and to provide for a&nbsp;rapid contingency response.&nbsp;<sup><a href="#_idTextAnchor146">138</a></sup></p> <p>China’s rise is not nearly as much of a&nbsp;threat to U.S. security as is often claimed.&nbsp;<sup><a href="#_idTextAnchor147">139</a></sup>&nbsp;China’s posture is defensive in nature.&nbsp;<sup><a href="#_idTextAnchor148">140</a></sup>&nbsp;According to official Chinese news sources, the country’s military modernization effort “lags far behind advanced global peers,” and its “army is not capable enough of waging modern warfare.”&nbsp;<sup><a href="#_idTextAnchor149">141</a></sup>&nbsp;Despite much consternation in Washington over China’s renewed assertiveness, Beijing “has compromised more frequently than it has used force,” explains MIT professor of political science M. Taylor Fravel, and “has been less belligerent than leading theories of international relations might have predicted for a&nbsp;state with its characteristics.”&nbsp;<sup><a href="#_idTextAnchor150">142</a></sup></p> <p>Nor is China a&nbsp;viable candidate for hegemony in the near term. Although the growth in China’s economy is impressive, it is only a&nbsp;crude indication of actual and latent military power and it obscures the many metrics—technological innovation, overall military readiness, power projection capability, and a&nbsp;dearth of allies—that illustrate America’s huge lead over China.&nbsp;<sup><a href="#_idTextAnchor151">143</a></sup>&nbsp;As Dartmouth University professors Stephen G. Brooks and William C. Wohlforth argue, China is “nowhere near a&nbsp;peer of the United States,” which “will long remain the world’s sole superpower.”&nbsp;<sup><a href="#_idTextAnchor152">144</a></sup>&nbsp;That statement coincides with findings from the Rand Corporation, which concludes that China “cannot possibly catch up to, much less ‘leapfrog,’ the United States or Japan in the foreseeable future,” when it comes to military capability.&nbsp;<sup><a href="#_idTextAnchor153">145</a></sup></p> <p>Even assuming China’s continued rapid economic growth, the prospect that China would achieve regional dominance is remote.&nbsp;<sup><a href="#_idTextAnchor154">146</a></sup>&nbsp;Asia’s geography, characterized by island and peninsular powers and mountainous regions throughout, provides challenging physical obstacles to China’s quest for hegemony.&nbsp;<sup><a href="#_idTextAnchor155">147</a></sup>&nbsp;Moreover, China is surrounded by major powers such as Russia, India, Japan, and South Korea, which would resist such a&nbsp;gambit. The U.S. military presence in Korea and its security commitment to Taiwan, explains Robert Ross, are “not major factor[s] in the balance of power or in U.S. protection of shipping lanes” and could be relinquished at little cost to U.S. security.&nbsp;<sup><a href="#_idTextAnchor156">148</a></sup></p> <p>America’s military presence in East Asia is arguably exacerbating instability in the region by making China feel encircled.&nbsp;<sup><a href="#_idTextAnchor157">149</a></sup>&nbsp;The United States’ presence along China’s maritime periphery is highly militarized and provocative, with the U.S. Pacific fleet conducting 170 exercises and 600 training events with more than 20 allied countries in the region every year.&nbsp;<sup><a href="#_idTextAnchor158">150</a></sup>&nbsp;China sees Washington’s massive military presence on the Korean peninsula, and just across the East China Sea on the southern tip of the Japanese archipelago, as a&nbsp;threat to Chinese security.&nbsp;<sup><a href="#_idTextAnchor159">151</a></sup>&nbsp;The United States’ status as the largest naval presence in the region also stokes fear in China; the roughly 40 percent of China’s seaborne oil imports that pass through sea‐​lanes and critical chokepoints such as the Strait of Malacca are subject to interdiction by the United States.&nbsp;<sup><a href="#_idTextAnchor160">152</a></sup>&nbsp;China’s concern about that possibility at least partially explains Beijing’s attempts to militarize the South China Sea, which in turn contributes to regional instability.</p> <p>The other reason to reevaluate the U.S. posture in Asia is that China’s rise, while not imminently on track to achieve regional hegemony, does raise the cost of U.S. commitments. If conflict were to break out, “Washington would need to dispatch reinforcements from thousands of miles away, sustain its military units over lengthy air and sea lines of communication, and operate them from a&nbsp;small number of bases,” writes Evan Braden Montgomery, senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, whereas China “would be able to concentrate its forces more rapidly and support them more easily.”&nbsp;<sup><a href="#_idTextAnchor161">153</a></sup>&nbsp;In this strategic environment, America’s security commitments to allies are increasingly strained and its military presence is a&nbsp;dwindling asset.</p> <p>In the near term, careful retrenchment would likely have a&nbsp;favorable influence on U.S.-China relations.&nbsp;<sup><a href="#_idTextAnchor162">154</a></sup>&nbsp;The job of defending allies such as Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, the Philippines, Thailand, and Australia should be left to those countries to perform on their own. U.S. military presence and security guarantees discourage active self‐​defense among regional allies and unwisely obligate American intervention into local disputes that have little to no inherent importance for U.S. interests and security. Even if the United States were to maintain its commitments to allies, withdrawing the military presence from the region would allow allies to be the first line of defense in case of war, forcing the countries to do the heavy lifting, while America plays the role of balancer.&nbsp;<sup><a href="#_idTextAnchor163">155</a></sup></p> <h2>Overseas Bases to Keep</h2> <p>If the United States were to withdraw from the regions described, there is a&nbsp;reasonable argument for keeping U.S. bases at two locations abroad in order to compensate for the decrease in contingency responsiveness and area access: Guam and Diego Garcia.</p> <p>Strategically located in the Pacific Ocean, Guam is the nearest sovereign U.S. territory to the nations of the Asia Pacific—about 1,600&nbsp;miles from Japan and about 1,550&nbsp;miles from the Philippines. This location means that the Guam base is useful for decreasing transit times in case of any (unlikely) contingencies in which U.S. forces would be quickly needed. Submarines operating at 20 knots take about 5&nbsp;days to reach the East Asian littoral from Guam, whereas they take about 8&nbsp;days from Hawaii and 15&nbsp;days from San Diego. A&nbsp;Guam‐​based brigade combat team could deploy by air or sea to key Asia‐​Pacific areas in a&nbsp;span of 5&nbsp;to 14&nbsp;days. Ships cruising at 25 knots from Guam can arrive at the Taiwan Strait in about two and a&nbsp;half days, not much longer than the one day they take from the Philippines. That extra distance from the East Asian littoral also means Guam is less vulnerable to Chinese and North Korean missiles.&nbsp;<sup><a href="#_idTextAnchor164">156</a></sup></p> <p>Because Guam is a&nbsp;U.S. territory, it does not face the problems of uncertainty and host nation concerns that many bases in foreign territory must deal with. Plans are already under way to increase the military presence at Guam by relocating troops from Japan, thanks to a&nbsp;2012 agreement with Tokyo meant to resolve intense local opposition to U.S. bases in Okinawa. As part of that overall shift, Guam is being further developed as a&nbsp;logistics hub to enable forces in Asia and serve as a&nbsp;base for at‐​sea prepositioning and air defense capabilities. Guam, therefore, serves as a&nbsp;convenient location for a&nbsp;low‐​cost, fully capable military base that avoids the strategic baggage of in‐​place forces on foreign territory.</p> <p>Diego Garcia, a&nbsp;small island in the Indian Ocean, offers similar advantages without the liability of most other forward‐​deployed bases. It is approximately 1,000&nbsp;miles south of India, 700&nbsp;miles southwest of Sri Lanka, and 2,500&nbsp;miles southeast of the Persian Gulf. Owned by our close ally Great Britain, Diego Garcia has hosted U.S. military facilities since the 1960s. Like Guam, Diego Garcia’s distance from potential adversaries on land means it is less vulnerable than many bases along the Asian littoral or in the Middle East.&nbsp;<sup><a href="#_idTextAnchor165">157</a></sup></p> <p>Diego Garcia has limitations as a&nbsp;basing hub. It is only 11 square miles, with an average land elevation of only 4&nbsp;feet, meaning it cannot necessarily host large Navy platforms.&nbsp;<sup><a href="#_idTextAnchor166">158</a></sup>&nbsp;But it nonetheless allows the United States to project considerable military power. According to Walter C. Ladwig III and others, it currently “serves four primary functions for American commanders: a&nbsp;full one‐​third of the entire U.S. Afloat Prepositioning Force occupies the lagoon; fast attack submarines and surface ships use the deep‐​draft wharf; an Air Expeditionary Wing supports tactical and long‐​range broadcasts to units in the area; and a&nbsp;telecommunications station tracks satellites and relays fleet broadcasts to units in the area.”&nbsp;<sup><a href="#_idTextAnchor167">159</a></sup>&nbsp;Diego Garcia has been one of the Air Force’s most important assets for the war in Afghanistan. It is situated so that long‐​range bombers based there, such as the Air Expeditionary Wing’s B‐​52s, do not require refueling support for missions in South Asia or the Middle East.&nbsp;<sup><a href="#_idTextAnchor168">160</a></sup></p> <p>Facilities at Diego Garcia are not (and should not be) designed for deterrence and reassurance objectives; they merely provide proximity to strategic areas for any potentially serious contingency requiring U.S. intervention. Diego Garcia is far enough afield to be much safer from attack by long‐​range ballistic missiles and poses a&nbsp;negligible risk of entangling the United States in elective conflicts or creating host nation complications.</p> <h2>Conclusion</h2> <p>Despite the bipartisan support for extensive overseas bases, there is some interest in reform. In 2011, Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR), along with five of his Senate colleagues, signed a&nbsp;bipartisan letter calling for “dramatically reducing our overseas military presence,” which would have “minimal negative impact on our nation’s readiness or ability to efficiently respond to emerging threats.”&nbsp;<sup><a href="#_idTextAnchor169">161</a></sup>&nbsp;The following year, Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT) and then Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) introduced legislation calling on the Defense Department to “appoint an independent commission to review the military’s overseas basing needs and their associated costs as a&nbsp;first step toward closing facilities that are no longer needed.”&nbsp;<sup><a href="#_idTextAnchor170">162</a></sup></p> <p>The George W. Bush administration, though by no means advocating a&nbsp;retreat from America’s global role, initiated a&nbsp;Global Defense Posture Review that proposed moving away from large, elaborate bases in favor of maintaining access to smaller facilities with little or no permanent U.S. military presence, but which could be used for deployments when needed. The plan included “reduc[ing] and consolidat[ing] the existing U.S. overseas military presence in Western Europe and Northeast Asia, which was seen as less useful for dealing with future security challenges,” write Lostumbo and others.&nbsp;<sup><a href="#_idTextAnchor171">163</a></sup>&nbsp;Furthermore, polls show that a&nbsp;plurality of Americans remain very skeptical of the United States’ activist role in international affairs,and some polls find a&nbsp;majority who think the nation should “deal with its own problems and let other countries deal with their problems the best they can.”<sup><a href="#_idTextAnchor172">164</a></sup></p> <p>The lack of serious efforts to reduce America’s overseas military base presence is less a&nbsp;function of such ideas being out of the mainstream and more a&nbsp;function of bureaucratic inertia. As far back as December 1970, a&nbsp;congressional investigation led by the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations studied “Security Agreements and Commitments Abroad.” The report explained why the strategic use of U.S. military bases abroad is never seriously scrutinized: “Once an American overseas base is established, it takes on a&nbsp;life of its own. Original missions may become outdated, but new missions are developed, not only with the intent of keeping the facility going, but often to actually enlarge it,” the study concluded. “Within the government departments most directly concerned—State and Defense—we found little initiative to reduce or eliminate any of these overseas facilities,” which “is only to be expected” since they would be “recommend[ing] a&nbsp;reduction in their own position.” It went on: “Such reductions were often resisted on the ground that they would appear to be a&nbsp;withdrawal from a&nbsp;commitment, and a&nbsp;lessening of will on the part of the United States—conclusions which do not necessarily follow.”<sup><a href="#_idTextAnchor173">165</a></sup></p> <p>The same logic holds today. Entrenched interests both inside and outside government, remain committed to America’s global military presence. Those interests, combined with the ideological belief that forward deployment is the cornerstone of a&nbsp;stable world order, result in scant political incentive to propose even partial withdrawal from overseas bases.</p> <p>To the extent that overseas bases are intended to prevent war and manage faraway disputes through deterrence and reassurance, they serve outdated foreign policy objectives and a&nbsp;grand strategy that needs to be narrowed. On top of that, modern technology has reduced the problems of travel times over long distances and simultaneously has increased the vulnerabilities of in‐​place forces. Acknowledging these new realities and initiating appropriate reforms, including full withdrawal from nearly all overseas bases, would serve U.S. interests.</p> <h2>Notes</h2> <ol><li><a id="#_idTextAnchor000"></a>David Vine,&nbsp;<em>Base Nation: How U.S. Military Bases Abroad Harm America and the World</em>&nbsp;(New York: Metropolitan Books, 2015), pp. 6–7.</li> <li><a id="#_idTextAnchor001"></a>Michael J. Lostumbo et al.,&nbsp;<em>Overseas Basing of U.S. Military Forces: An Assessment of Relative Costs and Strategic Benefits</em>&nbsp;(Santa Monica, CA: Rand Corporation, 2013), p. 20.</li> <li><a id="#_idTextAnchor002"></a>The Heritage Foundation, “2017 Index of U.S. Military Strength,” ed. Dakota L. Wood,&nbsp;<a href="http://index.heritage.org/military/2017/resources/download/" target="#_blank">http://​index​.her​itage​.org/​m​i​l​i​t​a​r​y​/​2​0​1​7​/​r​e​s​o​u​r​c​e​s​/​d​o​w​n​load/</a>.</li> <li><a id="#_idTextAnchor003"></a>The troop levels listed in this paragraph come from the Defense Department’s Defense Manpower Data Center, updated February 2017.</li> <li><a id="#_idTextAnchor004"></a>Anthony H. Cordesman, “The Changing Gulf Balance and the Iranian Threat,” Center for Strategic and International Studies, Working Draft, August 3, 2016, p. 41,&nbsp;<a href="https://csis-prod.s3.amazonaws.com/s3fs-public/publication/160804_Gulf_Balance_Iranian_Threat.pdf" target="#_blank">https://​csis​-prod​.s3​.ama​zon​aws​.com/​s​3​f​s​-​p​u​b​l​i​c​/​p​u​b​l​i​c​a​t​i​o​n​/​1​6​0​8​0​4​_​G​u​l​f​_​B​a​l​a​n​c​e​_​I​r​a​n​i​a​n​_​T​h​r​e​a​t.pdf</a>.</li> <li><a id="#_idTextAnchor005"></a>Lostumbo et al.,&nbsp;<em>Overseas Basing</em>, p. 25.</li> <li><a id="#_idTextAnchor006"></a>Andrew S. Erickson and Justin D. Mikolay, “Guam and American Security in the Pacific,” in&nbsp;<em>Rebalancing U.S. Forces: Basing and Forward Presence in the Asia‐​Pacific</em>, ed. Carnes Lord and Andrew S. Erickson (Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 2015), p. 16.</li> <li><a id="#_idTextAnchor007"></a>Kent Calder,&nbsp;<em>Embattled Garrisons:&nbsp;</em><em>Comparative</em><em>&nbsp;Base Politics and American Globalism</em>&nbsp;(Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2008), p. 56. Calder estimates $60 billion, while Vine, in&nbsp;<em>Base Nation</em>, p. 9, cites estimates as high as $120 billion.</li> <li><a id="#_idTextAnchor008"></a>William Kristol and Robert Kagan. “Toward a&nbsp;Neo‐​Reaganite Foreign Policy,”&nbsp;<em>Foreign Affairs</em>&nbsp;75, no. 4 (July/​August 1996): 18–32.</li> <li><a id="#_idTextAnchor009"></a>“Excerpts from Pentagon’s Plan: ‘Prevent the Re‐​emergence of a&nbsp;New Rival,’”&nbsp;<em>New York Times</em>, March 8, 1992,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.nytimes.com/1992/03/08/world/excerpts-from-pentagon-s-plan-prevent-the-re-emergence-of-a-new-rival.html?pagewanted=all" target="#_blank">http://​www​.nytimes​.com/​1​9​9​2​/​0​3​/​0​8​/​w​o​r​l​d​/​e​x​c​e​r​p​t​s​-​f​r​o​m​-​p​e​n​t​a​g​o​n​-​s​-​p​l​a​n​-​p​r​e​v​e​n​t​-​t​h​e​-​r​e​-​e​m​e​r​g​e​n​c​e​-​o​f​-​a​-​n​e​w​-​r​i​v​a​l​.​h​t​m​l​?​p​a​g​e​w​a​n​t​e​d=all</a>.</li> <li><a id="#_idTextAnchor010"></a>Stephen G. Brooks and William C. Wohlforth,&nbsp;<em>America Abroad: The United States’ Global Role in the 21st Century</em>&nbsp;(New York: Oxford University Press, 2016).</li> <li><a id="#_idTextAnchor011"></a>Stacie L. Pettyjohn,&nbsp;<em>U.S. Global Defense Posture, 1783–2011</em>&nbsp;(Santa Monica, CA: Rand Corporation, 2012), p. 12.</li> <li><a id="#_idTextAnchor012"></a>Vine,&nbsp;<em>Base Nation</em>, p. 18.</li> <li><a id="#_idTextAnchor013"></a>Robert E. Harkavy,&nbsp;<em>Strategic Basing and the Great Powers, 1200–2000</em>&nbsp;(New York: Routledge, 2007), pp. 29–30.</li> <li><a id="#_idTextAnchor014"></a>For a&nbsp;different view arguing that bases facilitate trade, see Daniel Egel, Adam R. Grissom, John P. Godges, Jennifer Kavanagh, and Howard J. Shatz,&nbsp;<em>Estimating the Value of Overseas Security Commitments</em>&nbsp;(Santa Monica, CA: Rand Corporation, 2016),&nbsp;<a href="http://www.rand.org/content/dam/rand/pubs/research_reports/RR500/RR518/RAND_RR518.pdf" target="#_blank">http://​www​.rand​.org/​c​o​n​t​e​n​t​/​d​a​m​/​r​a​n​d​/​p​u​b​s​/​r​e​s​e​a​r​c​h​_​r​e​p​o​r​t​s​/​R​R​5​0​0​/​R​R​5​1​8​/​R​A​N​D​_​R​R​5​1​8.pdf</a>.</li> <li><a id="#_idTextAnchor015"></a>Mark W. Zacher, “The Territorial Integrity Norm: International Boundaries and the Use of Force,”&nbsp;<em>International Organization</em>&nbsp;55, no. 2 (Spring 2001): 215–50.</li> <li><a id="#_idTextAnchor016"></a>Vine,&nbsp;<em>Base Nation</em>, p. 4.</li> <li><a id="#_idTextAnchor017"></a>Paul Kennedy,&nbsp;<em>The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers</em>&nbsp;(New York: Vintage Books, 1987), pp. 357–59.</li> <li><a id="#_idTextAnchor018"></a>Eugene Gholz, Daryl G. Press, and Harvey M. Sapolsky, “Come Home, America: The Strategy of Restraint in the Face o&nbsp;f Temptation,”&nbsp;<em>International Security</em>&nbsp;21, no. 4 (Spring 1997): 15. The Persian Gulf gained in importance over the years, but its importance was recognized not long after the war, as a&nbsp;Top Secret National Security Council briefing put it in 1954, “the Near East is of great strategic, political, and economic importance,” as it “contains the greatest petroleum resources in the world” as well as “essential locations for strategic military bases in any world conflict.” National Security Archive, “United States Objectives and Policies with Respect to the Near East,” July 23, 1954 (declassified February 27, 1981),&nbsp;<a href="http://nsarchive.gwu.edu/NSAEBB/NSAEBB78/propaganda%20127.pdf" target="#_blank">http://nsarchive.gwu.edu/NSAEBB/NSAEBB78/propaganda%20127.pdf</a>.</li> <li><a id="#_idTextAnchor019"></a>Nicholas J. Spykman,&nbsp;<em>America’s Strategy in World Politics: The United States and the Balance of Power</em>&nbsp;(New York: Harcourt, Brace, 1942), p. 124.</li> <li><a id="#_idTextAnchor020"></a>Patrick Porter,&nbsp;<em>The Global Village: Distance, War, and the Limits of Power</em>&nbsp;(Washington: Georgetown University Press, 2015).</li> <li><a id="#_idTextAnchor021"></a>John J. Mearsheimer,&nbsp;<em>The Tragedy of Great Power Politics</em>&nbsp;(New York: W. W. Norton, 2001), pp. 157–59.</li> <li><a id="#_idTextAnchor022"></a>Christopher Layne,&nbsp;<em>The Peace of Illusions: American Grand Strategy from 1940 to the Present</em>&nbsp;(Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2006), pp. 88–91.</li> <li><a id="#_idTextAnchor023"></a>Alexander Lanoszka and Michael Hunzeker, “Land Power and American Credibility,”&nbsp;<em>Parameters</em>&nbsp;45, no. 4 (Winter 2015–2016): 17–26.</li> <li><a id="#_idTextAnchor024"></a>Ibid.</li> <li><a id="#_idTextAnchor025"></a>Josef Joffe, “Europe’s American Pacifier,”&nbsp;<em>Foreign Policy</em>&nbsp;54 (Spring 1984): 64–82.</li> <li><a id="#_idTextAnchor026"></a>Lostumbo et al.,&nbsp;<em>Overseas Basing</em>, p. xx.</li> <li><a id="#_idTextAnchor027"></a>Robert H. Johnson,&nbsp;<em>Improbable Dangers: U.S. Conceptions of Threat in the Cold War and After</em>&nbsp;(New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1994), pp. 78, 126. And Robert Jervis writes, “The Soviet archives have yet to reveal any serious plans for unprovoked aggression against Western Europe, not to mention a&nbsp;first strike on the United States.” Robert Jervis, “Was the Cold War a&nbsp;Security Dilemma?”&nbsp;<em>Journal of Cold War Studies</em>&nbsp;3, no. 1 (Winter 2001): 59.</li> <li><a id="#_idTextAnchor028"></a>Alexander L. George and Richard Smoke,&nbsp;<em>Deterrence in American Foreign Policy: Theory and Practice</em>&nbsp;(New York: Columbia University Press, 1974), p. 7.</li> <li><a id="#_idTextAnchor029"></a>Richard Ned Lebow and Janice Gross Stein, “Deterrence: The Elusive Dependent Variable,”&nbsp;<em>World Politics</em>&nbsp;42, no. 3 (April 1990): 336–69.</li> <li><a id="#_idTextAnchor030"></a>Steve Chan, “Extended Deterrence in the Taiwan Strait: Learning from Rationalist Explanations in International Relations,”&nbsp;<em>World Affairs</em>&nbsp;166, no. 2 (Fall 2003): 109–25. Also see Robert&nbsp;Jervis,&nbsp;<em>Perception and Misperception in International Politics</em>&nbsp;(Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1978),p. 90.</li> <li><a id="#_idTextAnchor031"></a>Amos Yadlin and Yoel Guzansky, “The Strait of Hormuz: Assessing and Neutralizing the Threat,”&nbsp;<em>Strategic Assessment</em>&nbsp;(Institute for National Security Studies, Tel Aviv, Israel) 14, no. 4 (January&nbsp;2012): 7–22.</li> <li><a id="#_idTextAnchor032"></a>See William D. O’Neil, “Correspondence: Costs and Difficulties of Blocking the Strait of Hormuz,”&nbsp;<em>International Security</em>&nbsp;33, no. 3 (Winter 2008/09): 190–198. Also see Joshua R. Itzkowitz Shifrinson and Sameer Lalwani, “It’s a&nbsp;Commons Misunderstanding: The Limited Threat to American Command of the Commons,” in&nbsp;<em>A&nbsp;Dangerous World? Threat Perceptions and U.S. National Security</em>, ed. Christopher A. Preble and John Mueller (Washington: Cato Institute, 2014), pp. 238–39. They argue that U.S. presence in the Persian Gulf “can create new incentives for other actors to threaten, disrupt, or close strategic chokepoints as a&nbsp;way of deterring or retaliating against American activities.”</li> <li><a id="#_idTextAnchor033"></a>As these authors write, “By supplying reassurance, deterrence, and active management, the United States lowers security competition in the world’s key regions.” Stephen G. Brooks, G. John Ikenberry, and William C. Wohlforth, “Don’t Come Home, America: The Case Against Retrenchment,”&nbsp;<em>International Security</em>&nbsp;37, no. 3 (Winter 2012/2013): 39.<a id="#_idTextAnchor034"></a></li> <li><a id="#_idTextAnchor035"></a>See Bruno Tertrais, “The Demise of Ares: The End of War as We Know It?”&nbsp;<em>Washington Quarterly</em>&nbsp;35, no. 3 (Summer 2012): 7–22. For a&nbsp;comprehensive review of explanations for the decline of war, see Steven Pinker,&nbsp;<em>The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined</em>&nbsp;(New York: Viking, 2011).</li> <li><a id="#_idTextAnchor036"></a>Dale C. Copeland,&nbsp;<em>Economic Interdependence and War</em>&nbsp;(Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2014); John Mueller, “Capitalism, Peace, and the Historical Movement of Ideas,”&nbsp;<em>Cato Policy Report</em>&nbsp;(March/​April 2012); Erik Gartzke,&nbsp;<a id="#_idTextAnchor037"></a>“The Capitalist Peace,”&nbsp;<em>American Journal of Political Science</em>&nbsp;51, no. 1 (2007): 166–91.</li> <li><a id="#_idTextAnchor038"></a>For a&nbsp;nuclear peace argument, see Kenneth Waltz, “The Spread of Nuclear Weapons: More May Be Better,”&nbsp;<em>Adelphi Papers&nbsp;</em>21, no. 171 (1981). Also see Robert Rauchhaus, “Evaluating the Nuclear Peace Hypothesis: A&nbsp;Quantitative Approach,”&nbsp;<em>Journal of Conflict Resolution</em>&nbsp;53, no. 2 (April 2009): 258–77.</li> <li><a id="#_idTextAnchor039"></a>John Mueller,&nbsp;<em>Retreat from Doomsday: The Obsolescence of Major War</em>&nbsp;(New York: Basic Books, 1989). Also see Ed Rhodes, “The Search for Monsters to Destroy: Theodore Roosevelt, Republican Virtue, and the Challenges of Liberal Democracy in an Industrial Society,<a id="#_idTextAnchor040"></a>” in&nbsp;<em>U.S. Grand Strategy in the 21st Century: The Case for Restraint</em>, ed.&nbsp;Benjamin&nbsp;H. Friedman and A. Trevor Thrall (New York: Routledge, forthcoming).</li> <li><a id="#_idTextAnchor041"></a>Stephen Van Evera, “Primed for Peace: Europe after the Cold War,”&nbsp;<em>International Security</em>&nbsp;15, no. 3 (Winter 1990–1991): 7–57.</li> <li><a id="#_idTextAnchor042"></a>As these authors write, “Primacy likely causes more proliferation among adversaries than it prevents among allies. States crosswise with the&nbsp;United&nbsp;States realize that nuclear arsenals deter U.S. attack and diminish its coercive power.”&nbsp;Benjamin&nbsp;H. Friedman, Brendan Rittenhouse Green, and Justin Logan, “Debating American Engagement: The Future of U.S. Grand Strategy,”&nbsp;<em>International Security</em>&nbsp;38, no. 2 (Fall 2013): 181–99.</li> <li><a id="#_idTextAnchor043"></a>John Lewis Gaddis,&nbsp;<em>Strategies of Containment: A&nbsp;Critical Appraisal of Postwar American National Security Policy</em>&nbsp;(New York: Oxford University Press, 1982/2005 edition), p. 166.</li> <li><a id="#_idTextAnchor044"></a>Lostumbo et al.,&nbsp;<em>Overseas Basing</em>, p. 81.</li> <li><a id="#_idTextAnchor045"></a>Ibid., p. xxi.</li> <li><a id="#_idTextAnchor046"></a>Stacie L. Pettyjohn and Jennifer Kavanagh,&nbsp;<em>Access Granted: Political Challenges to U.S. Overseas Presence, 1945–2014</em>&nbsp;(Santa Monica, CA: Rand Corporation, 2016), p. xv.</li> <li><a id="#_idTextAnchor047"></a>Lostumbo et al.,&nbsp;<em>Overseas Basing</em>, pp. 107–8.</li> <li><a id="#_idTextAnchor048"></a>Harkavy,&nbsp;<em>Strategic Basing</em>, pp. 25–26.</li> <li><a id="#_idTextAnchor049"></a>Benjamin S. Lambeth,&nbsp;<em>American Carrier Air Power at the Dawn of a&nbsp;New Century</em>&nbsp;(Santa&nbsp;Monica, CA: Rand Corporation, 2005).</li> <li><a id="#_idTextAnchor050"></a>Harkavy,&nbsp;<em>Strategic Basing</em>, p. 167.</li> <li><a id="#_idTextAnchor051"></a>Ibid.</li> <li><a id="#_idTextAnchor052"></a>Calder,&nbsp;<em>Embattled Garrisons</em>, p. 48.</li> <li><a id="#_idTextAnchor053"></a>Ibid., p. 213.</li> <li><a id="#_idTextAnchor054"></a>Ibid., p. 211.</li> <li><a id="#_idTextAnchor055"></a>Lostumbo et al.,&nbsp;<em>Overseas Basing</em>, p. xx. Also see p. 256: “the movement and time advantages for moving light and medium BCTs from overseas compared with CONUS by air is minor.”</li> <li><a id="#_idTextAnchor056"></a>Ibid., p. 291.</li> <li><a id="#_idTextAnchor057"></a>Erickson and Mikolay, “Guam and American Security,” p. 25.</li> <li><a id="#_idTextAnchor058"></a>Bernard Brodie, “The Development of&nbsp;Nuclear&nbsp;Strategy,”&nbsp;<em>International Security</em>&nbsp;2, no. 4 (Spring 1978): 80–81.</li> <li><a id="#_idTextAnchor059"></a>Indeed, this tripwire effect is technically an intended feature of the strategy, although policymakers and the public rarely understand it this way. Public support for U.S. intervention to defend allies like Taiwan, South Korea, and the Philippines is low. See Andrew Shearer, “Can America Still Rely on Its Allies?” Center for Strategic and International Studies, Washington, Dec. 15, 2016,&nbsp;<a href="https://www.csis.org/analysis/can-america-still-rely-its-allies" target="#_blank">https://​www​.csis​.org/​a​n​a​l​y​s​i​s​/​c​a​n​-​a​m​e​r​i​c​a​-​s​t​i​l​l​-​r​e​l​y​-​i​t​s​-​a​llies</a>.</li> <li><a id="#_idTextAnchor060"></a>Such reassurances have been widely reported, for example, Thomas Friedman, “Iran and the Obama Doctrine,”&nbsp;<em>New York Times</em>, April 5, 2015. In addition, the U.S. Senate in 2013 passed Resolution 65, which states, “If the Government of Israel is compelled to take military action in legitimate self‐​defense against Iran’s nuclear weapons program, the United States Government should stand with Israel and provide, in accordance with United States law and the constitutional responsibility of Congress to authorize the use of military force, diplomatic, military, and economic support to the Government of Israel in its defense of its territory, people, and existence.”</li> <li><a id="#_idTextAnchor061"></a>Austin Long et al., “Weighing the Benefits and Costs of Military Action Against Iran,” research paper, The Iran Project, New York, 2012.&nbsp;<a href="https://www.scribd.com/document/106806148/IranReport-092412-Final" target="#_blank">https://​www​.scribd​.com/​d​o​c​u​m​e​n​t​/​1​0​6​8​0​6​1​4​8​/​I​r​a​n​R​e​p​o​r​t​-​0​9​2​4​1​2​-​Final</a>.</li> <li><a id="#_idTextAnchor062"></a>Robert Pape and James K. Feldman<em>, Cutting the Fuse: The Explosion of Global Suicide Terrorism and How to Stop It</em>&nbsp;(Chicago: University of&nbsp;Chicago&nbsp;Press, 2010), p. 19. Also see Robert Pape, “The Strategic Logic of Suicide Terrorism,”&nbsp;<em>American Political Science Review</em>&nbsp;97, no. 3 (August 2003): 343–61.</li> <li><a id="#_idTextAnchor063"></a>Since 2002, there have been at least 25 terrorist attacks on U.S. bases, consulates, or embassies in the Middle East, according to a&nbsp;compilation of news reports by the author.</li> <li><a id="#_idTextAnchor064"></a>In his 1996 fatwa, bin Laden declared, “There is no more important duty than pushing the American enemy out of the holy&nbsp;land.…&nbsp;The presence of the USA Crusader military forces on land, sea and air of the states of the Islamic Gulf is the greatest danger threatening the largest oil reserve in the world. The existence of these forces in the area will provoke the people of the country and induces aggression on their religion, feelings and prides and pushes them to take up armed struggle against the invaders occupying the land.” See “Osama Bin Laden v. the U.S.: Edicts and Statements,” PBS&nbsp;<em>Frontlin</em>e, WGBH Educational Foundation,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/binladen/who/edicts.html" target="#_blank">http://​www​.pbs​.org/​w​g​b​h​/​p​a​g​e​s​/​f​r​o​n​t​line/<br> shows/binladen/who/edicts.html</a>.</li> <li><a id="#_idTextAnchor065"></a>See Pape and Feldman,&nbsp;<em>Cutting the Fuse</em>, p. 2: “In the 24‐​year period from 1980 to 2003, there were just under 350 suicide terrorist attacks around the world—of which fewer than 15% could reasonably be considered directed against Americans. By contrast, in the six years from 2004 to 2009, the world has witnessed 1,833 suicide attacks—of which 92% are anti‐​American in origin.”</li> <li><a id="#_idTextAnchor066"></a>Toshi Yoshihara, “Japanese Bases and Chinese Missiles,” in&nbsp;<em>Rebalancing U.S. Forces: Basing and Forward Presence in the Asia‐​Pacific</em>, ed. Carnes Lord and Andrew S. Erickson (Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 2015), p. 53.</li> <li><a id="#_idTextAnchor067"></a>Lostumbo et al.,&nbsp;<em>Overseas Basing</em>, p. 111.</li> <li><a id="#_idTextAnchor068"></a>This report is according to Toshi Yoshihara, who cites Chinese military publications laying out such a&nbsp;strategy. See Yoshihara, “Japanese Bases and Chinese Missiles,” p. 38. See also David A.&nbsp;Shlapak&nbsp;et al.,&nbsp;<em>A&nbsp;Question of Balance: Political Context and Military Aspects of the China‐​Taiwan Dispute</em>&nbsp;(Santa Monica, CA: Rand Corporation, 2009).</li> <li><a id="#_idTextAnchor069"></a>Robert Jervis, “Cooperation under the Security Dilemma,”&nbsp;<em>World Politics</em>&nbsp;30, no. 2 (January 1978): 167–74. See also Jervis,&nbsp;<em>Perception and Misperception<a id="#_idTextAnchor070"></a></em>, pp. 58–113.</li> <li><a id="#_idTextAnchor071"></a>In a&nbsp;letter to Kennedy, Khrushchev wrote, “You are worried over Cuba. You say that it worries you because it lies at a&nbsp;distance of ninety miles across the sea from the shores of the&nbsp;United&nbsp;States. However, Turkey lies next to&nbsp;us.…&nbsp;You have&nbsp;stationed&nbsp;devastating rocket weapons, which you call offensive, in Turkey, literally right next to us.” Quoted in Richard Ned Lebow,&nbsp;<em>A&nbsp;Cultural Theory of International Relations</em>&nbsp;(New York: Cambridge University Press, 2008), p. 451. There are other explanations for the Soviet decision to place missiles in Cuba, but this rationale is also explored in Graham Allison and Philip&nbsp;Zelikow,&nbsp;<em>The Essence of Decision: Explaining the Cuban Missile Crisis</em>, 2nd ed. (New York:&nbsp;Longman, 1999), pp. 93–98.</li> <li><a id="#_idTextAnchor072"></a>Quoted in Lebow,&nbsp;<em>A&nbsp;Cultural Theory</em>, p. 452.</li> <li><a id="#_idTextAnchor073"></a>See Stephen Kotkin, “Russia’s Perpetual Geopolitics,”&nbsp;<em>Foreign Affairs</em>&nbsp;95, no. 3 (May/​June 2016). See also John J. Mearsheimer, “Why the Ukraine Crisis Is the West’s Fault,”&nbsp;<em>Foreign Affairs</em>&nbsp;93, no. 5 (September/​October 2014): 1–12.</li> <li><a id="#_idTextAnchor074"></a>Joshua R. Itzkowitz Shifrinson, “Deal or No Deal? The End of the Cold War and the U.S. Offer to Limit NATO Expansion,”&nbsp;<em>International</em><em>Security</em>&nbsp;40, no. 4 (Spring 2016): 7–44. Also&nbsp;Jonathan&nbsp;Masters&nbsp;writes, “Russia’s invasion of Georgia in the summer was a&nbsp;clear signal of Moscow’s intentions to protect what it sees as its sphere of influence.” Masters, “The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO),” CFR Backgrounder, Council on Foreign Relations, February 17, 2016,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.cfr.org/nato/north-atlantic-treaty-organization-nato/p28287?cid=soc-twitter-in-nato-080316" target="#_blank">http://​www​.cfr​.org/​n​a​t​o​/​n​o​r​t​h​-​a​t​l​a​n​t​i​c​-​t​r​e​a​t​y​-​o​r​g​a​n​i​z​a​t​i​o​n​-​n​a​t​o​/​p​2​8​2​8​7​?​c​i​d​=​s​o​c​-​t​w​i​t​t​e​r​-​i​n​-​n​a​t​o​-​0​80316</a>.</li> <li><a id="#_idTextAnchor075"></a>Masters, “The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).”</li> <li><a id="#_idTextAnchor076"></a>John Mueller,&nbsp;<em>Atomic Obsession: Nuclear Alarmism from Hiroshima to Al‐​Qaeda</em>&nbsp;(New York: Oxford University Press, 2010), pp. 95–96.</li> <li><a id="#_idTextAnchor077"></a>See Ted Galen Carpenter and Doug Bandow,&nbsp;<a id="#_idTextAnchor078"></a>“U.S. Conduct Creates Perverse Incentives for Proliferation,” Nuclear Proliferation Update no. 4, Cato Institute, December 28, 2009.&nbsp;Carpenter&nbsp;and Bandow write, “In particular, countries such as Iran and North Korea have seen how the&nbsp;United&nbsp;States has treated non‐​nuclear adversaries such as Serbia and Iraq, and that may have led to the conclusion that the only reliable deterrent to U.S. coercion is a&nbsp;nuclear arsenal.”</li> <li><a id="#_idTextAnchor079"></a>See Joseph A. Bosco, “Entrapment and Abandonment in Asia,<a id="#_idTextAnchor080"></a>”&nbsp;<em>The National Interest</em>&nbsp;(online), July 8, 2013,&nbsp;<a href="http://nationalinterest.org/commentary/entrapment-abandonment-asia-8697?page=show" target="#_blank">http://​nation​al​in​ter​est​.org/​c​o​m​m​e​n​t​a​r​y​/​e​n​t​r​a​p​m​e​n​t​-​a​b​a​n​d​o​n​m​e​n​t​-​a​s​i​a​-​8​6​9​7​?​p​a​g​e​=show</a>; Glenn H. Snyder, “The Security Dilemma in Alliance Politics,”&nbsp;<em>World Politics</em>&nbsp;36, no. 4 (July 1984): 461–95. For a&nbsp;skeptical view on the role of entangling alliances, see Michael Beckley, “The Myth of Entangling Alliances,”&nbsp;<em>International Security</em>&nbsp;39, no. 4 (Spring 2015): 7–48. Also see Jennifer Lind, “Article Review 52 on ‘The Myth of Entangling Alliances’,” International Security Studies Forum, April 13, 2016.<a id="#_idTextAnchor081"></a></li> <li><a id="#_idTextAnchor082"></a>See Jonathan Mercer,&nbsp;<em>Reputation and International Politics</em>&nbsp;(Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1996); Daryl G. Press,&nbsp;<em>Calculating Credibility: How Leaders Assess Military Threats</em>&nbsp;(Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2007).</li> <li><a id="#_idTextAnchor083"></a>Barry R. Posen,&nbsp;<em>Restraint: A&nbsp;New Foundation for U.S. Grand Strategy</em>&nbsp;(Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2015), pp. 44–50.</li> <li><a id="#_idTextAnchor084"></a>Philip F. Bennett, “Korea and the Thirties (A): Case Study,” John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, 1983.</li> <li><a id="#_idTextAnchor085"></a>Ibid.</li> <li><a id="#_idTextAnchor086"></a>See Ted Galen Carpenter, “The Benghazi Report Misses the Real Scandal of Libya,”&nbsp;<em>The National Interest</em>&nbsp;(online), June 29, 2016. See also&nbsp;Jonathan&nbsp;S. Landay, “Despite Reluctance, U.S. Could Be Forced to Act in Libya,”&nbsp;<em>McClatchy Newspapers</em>, March 2, 2011.</li> <li><a id="#_idTextAnchor087"></a>Calder,&nbsp;<em>Embattled Garrisons</em>, p. 116.</li> <li><a id="#_idTextAnchor088"></a>Ibid., p. 115.</li> <li><a id="#_idTextAnchor089"></a>Ted Galen Carpenter and Malou Innocent,&nbsp;<em>Perilous Partners: The Benefits and Pitfalls of America’s Alliances with Authoritarian Regimes</em>&nbsp;(Washington: Cato Institute, 2015), p. 477.</li> <li><a id="#_idTextAnchor090"></a>Human Rights Watch, “Uzbekistan: Detainees Tortured, Lawyers Silenced,” December 13, 2011,&nbsp;<a href="https://www.hrw.org/news/2011/12/13/uzbekistan-detainees-tortured-lawyers-silenced" target="#_blank">https://​www​.hrw​.org/​n​e​w​s​/​2​0​1​1​/​1​2​/​1​3​/​u​z​b​e​k​i​s​t​a​n​-​d​e​t​a​i​n​e​e​s​-​t​o​r​t​u​r​e​d​-​l​a​w​y​e​r​s​-​s​i​l​enced</a>.</li> <li><a id="#_idTextAnchor091"></a>Casey Michel, “The Obama Administration Is Gifting War Machines to a&nbsp;Murderous Dictator,”&nbsp;<em>New Republic</em>, February 3, 2015. Also see Craig Whitlock, “U.S. Turns to Other Routes to Supply Afghan War as Relations with Pakistan Fray,”&nbsp;<em>Washington Post</em>, July 2, 2011.</li> <li><a id="#_idTextAnchor092"></a>Gaddis,&nbsp;<em>Strategies of Containment</em>, p. 146.</li> <li><a id="#_idTextAnchor093"></a>David E. Sanger, “Philippines Orders U.S. to Leave Strategic Navy Base at Subic Bay,”&nbsp;<em>New York Times</em>, December 28, 1991.</li> <li><a id="#_idTextAnchor094"></a>Vine,&nbsp;<em>Base Nation</em>, p. 267.</li> <li><a id="#_idTextAnchor095"></a>Jonathan Soble, “At Okinawa Protest,&nbsp;Thousands&nbsp;Call for Removal of U.S. Bases,”&nbsp;<em>New York Times</em>, June 19, 2016.</li> <li><a id="#_idTextAnchor096"></a>Lostumbo et al.,&nbsp;<em>Overseas Basing</em>, p. xxv.</li> <li><a id="#_idTextAnchor097"></a>Ibid.</li> <li><a id="#_idTextAnchor098"></a>Ibid.</li> <li><a id="#_idTextAnchor099"></a>“Operation and Maintenance Overview: Fiscal Year 2015 Budget Estimates,” Office of the Under Secretary of Defense, p. 195,&nbsp;<a href="http://comptroller.defense.gov/Portals/45/Documents/defbudget/fy2015/fy2015_OM_Overview.pdf" target="#_blank">http://​comp​trol​ler​.defense​.gov/​P​o​r​t​a​l​s​/​4​5​/​D​o​c​u​m​e​n​t​s​/​d​e​f​b​u​d​g​e​t​/​f​y​2​0​1​5​/​f​y​2​0​1​5​_​O​M​_​O​v​e​r​v​i​e​w.pdf</a>.</li> <li><a id="#_idTextAnchor100"></a>David J. Berteau and others write, “The overall cost of the U.S. military presence, according to DoD, has been approximately $36 billion for fiscal years 2010–2013. These costs do not include expenditures for equipment or operation of the U.S. Naval fleet that supports the PACOM AOR.” The $12 billion cited above divides by three this cost estimate for three years to give a&nbsp;rough annual cost. Berteau et al.,&nbsp;<em>U.S. Force Posture Strategy in the Asia Pacific Region: An Independent Assessment</em>&nbsp;(Washington: Center for Strategic and International Studies, August 2012).</li> <li><a id="#_idTextAnchor101"></a>Posen,&nbsp;<em>Restraint</em>, p. 108.</li> <li><a id="#_idTextAnchor102"></a>Vine,&nbsp;<em>Base Nation</em>, pp. 198–99.</li> <li><a id="#_idTextAnchor103"></a>Ibid., p. 202.</li> <li><a id="#_idTextAnchor104"></a>Lostumbo et al.,&nbsp;<em>Overseas Basing</em>, pp. 131–64.</li> <li><a id="#_idTextAnchor105"></a>Vine,&nbsp;<em>Base Nation</em>, p. 204.</li> <li><a id="#_idTextAnchor106"></a>U.S. State Department, “Congressional&nbsp;Budget&nbsp;Justification, Foreign Assistance: Summary Tables, Fiscal Year 2015,”&nbsp;<a href="http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/224071.pdf" target="#_blank">http://​www​.state​.gov/​d​o​c​u​m​e​n​t​s​/​o​r​g​a​n​i​z​a​t​i​o​n​/​2​2​4​0​7​1.pdf</a>.</li> <li><a id="#_idTextAnchor107"></a>Stephen Daggett, “Defense Budget: Alternative Measures of Costs of Military Commitments Abroad,” Congressional Research Service, June 16, 1995.</li> <li><a id="#_idTextAnchor108"></a>Vine,&nbsp;<em>Base Nation</em>, p. 207.</li> <li><a id="#_idTextAnchor109"></a>Lostumbo et al.,&nbsp;<em>Overseas Basing</em>, pp. 256–57, 284. This scenario would save $3 billion annually through minor cutbacks and base closures in&nbsp;Europe, Asia, and the Middle East.</li> <li><a id="#_idTextAnchor110"></a>The National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform and Congressional Budget Office proposals were cited by then senator Tom Coburn in his budget plan in 2011, “Back in Black,” pp. 125–26,&nbsp;<a href="https://web.archive.org/web/20141207010053/http:/www.coburn.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/files/serve?File_id=bc1e2d45-ff24-4ff3-8a11-64e3dfbe94e1" target="#_blank">https://web.archive.org/web/20141207010053/http://www.coburn.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/files/serve?File_id=bc1e2d45-ff24-4ff3-8a11-64e3dfbe94e1</a>. See also Michael&nbsp;Ettlinger&nbsp;and Michael Linden, “A Thousand Cuts,” Center for American Progress, September 2010,&nbsp;<a href="https://cdn.americanprogress.org/wp-content/uploads/issues/2010/09/pdf/athousandcuts.pdf" target="#_blank">https://​cdn​.amer​i​can​progress​.org/​w​p​-​c​o​n​t​e​n​t​/​u​p​l​o​a​d​s​/​i​s​s​u​e​s​/​2​0​1​0​/​0​9​/​p​d​f​/​a​t​h​o​u​s​a​n​d​c​u​t​s.pdf</a>.</li> <li><a id="#_idTextAnchor111"></a>Benjamin Friedman, “Restrained Strategy, Lower Military Budgets,” in&nbsp;<em>Our Foreign Policy Choices: Rethinking America’s Global Role</em>, ed.&nbsp;Christopher&nbsp;Preble, Emma Ashford, and Travis Evans (Washington: Cato Institute, 2016).</li> <li><a id="#_idTextAnchor112"></a>See&nbsp;<em>The Military Balance 2016</em>&nbsp;(London:&nbsp;International&nbsp;Institute for Strategic Studies, 2016), p. 17.</li> <li><a id="#_idTextAnchor113"></a>Robert Jervis, “International Primacy: Is the Game Worth the Candle?”&nbsp;<em>International Security</em>&nbsp;17, no. 4 (Spring 1993): 52–67.</li> <li><a id="#_idTextAnchor114"></a>Charles Glaser, “Why Unipolarity Doesn’t Matter (Much),”&nbsp;<em>Cambridge Review of International Affairs</em>&nbsp;24, no. 2 (June 2011): 135–47.</li> <li><a id="#_idTextAnchor115"></a>Daniel Drezner, “Military Primacy Doesn’t Pay (Nearly As Much As You Think),”&nbsp;<em>International Security</em>&nbsp;38, no. 1 (Summer 2013): 52–79.</li> <li><a id="#_idTextAnchor116"></a>Posen argues for “demobiliz[ing] most U.S. Army troops based abroad” and contends most U.S. bases across Europe, Asia, and the Middle East should “ultimately close.” Posen,&nbsp;<em>Restraint</em>, pp. 158–60.</li> <li><a id="#_idTextAnchor117"></a>James J. Sheehan,&nbsp;<em>Where Have All the Soldiers Gone? The Transformation of Europe</em>&nbsp;(New York: Mariner Books, 2008).</li> <li><a id="#_idTextAnchor118"></a>The World Bank, “Russian Federation,”&nbsp;<a href="http://data.worldbank.org/country/russian-federation" target="#_blank">http://​data​.world​bank​.org/​c​o​u​n​t​r​y​/​r​u​s​s​i​a​n​-​f​e​d​e​r​ation</a>;&nbsp;and The World Bank, “Spain,”&nbsp;<a href="http://data.worldbank.org/country/spain" target="#_blank">http://​data​.world​bank​.org/​c​o​u​n​t​r​y​/​spain</a>.</li> <li><a id="#_idTextAnchor119"></a>Todd S. Sechser and Matthew Fuhrmann,&nbsp;<em>Nuclear Weapons and Coercive Diplomacy</em>&nbsp;(New York: Cambridge University Press, 2017).</li> <li><a id="#_idTextAnchor120"></a>Jonathan Masters writes that despite ongoing efforts to revitalize its military, “rearmament has been slow, and much of the military’s equipment remains decades old.” Masters, “The Russian Military,” CFR Backgrounder, Council on Foreign Relations, September 28, 2015,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.cfr.org/russian-federation/russian-military/p33758" target="#_blank">http://​www​.cfr​.org/​r​u​s​s​i​a​n​-​f​e​d​e​r​a​t​i​o​n​/​r​u​s​s​i​a​n​-​m​i​l​i​t​a​r​y​/​p​33758</a>.</li> <li><a id="#_idTextAnchor121"></a>Justin Logan writes, “The Russian military is weak and constrained, and the further it gets from home, the weaker and more constrained it gets.” Logan, “NATO: Think Again,”&nbsp;<em>Foreign Policy</em>&nbsp;(online), June 20, 2014<a id="#_idTextAnchor122"></a>.</li> <li><a id="#_idTextAnchor123"></a><a id="#_idTextAnchor124"></a>Ted Galen Carpenter, “NATO at 60: A&nbsp;Hollow Alliance,” Cato Institute Policy Analysis no. 635, March 30, 2009.</li> <li><a id="#_idTextAnchor125"></a>Lostumbo et al.,&nbsp;<em>Overseas Basing</em>, p. 291. According to Rand, “the ground forces based in Europe do not provide a&nbsp;significant deployment benefit to other theaters.”</li> <li><a id="#_idTextAnchor126"></a>Todd Sandler and Hirofumi Shimizu, “NATO Burden Sharing 1999–2010: An Altered Alliance,”&nbsp;<em>Foreign Policy Analysis</em>&nbsp;10, no. 1 (January 2014): 59.</li> <li><a id="#_idTextAnchor127"></a>See John Mueller,&nbsp;<em>Overblown: How Politicians and the Terrorism Industry Inflate National Security Threats and Why We Believe Them</em>&nbsp;(New York: Free Press, 2006).</li> <li><a id="#_idTextAnchor128"></a>The 2006 National Intelligence Estimate on Trends in Global Terrorism concludes that the Iraq War was “breeding deep resentment of U.S. involvement in the Muslim world and cultivating supporters for the global jihadist movement,”&nbsp;<a href="https://www.dni.gov/files/documents/Special%20Report_Global%20Terrorism%20NIE%20Key%20Judgments.pdf" target="#_blank">https://www.dni.gov/files/documents/Special%20Report_Global%20Terrorism%20NIE%20Key%20Judgments.pdf</a>.</li> <li><a id="#_idTextAnchor129"></a>“The Islamic State (Full Length),” VICE News interview, December 26, 2014,&nbsp;<a href="https://news.vice.com/video/the-islamic-state-full-length" target="#_blank">https://​news​.vice​.com/​v​i​d​e​o​/​t​h​e​-​i​s​l​a​m​i​c​-​s​t​a​t​e​-​f​u​l​l​-​l​ength</a>. President Obama said, “ISIL is a&nbsp;direct outgrowth of Al‐​Qaida in Iraq which grew out of our invasion which is an example of unintended consequences which is why we should generally aim before we shoot.”</li> <li><a id="#_idTextAnchor130"></a>See Emma Ashford, “Friends Like These: Why Petrostates Make Bad Allies,” Cato Institute Policy Analysis no. 770, March 31, 2015. See also John Glaser, “America’s Toxic Middle East Allies,”&nbsp;<em>The National Interest</em>&nbsp;(online), December 28, 2014.</li> <li><a id="#_idTextAnchor131"></a>See Audrey Kurth Cronin, “U.S. Grand Strategy and Counterterrorism,”&nbsp;<em>Orbis</em>&nbsp;86, no. 4 (Spring 2012): 1–23. Also see Brad Stapleton, “The Problem with the Light Footprint: Shifting Tactics in Lieu of Strategy,” Cato Institute Policy Analysis no. 792, June 7, 2016.</li> <li><a id="#_idTextAnchor132"></a>Joshua Rovner and Caitlin Talmadge, “Hegemony, Force Posture, and the Provision of Public Goods: The Once and Future Role of Outside Powers in Securing Persian Gulf Oil,”&nbsp;<em>Security Studies</em>&nbsp;23, no. 3 (2014): 549–50.</li> <li><a id="#_idTextAnchor133"></a>Ibid., p. 571. Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait was hardly a&nbsp;failure of deterrence in the first place. Chaim Kaufmann describes the “conventional wisdom” as being that “Hussein was misled by a&nbsp;series of U.S. official statements,” signaling that the United States was not interested in defending Kuwait’s territorial integrity. Kaufmann, “Threat Inflation and the Failure of the Marketplace of Ideas: The Selling of the Iraq War,”&nbsp;<em>International Security</em>&nbsp;29, no. 1 (Summer 2004): 13.</li> <li><a id="#_idTextAnchor134"></a>Rovner and Talmadge, “Hegemony.”</li> <li><a id="#_idTextAnchor135"></a>Ibid., p. 564. In any case, the economic pain during the 1973 embargo was the result not of the embargo itself, but from oil price controls imposed by the Nixon administration. Peter Van Doren and Jerry Taylor, “Time to Lay the 1973 Oil Embargo to Rest,” Cato Institute, October 17, 2003,&nbsp;<a href="https://www.cato.org/publications/commentary/time-lay-1973-oil-embargo-rest">https://​www​.cato​.org/​p​u​b​l​i​c​a​t​i​o​n​s​/​c​o​m​m​e​n​t​a​r​y​/​t​i​m​e​-​l​a​y​-​1​9​7​3​-​o​i​l​-​e​m​b​a​r​g​o​-rest</a>.</li> <li><a id="#_idTextAnchor136"></a>Eugene Gholz and Daryl G. Press, “Protecting ‘The Prize’: Oil and the U.S. National Interest,”&nbsp;<em>Security Studies</em>&nbsp;19, no. 3 (August 2010): 453–85.</li> <li><a id="#_idTextAnchor137"></a>Danielle F. S. Cohen and Jonathan Kirshner, “The Cult of Energy Insecurity and Great Power Rivalry Across the Pacific,” in&nbsp;<em>The Nexus of Economics, Security, and International Relations in East Asia</em>, ed. Avery Goldstein and Edward Mansfield (Redwood City, CA: Stanford University Press, 2012).</li> <li><a id="#_idTextAnchor138"></a>U.S. Department of Energy, Energy Information Administration, “How Much Petroleum Does the United States Import and Export?” April 1, 2016,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.eia.gov/tools/faqs/faq.cfm?id=727&amp;t=6" target="#_blank">http://​www​.eia​.gov/​t​o​o​l​s​/​f​a​q​s​/​f​a​q​.​c​f​m​?​i​d​=​7​2​7&amp;t=6</a>. Also see U.S. Department of Energy, Energy Information Administration, “Oil Net Imports Have Declined Since 2011, with Their Value Falling Slower Than&nbsp;Volume,”&nbsp;February&nbsp;25, 2014,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.eia.gov/todayinenergy/detail.cfm?id=15151" target="#_blank">http://​www​.eia​.gov/​t​o​d​a​y​i​n​e​n​e​r​g​y​/​d​e​t​a​i​l​.​c​f​m​?​i​d​=​15151</a>.</li> <li><a id="#_idTextAnchor139"></a>Kenneth R. Vincent, “The Economic Costs of Persian Gulf Oil Supply Disruptions,” in&nbsp;<em>Crude Strategy: Rethinking the U.S. Military Commitment to Defend Persian Gulf Oil</em>, ed. Charles Glaser and Rosemary Kelanic (Washington: Georgetown University Press, 2016), pp. 97–98.</li> <li><a id="#_idTextAnchor140"></a>Gholz and Press, “Protecting ‘The Prize’,” pp. 453–85.</li> <li><a id="#_idTextAnchor141"></a>Andrew Scobell and Alireza Nader,&nbsp;<em>China</em><em>&nbsp;in the Middle East: The Wary Dragon</em>&nbsp;(Santa&nbsp;Monica, CA: Rand Corporation, 2016). As Jon B.&nbsp;Alterman&nbsp;writes, China has “avoided challenging U.S. predominance” in the region and “clearly seek[s] to reinforce the status quo” and “to cultivate the benefits of being just such a&nbsp;disinterested outside power.” Jon B. Alterman, “The Vital Triangle,” in&nbsp;<em>China and the Persian Gulf: Implications for the United States</em>, ed. Bryce Wakefield and Susan L. Levenstein (Washington: Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, 2011), pp. 30–31.</li> <li><a id="#_idTextAnchor142"></a>Joshua Rovner, “After America: The Flow of Persian Gulf Oil in the Absence of U.S. Military Force,” in&nbsp;<em>Crude Strategy: Rethinking the U.S. Military Commitment to Defend Persian Gulf Oil</em>, pp. 141–65.</li> <li><a id="#_idTextAnchor143"></a>Ibid.</li> <li><a id="#_idTextAnchor144"></a>Charles L. Glaser and Rosemary A. Kelanic, “Getting Out of the Gulf,”&nbsp;<em>Foreign Affairs</em>&nbsp;96, no. 1 (January/​February 2017).</li> <li><a id="#_idTextAnchor145"></a>Lambeth, “American Carrier Air Power.”</li> <li><a id="#_idTextAnchor146"></a>G. John Ikenberry, “The Rise of China and the Future of the West,”&nbsp;<em>Foreign Affairs</em>&nbsp;87, no. 1 (January/​February 2008): 23–37.</li> <li><a id="#_idTextAnchor147"></a>According to Thomas J. Christensen, Beijing has a “hedging strategy” that calls for&nbsp;avoiding&nbsp;“direct confrontation [with] the United States and its allies.” Christensen, “Fostering Stability or Creating a&nbsp;Monster? The Rise of China and U.S. Policy toward East Asia,”&nbsp;<em>International Security</em>31, no. 1 (Summer 2006): 123.</li> <li><a id="#_idTextAnchor148"></a>The U.S. Defense Department describes China’s posture as “strategically defensive” and “rooted in a&nbsp;commitment not to attack, but to respond aggressively once an adversary decides to attack.” Department of Defense, “Annual Report to Congress: Military and Security Developments Involving the People’s Republic of&nbsp;China&nbsp;2016,” April 2016,&nbsp;<a href="https://www.defense.gov/Portals/1/Documents/pubs/2016%20China%20Military%20Power%20Report.pdf">https://www.defense.gov/Portals/1/Documents/pubs/2016%20China%20Military%20Power%20Report.pdf</a>.</li> <li><a id="#_idTextAnchor149"></a>Yao Jianing, “Xi Brings Strength, Integrity to Chinese Armed Forces,” Xinhua (China), July 30, 2016,&nbsp;<a href="http://english.chinamil.com.cn/news-channels/china-military-news/2016-07/30/content_7182049.htm">http://english.chinamil.com.cn/news-channels/china-military-news/2016–07/30/content_7182049.htm</a>.</li> <li><a id="#_idTextAnchor150"></a>M. Taylor Fravel, “Power Shifts and Escalation: Explaining China’s Use of Force in Territorial Disputes,”&nbsp;<em>International Security</em>&nbsp;32, no. 3 (Winter 2007/2008): 44–45.</li> <li><a id="#_idTextAnchor151"></a>See Thomas J. Christensen,&nbsp;<em>The China Challenge: Shaping the Choices of a&nbsp;Rising Power</em>&nbsp;(New York: W. W. Norton, 2015), pp. 63–94.</li> <li><a id="#_idTextAnchor152"></a>Stephen G. Brooks and William C.&nbsp;Wohlforth, “The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers in the Twenty‐​First Century,”&nbsp;<em>International Security</em>&nbsp;40, no. 3 (Winter 2015–2016): 7–53.</li> <li><a id="#_idTextAnchor153"></a>Roger Cliff,&nbsp;<em>The Military Potential of China’s Commercial Technology</em>&nbsp;(Santa Monica, CA: Rand Corporation, 2001). Quoted in David P. Rapkin and William R. Thompson,&nbsp;<em>Transition Scenarios: China and the United States in the Twenty‐​First Century</em>&nbsp;(Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2013).</li> <li><a id="#_idTextAnchor154"></a>Friedman, Green, and Logan, “Debating American Engagement,” pp. 181–99.</li> <li><a id="#_idTextAnchor155"></a>Robert S. Ross, “The Geography of Peace: East Asia in the Twenty‐​First Century,”&nbsp;<em>International Security</em>&nbsp;23, no. 4 (Spring 1999): 81–118.</li> <li><a id="#_idTextAnchor156"></a>Ibid., pp. 111–14. See also Charles Glaser, “A U.S.-China Grand Bargain,”&nbsp;<em>International Security</em>&nbsp;39, no. 4 (Spring 2015): 49–90.</li> <li><a id="#_idTextAnchor157"></a>Barry R. Posen, “Pull Back,”&nbsp;<em>Foreign Affairs</em>&nbsp;9, no. 1 (January/​February 2013): 116–28.</li> <li><a id="#_idTextAnchor158"></a>Robert Haddick,&nbsp;<em>Fire on Water: China, America, and the Future of the Pacific</em>&nbsp;(Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 2014), p. 139.</li> <li><a id="#_idTextAnchor159"></a>Andrew J. Nathan and Andrew Scobell, “How China Sees America,”&nbsp;<em>Foreign Affairs</em>&nbsp;91, no. 5 (Sept­ember/​October 2012): 32–47.</li> <li><a id="#_idTextAnchor160"></a>Toshi Yoshihara writes, “Chinese leaders fret about the so‐​called Malacca dilemma. China’s heavy dependence on seaborne energy supplies that transit the Malacca Strait has set off Chinese speculation that the United States might seek to blockade that maritime chokepoint to coerce Beijing.”&nbsp;Yoshihara, “Japanese Bases and Chinese Missiles,” p. 43.</li> <li><a id="#_idTextAnchor161"></a>Evan Braden Montgomery, “Contested Primacy in the Asia Pacific: China’s Rise and the Future of U.S. Power Projection,”&nbsp;<em>International Security</em>&nbsp;38, no. 4 (Spring 2014): 115–49.</li> <li><a id="#_idTextAnchor162"></a>Jennifer Lind argues “smooth relations between the United States and China will only be possible in the unlikely event that China adopts an extremely docile national‐​security strategy, or in the equally unlikely event that the United States cedes its dominant position in the Western Pacific.” Lind, “Are China and America Destined to Clash?,”&nbsp;<em>The National Interest</em>&nbsp;(online), June 27, 2015.</li> <li><a id="#_idTextAnchor163"></a>John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt, “The Case for Offshore Balancing,”&nbsp;<em>Foreign Affairs</em>&nbsp;95, no. 4 (July/​August 2016): 70–83. The United States can “wait to intervene after a&nbsp;war starts, if one side seems likely to emerge as a&nbsp;regional hegemon,” as it did to its advantage in both world wars. Also see Eugene Gholz and Daryl Press, “The Effects of Wars on Neutral Countries: Why It Doesn’t Pay to Preserve the Peace,”&nbsp;<em>Security Studies</em>&nbsp;10, no. 4 (Summer 2001): 1–57.</li> <li><a id="#_idTextAnchor164"></a>Erickson and Mikolay, “Guam and American Security in the Pacific,” p. 18.</li> <li><a id="#_idTextAnchor165"></a>Walter C. Ladwig III, Andrew S. Erickson, and Justin D. Mikolay, “Diego Garcia and American Security in the Indian Ocean,” in&nbsp;<em>Rebalancing U.S. Forces: Basing and Forward Presence in the Asia‐​Pacific</em>, ed. Carnes Lord and Andrew S. Erickson (Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 2015), p. 137.</li> <li><a id="#_idTextAnchor166"></a>Ibid.</li> <li><a id="#_idTextAnchor167"></a>Ibid., p. 145.</li> <li><a id="#_idTextAnchor168"></a>Ibid., pp. 146–47.</li> <li><a id="#_idTextAnchor169"></a>See Sen. Jon Tester’s press release on the letter: “Tester: Cut Spending on Unnecessary Overseas Military Construction,” October 18, 2011,&nbsp;<a href="https://www.tester.senate.gov/?p=press_release&amp;id=1017" target="#_blank">https://​www​.tester​.sen​ate​.gov/​?​p​=​p​r​e​s​s​_​r​e​l​e​a​s​e​&amp;​i​d​=1017</a>.</li> <li><a id="#_idTextAnchor170"></a>See Sen. Jon Tester’s press release on the bill: “Tester Calls for Update on Overseas Bases Review,” April 5, 2012,&nbsp;<a href="https://www.tester.senate.gov/?p=press_release&amp;id=1878" target="#_blank">https://​www​.tester​.sen​ate​.gov/​?​p​=​p​r​e​s​s​_​r​e​l​e​a​s​e​&amp;​i​d​=1878</a>.</li> <li><a id="#_idTextAnchor171"></a>Lostumbo et al.,&nbsp;<em>Overseas Basing</em>, p. 10.</li> <li><a id="#_idTextAnchor172"></a>Pew Research Center, “Public Uncertain, Divided Over America’s Place in the World,” May 5, 2016, <a href="http://www.people-press.org/2016/05/05/1-americas-global-role-u-s-superpower-status/">http://​www​.peo​ple​-press​.org/​2​0​1​6​/​0​5​/​0​5​/​1​-​a​m​e​r​i​c​a​s​-​g​l​o​b​a​l​-​r​o​l​e​-​u​-​s​-​super…</a>.</li> <li><a id="#_idTextAnchor173"></a>Report to the Committee on Foreign Relations, U.S. Senate by the Subcommittee on Security Agreements and Commitments Abroad, December 21, 1970. Also cited in Vine,&nbsp;<em>Base Nation</em>, p. 243.</li> </ol> </div> Tue, 18 Jul 2017 03:00:00 -0400 John Glaser https://www.cato.org/publications/policy-analysis/withdrawing-overseas-bases-why-forward-deployed-military-posture Withdrawing from Overseas Bases: Why a Forward‐​Deployed Military Posture Is Unnecessary, Outdated, and Dangerous https://www.cato.org/multimedia/multimedia/withdrawing-overseas-bases-why-forward-deployed-military-posture-unnecessary John Glaser <p>The United States maintains a&nbsp;veritable empire of military bases throughout the world—about 800 of them in more than 70 countries. This forward‐​deployed military posture incurs substantial costs and disadvantages, exposing the United States to vulnerabilities and unintended consequences. The strategic justifications for overseas bases—that they deter adversaries, reassure allies, and enable rapid deployment operations—have lost much of their value and relevance in the contemporary security environment. Read the Policy Analysis: <a href="https://www.cato.org/publications/policy-analysis/withdrawing-overseas-bases-why-forward-deployed-military-posture">Withdrawing from Overseas Bases: Why a&nbsp;Forward‐​Deployed Military Posture Is Unnecessary, Outdated, and Dangerous</a></p> Tue, 18 Jul 2017 03:00:00 -0400 John Glaser https://www.cato.org/multimedia/multimedia/withdrawing-overseas-bases-why-forward-deployed-military-posture-unnecessary HASC vs. SASC on BRAC https://www.cato.org/blog/hasc-vs-sasc-brac Christopher A. Preble <p>Neither of the defense bills (National Defense Authorization Acts, NDAAs) wending their way through the House and Senate grant the Pentagon the authority to reduce excess infrastructure. Military leaders have asked for such permission for many years, but Congress has stubbornly refused. An amendment sponsored by Rep. Tom McClintock (R-CA) would have stripped the language from the House NDAA that blocks a new Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) round. That amendment <a href="http://clerk.house.gov/evs/2017/roll365.xml" target="_blank">failed yesterday by a vote of 175-248</a>.</p> <p>Before the vote, the House Armed Services Committee issued a <a href="https://armedservices.house.gov/news/defense-drumbeat/brac-facts-setting-record-straight" target="_blank">"BRAC Facts"</a> one pager to preempt the McClintock amendment and other attempts to resolve the impasse between Congress and military leaders over BRAC.</p> <p>The one pager includes a few facts, but is selective to the point of misleading. For example, it states that Secretary of Defense James Mattis "does not have confidence in DOD BRAC assessments." And quotes Mattis as saying "I am not comfortable right now that we have a full 20 some percent excess." </p> <p>But the SecDef also said that a new BRAC round could save the Pentagon $2 billion a year. <a href="http://docs.house.gov/meetings/AS/AS00/20170612/106090/HHRG-115-AS00-Bio-MattisJ-20170612.pdf" target="_blank">In written testimony last month</a>, Mattis called BRAC "a cornerstone of our efficiencies program" and necessary to "ensure we do not waste taxpayer dollars." Granting the Pentagon authority to reduce overhead, Mattis continued, "is essential to improving our readiness by minimizing wasted resources and accommodating force adjustments." He observed, "Of all the efficiency measures the Department has undertaken over the years, BRAC is one of the most successful and significant."</p> <p>Meanwhile, deputy defense secretary Robert Work has also called for BRAC. "Spending resources on excess infrastructure does not make sense," <a href="https://object.cato.org/sites/cato.org/files/wp-content/uploads/osd003607-16_res_final.pdf" target="_self">he wrote last year</a>. In short, it simply isn't accurate to imply that current Pentagon leaders doubt whether the military has more bases than it needs. And that is true even if the military were to grow in the next few years, as the HASC claims it must.</p> <p>There are other problems with the HASC BRAC fact sheet. It notes that the "FY18 NDAA, which does not authorize a BRAC round, passed through Committee with an overwhelming bipartisan vote of 60 to 1." But that doesn't mean that 60 members supported everything in the bill. Indeed, 19 HASC members voted in favor of the McClintock amendment.    </p> <p>HASC ranking member Adam Smith (D-WA) also attempted to amend the NDAA to allow for a BRAC, but his effort was blocked by the rules committee. During floor debate in support of the McClintock amendment, <a href="http://mailchi.mp/defensecommunities/president-softens-stance-on-border-wall-funding-252957?e=32e2b8fc1e" target="_blank">Smith scolded his fellow members</a>. "We cannot afford for parochial interests to get in the way of what is in the best interests of our troops. We need a BRAC." And he dismissed claims that a BRAC won't save taxpayers' dollars as "just factually ridiculous.” </p> <p>But an interesting divide might be opening, as well, between HASC Chairman Mac Thornberry (R-TX) and the chair and ranking member on the Senate Armed Services Committee. <a href="https://www.politicopro.com/defense/whiteboard/2017/07/mccain-reed-draft-brac-proposal-designed-to-overcome-opposition-090521" target="_blank">Bryan Bender at PoliticoPro reported</a> that Senators John McCain (R-AZ) and Jack Reed (D-RI) "are preparing to offer an amendment to this year's defense policy bill authorizing a new round of military base closures."</p> <p>A summary of the McCain-Reed proposal explains that it "is a significant departure from the 2005 BRAC round and includes a number of improvements which are all specifically designed to address common critiques from 2005." The amendment was a bipartisan effort by SASC staff, in consultation "with the GAO, DOD, [Association of Defense Communities], CRS, former BRAC commissioners, various think tanks, [and] former DOD staff, etc." A recent <a href="https://www.cato.org/publications/public-comments/open-letter-brac" target="_self">coalition letter that I spearheaded</a>, signed by over 45 individuals from more than 35 different organizations, reveals the breadth and depth of support for a new BRAC round. </p> <p>Looking at the politics of BRAC on Capitol Hill, one could chalk up past Republican resistance to the fact that the requests were coming from an Obama administration that the GOP routinely accused of gutting the U.S. military. But now the Trump administration is requesting authority to eliminate unnecessary and underutilized facilities, even as it calls for more Pentagon spending. And Mattis has a lot more clout on Capitol Hill than his predecessors. If he gets behind the McCain-Reed proposal, the military might finally have a chance to redirect taxpayer resources to where they are most needed.</p> <p></p> Fri, 14 Jul 2017 10:55:00 -0400 Christopher A. Preble https://www.cato.org/blog/hasc-vs-sasc-brac Restarting Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) https://www.cato.org/multimedia/cato-daily-podcast/restarting-base-realignment-closure-brac Christopher A. Preble, Caleb O. Brown <p>Modernizing the military means closing extraneous bases. Christopher A. Preble discusses <a href="https://www.cato.org/blog/consensus-favor-brac">an effort to get that process started</a>.</p> Sat, 08 Jul 2017 16:15:00 -0400 Christopher A. Preble, Caleb O. Brown https://www.cato.org/multimedia/cato-daily-podcast/restarting-base-realignment-closure-brac The Consensus in Favor of BRAC https://www.cato.org/blog/consensus-favor-brac Christopher A. Preble <p>Today a&nbsp;broad coalition of more than 40 different scholars from over 30 different think tanks and academic institutions have issued a&nbsp;letter calling on the relevant House and Senate committees to grant the Pentagon authority to reduce excess military infrastructure. Simply, we need another Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) round. The full letter can be found <a href="https://www.cato.org/BRACletter" target="_blank">here</a>.<br><br> All of the signatories, myself included, signed as individuals, not as representatives of their respective institutions. But the breadth and depth of the coalition reflected in their affiliations, from the Center for American Progress and Peace Action to Americans for Tax Reform and FreedomWorks, shows just how much support exists for a&nbsp;process that has helped the military to deal with its excess overhead in five rounds beginning in the late 1980s through the mid‐​2000s, and that could do so fairly again.<br><br> The letter stresses points that I&nbsp;have made elsewhere (e.g. <a href="https://www.cato.org/publications/commentary/what-democrats-can-learn-philadelphias-navy-yard" target="_blank">here</a>, <a href="http://nationalinterest.org/blog/the-skeptics/america-has-too-many-military-bases-19343" target="_self">here</a> and <a href="https://www.cato.org/publications/commentary/what-does-america-really-gain-excess-military-bases" target="_blank">here</a>). The Pentagon has repeatedly requested authority to close unneeded or underutilized bases. It estimates its capacity exceeds its needs by over 20 percent, and that is true even if the U.S. military remains at its current size, or grows modestly. The Obama administration asked Congress to approve BRAC, as has the Trump administration.<br><br> The objections to BRAC focus too narrowly on the economic harms that can come to communities affected by a&nbsp;base closure, without seeing the opportunities created when underutilized property is made available to redevelopment. There is pain. No one disputes that. But it is possible for communities to recover from a&nbsp;base closure, some have done so very quickly, and most emerge with a&nbsp;stronger, more diversified economic base after a&nbsp;military base is closed.<br><br> We conclude:</p> <blockquote><p>BRAC has proven to be a&nbsp;fair and efficient process for making the difficult but necessary decisions related to the configuration of our military’s infrastructure. In the absence of a&nbsp;BRAC, defense communities are hurting. Although members of Congress have blocked base closures with the intent of helping these communities, they are actually making the problem worse. The time to act is now. Congress should grant our military the authority to eliminate waste, and ensure that vital defense resources flow to where they are most needed.</p> </blockquote> <p>Read <a href="https://www.cato.org/BRACletter" target="_blank">the full letter</a>.</p> Mon, 19 Jun 2017 09:59:00 -0400 Christopher A. Preble https://www.cato.org/blog/consensus-favor-brac An Open Letter on BRAC https://www.cato.org/publications/public-comments/open-letter-brac Christopher A. Preble, Mackenzie Eaglen, Todd Harrison <div class="lead mb-3 spacer--nomargin--last-child text-default"> <p>The undersigned represent a&nbsp;broad, bipartisan consensus from across the think tank community, on the need to reduce excess military infrastructure. The Department of Defense has sought such authority for years. And the Trump administration, like the Obama administration before it, has called for a&nbsp;round of base closures in its most recent budget proposal. This letter calls on members of Congress to respond to these requests and authorize a&nbsp;Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) round. </p> </div> , <div class="mb-3 spacer--nomargin--last-child text-default"> <p>In a&nbsp;recent review, the Pentagon concluded that it will have 22% excess capacity as of 2019. The Army will be carrying the greatest excess overhead — 33% according to the study — while the Air Force will have a&nbsp;32% surplus. The Navy and Marine Corps combined will have 7% surplus in 2019. Notably, these projections are not based on the expectations of a&nbsp;much smaller force. Even if Congress reverses personnel cuts planned under the Obama administration, or grows the force to the levels Trump indicated during the campaign, the Pentagon will still be saddled with considerably more overhead than it needs well into the 2020s. Some excess capacity is necessary to support changes in the size and location of forces over time, so the goal would be to trim — not eliminate — the amount of excess capacity to a&nbsp;more prudent level. </p> <p>It is understandable that discussions about closing military facilities can be controversial, but both Senator John McCain, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, and also Congressman Adam Smith, ranking member of the House Armed Services Committee, have explained why they are needed. </p> <p>Members of Congress who continue to stand in the way of BRAC express two primary concerns: the impact on the communities located near bases slated for closure, and the associated costs of implementing a&nbsp;closure round. </p> <p>To the first point, recent history suggests that preventing the closure of unneeded or underutilized facilities causes more harm than the formal BRAC process. To be sure, the closing of a&nbsp;military base is disruptive to surrounding economies. Evidence shows, however, that most communities recover, and some do so quite rapidly. A&nbsp;2005 study by the Pentagon’s Office of Economic Adjustment looked at over 70 communities impacted by a&nbsp;base closure, and determined that nearly all civilian defense jobs lost were eventually replaced. The new jobs are in a&nbsp;variety of industries and fields, allowing communities to diversify their economies away from their excessive reliance on the federal government. </p> <p>Meanwhile, the Pentagon is already addressing the issue of overcapacity, but in a&nbsp;way that maximizes the harm to the affected local communities. </p> <p>In a&nbsp;letter to congressional leaders last year, Deputy Secretary of Defense Robert Work explained the consequences of failing to enact BRAC, both for local communities and for the military: </p> </div> , <blockquote class="blockquote"> <div> <p>Under current fiscal restraints, local communities will experience economic impacts regardless of a&nbsp;congressional decision regarding BRAC authorization. This has the harmful and unintended consequence of forcing the Military Departments to consider cuts at all installations, without regard to military value. … Without BRAC, local communities’ ability to plan and adapt to these changes is less robust and offers fewer protections than under BRAC law.</p> </div> </blockquote> <cite> </cite> , <div class="mb-3 spacer--nomargin--last-child text-default"> <p>Tim Ford, CEO of the Association of Defense Communities, warns about the impact that this death‐​by‐​a‐​thousand‐​cuts approach is having. “The concern is that cuts are happening anyway on a&nbsp;smaller scale,” he said. “Downsizing is occurring, but in a&nbsp;piece meal manner.” Unsurprisingly, an overwhelming majority of the communities ADC represents would prefer a&nbsp;BRAC to the current alternative. </p> <p>While base closures cost money up front, the data shows that savings begin to accrue almost immediately. In the first round of BRAC, the savings began in fiscal year (FY) 1990 — the first year of implementation — at a&nbsp;meager $72 million and then rose steadily to $1.5 billion annually by FY 1995. The second round of BRAC was even more impressive, with savings beginning at $548 million in the first year of implementation, FY 1992, and rising to a&nbsp;peak of $3.4 billion in FY 1997. The third and fourth BRAC rounds in the late 1990s followed a&nbsp;similar pattern. </p> <p>Today, the first four BRAC rounds together are producing annual recurring savings of around $7 billion. Even the much‐​criticized 2005 BRAC — which focused mostly on realignment of functions at existing facilities, and closed far fewer bases than in preceding rounds — is producing nearly $5 billion in annual savings. </p> <p>Members of Congress who profess great concern about cutting waste, but who claim that an overseas BRAC must come first, are being disingenuous: the Pentagon retains the ability to close military facilities not on U.S. soil, and has done so, but Congress has blocked closures here at home for over a&nbsp;decade. In that time, the military has been forced to allocate resources away from the training and equipping of our soldiers, and toward maintaining unneeded and unwanted infrastructure. Local communities have been deprived of the support that BRAC would provide, and have been denied access to property that could be put to productive use. Meanwhile, many tens of billions of taxpayers’ dollars have been wasted. </p> <p>BRAC has proven to be a&nbsp;fair and efficient process for making the difficult but necessary decisions related to the configuration of our military’s infrastructure. In the absence of a&nbsp;BRAC, defense communities are hurting. Although members of Congress have blocked base closures with the intent of helping these communities, they are actually making the problem worse. The time to act is now. Congress should grant our military the authority to eliminate waste, and ensure that vital defense resources flow to where they are most needed.</p> </div> Mon, 19 Jun 2017 08:49:00 -0400 Christopher A. Preble, Mackenzie Eaglen, Todd Harrison https://www.cato.org/publications/public-comments/open-letter-brac Turning Former Military Bases into Economic Development https://www.cato.org/publications/commentary/turning-former-military-bases-economic-development Lucian Niemeyer, Christopher A. Preble <div class="lead mb-3 spacer--nomargin--last-child text-default"> <p>President Donald Trump wants to make America great again by removing bureaucratic roadblocks and regulatory red tape. He could focus on hundreds of thousands of acres effectively trapped in limbo by the federal government, unable to be used by the communities around them to generate tax revenue. In some of the worst cases, they pose a&nbsp;risk to public health and safety.</p> </div> , <div class="mb-3 spacer--nomargin--last-child text-default"> <p>For example, on the banks of the Delaware River in Northeast Philadelphia lies the former&nbsp;<a href="http://www.nab.usace.army.mil/Missions/Environmental/Formerly-Used-Defense-Sites/Frankford-Arsenal/" target="_blank">Frankford Arsenal</a>, a&nbsp;U.S. Army ammunition plant closed in 1977. In 1983, the Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation sold nearly all of the property to a&nbsp;private developer. Forty years later, most of the land remains undeveloped with little federal funding for clean‐​up and unfinished studies of lead‐​contaminated soil at the site.</p> <p>Or consider the case of the&nbsp;<a href="https://cumulis.epa.gov/supercpad/cursites/csitinfo.cfm?id=0302639" target="_blank">Nansemond Ordnance Depot</a>&nbsp;in Suffolk, Virginia, 975&nbsp;acres of land along the James River. Closed since 1960, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency placed it on the “National Priority List” in 1999, after crystalline explosives were discovered on the campus of a&nbsp;local college. Today, the property remains vacant with deteriorated shorelines and wetlands threatening a&nbsp;nearby interstate bridge structure. The risk to public safety is persistent and growing.</p> <p></p> </div> , <aside class="aside--right aside pb-lg-0 pt-lg-2"> <div class="pullquote pullquote--default"> <div class="pullquote__content h2"> <p>Rehabilitating and releasing thousands of valuable sites around the country could unleash far more economic power than bridges to nowhere or trains to Las Vegas.</p> </div> </div> </aside> , <div class="mb-3 spacer--nomargin--last-child text-default"> <p>In the San Diego suburbs,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.spl.usace.army.mil/Missions/Formerly-Used-Defense-Sites/Camp-Elliott/" target="_blank">Camp Elliott</a>, a&nbsp;former Marine Corps base, sits amidst half‐​a‐​million‐​dollar homes. It closed in 1960, but the government didn’t begin site clean‐​up until 1985 after&nbsp;<a href="http://articles.latimes.com/1985-06-12/local/me-6139_1_tierrasanta-area" target="_blank">two boys were killed</a>&nbsp;while playing with an unexploded munition found near their homes. Aside from infrequent inspections, there is no plan to complete the clean‐​up of the property for further development in a&nbsp;region desperate for more housing.</p> <p>These are just three of over 30,000 properties around the country that the Department of Defense has divested in the past 50&nbsp;years. Most are wastelands continuing to pose a&nbsp;threat to health and safety. Many could provide opportunities for economic growth if the resources can be brought to bear to clean them up.</p> <p>Congress created the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.denix.osd.mil/fuds/overview" target="_blank">Formerly Used Defense Site program</a> — commonly known as FUDS —&nbsp;in the mid-1980’s to consolidate the Pentagon’s efforts to protect the health and well‐​being of citizens while completing the clean‐​up and allowing re‐​use of more than&nbsp;<a href="http://www.usace.army.mil/Missions/Environmental/Formerly-Used-Defense-Sites/FUDS-Inventory/" target="_blank">10,000 sites</a>, ranging from less than an acre to hundreds of thousands of acres.</p> <p>Since then, The&nbsp;<a href="http://www.usace.army.mil/Missions/Environmental/Formerly-Used-Defense-Sites" target="_blank">U.S. Army Corps of Engineers</a>&nbsp;has spent more than $7 billion of taxpayer funds between 1984–2016 to address FUDS. Yet, an additional $18 billion is needed to clean just 2,700 sites. Based on the current pace of cleanup—annual funding averages around $225 million—most properties will be off limits until 2097 or later. More daunting, timelines and cost estimates are growing due to the tighter environment regulations implemented under the Obama administration.</p> <p>But with every challenge lies an opportunity. The federal government is currently exploring ways to stimulate economic growth for local communities. Many will rely on the private sector to collaborate on investments and expertise to accelerate the start of thousands of projects. This effort could include the FUDS program. Rehabilitating and releasing thousands of valuable sites around the country could unleash far more economic power than bridges to nowhere or trains to Las Vegas.</p> <p>The Corps of Engineers must be given the mandate to collaborate with the private sector on projects to accelerate the clean‐​up of FUDS properties for rapid redevelopment. The Trump Administration could include within a&nbsp;national infrastructure investment program tax credits or other financial incentives to encourage projects which demonstrate a&nbsp;viable economic return and jobs for local communities.</p> <p>This President knows how real estate development can impact local economies and create jobs. His administration has the opportunity to encourage proactive and collaborative efforts to unlock FUDS properties while reducing tangible environmental threats. The federal government also has the resources available to assist local communities with the planning and highest re‐​use of FUDS.&nbsp;</p> <p>The FUDS program has wallowed in the federal mud for over 30&nbsp;years, spending billions with few successes, broken promises, untenable government bureaucracy, and continued environmental risk to communities. It’s time to take it in a&nbsp;new direction.</p> </div> Wed, 01 Mar 2017 10:20:00 -0500 Lucian Niemeyer, Christopher A. Preble https://www.cato.org/publications/commentary/turning-former-military-bases-economic-development Christopher Preble outlines four common‐​sense reforms to defense spending https://www.cato.org/multimedia/cato-audio/christopher-preble-outlines-four-common-sense-reforms-defense-spending Wed, 01 Mar 2017 10:10:00 -0500 Christopher A. Preble https://www.cato.org/multimedia/cato-audio/christopher-preble-outlines-four-common-sense-reforms-defense-spending What Does America Really Gain from Excess Military Bases? https://www.cato.org/publications/commentary/what-does-america-really-gain-excess-military-bases Christopher A. Preble, Todd Harrison <div class="lead mb-3 spacer--nomargin--last-child text-default"> <p>In a&nbsp;recent piece at the <em>National Interest</em>, MIT Professor Harvey Sapolsky accuses “quick‐​fix budgeteers” of pushing&nbsp;<a href="http://nationalinterest.org/feature/news-flash-closing-us-military-bases-might-not-save-america-19497" target="_blank">a&nbsp;new round of military base closures</a>&nbsp;as a “way to create magic money” for the Pentagon or taxpayers.</p> </div> , <div class="mb-3 spacer--nomargin--last-child text-default"> <p>Sapolsky also claims that the “local economy disappears” when a&nbsp;base closes, and that savings are offset by other federal spending as former bases “are stuffed with other government‐​funded activities.” Accurately capturing the true savings generated by five successive “Base Realignment and Closure” (BRAC) rounds between 1988 and 2005 must include this other spending, but Sapolsky is wrong to suggest that closing unneeded bases does not produce net savings.</p> <p>Base closures cost money upfront to clean up bases and hand them over to local communities. But the data shows that savings begin to accrue almost immediately. In the first round of BRAC, the savings began in fiscal year (FY) 1990—the first year of implementation—at a&nbsp;meager $72 million and then rose steadily to $1.5 billion annually by FY 1995. The second round of BRAC was even more impressive, with savings beginning at $548 million in the first year of implementation, FY 1992, and rising to a&nbsp;peak of $3.4 billion in FY 1997. The third and fourth rounds of BRAC in the late 1990s followed a&nbsp;similar pattern.</p> <p></p> </div> , <aside class="aside--right aside pb-lg-0 pt-lg-2"> <div class="pullquote pullquote--default"> <div class="pullquote__content h2"> <p>Wasteful and inefficient defense spending on bases and facilities that are no longer needed does not make us more secure.</p> </div> </div> </aside> , <div class="mb-3 spacer--nomargin--last-child text-default"> <p>Sapolsky is correct that the savings from base closures are more significant when activities are eliminated and forces are reduced. The first four rounds of base closures focused on reducing legacy Cold War infrastructure that was no longer needed. Closing these bases allowed the Department of Defense (DoD) to eliminate the activities (and associated costs) needed to support them. Once these base support functions are eliminated, the savings accrue in perpetuity. We are still reaping the savings today from bases that were closed in the 1990s. DoD estimates that together the first four rounds of BRAC produced recurring annual savings of about $7 billion as of FY 2001, and those savings will continue accruing indefinitely.</p> <p>The fifth and most recent round of BRAC is the exception that proves the rule. It was the only BRAC to occur during a&nbsp;military buildup, and it was more focused on realignments than outright closures. Because activities are not eliminated when they are moved from one base to another, the savings are more limited. Even so, the recurring savings from the fifth BRAC—by far the most expensive and wide‐​reaching BRAC ever—rose to $5 billion annually by FY 2011.</p> <p>Sapolsky also claims that, “in the eyes of the BRAC proponents no one gets hurt. It is all win‐​win.” That is absurd. No one disputes that a&nbsp;base closure disrupts local and regional economic patterns, just as a&nbsp;factory closure does. The relevant point is that maintaining excess overhead doesn’t serve the nation’s interest, just as keeping an underperforming manufacturing facility doesn’t serve a&nbsp;company’s interests. BRAC is disruptive to local economies as existing government jobs (and the contractors that support them) are moved or eliminated. But that disruption is in many cases temporary as new private‐​sector jobs are created from the economic opportunity a&nbsp;closure creates.</p> <p>In a&nbsp;dynamic economy, we take it for granted that resources are regularly reallocated, even if we are sometimes sad or inconvenienced when our favorite businesses succumb to competitive pressure. Changing consumer preferences and needs affect the supply of particular products and services. In much the same way, technological and geopolitical change affects both the demand for military hardware, and ultimately its character. This has happened in the U.S. military over the past decade, and it is why another BRAC is needed now.</p> <p>We can’t ignore the impact that a&nbsp;base closure has on local communities. Many former bases have drawn in a&nbsp;wide range of businesses and industries, ultimately creating a&nbsp;more diverse and dynamic economic environment. But no one who has visited Limestone, Maine, can reasonably argue that the closure of the Loring Air Force Base was economically beneficial to that tiny town on the Canadian border.</p> <p>On the contrary, Limestone—and much of surrounding Aroostook County—is in the midst of a&nbsp;long, slow, economic and demographic decline that seems all but irreversible. That didn’t start with Loring’s closure. And keeping Loring open longer wouldn’t have halted it. But it would have sapped resources from the Air Force that could have been used for more productive purposes.</p> <p>Sapolsky implies that Loring and Limestone are emblematic of base closures in rural areas, and that the cases of the Presidio in San Francisco, or Governors Island in New York, are the exceptions.</p> <p>But this is misleading. Far more typical are two other bases in Maine: Dow Air Force Base in Bangor, and the former naval air station in Brunswick.</p> <p>The Air Force departed Bangor in 1968, but the Maine Air National Guard still operates there, sharing runways with commercial flights to and from the Bangor International Airport. There are also business parks and a&nbsp;satellite campus of the University of Maine at Augusta on former Dow Air Force Base property. General Electric began operations within months of Dow’s closure, and it is still one of the city’s largest employers.</p> <p>The people of Bangor were certainly dismayed by the Air Force’s relatively abrupt departure, but they managed to make the best of it. In 1989, as communities around the country were facing the prospect of a&nbsp;new round of base closures under the new BRAC process, the DoD designated Bangor’s conversion of Dow as a&nbsp;model that others should emulate.</p> <p>Meanwhile, Brunswick Naval Air Station is now Brunswick Landing, a&nbsp;diverse business campus operated by the Midcoast Regional Reuse Authority (MRRA). The base was included in the fifth and final BRAC round, and the last P-3 Orion aircraft departed in 2009. But the MRRA has flown past its five‐​year goals in terms of employment and business activity. MRRA executive director Steve Levesque&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pressherald.com/2016/05/31/former-air-base-flies-past-five-year-goals-for-recovery-from-shutdown/" target="_blank">told the&nbsp;<em>Portland Press Herald</em></a>&nbsp;last year “that we have a&nbsp;real opportunity to have 4,000 to 5,000 jobs in the next 10&nbsp;years.”</p> <p>No two cases are alike, and every community facing a&nbsp;possible base closure must devise a&nbsp;plan adapted to their needs. But no one should dispute that the U.S. military is carrying excess overhead, and that true savings can be achieved if we can muster the political will to do what is right. Wasteful and inefficient defense spending on bases and facilities that are no longer needed does not make us more secure.</p> </div> Sat, 25 Feb 2017 08:58:00 -0500 Christopher A. Preble, Todd Harrison https://www.cato.org/publications/commentary/what-does-america-really-gain-excess-military-bases America Has Too Many Military Bases https://www.cato.org/publications/commentary/america-has-too-many-military-bases Christopher A. Preble, William D. Hartung <div class="lead mb-3 spacer--nomargin--last-child text-default"> <p>Members of Congress have a&nbsp;hard time agreeing on virtually anything, and they’re already butting heads with the new president. But one issue should unite them: a&nbsp;new initiative to shrink the Pentagon’s massive overhead.</p> </div> , <div class="mb-3 spacer--nomargin--last-child text-default"> <p>President Trump and Secretary of Defense James Mattis have pledged to cut waste. And key leaders in Congress have renewed their calls for rationalizing the Pentagon’s base structure. Now is the time for Congress to come together, put the national interest over parochial interests and finally support a&nbsp;new round of base closings.</p> <p>As Senate Armed Services Committee chair Sen. John McCain&nbsp;<a href="http://thehill.com/policy/defense/315845-mccain-seriously-considering-issue-of-military-base-closures" target="_blank">recently said</a>&nbsp;to reporters, “Right now we do have excess properties and facilities, and I&nbsp;think we need to look at it.” On the House side, Rep. Adam Smith, the ranking member of the House Armed Services Committee, is pushing&nbsp;<a href="http://federalnewsradio.com/defense/2017/01/senior-house-democrat-pushes-new-brac-legislation-possible-support-senate/" target="_blank">legislation</a>&nbsp;that would initiate a&nbsp;new round of base closings in 2019, because, as he notes, “We should not be wasting hard‐​earned taxpayer money to maintain excess infrastructure that DoD has determined it does not need.”</p> <p></p> </div> , <aside class="aside--right aside pb-lg-0 pt-lg-2"> <div class="pullquote pullquote--default"> <div class="pullquote__content h2"> <p>The Defense Department now estimates that nearly one‐​quarter of its current bases serve no military need.</p> </div> </div> </aside> , <div class="mb-3 spacer--nomargin--last-child text-default"> <p>If properly structured, any new set of base closings could result in billions in savings. This item is high on the military’s agenda. The brass have been asking Congress for permission to eliminate unneeded facilities for years, and for good reason. The last round of closures occurred eleven years ago, at a&nbsp;time when the military was busy fighting two wars.</p> <p>The Defense Department now&nbsp;<a href="http://1yxsm73j7aop3quc9y5ifaw3.wpengine.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/041816_dod_brac_parametric.pdf" target="_blank">estimates</a>&nbsp;that nearly one‐​quarter of its current bases serve no military need. This is true even if the Army and Marine Corps remain at their current size. The billions of dollars wasted on overhead could be put to far better use, especially at a&nbsp;time when the services claim that they lack the resources to pay for essential functions such as training and equipment maintenance.</p> <p>So why isn’t there an overwhelming push to close unneeded bases? The resistance is grounded in pork‐​barrel politics, not a&nbsp;careful assessment of the nation’s defense needs. Too many members of Congress believe that they were elected to put the interests of their state or district over that of the country. They believe that they are doing their duty by blocking&nbsp;<em>any</em>&nbsp;base closures.</p> <p>In fact, these representatives are actually doing harm to the nation and their constituents. Their stubborn refusal to allow the military to use its resources efficiently also prevents defense communities from taking advantage of land and property currently trapped behind chain‐​link fences and razor wire.</p> <p>In that sense, the closure of military bases actually&nbsp;<em>opens&nbsp;</em>them up. Just ask the people of Philadelphia, who can now follow South Broad Street all the way to the Delaware River, through the gates of what used to be the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.navyyard.org/" target="_blank">Philadelphia Navy Yard</a>. Austin, Texas, welcomes millions of people every year through the gleaming Austin‐​Bergstrom International Airport, formerly Bergstrom Air Force Base. The former naval air station in Brunswick, Maine, is now&nbsp;<a href="http://mrra.us/brunswick-landing/" target="_blank">Brunswick Landing</a>, a&nbsp;thriving business campus. Cal State Monterey Bay was carved out of the sprawling Army training base at Fort Ord. Thousands of acres have been set aside in the&nbsp;<a href="https://www.blm.gov/nlcs_web/sites/ca/st/en/prog/nlcs/Fort_Ord_NM.html" target="_blank">Fort Ord National Monument</a>, which includes eighty‐​six miles of mountain bike and hiking trails.</p> <p>A 2005 study by the Pentagon’s Office of Economic Adjustment looked at seventy‐​three communities impacted by a&nbsp;base closure, and determined that nearly all civilian defense jobs lost were replaced within fifteen years. In addition, the new jobs are in a&nbsp;variety of industries and fields, allowing communities to diversify their economies away from their excessive reliance on the federal government.</p> <p>To be sure, base closures are initially disruptive to local economies and patterns of life, but most places do recover. In some cases, recovery has been quite rapid. The best way to ensure a&nbsp;successful transition is by encouraging local elected officials and civic leaders to plan for the future. Congressional leaders wishing to facilitate a&nbsp;new round of base closures should familiarize themselves with successful defense conversion cases, and be willing to help apply lessons learned.</p> <p>Before Congress signs off on sharp increases in Pentagon spending, it should make sure the department is using its current resources as efficiently as possible. Closing unneeded bases is a&nbsp;good place to start.</p> </div> Mon, 06 Feb 2017 15:14:00 -0500 Christopher A. Preble, William D. Hartung https://www.cato.org/publications/commentary/america-has-too-many-military-bases