After two decades of incessant warfare in the Middle East and Central Asia, the Biden administration has unveiled its first comprehensive review of the deployment of U.S. forces globally – and it envisions a largely unchanged military footprint with a sharpened commitment to Cold War-style bipartisan politics. hostility towards Russia and China.
The administration chose to release only sparse details about its Global Posture Review on November 29, but in its barebones unclassified Summary, and in remarks from Pentagon officials, the White House made it clear that the U.S. military footprint will remain largely unchanged. “We strive to be as transparent as possible, but to avoid giving our opponents any benefits, we need to protect details of any immediate changes in our posture,” a senior Pentagon official told reporters during a background briefing. about GPR.
The unclassified summary contained few significant news items. It depicts the constant expansion of U.S. military assets in the Indo-Pacific – the geographical term used by the Pentagon to describe a large shard of the eastern hemisphere that encircles China – as necessary to “deter potential Chinese military aggression and threats from North Korea.” While the Pentagon has offered few details on President Joe Biden’s future plans, the review indicates an evolving strategy for further expanding military capabilities near China, including by leveraging existing partnerships. “In Australia you will see new rotating fighters and bombers. You will see the training of the ground forces and increased logistics cooperation,” said Mara Karlin, the acting Deputy Secretary of Defense for Politics, in a briefing with journalists. “So we are doing a lot that will hopefully succeed in the years to come.” The Pentagon also confirmed that it was establishing a permanent attack helicopter squadron and artillery division headquarters in South Korea.
Quotes Bidens turn by former President Donald Trumps level To limit the number of U.S. troops in Germany to 25,000, the Pentagon said their review “strengthens the United States’ credible deterrent to Russian aggression and enables NATO forces to operate more effectively.” It gave no new details. Directly aware of the ongoing tensions over Ukraine’s future and Washington’s portrayal of Russian President Vladimir Putin as threatening the former Soviet republic with troop movements near the border, Karlin said: “We are actually increasing troops in Germany” to strengthen NATO’s capabilities. The Biden administration will “continue to supply security supplies, both lethal and non-lethal, to Ukraine,” Pentagon spokesman John Kirby, a retired Rear Admiral, said at the briefing with Karlin. “This administration remains committed to helping the Ukrainian military defend itself, defend its territorial integrity, defend its people.”
The review also makes it clear that U.S. troops will for the time being continue to operate in a “fight against terrorism” throughout the Middle East and Africa without any immediate departure from Trump-era broadcasts. The summary states that the Pentagon will “conduct further analysis of persistent stance demands in the Middle East” and assess whether it “has an appropriate position to monitor threats from regional violent extremist organizations” in Africa. At present, the United States has 2,500 publicly recognized troops on the ground in Iraq and another 900 in Syria.
While the Biden administration has not maintained the frenetic pace of drone strikes favored by Biden’s predecessors has led to strikes in several countries. An attack in Afghanistan on August 29 during the US withdrawal killed 10 civilians, including seven children. The unclassified review does not mention the role drone strikes will play in Biden’s new military strategy. Karlin said the Pentagon is reviewing “assets and platforms” deployed in Afghanistan that may be “released” for use elsewhere as a result of the withdrawal.
In June, President Biden submitted one Summary to Congress of ongoing troop deployments and combat-equipped forces, stating that such engagements are in accordance with the War Powers Act. U.S. counter-terrorism forces, Biden wrote, continue to operate under the 2001 use of military force, adding that “the United States has deployed combat-ready forces to several locations in the Central, European, African, Southern and Indo-US States. Pacific Commands’ responsibilities.”
Biden’s letter to the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi was an unclassified summary accompanied by a secret appendix that is not available for public consumption. “If necessary, in response to terrorist threats, I will instruct further measures to protect the people and interests of the United States,” Biden wrote to Pelosi. “It is not possible at this time to know the exact extent or duration of the deployments of the U.S. Armed Forces that are or will be necessary to counter terrorist threats to the United States.” Biden acknowledged that US forces remain on the ground in Yemen “to carry out operations against al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and ISIS.”
In the letter, Biden reiterated his dubious claim that he had ended support for offensive Saudi operations against Houthi forces in Yemen, but acknowledged that the United States has more than 2,700 troops in Saudi Arabia, allegedly “to protect U.S. forces and interests in the region against hostile action by Iran or Iranian-backed groups. ” Biden said these forces “provide air and missile defense capabilities and support the operation of U.S. fighter jets.”
The United States also maintains significant capabilities in the Horn of Africa despite Trump’s withdrawal of many military personnel from Somalia; these capabilities are mostly in Kenya and Djibouti “with the aim of staging counter-terrorism and anti-piracy near the Horn of Africa and the Arabian Peninsula.” Nick Turse’s reporting has challenged the claim that the United States has completely withdrawn from Somalia, and Turse has uncovered what appears to be some “creative accounting” from US Special Operations Command Africa. On November 27, more than 1,000 National Guard troops from Virginia and Kentucky began insertion as part of the Task Force Red Dragon to the Horn of Africa, where they will serve on forward operational bases. It is reportedly the Virginia Guard’s largest “single-unit mobilization since World War II.”
The deployment comes as the military and humanitarian situation in Ethiopia has worsened over the past year. The country’s elected leader, Abiy Ahmed, is facing a significant uprising in the Tigray region that could overthrow the government. Ethiopia has long been an American ally in East Africa, and its forces have been used as murderous ground troops to US “anti-terror” targets in Somalia. While Washington has been cautious to strike a cautious public tone in calling for a halt to the fighting, there are some influential voices quietly exciting for a regime change.
About 800 US troops remain in Niger with additional forces in the Sahel and Chadian regions “to carry out airborne intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance operations and to provide support to African and European partners conducting counter-terrorism operations in the region, including by advising , assist, and accompany these partner forces, “according to Biden.
The Biden administration is kicking down a number of important decisions about the role of US “anti-terrorist forces” in Africa and the Middle East, while focusing its attention on Moscow and Beijing. With potentially flammable situations threatening Russia with Ukraine and China with Taiwan, as well as the United States’ long-standing betrayal of Iran’s nuclear deal, the White House may find itself facing several foreign policy crises simultaneously. Biden has spent his career shaping the American role in the world and campaigning to be the commander-in-chief. A year into his presidency, he pretty much keeps the U.S. military chess pieces in place. For now.
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