The United States military is the strongest military that the world has ever seen. However if it is to continue to remain a dominant power it must remain in key positions throughout the world. The United States military is used for more than just fighting the nations wars, it is also used as a diplomatic tool, a deterrent, and to assist in stabilizing the world economy. The effects of reducing U.S. troop presence around the world will have repercussions in more aspects than simply military strength.
Force Projection is the ability of a nation to apply all or some of its elements of national power (political, economic, informational, or military) to rapidly and effectively deploy and sustain forces in and from multiple dispersed locations to respond to crisis, to contribute deterrence, and to enhance regional stability. Using this definition for force projection the United States is going to put itself at risk if it continues to remove troops from strategically placed overseas assignments.
In 2003, it was reported 14 different countries hosted more than 1,000 United States troops. Non-invasion deployments are a common method for deterring regional aggression. Since the 1950’s, an average of about 23% of U.S. troops have been stationed abroad and that a large part of American influence is derived from this military presence throughout the world. (Kane, 2006) One of the main aspects of Army doctrine has been forward presence of its troops.
The National Security Strategy of Engagement and Enlargement emphasizes worldwide engagement and the enlargement of the community of free market democracies. In order to be successful in this strategy the United States can not move to a isolationist mentality. The ability of the United States to deploy air, land, and sea forces in any region in the world and sustain them for extended periods of time is greatly hampered with the reduction of overseas bases. The requirements of force projection include rapid deployment of combat power to finish conflicts in a timely manner. Therefore it is logical that the closer a unit is to the contested area then the shorter amount of time it would take to mobilize that unit and quell any uprising.
All interaction, positive as well as negative, requires opportunity as well as motive. An important part of the former is geographical opportunity, which is usually proxied by some measure of the distance between the interacting parties. (Bauhung & Gleditsch)
Great distances between home bases and operational areas reduce opportunities for timely employment of military responses in emergencies. Lengthy lines of supply and communication increase requirements for long haul transportation and, if vulnerable to enemy interdiction, make users divert combat forces to protect them. (Collins, 1988: 14-15)
This statement further identifies the risk of the United States becoming an isolationist country. There are key factors that...