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Report on U.S. Military Power 2012 (10)

(People's Daily Online)

10:56, July 19, 2013

The latest round of BRAC can be seen as being guided by the following strategic considerations: hedging against Russia and China, ensuring security of energy resources, and maintaining global hegemony. Its basic pattern is to take the homeland as the core and foreign bases as the front, to streamline different fronts while paying special attention to key points in the whole network. The realignment has shown the following characteristics: globally, the focus lies in the optimization of U.S. military bases in Asia; in Europe, the trend is to close on military bases in Old Europe and to open up military bases in New Europe; in South Asia and the Indian Ocean region, the U.S. plans to secure permanent use of bases in Pakistan and Afghanistan, and to place more prepositioned installations in Diego Garcia; in the Middle East and Central Asia, the U.S. tries to make permanent its military presence; in Africa, the U.S. is reinforcing its military presence; and in Latin America, the U.S. maintains military presence for countering terrorism. In sum, the most recent round of BRAC favors small sites, sites capable of hosting joint training, and sites located in CONUS.

The most notable characteristic, however, is that the number of U.S. military sites has increased by about 26.6%, from 3,731 to 4,825, instead of a drawdown. The latest round of BRAC was intended to meet the requirements of the new defense strategy, cut spending, and improve cost-effectiveness. In order to cut spending, the U.S. had to reduce the number of overseas military sites, and to deploy U.S. forces back to CONUS, as overseas military sites are more costly than those based in CONUS. In order to decentralize force deployment for rapid response and to reduce vulnerability inherent in large military sites, the U.S. has been focusing on building small bases. By FY 2011, the number of small sites had been increased by 1,035, while those of large and medium-sized sites had increased respectively by 22 and 7. To improve cost-effectiveness of military sites, the U.S. has attached special importance to service jointness and civil-military integration. U.S. military bases used to be divided along service lines, and Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps bases were independent from one another; as a result, it was difficult to conduct joint training or operations. After the latest round of BRAC, most bases are used by units from at least two services. Co-location of units from different services fosters coordination and cooperation through mutual understanding, thus making them more capable in future combined and joint operations.

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Email|Print|Comments(Editor:YanMeng、Yao Chun)

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