From forward deployment to forward presence: a new national strategy for the Pacific
Smith, Michael Edward
Teti, Frank M.
Buss, Claude A.
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This thesis analyzes the changing strategic environment in East Asia and the Pacific. Despite sweeping foreign policy initiatives, the Soviets maintain a significant military capability. Even as the likelihood of the Soviet threat diminishes, low-intensity type conflict threaten U.S. regional interests. Additionally, changing regional perceptions are undermining traditional U.S. security arrangements. Rising Asian nationalism questions the need for forward deployment of U.S. forces within regional states. A policy of forward presence via maritime assets is the solution. U.S. naval assets would allow for a reasonable power projection capability in time of crisis, yet would meet fiscal constraints during peacetime through a scaling down of deployed assets. Other U.S. forces will maintain their ability to meet regional responsibilities through training exercises with regional forces and a build-up of the U.S. sealift capability. Now is the time to encourage regional states to assume greater responsibilities for their own defense. A regional maritime organization must be developed to maintain open trade routes. With a focused mandate, such an organization would not threaten individual national sovereignties and would promote regional cooperation and stability. An expansion of the U.S. Navy's peacetime mission will certainly serve the national interest. Increased port visits to economically less developed regions should be coordinated to support on-going or planned U.S. assistance programs
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