President Joe Biden has accepted the recommendations formed by Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III on the global posture review, Mara Karlin, performing the duties of deputy undersecretary of defense for policy, announced today.

While there are changes in the global footprint, the main benefit from the review is it “will inform our approach to the national defense strategy,” Karlin said during a Pentagon news conference. 

The global posture review was guided by President Joe Biden’s interim national security strategy released earlier this year.

“That guidance asserts that the United States will lead with diplomacy first, revitalize our unmatched network of allies and partners and make smart and disciplined choices regarding our national defense and responsible use of our military,” Karlin said. “Nested within this guidance, the global posture review assesses DOD overseas forces and footprint along with the framework and processes that govern our posture decision making.”

The main outcome of the review is the return to normal of determining military posture around the world and tying that to America’s strategic alignment, an official speaking on background earlier in the day said. “The GPR has strengthened our decision making processes by deliberately connecting strategic priorities, global trade-offs, force readiness and modernization, interagency coordination and allied and partner coordination to global posture planning and decisions,” the official said. 

It is no surprise that the Indo-Pacific is the priority region for the review, given the secretary’s focus on China as America’s pacing challenge. The review directs additional cooperation with allies and partners to advance initiatives that contribute to regional stability and deter Chinese military aggression and threats from North Korea, Karlin said. 

These initiatives include seeking greater regional access for military partnership activities, enhancing infrastructure in Guam and Australia and prioritizing military construction across the Pacific Islands. They also include new U.S. rotational aircraft deployments and logistics cooperation in Australia, which DOD announced in September. 

The review also approved the stationing of a previously rotational attack helicopter squadron and an artillery division headquarters in the Republic of Korea.

More initiatives are forthcoming in the region, but these require more discussions among the allies and remain classified, Karlin said. 

In Europe, the review looks to strengthen the U.S. combat deterrent against Russia, and enable NATO forces to operate more effectively, she said. DOD has already instituted a couple of recommendations including lifting the 25,000-man cap on active duty troops in Germany imposed by the previous administration and the decision to permanently base a multi-domain task force and theater fires command — a total of 500 U.S. Army personnel — in Wiesbaden, Germany. DOD will also retain seven sites previously designated for return to Germany and Belgium under the European infrastructure consolidation plan. The review identified additional capabilities that will enhance U.S. deterrence posture in Europe, and these will be discussed with allies in the near future, Karlin said. 

In the Middle East, again, there have already been some posture review changes including the redeployment of critically strained missile defense capabilities, and reallocation of certain maritime assets back to Europe and the Indo-Pacific. In Iraq and Syria, the review indicates that DOD posture will continue to support the defeated Islamic State campaign and build the capacity of partner forces, Karlin said.

“Looking ahead, the global posture review directs the department to conduct an additional analysis on enduring posture requirements in the Middle East,” she said. “As Secretary Austin noted … we have global responsibilities and must ensure the readiness and modernization of our forces. These considerations require us to make continuous changes to our Middle East posture, but we always have the capability to rapidly deploy forces to the region based on the threat environment.”

In considering forces in Africa, analysis from the review supports several ongoing interagency reviews to ensure DOD has an appropriately scoped posture to monitor threats from regional violent extremist organizations, support American diplomatic activities and enable allies and partners, according to the official.

Finally, in Central and South America and the Caribbean, the review looks at DOD posture in support of national security objectives, including humanitarian assistance, disaster relief and counterdrug missions. “The GPR directs that DOD posture continue to support U.S. government efforts on the range of transnational challenges and to add to defense partnership activities in the region,” the official said. 

The Global Posture Review has been a whole-of-government effort and includes input from allies and partners worldwide. President Biden ordered the review on February 4. He tasked Austin to assess alignment of overseas DOD posture with his national security guidance. Austin led the review with participation and guidance from the National Security Council, the U.S. State Department, the U.S. Agency for International Development and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

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