U.S. military bases in Guam and Australia will undergo improvements to help offset China, according to an unclassified review of military resources worldwide.
The Wall Street Journal reported the review, to be released later Monday, contained no major reshuffling of forces to discourage China while also trying to deter Russia and fight terrorism in the Middle East and Africa.
Defense officials told WSJ the global posture review calls for improvements to the airfields and other infrastructure at U.S. bases in Guam and Australia.
The review’s lack of significant adjustments to military forces in Asia exposes the challenges in rebalancing resources to confront China while maintaining other global commitments, defense specialists told WSJ.
A senior defense told WSJ the global outlook remains fluid, though the review achieved some of its objectives, especially in regard to China.
“The more you look at any given region, the more complicated the region becomes,” the official told WSJ. “But I do think we were able to make some decisions through this that really reinforced our commitment to getting after the Indo-Pacific. We’ve moved the needle.”
Since President Joe Biden took office in January, foreign affairs have included a disastrous withdrawal U.S. troops from Afghanistan, Russia’s military threats against Ukraine, and China using its military to intimidate Taiwan.
“The world is even more unsteady than six months ago,” Mackenzie Eaglen, a senior fellow and specialist in defense strategy at the conservative American Enterprise Institute, told WSJ.
Eaglen added Afghanistan withdrawal meant the U.S. must monitor for terrorism threats and collect intelligence from farther away.
“That’s part of the reason you can’t significantly change force posture in the Middle East and Europe, because we lost our eyes in Afghanistan,” Eaglen told WSJ.
Another senior defense official told WSJ the global posture review did not find a need for large adjustments, though changes might follow a new national-defense strategy due early next year.
“There was a sense at the outset that there was a potential for some major force posture changes,” the official told WSJ. “Then, as we got deeper and deeper into the work, we realized in the aggregate that the force posture around the world was about right.”
WSJ reported sources said the military’s posture in the Middle East, Europe, and Africa will continue to be analyzed, and Afghanistan underwent a separate interagency review. Cyber and nuclear capabilities also are being reviewed.