The Pentagon is set to boost US military infrastructure in Australia, Guam and the Mariana Islands in order to counter the increased threat from China and North Korea following a 10-month review of America’s global footprint.
The study was conducted at the urging of Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and “will inform our approach to the national defense strategy,” Mara Karlin, interim deputy undersecretary of defense for policy, told reporters Monday.
“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,” added Karlin, who noted that the review would serve as the framework for America’s military posture for the next two to three years.
In response to China’s recent aggression toward Hong Kong and Taiwan, the study called for “additional cooperation with allies and partners to advance initiatives that contribute to regional stability and deter potential Chinese military aggression and threats from North Korea,” according to a Defense Department statement.
Those initiatives include “enhancing infrastructure in Australia and the Pacific Islands.”
The Biden administration announced in September that the US would help Australia build nuclear submarines as part of a trilateral security pact with the UK called AUKUS.
Karlin said Monday that the US will rotate fighter jets and bombers and increase ground forces training in Australia.
The review also noted that Austin approved permanently stationing an attack helicopter squadron and an artillery division headquarters in South Korea.
In Europe, where Russia has been amassing personnel and equipment along the eastern Ukrainian border ahead of what some fear could be an invasion, the study noted that the US has already made some changes to forces in the region.
In April, the Pentagon lifted the 25,000 cap on active-duty troops in Germany set by the Trump administration and will expand its military presence by 500 service members.
In the Middle East, the review said the Defense Department has strengthened missile defense capabilities and continues to back the campaign to defeat Islamic State terrorists operating in Iraq and Syria.
Karlin said the US withdrawal from Afghanistan was conducted through a separate interagency process and not part of the global posture review.
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