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Military Engagement and Forward Presence: Down but Not Out as Tools to Shape and Win

Authored by Dr. John R. Deni.


Brief Synopsis

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Military engagement and forward-based U.S. military forces offer decisionmakers effective and efficient mechanisms for maintaining American influence, deterring aggression, assuring allies, building tomorrow’s coalitions, managing the challenge of disorder in the security environment, mitigating the risk of a major interstate war, and facilitating U.S. and coalition operations should deterrence fail. Unfortunately, significant cuts to overseas permanent presence and continuing pockets of institutional bias against engagement as a force multiplier and readiness enhancer have combined to limit the leverage possible through these two policy tools. Instead, reliance on precision strike stand-off capabilities and a strategy of surging American military might from CONUS after a crisis has already started have become particularly attractive approaches for managing insecurity in a more resource-constrained environment. This approach is short-sighted politically and strategically. Relying on stand-off capabilities and so-called “surge readiness” – instead of placing greater emphasis on forward presence and, when employed selectively, military engagement – will ultimately result in reduced American influence with friends and adversaries alike, encourage adversaries to act hastily and aggressively, and have the effect of reducing, not expanding, options available to any President.

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Also by the Author/Editor:

The Real Rebalancing: American Diplomacy and the Tragedy of President Obama’s Foreign Policy
New Realities: Energy Security in the 2010s and Implications for the U.S. Military
Political and Socio-Economic Change: Revolutions and Their Implications for the U.S. Military
The Future of American Landpower: Does Forward Presence Still Matter? The Case of the Army in the Pacific
Augmenting Our Influence: Alliance Revitalization and Partner Development
NATO Missile Defense and the European Phased Adaptive Approach: The Implications of Burden-Sharing and the Underappreciated Role of the U.S. Army
The Future of American Landpower: Does Forward Presence Still Matter? The Case of the Army in Europe

View other pubs in the following categories:

Landpower Employment & Sustainment
Military Change and Transformation
Military Strategy and Policy
Operational Concepts

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