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Indo-Pacific Is the Priority Region for DoD’s Global Posture Review

Washington, DC – Briefing the press on the recently concluded Global Posture Review (GPR), Dr. Mara Karlin – performing the duties of Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Policy – said that with “the focus on China as our pacing challenge,” the Indo-Pacific was the priority region for the review. President Biden has approved Secretary Austin’s findings and recommendations based on the GPR.

Although much of the GPR outcomes are classified for operational security reasons, Karlin provided highlights on a few of them. The GPR directs additional cooperation with allies and partners across the Indo-Pacific to “advance initiatives that contribute to regional stability” and “deter potential military aggression from China and threats from North Korea.” This includes increased regional access for military partnership activities, enhancing infrastructure in Australia and the Pacific Islands, and planning rotational aircraft deployments in Australia. The GPR facilitated Secretary Austin’s approval of the permanent stationing of an Attack Helicopter Squadron, and Artillery Division Headquarters in the Republic of Korea, which the Department announced earlier this year.

In Europe, the GPR strengthens the U.S. combat-credible deterrent against Russian aggression and enables NATO forces to operate more effectively. Based on an initial GPR assessment and a recommendation from Secretary Austin, in February 2021 President Biden rescinded the 25,000 active duty force cap in Germany established by the previous administration. Secretary Austin announced in April that DoD would permanently station an Army Multi-Domain Task Force and a Theater Fires Command, a total of 500 Army personnel, in Germany. DoD will retain seven military sites previously designated for return to host nations under the European Infrastructure Consolidation Plan.

In the Middle East, the GPR assessed the department’s approach toward Iran and the evolving counterterrorism requirements after the US withdrawal from Afghanistan. DoD posture in Iraq and Syria will continue to support the Defeat-ISIS campaign and build the capacity of partner forces. The review directs DoD to conduct additional analysis on enduring posture requirements in the Middle East.

In Africa, analysis from the GPR is supporting several ongoing interagency reviews to ensure DoD has an appropriately-scoped posture to monitor threats from regional violent extremist organizations, support US diplomatic activities as well as allies and partners.

In Central and South America and the Caribbean, the GPR reviewed the role of DoD posture in support of national security objectives, including humanitarian assistance, disaster relief and counter-narcotics missions. DoD posture will continue to support US Government efforts on transnational challenges and partnership activities in the region.

The review provided foundational information for the National Defense Strategy, which will shape how the administration connects US overseas posture to the DoD’s overall strategic approach. “The Global Posture Review was guided by the President’s interim national security strategic guidance released earlier this year,”said Karlin. “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.”

The GPR was an interagency effort led by the Department of Defense with participation and guidance from the National Security Council, the US State Department, USAID, and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. DOD also consulted with NATO allies Australia, Japan, the Republic of Korea, and over a dozen partners across the Middle East and Africa.

Israel – Palestine Conflict: US Coordinating with Egyptians and others for Ceasefire Efforts

Washington, DC – The United States on Friday (May 14) admitted being in touch with Middle Eastern countries and encouraging efforts by allies, especially Egypt, to bring about a much needed ceasefire to the escalating violence between Israel and the Palestine forces.

Answering a question from IAT (Tejinder Singh), Jalina Porter, Principal Deputy Spokesperson at the State Department briefing told journalists: “We are actively engaging Egypt as well as other regional partners to work towards achieving a sustainable calm in the region.”

Earlier answering other questions on the subject of escalating violence Porter said, “We remain deeply concerned about the current violence, and we are working towards achieving a sustainable calm.”

On the question of Deputy Assistant Secretary Hady Amr’s trip in the region, she said, “He is in Israel and the West Bank to engage with senior Israeli and Palestinian officials. As you know that Amr has decades of experience in this issue. His trip is a part of an ongoing high-level engagement by senior US officials on these critical issues. But while he’s there, he’ll reinforce our message that we have stressed in many senior level engagements with the parties and other stakeholders this past week, which of course namely achieving a sustainable calm.”

According to a readout of the call, Egypt’s foreign minister, Sameh Shukry, with his Israeli counterpart Gabi Ashkenazi, while condemning Israeli attacks on Palestinian territory, called for both sides to avoid escalation and resorting to military means.

The call seems to have fallen on deaf ears for many reasons. Internal political equations are simmering as a new government forming process has been shelved and the present Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is nothing but a lame duck leader. There is talk from his supporters to keep him in the leadership position as the country faces this crisis.

This points to a simple answer for an eternal question asked by investigative journalists: Who benefits the most?

But when a journalist posed a question that Prime Minister Netanyahu may be using this crisis in order to bolster his domestic political standing as “There is no formal government. He’s in essence a prime – a lame duck prime minister right now. The efforts for Yair Lapid to form a government have been suspended because of the violence, and now Naftali Bennett, who is one of the prime minister’s supporters, is suggesting that perhaps Netanyahu should just simply stay in office open ended regardless of the last election’s results because of this existential threat to Israel’s security,” Porter gave an interesting answer.

Porter said she didn’t “have anything to offer specifically on your comment to Prime Minister Netanyahu,” but added, “As far as being concerned, I will say that we are deeply concerned about the current violence, and of course are working to achieving a sustainable calm. And this is what we’re encouraging from our side.Of course, we’ve been very clear that Hamas’s ongoing rocket attacks into civilian areas of Israel are completely unacceptable and that they must cease.”

The State Department spokesperson continued, “Israel has the right to defend itself from these rocket attacks, and both Israelis and Palestinians – I will just leave it there and kind of just reiterate that we are concerned. It remains that we’re deeply concerned about the violence that’s happening right now.”

The second equally important factor is the announcement from the administration of US President Joe Biden to engage with Iranians again and restore the nuclear deal.

With Hamas allegedly funded and supported by Iranian elements, its escalation of conflict with Israel is set to decelerate Iranian nuclear deal talks.

According to reports, Egypt’s diplomatic team is on the ground in Israel after talking to Hamas leaders.

The US state department in its staple statement reiterated the right of Israel to defend itself but failed to address the slow but steady grabbing of Palestinian land.

Even in this conflict one thing is certain, Palestinian infrastructure is going to suffer. The point to note is that most of it is funded and constructed with the large hearted and humanitarian efforts of the European Union.

Time for the European Union, especially the European Commission and the members of the European Parliament to bring a strong voice to the table so this off-on destruction can be stopped and peace can prevail.