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 Based on an initial GPR assessment and a recommendation from Secretary Austin, in February 2021 President Biden rescinded the 25,000 active duty force cap in Germany established by the previous administration.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.