Security Relationships and Overseas Presence

Instruments: NATO
Other Formal Alliances
De Facto Alliances
Forward-Deployed Forces
Military Exercises
Pre-positioned Military Equipment and Materiel


Security relationships and overseas presence have come under increasing scrutiny since the end of the Cold War. Despite this scrutiny, or perhaps because of it, both the Bush and Clinton administrations have made a strong case for preserving commitments to core allies, engaging potential coalition partners, and continuing a credible military presence in Europe, the Asia Pacific, the Middle East, and the Western Hemisphere.

The end of the U.S.-Soviet rivalry has left the United States with a global network of multilateral and bilateral relationships without a rationale clearly understood by the public. Regardless of the absence of a menacing global threat, which provided a stable cohesive for past U.S. security relationships, the United States has an enduring and fundamental interest in preserving close ties with powerful states. Such ties can deter regional aggressors, reassure allies and their neighbors, and ensure rapid and effective military response in the event of conflict. However, the recent security environment has led some to question America's alliances as: too rigid to respond swiftly to today's less conventional security challenges, unnecessarily benefitting the U.S.'s major economic competitors, and easily supplanted by less binding relationships that entail fewer political and physical costs.

Although there is no simple typology for organizing the complex variety of security relationships and forces deployed overseas, this chapter organizes these diverse and at times overlapping instruments of national power into four types of security relationships--the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), other formal alliances, de facto alliances, and coalitions--and three types of overseas presence--forward-deployed forces, military exercises, and pre-positioned military materiel.



America's Cold War strategy of containment was predicated on an extensive array of alliance commitments and forward-stationed military troops. Of all those commitments, none was so instrumental in bringing the Cold War to a peaceful and successful end as was the transatlantic alliance, led by the United States and embodied in NATO, with the United States, Canada, and eventually fourteen western European nations including Britain, France, Germany, and Italy.

NATO's genesis was the wreckage left in Europe after the Second World War: an imperial, totalitarian regime in Moscow threatening an exhausted European continent. Only the United States could balance the West European democracies against Soviet hegemony. In response, the U.S. led its European allies in erecting an economic, political, and military bulwark to defend the west against the East. As the military instrument, NATO became the most important and visible pillar of Western solidarity. The key dates were the 1949 founding of NATO; the 1955 decision of the Federal Republic of Germany to join NATO rather than choose a course of neutrality, an action that led to the creation of the Warsaw Pact nine days later; and the 1967 adoption of a new military strategy of flexible response.

NATO Enlargement

The NATO enlargement process faces two dangers. The first is that enlargement will proceed too fast, which could upset a delicate political process underway in Russia. The other is that the process slows too much, in which case it could stall.

Impact on Russia. There is not much consensus at present in Russia on anything, but there is consensus among the national security elite against enlargement. Many Russians believe that NATO enlargement would draw a new line in Europe which would create cultural and economic barriers that would be impossible to overcome. Russian observers say that if NATO enlarges, Russia may abandon START II and the CFE Treaty.

Impact on Central and Eastern Europe. Not all of the Central and Eastern European states may be ready to join NATO at the same time. The 1995 NATO study on enlargement concluded that decisions should be made on a case by case basis. While the NATO study makes clear that there are no fixed criteria, it does provide some guidelines, including that ethnic and border disputes need to be settled. Progress on democratic reform and civil-military relations will also be an important factor.

As NATO proceeds, it risks separating Central Europe from Eastern Europe and creating a strategic vacuum in the East. States in this region are concerned they will have no firm security framework and that they may have to deal with a Russia which is more aggressive in response to enlargement.

Impact on Western Europe. Western Europe is somewhat divided on the enlargement issue, with Northern Europe generally more interested than Southern Europe. A West European consensus could form around the proposition that NATO enlargement should be tied to EU enlargement. But that may take too long for some in the U.S. and Germany.

Impact on NATO. The 1995 NATO study focuses on enlarging in a way that strengthens rather than weakens NATO. A minimum degree of military interoperability will be needed on the part of candidate countries so that NATO can operate smoothly. The extent of the modernization required has already generated a debate about the danger of extending hollow commitments which could cost NATO tens of billions of dollars to fix. The study also concludes that NATO has no a priori need for forward deployment of either troops or nuclear weapons into any candidate country, but it would reserve the right to do so.

NATO's vitality as an instrument of U.S. power derived from the unwavering American commitment to Europe, U.S. leadership, common interests and values, and the gradual, decades-long development of mechanisms for cooperation and consultation. The incremental institutionalization of NATO--with the North Atlantic Council, the many political committees, the Military Committee, the civilian and military international staffs, and numerous agencies and integrated commands--led to a truly integrated combined military capability that has endured many intra-alliance crises, deterred Soviet aggression, and continues to prove its capabilities in the post-Cold War era.

In the mid-1990s, NATO remains the anchor of American engagement in Europe and the linchpin of transatlantic security. However, the most successful political-military alliance in modern history faces a number of crucial choices with regard to its future. Among these are the difficult issues associated with NATO's membership and mission.

NATO's post-Cold War membership debate is sometimes simplified as a conflict between broadening or deepening the alliance. The former would try to preserve the gains of the Cold War's end by moving quickly to incorporate the fledgling democracies of Eastern and Central Europe that achieve certain basic criteria. The latter would concentrate on maintaining cooperation among the sixteen members of NATO and delay its enlargement, in particular because expansion would antagonize Russia. NATO has balanced the two goals. First, NATO's London summit declaration of July 1990 proclaimed Russia to be no longer an adversary, and it announced a new program for diplomatic liaison open to all the members of the Warsaw Pact. Next, at the Rome summit in November 1991, NATO's commitment to an inclusive Europe was further manifest in its creation of the North Atlantic Cooperation Council (NACC), which established a new institutional framework for consultation and cooperation on political and security issues between NATO and the non-NATO states of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE, later OSCE). Then, at the January 1994 NATO summit, President Clinton launched the Partnership for Peace program aimed at drawing interested countries closer to the alliance through individual political and (especially) military partnership programs.

HMS Gloucester alongside USS Niagara Falls and USS Fife during Desert Storm.

As of late 1995, officials from NATO member countries continue to struggle with the issue of defining the criteria for expanding full membership in the alliance. Even if some Central European countries should meet such criteria for NATO membership, their entry into the alliance--still subject to unanimous consent of the members under the Washington Treaty--could be held up by widespread concerns about Russia's reaction. The notion of a strategic understanding with Russia over NATO expansion seems as desirable as it is difficult to achieve. The challenge is to define the NATO-Russian relationship in a way that strengthens NATO reassures the Central and Eastern European states, and satisfies Russia that its security is in no way diminished.

The debate over NATO's mission has concerned whether and how to transform an alliance traditionally focused on the defense of members' territory into an alliance that is also capable--and willing--to respond to the crises that threaten the allies' collective interests near their territory, or even farther away. Some observers have summarized NATO's post-Cold War prospects by the phrase "out of area or out of business."

In 1991 NATO allies agreed for the first time on the importance of addressing security threats beyond the NATO area, and established crisis management operations as important NATO missions. In 1993, the allies added peacekeeping to their crisis response missions by agreeing to respond to both CSCE and U.N. calls for peacekeeping on a case-by-case basis. In 1994, NATO agreed to form Combined Joint Task Forces (CJTF) as a means of modifying the Cold War vintage Integrated Military Structure to achieve the flexibility and mobility needed for crisis response. In 1995, in its first actual military operation, NATO military forces unleashed massive, sustained air strikes in support of major new diplomatic effort to bring peace to war-torn Bosnia-Hercegovina. At this writing (November 1995), such military intervention appeared to have been largely successful at protecting safe haven zones and advancing the peace process. The mere decision to deploy NATO forces outside of its members' territory marked a milestone on the path of transforming NATO into an effective transatlantic alliance for the post-Cold War era.

The Purpose of Security Relationships

First and most fundamentally, alliances augment military power. Rather than unilaterally building up military power, nations may opt to join a security relationship with other nations.

Secondly, alliances are usually threat-based; that is, they are formed with specific antagonists in mind. Thus, alliances--and other less formal security relationships--are aimed primarily against a potential threat, and only derivatively for something. The offensive alliance, in which aggressive nations band in the avaricious expectation of being able to share the spoils of an offensive victory, is far from the norm.

Throughout history, states have entered into alliances for a variety of other reasons, such as ideology (holy alliances) or political penetration (satellites or client states subverted, for example, through significant political, financial, or technical assistance). Moreover, Otto von Bismarck's diplomacy of constantly shifting among alliances in the latter half of the nineteenth century was predicated more on considerations of maintaining order in the international state system than on balancing threatening power.

Thirdly, the common bond holding alliances together is each ally's perception that its national interest is served by the alliance. Alliances are rooted in common interests. But unlike individuals, nations cannot have friends. Because alliances are founded on common interests, it follows that when interests change, alliances are affected. This goes a long way toward explaining some of the difficulties in alliance management since the demise of a common global opponent, the Soviet Union.

Some scholars offer less hard-nosed views of the purposes of alliances. Idealists believe that alliances can be a step toward permanent collective-security regimes, such as the United Nations, or regional-security communities rooted in common values and respect for international law. Neoliberals emphasize how interlocking networks of relations can provide countries with a stake in accepted international norms, customs, and practices. Hence, neoliberals suggest that alliances are relevant not simply for addressing threatening power (collective defense) but also for more positive objectives, such as buttressing international order (collective security).

The CJTF initiative holds the most significant promise to date for genuine re-orientation of the alliance's military capabilities for new missions. By investing in the concepts, standardized procedures, and exercise regimes for CJTF as it did for collective defense, NATO will become the reservoir of multinational expertise and essential infrastructure to conduct the rapid deployment of task forces to respond to a wide array of crises. Not only will this give NATO the means to mount operations as an alliance, but the latent cooperation among its participating nations will provide a nucleus to deploy coalitions of the willing outside of NATO's political-military apparatus as well. In this regard, the Western European Union (WEU) will be a special benefactor of CJTF. Simply the presence of a CJTF capability will go far to reassure NATO's friends and to deter aggression well beyond NATO's borders.

Yet it is no surprise that the political struggle to agree on a concept for CJTF capabilities and employment has been especially difficult. More so than any other post-Cold War initiative, CJTF goes to the heart of the allies' debate over the future of the alliance. While most want CJTF to be at the center of European collective security and crisis management, some see it at the periphery as a backstop to capabilities the WEU hopes to some day obtain. While none see the WEU today as capable of managing, for example, the crisis in Bosnia, those who see NATO's future as a backdrop to Europe's own capability in security and defense want to avoid the creation of a permanent crisis-management tool such as CJTF in NATO. A still more fundamental question remains: Whether NATO will continue to be a collective defense alliance directed at outside threats or whether it will take on a different task as the provider of security to all of Europe, including Russia.

U.S. Air Force F-16Cs flank a Republic of Korea F-5 overflying South Korea's Independence Hall

In large part, the answer to that question will be revealed as NATO deploys its implementation Force (IFOR) to Bosnia in response to the Dayton peace plan. In Bosnia, theoretical debates over future institutional relationships are yielding to the ealities of political will and military capability. As a result, IFOR's operational links to the EU, OSCE, WEU and UN, as well as to many non-NATO nations, will establish the precent for what works in crisis response.

Approval of IFOR's deployment brought France closer to NATO's military structures. In addition, the late 1995 French decision to re-join NATO's military policy making bodies, the Defense Planning Committee and the Military Committee, may prove a most significant turning point in mapping NATO's place in Europe's future security structure. France will be engaged in NATO's military policy planning process for the first time in nearly thirty years.s

Within the framework of the North Atlantic Treaty, the United States and Canada maintain an additional defense agreement--the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD). NORAD's primary interest in the 1960s was to defend North America against air attack (meaning bombers from the Soviet Union). By the 1970s, NORAD's objectives had broadened to deterrence against ballistic missile attack through warning and assessment. Then, in 1986, the two nations agreed to upgrade their systems to counter an evolving cruise missile threat. In the mid-1990s, NORAD units routinely assist law enforcement agencies in their efforts to stem the tide of illicit drugs into Canada and the United States. The evolution of NORAD's objectives will undoubtedly continue as new technologies redefine the threats against Canada and the United States. In the final analysis, the NORAD Agreement represents the amicable and enduring relationship between Canada and the United States.

Other Formal Alliances

Besides NATO, the other principal formal alliances are in East Asia and the Western Hemisphere. Unlike multinational NATO, America's alliances in East Asia are chiefly bilateral. Even so, the Cold War's end has placed similar strains on America's Asian-Pacific alliances, raising questions not only about the mission of these alliances but also about how these bilateral relationships should or could be interwoven into the fabric of a larger Pacific community.

U.S. Military Personel in Foreign Areas, FY1988-95

(in thousands)

During the Cold War, the U.S. government built a fire wall between trade and security issues that prevented trade disputes from interfering with critical security relationships. That fire wall has disappeared, and U.S. administrations continue to search for an effective means of integrating competing security and economic interests. The problem of balancing U.S. economic and security interests has been most acute with Japan, whose $65 billion trade surplus with the United States has led a number of critics to call for holding the security alliance hostage to Tokyo's redressal of the trade imbalance. The limitations of coercive linkage seem obvious, given the inherent need for allies to retain a high degree of trust and public support.

The U.S.-Japan Alliance. Throughout the Cold War, the U.S.-Japan security alliance was the cornerstone of American strategy in the Asia-Pacific region. From its origins--following the American occupation of a vanquished nation--the post-World War II relationship with Japan has emphasized a complementary rather than an identical power-sharing arrangement. In the 1950s, Japanese Prime Minister Shigeru Yoshida forged a consensus that Japan would focus on its economic recovery and growth, and the United States would concentrate on maintaining military security. Thus, in exchange for allowing U.S. forces to be stationed on Japanese territory, the United States guaranteed the safety of Japan.

The so-called Yoshida Doctrine served the mutual interests of the United States and Japan: Japan prospered economically while the United States used Japan as an unsinkable aircraft carrier to contain Soviet aggression. For a brief time in the early 1970s, this arrangement came under fire, as the U.S. withdrawal from Vietnam set in motion a short-lived effort in Japan for greater defense autonomy for its Self-Defense Forces (SDF). But the alliance emerged stronger for the testing, with, for instance, Japan's 1981 commitment to defend the sea lanes out to 1,000 nautical miles from the home islands. Japan's military role expanded in a manner that was defensive and complementary to the U.S. armed forces. In particular, the SDF enhanced its capabilities for conducting anti-submarine warfare and air-defense missions, while the United States continued to focus on offensive power-projection capabilities.

In the mid-1990s, the United States and Japan have achieved unprecedented levels of bilateral cooperation. Japan pays more for U.S. forces, transfers more technology to the United States, engages in more combined training, and assumes more roles and missions within the alliance than at any other point in its four-decade history. However, in many ways, this close relationship is only a superficial continuation of policy trajectories established during the Cold War. Without significant efforts to redefine and win public support for the alliance's main purpose, as well as efforts to reformulate roles and missions within a more equal strategic partnership, this alliance between the world's two largest economies could falter in the years ahead.

Although not always apparent due to the succession of relatively weak coalition governments, Japan is emerging as a major player in international security affairs. There should be no mistaking the commitment of Japan's elites in government, business, and politics to the alliance with the United States as the centerpiece for Japan's future security. However, in the mid-1990s, there were growing signs in Japan's policy planning of renewed attention to global and regional multilateral institutions, as well as stronger independent capabilities as means of hedging against possible U.S. withdrawal or leadership fatigue. Some in Japan appeared to be questioning old taboos regarding force projection, arms exports, and even nuclear weapons. In the 1980s, the best and the brightest Japanese bureaucrats worked on the alliance with the U.S.; in the mid-1990s, they work on Asian affairs, peacekeeping, or planning a "well-balanced" (rather than complementary) military force structure. Momentum and energy in Japanese policy planning are flowing away from the alliance.

Sensing this drift in the alliance, and faced with a possible conflict on the Korean peninsula to which U.S. forces in Japan would have to respond, senior U.S. officials in late 1994 launched an intensive one-year effort to begin shoring up the U.S.-Japan alliance. The Department of Defense initiative culminated in a new joint security declaration, which was set to be announced by the two governments at a summit meeting in spring of 1996. It is to reaffirm the alliance and cite specific enhancements agreed to or underway. More importantly, in November 1995 the government of Japan issued a new National Defense Program Outline which declared the security relationship indispensible to Japan's national interest. Officials in both capitals appeared poised to enhance security cooperation appropriate to the post-Soviet-era.

Despite this management effort, the U.S.-Japan alliance faces continuing challenges in the years leading up to the twenty-first century. As long as Japan maintains a massive trade surplus with the United States and a major threat fails to materialize, Americans increasingly will demand that the security relationship be leveraged to force Japan to make economic concessions. The final outcome of such a policy is unknown, but clearly it could run the risk of undermining the alliance. The demise of the alliance, in turn, could destabilize the increasingly important Asia-Pacific region, which lacks a mature regional security framework and remains marked by divided countries, territorial disputes, and historic suspicions.

The U.S.-South Korean Alliance. Unlike NATO and the U.S.-Japan alliance, the alliance between the United States and the Republic of Korea (ROK) has been predicated on maintaining deterrence in the face of the division of the Korean peninsula, not on the Soviet threat of the Cold War era. Given that considerable uncertainties surrounding North-South relations are likely to remain for the rest of the 1990s, the alliance is apt to retain its original purpose. However, if tensions abate on the peninsula following an October 1994 Agreed Framework between the U.S. and North Korea over its nuclear facilities, then the U.S.-ROK alliance will require a thorough review of its rationale, its division of labor, and its place in the regional context. The shared and complementary interests of the two countries seem likely to continue well into the next century. After all, Korea, united or not, desires a powerful if distant ally to balance against its larger neighbors. Likewise, the United States holds a strong interest in helping its eleventh-largest trading partner fulfill its objective of becoming a larger bulwark for regional stability.

Other Asia-Pacific Alliances. The United States also continues to have treaty alliances with several other nations in the Asia-Pacific region, including the Philippines and Thailand, of which the most important is that with Australia. Washington and Canberra have enjoyed a long tradition of close political-military consultation and cooperation that predates even the 1951 ANZUS Treaty. Australia hosts and operates with the United States several joint facilities that make key contributions to U.S. security, and the two countries have extensive programs for joint exercises as well as intelligence and scientific cooperation.

The Americas. Another artifact of America's Cold War alliance network is the 1947 Inter-American Treaty of Reciptocal Assistance, signed in Rio de Janerio. As the collective-security treaty for the Western Hemisphere, the Rio Treaty calls for consultation in the event of a threat rather than invoking an automatic response like Article 5 of the North Atlantic Charter. The absence of such an unambiguous "musketeer principle"--all for one and one for all--has tended to emphasize diplomacy rather than concerted military cooperation among the countries of the Americas, only 22 of which have ratified it. In fact, when the Rio Treaty was invoked by Argentina in its 1982 war with Britain over the Falkland-Malvinas Islands, it proved ineffective in rallying diplomatic and military support. There were no common interests to unite neighboring countries suspicious of each other. Although the Rio Treaty was designed to keep foreign powers at bay and to provide the United States with political and moral legitimacy to wage the Cold War on behalf of noncommunist nations, it was seldom used to significant effect.

Coalition Orgnaization and Execution

A number of issues will affect how well the coalitions in which the U.S. is likely to participate will cohere and function:

* Pre-coalition groundwork. Advance preparation, such as increased joint training, education, exercises, and exchanges, can introduce U.S. military personnel and civilian counterparts to prospective coalition partners, as discussed in the chapter on Defense Engagement.

* Access to foreign facilities. Because future coalitions are likely to be more flexible and short-lived, the United States cannot count on the same degree of access to foreign military facilities that it enjoyed during the Cold War era. This suggests that U.S. military forces will have to become more autonomous, even if achieving this capability is costly.

* The core military group. In any coalition, some countries inevitably become part of a core group while others remain peripheral to decision making and the execution of operations. In Desert Shield and Desert Storm, the United States and Saudi Arabia were politically and financially at the core, whereas the United States, Britain, and perhaps France were militarily at the core. Combat operations will proceed more smoothly if core nations exclude those that cannot conduct combined operations with similar equipment and doctrine. On the periphery, there are two basic categories of partners: those that can make a useful contribution in the military operation, and those that cannot, but add political cover.

* Coalition maintenance. A robust liaison with militarily and politically essential partners may be necessary to hold together a coalition. In the Gulf War, for instance, the United States saturated the Saudis' and other key partners' defense apparatuses with competent U.S. civilians and officers to ensure a unity of effort. If combined combat operations are contemplated, then it is in the interest of U.S. component commanders to check and double check, rehearse and re-rehearse actions to be undertaken to avoid costly mistakes, including fratricide. Given that coalitions are often symbolic and require much political give-and-take, U.S. leaders may devote much effort to the collegiality and diplomacy required to placate the national sentiments of coalition partners.

It is precisely this looser mutual commitment among countries of the Western Hemisphere that has begun to change in the 1990s, as a result of unprecedented cooperation in economic matters and the almost universal acceptance of democracy as the political ideal. U.S. defense diplomacy as well as military interaction with counterparts have made important contributions in the areas of Latin American political-military cooperation and respect for human rights. While the Rio Treaty itself has had no impact, trust and confidence among neighbors is growing on several levels. This can be seen in the 1994 Summit in Miami; the first-ever 1995 Defense Ministerial in Williamsburg, Virginia; the extensive involvement of regional police and military forces in bring peace and stability to Haiti; and the hemisphere's collective success in ending sustained combat in 1995 between Peru and Educador as well as setting the stage for negotiations to resolve this long-standing border dispute. These events, and particularly the supportive, low-profile role played by U.S. civilian and military defense officials, underscore the potential for greater confidence and security building within the American neighborhood and the prospect for more effective collaborative engagement abroad.

De Facto Alliances

While any nation could potentially become a coalition partner with the United States in a time of crisis, some countries have security relationships that are alliances in all but name. That is, although they may lack a formal treaty of alliance, the variety of military, political, and other interactions with these countries make them de facto allies. Particularly important are the relationships with three Middle Eastern states because of the vital U.S. interests at stake and the level of threat they face.

Recent Coalitions

Since the end of the Cold War, the United States has found coalition partners from all over the globe. Some of the more significant recent coalitions were:

* Desert Shield/Storm: In 1990, the U.S. deployed 500,000 troops to the Persian Gulf as part of a U.S.-led coalition force to defend Saudi Arabia. In January 1991, the U.S.-led coalition commenced a six-week military campaign that liberated Kuwait and crushed the Iraqi armed forces. Coalition forces, particularly from key NATO allies, such as Britain and France, played an important military role in the victory.

* Southern Watch: Since 1992, U.S. and coalition aircraft have enforced a no-fly zone over southern Iraq.

* Provide Comfort: Under way since the end of the Gulf War, this operation maintains a secure environment that permits humanitarian assistance to flow to the endangered Kurdish population of northern Iraq. Multinational operations include approximately 1,500 U.S. military personnel and some 50 aircraft sorties per day, on average, from NATO bases in Turkey.

* Vigilant Warrior: In October 1994, after two Iraqi Republican Guard divisions massed on the Kuwaiti border, the U.S. deployed a Marine Expeditionary Unit, elements of a heavy Army division, a carrier task force, and additional land-based aircraft to reinforce security partners Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.

* Uphold Democracy: In September 1994, the United States entered Haiti peacefully to oversee the return of the country's popularly elected government (ending President Jean-Bertrand Aristide's three-year exile) and the departure of the nation's military leaders. The use of U.S. military power in an effort to restore a democratically elected government was the first such operation in the Western Hemisphere ever authorized by the United Nations. Various regional nations pledged support to help provide civil control after the U.S. military operation reined in the armed forces, police, and paramilitary groups.

* Deny Flight: Beginning in April 1993, about 1,700 U.S. military personnel stationed in Europe participated with NATO allies to enforce a ban on military flights over Bosnia, monitoring the U.N. protection areas and providing close air support to U.N. peacekeepers in Bosnia when called upon.

* Able Sentry: Since the spring of 1993, about 500 U.S. troops have participated in the U.N. observer force, now called the U.N. Preventive Deployment in the former Yugoslav republic of Macedonia, providing a stabilizing presence and preventing the conflict in other regions of the former Yugoslavia from spilling over into Macedonia.

* Sharp Guard: Starting in April 1993, three U.S. naval vessels and approximately 7,800 U.S. personnel participated regularly with NATO allies in maritime enforcement of sanctions against Serbia in the Adriatic Sea, with intermittent support from other assets of the U.S. Sixth Fleet. As with Deny Flight, Sharp Guard was teriminated in December 1995 with the establishment of IFOR.

* Support Hope: From June through September 1994, some 2,000 U.S. military personnel from Europe deployed to Africa to organize and carry out emergency humanitarian relief operations for refugees fleeing a brutal civil war in Rwanda. While the U.S. operation was unilateral, it directly supported multinational governmental and nongovernmental efforts at providing humanitarian support. Moreover, as the U.S. pulled out in the autumn of 1994, its major Asian ally, Japan, dispatched peacekeeping forces to support refugee camps in Zaire.

* Provide Relief: From August 1992 until March 1993, the U.S. conducted a military airlift from Mombasa, Kenya, to deliver goods to Somali refugees. The U.S. also led the Unified Interim Task Force from December 1992 to May 1993, which was a large-scale coalition effort to stem mass starvation.

Israel. U.S. interests are tightly interwoven with those of Israel for historic, political, and moral reasons. Ever since President Harry Truman promptly recognized the new state, the United States has been pledged to its survival. During the Cold War, Israel was an essential partner in the Cold War struggle to limit Soviet influence in the region. In the post-Cold War era, the U.S. supports Israel's security through a combination of means, not the least of which is major security assistance so that Israel can maintain its qualitative edge over any likely combination of aggressors. Moreover, the United States supports Israel in its pursuit of a peaceful and stable regional framework with its neighbors for the long-term.

Responsibility Sharing

The United States has increasingly expected its allies to assume greater responsibility for regional security. From the mid-1980s to 1993, U.S. annual defense outlays declined in real terms by over 15 percent ($60 billion). Post-Cold War changes in the international environment have enabled other U.S. reductions, with active duty end strengths dropping 20 percent since the end of the Cold War, and major force components down 15 to 25 percent from 1990 levels. Since 1990, the U.S. has reduced troop levels permanently stationed overseas by over 225,000 (44 percent)--mostly out of Europe--and its estimated real annual stationing costs (including military pay) have been reduced--through negotiated agreements as well as lower forces levels--by nearly $10 billion (33 percent).

U.S. allies in Europe, East Asia, and the Middle East provide a wide array of host-nation support to the United States. DOD estimates that the U.S. receives more than $10 billion annually in cost-sharing and cost-avoidance from European and East Asian allies, which equates to roughly 40 to 50 percent of the extra costs of deploying those forces overseas. Japan's contribution is the highest of any ally, and a new host-nation agreement and special-measures agreement worked out in late 1995 committed Japan to approximately $5 billion in direct and indirect support for each of the next five years. The Republic of Korea, which provides land and facilities for U.S. use, logistics support and manpower augmentees, contributes about $3 billion a year in direct support, indirect support, and foregone revenue. Estimates of Germany's direct support, indirect support, and foregone revenues are in the range of $2 billion a year.

Summary of Estimated Defense Cost-Sharing/Host Nation Support to the United States for 1994
($ in millions)

Host Nations



Republic of Korea

Other European and Pacific*

Europe and Pacific Subtotal



Direct Support

















Indirect Support

















Total Suport

















Source: Secretary of Defense, Report on Allied Contributions to the Common Defense 1995.

Notes: Excludes some Middle East contributions. Excludes foregone revenues.
a. Direct cost-sharing estimates (low range) reflect pledged contributions.
b.Other Host Nations include: Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Greece, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Turkey, and the United Kingdom.

Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia, as the largest Gulf state supportive of Western interests, sits atop a critical region of the world for its oil and yet is adjacent to two major security concerns in Iraq and Iran. The security of Saudi Arabia is not guaranteed by a formal treaty of alliance; however, successive American Presidents over several decades have reiterated the U.S. interest in its safety. The Gulf War and the Vigilant Warrior deployment of 1994 demonstrated the firmness of this and similar commitments. It was Saudi Arabia's willingness to allow a gradual buildup of vital military infrastructure during the 1970s and 1980s that enabled the United States to deploy overwhelming military force against Iraq. Since 1991 a continuing U.S. operation to keep watch on Saddam Hussein has been based in Saudi Arabia, which has borne much of the deployment's cost. Some Saudis are concerned about these costs and about he continuing presence of U.S. soldiers in what is a conservative Muslim society. Of course, as the U.S.-led coalition to defend Kuwait suggested, aggression against any of the six members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, and Oman) would be likely to compel an American response.

Egypt. For nearly two decades during the Cold War, Egypt, the Arab world's most populous country, led an anti-Western, pan-Arab movement that supported Soviet objectives in the Middle East. From the 1970s onward, however, Egypt became a stalwart Western supporter, first in the Cold War and then in the establishment of an Arab-Israeli peace process. Egypt's willingness to make peace at Camp David was the first major breakthrough in the peace process. Cairo continues to take a leading part in promoting interests shared with the United States throughout the Middle East, whether in rallying Arab League backing for Kuwait after the Iraqi invasion, providing two divisions to Desert Storm, or offering key support to the Middle East peace process.


Alliances, whether de jure or de facto, represent the traditional security commitment of the Cold War era. Since the breakup of the East-West contest, however, rigid ideological alignments have given way to far less structured and more ad hoc arrangements. In response to crises, coalitions of the willing have formed. Of these various coalitions, it is useful to distinguish between those led by the United States, albeit perhaps authorized by the United Nations or regional collective-security bodies, and those directed by the United Nations in which the U.S. participates.

For the foreseeable future, Washington will continue to insist that it lead and direct any operation that may involve U.S. military forces in combat or prospective combat situations. Conversely, if the situation can be characterized as posing little risk of combat--as is the case in traditional peacekeeping operations, such as in Cyprus--then the United States is likely to encourage other nations to carry the burden of leading and directing the coalition operation. In short, in combat situations in which the National Command Authorities have decided to intervene, the United States will seek U.N. authority but abjure U.N. direction. Besides domestic political opposition to U.S. troops under U.N. command, a basic reason for this distinction is that any effective military operation requires a unity of command and effort.

Coalitions and formal alliances both offer the same potential benefits, although the chief benefit of a coalition is typically different from that of an alliance. Whereas both types of security relationship offer political legitimacy and an aggregation of military power, the emphasis in a coalition is on the former, whereas the emphasis in an alliance--which, after all, is a latent war community--is on the latter.

Another advantage of both types of association is the aggregation of finances and resources to support military operations. Also, both coalitions and alliances can serve a restraining function by limiting the actions of allies and coalition partners--for example, by eliminating the chance that a given nation will join an opponent's coalition.

Whatever the benefit of any given coalition, its relative merits need to be weighed against the potential costs of creating it. The fundamental risk in setting up or joining a coalition is that national objectives may become submerged, diverted, or derailed. An identity of common interests and objectives is rare enough among two or three countries. Disparities are magnified geometrically, however, when even larger groups of nations are involved. Agreement in international organizations or among large groups of coalition partners usually represents something like the lowest common denominator of interests. This can make a coalition's objectives murky. From an operational perspective, it can sharply restrict the scope, pace, and flexibility of operations.

In short, the political and diplomatic imperative to seek consensus within a coalition often stands at odds with the military imperative to achieve results through the threat or use of unrestrained force. Thus, in some instances, the impulse to form a restrictive or binding coalition should be suppressed in order to maintain maximum flexibility. Future coalitions, like their predecessors, will cohere principally in proportion to the level of perceived threat. Given that starkly different scenarios for the future are plausible, U.S. alliance and coalition policies will have to remain, above all else, flexible.

Clemenceau-class aircraft carrier Foch during exercise Distant drum

This chapter has implicitly assumed that the United States will largely remain a status quo power, and that its primary objectives in participating in military coalitions will be to enhance stability in general and to defend specific national interests in particular. Like most states, the United States tends to view its own behavior as benevolent and defensive. Yet, U.S. decision makers should not assume that others share this view. Even governments that Washington does not regard as hostile worry about the uses to which U.S. power might be put, and even traditional U.S. allies may not always approve of U.S. policies or actions. These facts suggest that when thinking about future alliances and coalitions, Washington also needs to think about preventing future arrangements from forming against the United States.

Forward-Deployed Forces

The most critical military aspect of U.S. engagement strategy is forward deployment. Post-Cold War reductions are nearly complete, and as of mid-1995, the United States sustained an overseas presence of about 255,000 personnel (or 15 percent of the total active force). That figure represented a 50 percent reduction, down from 510,000 personnel stationed overseas just six years earlier.

Often, even a token presence can serve like a cooling rod in a nuclear power plant. This is particularly true in Asia, where a power balance among China, Japan, and the members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations has yet to be struck. The roughly 100,000 U.S. military personnel stationed in East Asia stabilize the balance, reassure U.S. security partners, and prevent unnecessary regional military buildups. Most Asians recognize this more readily than Americans, which is why they wish U.S. forces to stay and why Japan is willing to contribute a high level of host-nation support. Although the U.S. Government remains committed to current force deployments in Japan and South Korea for the foreseeable future, future events and evolving political debates may encourage Washington to focus more on capabilities than quantities. For instance, the alleged rape of a Japanese schoolgirl by American servicemen crystallized debate over plans to reconsolidate U.S. facilities on Okinawa, which houses some 28,000 or 62 precent of the U.S. troop presence in Japan. If the bilateral commission established in late-1995 to review America's 40 facilities on Okinawa is perceived as stonewalling the local Okinawans, then it is highly likely that U.S. presence in Japan will remain a volatile political issue. Hence, especially if there is a diminution of the threat from North Korea, subsequent U.S. security planners may find it prudent to focus less on the number 100,000 and more on essential missions and types of leading-edge forces, especially naval and air, which adequately convey the seriousness of America's commitment to the region.

Reassurance also remains important in Europe, where most want Germany to retain its non-nuclear status and defensive posture.

Forward-deployed forces are fundamental to America's ability to react to crises around the world that affect vital interests or humanitarian concerns. In Desert Storm, about 95 percent of the airlift arrived via Europe. A review of twenty-seven operations mounted between March 1991 and October 1994 reveals that more than half were staged from Europe. Without forward-staging areas, America's ability to react would be severely constrained.

CJCS Exercises, FY 1995 Source: Joint Staff

Note: Data indicates the location of the 212 Exercises in the FY 95 CJCS Program

Each service struggles with a portion of forward deployment:

* Many in the Army would prefer to bring home the two heavy divisions in Europe while only retaining a "reception center" infrastructure. There may be a case for replacing armor with more mobile light units. Similarly, should the threat from the North disappear on the Korean peninsula, the 2nd Infantry Division in South Korea might also be reduced or removed, although there appears to be mounting interest in retaining at least a residual U.S. ground presence, and perhaps an enhanced naval and air presence, for regional reassurance and crisis response well into the next century.

* The Navy finds it increasingly difficult to retain a significant presence in the Caribbean, Mediterranean, Atlantic, Pacific, Indian Ocean, and Persian Gulf with a fleet two-thirds the size of a decade ago. As Marine Expeditionary Units increasingly provide a mobile presence for crisis management, there do not seem to be enough forces to go around.

USAREUR Forces being loaded for pre-positioning afloat, Antwerp, Belgium

* More than the other services, the Air Force emphasizes the coercive impact of all military assets, not just those deployed overseas. Thus, while the Air Force agrees that forces stationed overseas are the most tangible form of U.S. presence, its global-presence concept contends that space assets, ICBMs and bombers in the U.S., aircraft carriers, and airborne units all exert influence on or coerce U.S. adversaries to varying degrees.

U.S. Forces Pre-positioning

Source: DOD Note: The Army brigade for Qatar and the second brigade for Korea is planned.

Closer to home, the United States maintains an important military presence on foreign territory within the Western Hemisphere, in Panama and Cuba. Although the U.S. will honor the 1977 Panama Canal treaties, which call for the complete withdrawal of all U.S. military forces from the country before the beginning of the year 2000, both sides agreed in late 1995 on the need to retain a forward U.S. presence into the next century. Thus, even after relocating America's Southern Command to Miami, Florida, the U.S. armed forces stationed in Panama at the beginning of the next century could be in the range of 5,000 troops. In addition, the United States retained forces based in Guantanamo, Cuba.

The post-Cold War decline in America's overseas military presence has increased U.S. reliance on long-range transportation to project power. Throughout the course of any given year, the United States Transportation Command (USTRANSCOM) shows the flag on every continent and in most countries of the world. Moreover, USTRANSCOM is essential to all U.S. military operations, as well as many global humanitarian and peace operations. For instance, in 1995, USTRANSCOM moved 5,000 British troops and their equipment to the Bosnian theater. While unremarkable in and of itself, the airlift was yet another demonstration of how the capability to project power overseas has become an integral part of America's long-term commitment to allies and security partners around the world.

Rusian Marines debark from USS Dubuque's LCU near Valdivostock during combined exercises.

Military Exercises

The Goldwater-Nichols Department of Defense Reorganization Act of 1986 placed greater emphasis on joint training and exercises. Accordingly, the emerging role of U.S. Atlantic Command as the Joint Force Integrator and the start-up of the Joint Warfighting Center contribute to this emphasis through a higher degree of integration of joint training, exercises, and doctrine than existed during the Cold War.

The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (CJCS) Exercise Program remains the Chairman's principal vehicle for achieving interservice and multinational operational training. Exercises also demonstrate U.S. resolve and the capability to project military presence anywhere in the world, and they provide an opportunity to stress strategic transportation and C4I systems and to assess their readiness.

CINC-sponsored exercises, a large subset of the CJCS Exercise Program, are continuing their transition in the post-Cold War environment to reflect emerging security relationships, evolving theater strategies, and increased joint task-force training. The emphasis of CINC-sponsored exercises has shifted from a few large-scale exercises focused on global contingencies and conflicts to an increased number of smaller-scale exercises focused on regional contingencies. As a result, CINC-sponsored exercises have increased in number from ninety in FY 1990 to two hundred in FY 1995, but they have decreased in size and scope. As the permanent overseas presence of U.S. forces has been reduced, joint exercises have increasingly been used to maintain regional access and presence and to demonstrate U.S. resolve. Other exercise trends include increased use of modeling and simulations in exercises; the enhancement of military relations and interoperability with allies and security partners; containerization of ammunition and unit equipment; the exercising of pre-positioned equipment; and special-forces participation in CINC-sponsored exercises.

As operational deployments continue to increase and resources to decrease, U.S. forces are finding it more difficult to support exercise requirements. For this reason, the Joint Staff launched a review in 1995 of the entire CJCS Exercise Program, with an eye toward combining scheduled CJCS exercises or integrating CINCs' requirements with existing component exercises to reduce the overall number of exercises while increasing their quality. The military is also looking at the opportunities to use simulations, computer-assisted exercises, or command-post exercises to replace or complement current field-training exercises.

Pre-positioned Military Equipment and Materiel

Affordable and rapid crisis-response capabilities cannot rely exclusively on airlift--which is expensive and limited by available aircraft--or on sealift, which is relatively slow. A comprehensive Mobility Requirements Study in 1992 estimated what combination of lift and pre-positioned arms and supplies would best yield a "strategically prudent force that is fiscally responsible." As a result of this study, as well as a March 1995 Mobility Requirements Study Bottom-Up Review Update, an increasing emphasis has been placed on pre-positioning to help improve U.S. mobility and crisis-response capabilities.

Pre-positioning Afloat. Ships filled with military materiel are based in foreign ports where formal agreements specify U.S. basing rights. These "floating depots" may leave without host-country permission and proceed through international waters wherever and whenever directed, before full-blown crises develop, if desired. Ships sometimes may reduce vulnerabilities by maneuvering out of harm's way, and the cargoes they carry may be tailored to satisfy requirements in more than one theater. However, optimum locations are not always available. Thailand, for example, rebuffed U.S. requests to tie up in its waters midway between Diego Garcia and Guam, where U.S. squadrons are stationed. In addition, even under the best circumstances, costs for afloat pre-positioning are higher than for stocks pre-positioned ashore.

In 1980, in response to concerns about the Persian Gulf, the Navy acquired seven commercial ships configured to carry cargo for 11,200 Marines. Various shortcomings associated with this initial force were corrected when thirteen Maritime Pre-positioning Ships (MPS) were leased until the year 2010. A five-ship squadron, together with a Fleet Hospital Ship, is homeported in Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean, earmarked for duty in the Persian Gulf. One four-ship squadron is based at Guam/Saipan; another roams the Mediterranean. Each squadron is prepared to outfit tailored Marine formations up to and including a 17,300-man Marine Air-Ground Task Force, which it can sustain for thirty days with ammunition, water, rations, and supplies. Plans call for three more MPS to enter the inventory, one per squadron.

The Army Pre-positioned Afloat program postdates the Cold War. Since November 1993, a heavy combat brigade, including 123 M1A1 tanks and fifteen days of essential supplies aboard five roll-on/roll-off (RO/RO) ships has been stationed at Diego Garcia, together with a Heavy Lift Prepo Ship for port operations and three Lighter Aboard Ship (LASH) vessels loaded mainly with munitions. The Army also has five LASH vessels in Guam. The plan is to modernize and expand by two ships by FY 1998, including replacing seven aging ships with eight new Large Medium-Speed RO/ROs.

Pre-positioning Ashore. Since the 1950s, pre-positioning programs ashore have been intended primarily for use by Army armored and mechanized brigades. The Berlin crisis of 1961 prompted Pre-positioned Overseas Material Configured to Unit Sets (POMCUS), which provided for three divisions plus support in Germany at the Cold War peak. Sets for four brigades remain, although critics consider them anachronistic. Most agree that the Army brigade sets in Korea, Kuwait, and Italy are more relevant to the post-Cold War environment. In addition to the brigades sets, significant amounts of Air Force and Army materiel are stored in Southwest Asia, some of it left over from Desert Storm. In particular, the October 1994 Operation Vigilant Warrior validated the need for pre-positioned ground combat equipment in the Persian Gulf. Subject to congressional approval of construction funding, a second armored brigade set with a division base will be pre-positioned in Southwest Asia by FY 1998, and another armored brigade set will be pre-positioned in South Korea in FY 1996.

In summary, pre-positioning has become an increasingly important part of U.S. defense plans for ensuring rapid mobility in the event of a crisis. Recent initiatives will significantly enhance the U.S. deterrent posture, deployment response time, and warfighting capability in volatile regions. At the same time, however, contentious issues--such as command and control arrangements, local security, and maintenance requirements for pre-positioned stocks--will continue to require constant negotiation and oversight by senior defense officials.

Marne F/A-18, Japanese F-1 and Air Force F-16 during Cape North 94-1


America's complex network of security relationships and various types of overseas presence has been profoundly affected by the end of the Cold War, and there remains a widespread consensus that these instruments of national power remain important for preserving U.S. influence in the world.

Security Relationships. In the last few years of the twentieth century, America's formal alliances are likely to face continuing challenges to their existence. Policymakers will continue to be pressed to articulate clear rationales for alliances, both to persuade public opinion of their relevance in the post-Cold War era and to provide fundamental stability to alliances in spite of periodic economic competition or other disputes. Shoring up NATO's mission and credibility without recreating a Russian threat to the east will remain a paramount challenge for U.S. decision makers; likewise, adapting and making more equal America's alliances in East Asia, especially with Japan and South Korea, will be critical tasks in the next few years.

America's other security partners, its de facto allies, will represent an even greater range of challenges. On the one hand, the United States is likely to face a growing array of relationships that require specialized expertise to maintain; on the other hand, the United States will be unlikely to extend to these countries the kinds of formal commitments Washington was eager to make during the 1950s, when it created its global network of Cold War alliances. In short, the U.S. will have to juggle these security relationships, using troop rotations, exercises, and information exchanges to shore up key partnerships and retain a vast set of friendly relations that would enable an effective coalition to be built in the event of a conflict or crisis. In the longer term, the question of proliferating weapons of mass destruction, especially relatively inexpensive systems, such as cruise missiles and biological warheads, is apt to pose increasing challenges to all U.S. security partners and allies, underscoring the importance of counterproliferation measures, including active defenses, as means of retaining the requisite political will to endure.

In the foreseeable future, the United States is unlikely to fight a major conflict except as part of a coalition. If that coalition is led by the United Nations, then the U.S. is apt to steer clear of direct and massive combat support and instead confine its role to rear-area support. The international response to a major conflict would probably not be led by the U.N. but by some executive agent, whether the United States, another major power, or a military alliance like NATO. If the coalition is led by the United States, then it needs to focus on the nucleus of other capable allies, de jure or de facto, who will form the nucleus of its warfighting potential; other security partners will need to be brought into the coalition on the basis of their strategic value, whether on the battlefield or in symbolic political value.

Overseas Presence. Just as alliances and other security relationships will face many challenges in the next few years, so, too, is overseas presence likely to face increasing scrutiny, especially if significant military threats fail to materialize.

Forward deployments are sure to face increasing questions from members of Congress, many of whom will be confronted with further base closings in their home states or other competing motivations, such as reducing the federal deficit. Even so, the consensus behind maintaining an active presence in Europe, East Asia, and the Middle East seems unlikely to break in the foreseeable future. While sudden changes cannot be ruled out--for example, the collapse of North Korea--the likely challenge will not be to forward presence per se but more to the appropriate size of the military overall.

Recent trends in exercises are likely to continue to accentuate the importance of smaller, more varied efforts, designed not for massive land or blue-water threats but oriented to multinational cooperation for other military operations, including peace operations and humanitarian assistance.

Lastly, as force structure declines and support for large overseas bases continues to diminish, the importance of pre-positioned forces ashore and afloat is likely to expand. Nonetheless, the difficulty in winning support to base such stocks can be a delicate political matter, as the United States found out when such support was rejected in Thailand in early 1995. Consequently, policymakers might expect to spend increasing amounts of time winning local support for such pre-positioned military equipment and materiel, which will be critical to timely and effective efforts to respond to crises.

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