DoD Takes ‘Holistic’ Look at Deployments Worldwide

DoD Takes ‘Holistic’ Look at Deployments Worldwide

Soldier shooting
Photo by: U.S. Air Force

Military leaders are taking on a “holistic review” of troops’ footprint around the world as the U.S. remains focused on “great-power competition,” according to the Pentagon’s top general.

“There’s a very strong argument to be made that we may have forces in places that they shouldn’t be, and we may have forces that are needed in places that they’re not right now,” Army Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said Dec. 2 while speaking with the Brookings Institution. 

The review comes amid troop movement out of Iraq and Afghanistan, where the U.S. military presence in each country is set to be reduced to 2,500 service members by early next year. 

As the U.S. economy continues to be affected by the pandemic, Milley said he doesn’t expect to see budgetary growth for modernization and readiness programs in the coming years. 

Instead, Pentagon budgets are likely to “flatten,” he said, and there’s “reasonable prospect” they could be reduced. 

“That doesn’t mean the world’s going to end for us,” Milley said. “What that means is that we have to tighten up and take a much harder look at priorities, and ... we've got to make sure that we're absolutely optimizing the money we do get.”

Despite challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, Milley said about one third of all U.S. forces remain in the highest levels of readiness, and recruiting and retention across all services is in “pretty good shape.” 

“Our military is very, very capable, and we're ready for whatever comes our way,” Milley said. “No one should doubt that.”