As the U.S. military presence in the Middle East winds down, Asia and the Pacific are receiving increased attention from the American national security community. The Obama administration has announced a “rebalancing” of the U.S. military posture in the region, in reaction primarily to the startling improvement in Chinese air and naval capabilities over the last decade or so. This timely study sets out to assess the implications of this shift for the long-established U.S. military presence in Asia and the Pacific. This presence is anchored in a complex basing infrastructure that scholars—and Americans generally—too often take for granted. In remedying this state of affairs, this volume offers a detailed survey and analysis of this infrastructure, its history, the political complications it has frequently given rise to, and its recent and likely future evolution.
American seapower requires a robust constellation of bases to support global power projection. Given the rise of China and the emergence of the Asia-Pacific as the center of global economic growth and strategic contention, nowhere is American basing access more important than in this region. Yet manifold political and military challenges, stemming not least of which from rapidly-improving Chinese long-range precision strike capabilities, complicate the future of American access and security here. This book addresses what will be needed to maintain the fundaments of U.S. seapower and force projection in the Asia-Pacific, and where the key trend lines are headed in that regard.
This book demonstrates that U.S. Asia-Pacific basing and access is increasingly vital, yet increasingly vulnerable. It demands far more attention than the limited coverage it has received to date, and cannot be taken for granted. More must be done to preserve capabilities and access upon which American and allied security and prosperity depend.