Pentagon global posture review blasts China for lack of action

a “burst.” A “word salad.” “Sticking our heads in the sand.”

The Pentagon’s much-hyped Global Posture Review is racking up some pretty brutal reviews of its own.

Critics of the Spectrum say the strategic blueprint ordered by President Biden and outlined by Pentagon officials on Monday falls far short of his self-described mission: the US military to confront the “pacing threat” posed by Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin. to remodel. Rising China in the Indo-Pacific.

Nine months of study, internal debate and analysis resulted in a review that largely adopted the status quo for US deployments around the world, stating “the operational-level adjustments we have already announced and some other challenges that still remain. are being developed,” as a senior Defense Department official explained to reporters in a background call.

No major influx of troops from Europe, the Middle East or Africa was announced. In Asia’s “priority theatre”, the only important clear recommendations – the review as a whole are not being made public – include sending new fighter and bomber aircraft to Australia, establishing a new permanent squadron of attack helicopters in South Korea. , and seeking new funding to augment existing US military facilities in Guam, Australia and the Northern Mariana Islands.

The GPR talks about upgrading US military alliances in the region and looking for new bases, but any major new initiatives “will appear” [themselves] Over the next two or three years,” the Defense Department briefer said.

Critics have emphasized that they lack specifics, a lack of tough choices, and a lack of clear guidance in the form of a policy blueprint for the Pentagon. Some say the document reflects a Pentagon still torn internally over whether to move troops and resources from still-problematic theaters such as Eastern Europe and the Middle East to confront China.

An unnamed Congressional employee told the website ForeignPolicy.com that the GPR “appears to be about a year’s worth of work.” “No judgment, no change, no urgency, no creative thinking. Too many word salads.”

Emma Ashford, senior fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Scocroft Center for Strategy and Security, shared on Twitter a scathing critique, which she offered to Politico after announcing the GPR’s outline: “Nothing is as strategic – or even useful – as a about [GPR] who fails to accept the notion of resource grievances and refuses to face any tough choices about America’s place in the world,” she wrote.

If minor changes come from the report, “then this review does little more than stick our heads in the sand and pretend it’s still 1992,” she said.

Tuesday’s critics left and right came together at one point: The new GPR may not be good, but it wasn’t as bad as it could have been.

Tom Spohr, director of the Conservative Heritage Foundation’s Center for National Defense, said in an analysis Tuesday that Biden’s Pentagon blueprint avoided snagging US deployments elsewhere in the planned pivot, at least in Asia.

“Given the possibility that the Biden administration could have recommended drastic cuts in cinemas such as in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, this review can be considered a verification of the status quo and, from that point of view, reflects good news.”

But Mr. Spohr said the review did nothing to address the fundamental problem of “the US military’s low resources for the great power competition” with China.

and policy director of liberal defense priorities Benjamin H. Friedman said the GPR came with a “whisper,” but its lack of specifics and its failure to recommend a more aggressive base strategy in Asia were blessings by default.

“The currency of the US military is the servant of a useless strategy that sees American soldiers as magical solutions to problems they do not solve, and US foreign policy can safely ignore in most cases,” Mr. Friedman wrote. “…more US military and bases near China are not going to slow Beijing’s rise as a great power and are unnecessary to protect key allies there, who are wealthy and on the defensive.”

The previous administration of GPR, he said, “usually exhausted readers with strategic-sounding hisses, painstaking defenses of the status quo. It spared us, at least.”

Even Pentagon officials were aware of the modesty of the public part of the final product, even emphasizing the document “a more robust understanding of the fundamentals” and China’s challenge. About, in the words of Assistant Secretary Mara Carlin, defense for strategy, plans and capabilities.

“I think on the Indo-Pacific, it’s like moving the needle a little bit, and over the years we’re going to move the needle more and more,” Mr. Carlin said.

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