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U.S. global defense posture, 1783-2011

U.S. global defense posture, 1783-2011

Pettyjohn, Stacie L

Debates over the U.S. global defense posture are not new. As policymakers today evaluate the U.S. forward military presence, it is important that they understand how and why the U.S. global posture has changed in the past. Today's posture is under increasing pressure from a number of sources, including budgetary constraints, precision-guided weapons that reduce the survivability of forward bases, and host-nation opposition to a U.S. military presence. This monograph aims to describe the evolution of the U.S. global defense posture from 1783 to the present and to explain how the United States has grown from a relatively weak and insular regional power that was primarily concerned with territorial defense into the preeminent global power, with an expansive system of overseas bases and forward-deployed forces that enable it to conduct expeditionary operations around the globe. This historical overview has important implications for current policy and future efforts to develop an American military strategy, in particular the scope, size, and type of military presence overseas. As new and unpredictable threats emerge, alliance relationships are revised, and resources decline, past efforts at dealing with similar problems yield important lessons for future decisions. The author draws recommendations out of these lessons that touch on the importance of strategic planning; the need to think globally; the desirability of a lighter, more agile footprint overseas; and more

eBook, Paperback, Electronic resource, Book. English. Electronic books.
Published Santa Monica, California : RAND 2012

This resource is available electronically from the following locations


Statement of responsibility: Stacie L. Pettyjohn
ISBN: 0833079085, 9780833076960, 9780833079084
Note: Print version record.
Note: "Prepared for the United States Air Force."
Note: "Approved for public release; distribution unlimited."
Note: Includes bibliographical references (pages 111-124).
Physical Description: 1 online resource (xx, 124 pages) : illustrations (some color), maps (some color), color charts.
Series: Rand Corporation monograph series
Subject: TECHNOLOGY & ENGINEERING Military Science.; United States Armed Forces Foreign countries.; Military bases, American Planning.; HISTORY Military Other.; United States Defenses History.; United States Military policy.
Series Title: Rand Corporation monograph series.
Local note: JSTOR Books at JSTOR Open Access


  1. Framework for U.S. posture
  2. Extent of the U.S. overseas military presence
  3. Operational orientation of American forces
  4. Continental defense, 1783-1815
  5. Continental defense and commercialism, 1815-1898
  6. Transition period, 1898-1905
  7. Oceanic posture
  8. Hemispheric defense (hemispheric anti-access/area denial)
  9. Perimeter defense in-depth, 1943-1949
  10. Consolidated defense-in-depth
  11. Transitioning from perimeter defense-in-depth to consolidated defense-in-depth
  12. Expeditionary defense-in-depth
  13. Comparing the GDPR to perimeter defense-in-depth
  14. Findings and recommendations
  15. Recommendations
  16. Concluding thoughts.