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U.S. Military Overseas Basing: Background and Oversight Issues for Congress

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Publication Date: November 2004

Publisher(s): Library of Congress. Congressional Research Service

Series: RS21975

Topic: Military and defense (Military bases and buildings)


On August 16, 2004, the Bush Administration announced a proposal to significantly alter the U.S. overseas military basing posture. The proposal would, if implemented, establish new overseas operating sites, and transfer up to 70,000 U.S. troops, plus 100,000 family members and civilians, from Europe and Asia back to the United States. The Administration argues that current U.S. global basing arrangements are a product of World War II and the Korean War. With the end of the Cold War, these basing arrangements need to be updated to ensure that U.S. forces are optimally positioned to respond to potential 21st-Century military threats. The Administration's proposal has received mixed reactions from non-DOD observers. A May 2004 Congressional Budget Office report raises questions concerning the potential cost effectiveness of changing the current Army overseas basing posture. The Administration's proposal raises several potential oversight issues for Congress. This report will be updated as necessary.