By John D. Banusiewicz, American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON (AFPN) 8/16/2004 — During his address to the national convention of the Veterans of Foreign Wars in Cincinnati on Aug. 16, President George W. Bush announced planned redistribution of forces now stationed at overseas locations “where the wars of the last century ended.”
“The world has changed a great deal,” President Bush said, “and our posture must change with it for the sake of our military families, for the sake of our taxpayers, and so we can be more effective at projecting our strength and spreading freedom and peace.”
“America's current posture in Europe was designed to guard against Soviet aggression, “he added. “The threat no longer exists.”
The decision to redistribute forces comes after three years of study and consultations. “We have consulted closely with our allies and with Congress. We have examined the challenges posed by today's threats and emerging threats. The result,” he said, ‘will be a more agile and flexible force.”
As the new global posture takes shape during the next 10 years, more U.S. troops will be stationed at, and deployed from, home bases in the United States, Bush stated. “We'll move some of our troops and capabilities to new locations so they can surge quickly to deal with unexpected threats. We'll take advantage of 21st century military technologies to rapidly deploy increased combat power.”
The president said the new plan will strengthen U.S. alliances and build new partnerships worldwide, and will reduce stress on military people and their families.
“Although we still will have a significant presence overseas, under the plan I'm announcing today we will bring home about 60,000 to 70,000 uniformed personnel and about 100,000 family members and civilian employees during the next 10 years ,” he said. “This would give service members more time on the home front, as well as more predictability and fewer moves during a career.”
“Our military spouses will have fewer job changes, greater stability, and more time for their kids and to spend time with their families at home. Taxpayers will benefit from cost savings realized by closing obsolete overseas bases and facilities,” he said.