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Pentagon to upgrade military airfields in Guam, Australia to counter China, leaving other global positions as they are


The Pentagon is planning major infrastructure improvements at military airfields in Guam and Australia to counter China in the Asia-Pacific region, but will not make any major changes to its other global positions.

The announcement came in the Pentagon’s 2021 Global Posture Review published on Monday. The result of the study, which began in March under the leadership of Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, reflects the Biden administration’s growing concern over China in the Asia-Pacific region and Russia in Europe following its withdrawal. chaos of Afghanistan in August. Iran presents an additional challenge, including in Iraq and Syria, which makes it difficult to assign more US forces to other parts of the world.

FILE: The Pentagon building is seen in Arlington, Virginia, the United States, October 9, 2020.
(Reuters)

Despite no major changes in its global positioning of U.S. forces, the Pentagon said it would further analyze force requirements in the Middle East and make improvements in Asia and the Pacific, officials said on Monday.

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In September, the United States announced a new partnership with Australia and Britain to deepen security, diplomacy and defense cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region. As part of this AUKUS partnership, Australia is to acquire nuclear-powered submarines and the United States is to increase rotational force deployments to Australia.

Pentagon to upgrade military airfields in Guam, Australia to counter China, leaving other global positions as they are

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin pauses while speaking during a Pentagon press briefing, Wednesday, November 17, 2021, in Washington.
(AP Photo / Alex Brandon)

Austin’s review is the first of several general assessments by the Biden administration of its defense priorities and policies. The Pentagon is also working on a revised national defense strategy that would frame the full scope of defense policies, including the role of nuclear deterrence, cyber threats, international alliances, and force modernization.

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Some changes in the posture of US forces were announced earlier this year. In April, Austin announced plans to expand the U.S. military presence in Germany by 500 troops and stop planning for the large-scale troop cuts that had been ordered by President Trump.

Pentagon to upgrade military airfields in Guam, Australia to counter China, leaving other global positions as they are

Sailors assigned to the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt prepare to eat meals for Sailors who have tested negative for COVID-19 and are taken to local hotels in a bid to implement social distancing at Naval Base Guam.
(US Navy via AP)

At the time of Austin’s announcement, US and EU officials were expressing concern over an accumulation of Russian forces near the Ukrainian border. This crisis has subsided, but in recent weeks it has returned amid fears that Moscow is planning a military incursion into Ukraine.

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Austin earlier this year also approved the withdrawal of some air and missile defense forces from the Persian Gulf region.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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