DoD Buzz

A modest proposal for closing U.S. overseas bases


Carlton Meyer isn't one of your white-shoe Beltway Bandit think-tank types. His website, called to the attention of the defense hackoisie on Sunday by another independent voice on DoD matters -- Winslow Wheeler -- includes suggestions for how a hollowed-out mountain would make an ideal spaceport. But what Wheeler wanted people to see were Meyer's recommendations for which overseas U.S. military bases could be closed to save money in Austerity America. And Wheeler knows what you're thinking:

The defenders of the status quo on the bases question like to paint those who want to close foreign bases as "isolationist."  That sort of guttersnipe-baiting is rendered ignorant by Meyer's analysis.  You can easily see that from his introduction and from his analysis throughout.  In fact, some might become a little nervous that Meyer has an awful lot of American intervention in mind in with the reduced base structure he would advocate for the future.  On the other hand, Meyer is also not a sucker for the dysfunctional war advocacy from the interventionists in Congress and elsewhere.
Meyer calls for closing almost all the familiar big posts, and some you may have forgotten. He argues the Army should pull out of Europe; the Marines should pull their prepositioned gear out of of Norway; the Air Force should pull its fighters out of Lakenheath; and the Navy should pull the aircraft carrier USS George Washington out of Japan, along with other ships and aircraft. He makes extensive arguments on behalf of these and other changes, mainly they have no reason to exist after the end of the Cold War.

But Meyer doesn't want to close down everything, and he considers it a no-brainer that savings from closing bases will actually help the force overall:

Closing these bases should not be viewed as anti-military. Money saved can be used for more combat forces, and more ships and transport aircraft for greater strategic mobility. There is also a need to rebalance our nation's overseas base structure to react worldwide, rather than contain communism. For example, closing outdated Cold War bases allows improvements to less developed bases in strategic locations. Our post-Cold War military has devoted small sums to improve bases in key spots like Guam, Sigonella in Sicily, Souda Bay in Crete, and Camp Lemonnier in Djibouti by the Red Sea, yet huge sums remain devoted to bases in England, Germany, Japan, and Korea. Potential key bases. like the UK's Ascension Island (pictured), are ignored. Some of the billions of dollars wasted on outdated Cold War bases should be used to improve these sites with better airfields and ship piers, and larger fuel and ammunition storage facilities.
What do you think?
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