The first part of a two-part series that evaluates the United States’ evolving network of bases in the Asia-Pacific and the opportunities and challenges each brings to the table moving forward.
The Asia-Pacific region, central to global economic and geopolitical development in the twenty-first century, is the logical focus of the Obama Administration’s ongoing rebalancing of capabilities, relations, and presence thereto. This effort is inspired by profound challenges and opportunities emerging in the region. Aspects of China’s rapid, broad-based development fall into both categories, with challenges including increasingly potent anti-access/area denial (A2/AD) systems that threaten the viability of potential opponents’ forces with long-range precision strike capabilities. Central to American presence and influence in the vital Asia-Pacific, but facing increasing vulnerabilities, is a complex network of bases and access points that has been too long neglected by both scholars and the American public. This two-part series addresses these timely and important issues, surveys present U.S. basing infrastructure, and examines key challenges and trends that Washington confronts as attempts to preserve its capabilities and influence in the Asia-Pacific.