US Military Power 2012
Report on U.S. Military Power 2012
China Strategic Culture Promotion Association
Chapter Two - Military Strength and Force Deployment
As required by the new strategic guidance document, all U.S. armed services have made plans to amend their force size and structure. The U.S. Army plans to cut at least eight combat brigades, thus reducing its strength by 80,000 from 570,000 to 490,000 personnel. One Marine regiment command, five Marine battalions, one artillery battalion, four Marine aircraft groups, and one Marine logistics group will be shed, reducing the overall strength of the Marine Corps from 202,000 to 182,000 personnel. The U.S. Navy plans to decommission seven missile cruisers (six of them are capable of ballistic missile defense, and one is to be overhauled). The U.S. Air Force will develop a quality force, smaller and leaner but more capable. It plans to cut 9,900 personnel, including 3,900 in active service, 5,100 national guards, and 900 reservists. Six tactical squadrons and one training squadron will be shed; 286 aircraft will retire, including 123 combat fighters, 133 transport and refueling planes, and 30 reconnaissance and surveillance planes.
I. U.S. Military Strength
In 2012, the overall strength of the U.S. Armed Forces is 3,071,000 personnel, among which 1,410,000 are in AC, 859,000 in RC, and 852,000 as DoD civilian employees.
The overall strength of the Army is 1,421,000, among it 558,000 are in AC, accounting for 39.6% of its overall strength. The Army AC is organized into seven army group headquarters, four corps, 11 divisions, over 4,300 main battle tanks, over 25,000 APCs, about 5,000 guns of various types, and more than 4,200 aircraft (mainly helicopters); the Army RC has 561,000 personnel in total, organized into eight divisions, 19 operational and functional commands, 12 support commands, and 19 training commands; the total number of civilian employees is 302,000.
The overall strength of the Navy is 814,000. Among it, 519,000 are in AC, accounting for 36,8% of its total strength. The U.S. Navy is organized into the Pacific Fleet and Fleet Forces Command; the Marine Corps is organized into three marine divisions and is equipped with 298 warships (including 10 aircraft carriers, 22 missile cruisers, 62 missile destroyers, 23 missile frigates, 24 nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines, four nuclear-powered cruise missile submarines, 54 nuclear-powered assault submarines), 3,847 aircraft of various types (1,821 of them are combat aircraft), and 241 submarine-launched strategic missiles. The naval reserve component has 84,000 personnel and is organized into four reserve air wings, two navy supply support battalions, 12 navy cargo handling battalions, six naval reserve construction regiments, one Marine Corps reserve division, one MarineCorps reserve air wing, and one service support group. The U.S. Navy has 210,000 civilian employees.
The Air Force has a total strength of 729,000 personnel, 333,000 of which are in active service, accounting for 23,6% of its total strength. The active component of the Air Force is organized into 13 air forces and is equipped with various types of 3,934 aircraft (1,917 of which are operational aircraft), and 449 intercontinental ballistic missiles. The reserve component of the Air Force is composed of 33 wings and 14 groups. The U.S. Air Force has 182,000 civilian employees.
DoD has a civilian work force of 107,000 personnel.
II. Military Deployment
In 2012, of the 1,410,000 active-duty personnel, 1,082,000 are deployed in Continental United States(CONUS), 328,000 are deployed overseas.
The U.S. Army: five army group headquarters, three corps, seven divisions, and three independent regiments, with a total strength of 385,300 personnel are deployed in CONUS. Two army group headquarters, one corps, four divisions, and one independent regiment, with a total strength of 172,700 personnel are deployed overseas. Among the overseas deployment, one army group headquarters, two divisions, with an overall strength of 59,800 personnel are deployed in the Pacific region; one army group headquarters, one corps, two independent brigades, one independent regiment, with an overall strength of 42,800 personnel, are stationed in Europe; two divisions with a total strength of 69,300 personnel are deployed in the Middle East, South Asia, and North Africa; 100 personnel are deployed in central and southern Africa; and 700 personnel are deployed in central and southern America.
The U.S. Navy (Marine Corps included): three numbered fleets, seven carrier air wings, two Marine divisions, two Marine air wings, 3,371 aircraft (including 1,542 combat planes), 241 submarine-launched strategic missiles are deployed in CONUS with a total strength of 435,100 personnel. Three numbered fleets, three carrier air wings, one Marine division, one Marine air wing, 149 warships, 476 aircraft (including 279 combat aircraft) are deployed overseas with an overall strength of 83,900 personnel. Among the naval forces deployed overseas, one numbered fleet, one carrier air wing, one Marine division, one Marine air wing, 82 warships, and 306 aircraft (including 153 combat aircraft) are deployed in the Pacific region with an overall strength of 51,7000 personnel; one numbered fleet, one carrier air wing, 17 warships, and 70 aircraft (including 56 combat aircraft) are deployed in Europe with an overall strength of 16,000 personnel; one numbered fleet, one carrier air wing, 50 warships, and 100 aircraft (including 70 combat aircraft) are deployed in the Middle East, South Asia, and North Africa with an overall strength of 19,200 personnel; 400 personnel are deployed in central and southern Africa; and 1,000 personnel are deployed in central and southern America.
The U.S. Air Force: Nine air force headquarters, 53 air wings/groups, 114 air squadrons, nine intercontinental ballistic missile squadrons, 3,212 aircraft (including 1,391 combat aircraft), and 449 intercontinental missiles are deployed in CONUS with a total strength of 261,600 personnel. Four air force headquarters, 14 air wings/groups, 42 air squadrons, and 722 aircraft (including 526 combat aircraft) are deployed overseas with a total strength of 71,400 personnel. Among them, three air force headquarters, nine air wings/groups, 29 air squadrons, and 359 aircraft (including 280 combat aircraft) are deployed in the Pacific region with a total strength of 33,900 personnel; one air force headquarters, five air wings/groups, 13 air squadrons, and 223 aircraft (including 176 combat aircraft) are deployed in Europe with a total strength of 30,700 personnel; 140 aircraft (including 70 combat aircraft) and altogether 6,500 personnel are deployed in the Middle East, South Asia, and North Africa; 300 personnel are deployed in central and southern America.
III. Military Bases
In terms of geographic locations, DoD manages a worldwide real property portfolio that spans all 50 states, seven U.S. territories, and 40 foreign countries.
The latest round of base realignment and closure (BRAC) began in 2006 and ended in 2011. In the process, 22 major domestic bases were closed, 33 were realigned, and 775 small installations were either closed or realigned. 70,000 troops who had been deployed in Europe or Asia were redeployed to other bases. By 2011, 34 U.S. bases and installations in ROK and 13 in Germany had been returned respectively to the host nation; and the I Corps Forward Headquarters had been relocated from CONUS to Camp Zama in Japan. In another line of development, however, the U.S. is making plans to build new military bases in areas of diminishing U.S. influence but of increasing importance to the U.S..
In FY 2006, the U.S. had altogether 3,731 military bases, including 2,888 in CONUS, 77 in U.S. territories, and 766 in foreign countries (among them, 293 in Germany, 111 in Japan, and 105 in ROK). Six years into the latest round of BRAC, by FY 2011, there were 2,825 military bases in CONUS, 87 in U.S. territories, and 611 in foreign countries (among them, 194 in Germany, 108 in Japan, and 82 in South Korea.)
The latest round of BRAC can be seen as being guided by the following strategic considerations: hedging against Russia and China, ensuring security of energy resources, and maintaining global hegemony. Its basic pattern is to take the homeland as the core and foreign bases as the front, to streamline different fronts while paying special attention to key points in the whole network. The realignment has shown the following characteristics: globally, the focus lies in the optimization of U.S. military bases in Asia; in Europe, the trend is to close on military bases in Old Europe and to open up military bases in New Europe; in South Asia and the Indian Ocean region, the U.S. plans to secure permanent use of bases in Pakistan and Afghanistan, and to place more prepositioned installations in Diego Garcia; in the Middle East and Central Asia, the U.S. tries to make permanent its military presence; in Africa, the U.S. is reinforcing its military presence; and in Latin America, the U.S. maintains military presence for countering terrorism. In sum, the most recent round of BRAC favors small sites, sites capable of hosting joint training, and sites located in CONUS.
The most notable characteristic, however, is that the number of U.S. military sites has increased by about 26.6%, from 3,731 to 4,825, instead of a drawdown. The latest round of BRAC was intended to meet the requirements of the new defense strategy, cut spending, and improve cost-effectiveness. In order to cut spending, the U.S. had to reduce the number of overseas military sites, and to deploy U.S. forces back to CONUS, as overseas military sites are more costly than those based in CONUS. In order to decentralize force deployment for rapid response and to reduce vulnerability inherent in large military sites, the U.S. has been focusing on building small bases. By FY 2011, the number of small sites had been increased by 1,035, while those of large and medium-sized sites had increased respectively by 22 and 7. To improve cost-effectiveness of military sites, the U.S. has attached special importance to service jointness and civil-military integration. U.S. military bases used to be divided along service lines, and Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps bases were independent from one another; as a result, it was difficult to conduct joint training or operations. After the latest round of BRAC, most bases are used by units from at least two services. Co-location of units from different services fosters coordination and cooperation through mutual understanding, thus making them more capable in future combined and joint operations.
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