Theresa May’s cabinet reshuffle branded ’embarassing’ by Tory MPs
This was stated by US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper
Defense Secretary Mark Esper on Thursday said he could begin the long-awaited global reorganization of military forces this year as part of a new Pentagon strategy that highlights the two main threats to the United States posed by Russia and China..
Esper said he does not want to set a strict time frame for completing the so-called “General Defense Review”. A worldwide reshuffle of US military forces is expected to begin after the completion of this revision..
“Before setting the end date for [the revision], I want to make sure we are in a better position by the beginning of next fiscal year [starts October 1, 2020 – Voice of America],” Esper told reporters. He confirmed his intention to resolve this issue “soon enough”.
Esper stated this during a trip to Miami. The Secretary of Defense has now begun reviewing US military missions in Latin America. This comes as part of a global overhaul of the dispersal of the US military around the world, which the minister hopes will allow the Pentagon to send more troops to Asia and return some of the troops from abroad to their homeland..
Many experts say that the need for such solutions is long overdue because of the military successes that China has achieved in the region over the past two decades, while America has been more focused on counter-terrorism operations in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria and other countries..
At the same time, given the heightened tensions with Iran and with Tehran-backed militias, it is unclear how big a change could come – especially in a year when the US is holding a presidential election..
The revision is being closely watched by supporters of the American military presence in Latin America and Africa. These two regions tend to receive the least funding in terms of deploying the US military..
An assessment of the situation in Africa will begin on Friday. Observers expect at least a moderate reduction in the US military presence in West Africa, where, as many administration officials fear, Islamist forces are growing. No final decisions have been made yet.
A significant reduction in the number of troops in the US Southern Command could happen very quickly. The American military presence in Latin America is currently very small. In most cases, we are talking about dozens of military personnel who are taking part in the exercises. At the same time, thousands of troops can be withdrawn or sent to the Middle East..
Esper tried to allay these concerns on Thursday during a visit to the headquarters of the Southern Command, which is located in Miami..
“Everyone always assumes that when we talk about revisions, it means downsizing. Optional … This is one of the perceptions that I am trying to dispel … While this could mean a change in the size of [presence], it could also mean sending additional forces to the region if we need them there, ”the minister said..
At a time when the US military is trying to respond more aggressively to challenges from China, the Southern Command is arguing that Latin America should play a more serious role in this process..
Over the past five years, the number of calls by Chinese naval vessels at regional ports has increased by 70%, according to the Pentagon. Beijing boosts arms sales, infrastructure investment and trade with Latin America.
According to the calculations of the Southern Command, the PRC has sold weapons to Venezuela for $ 615 million in the last decade alone..
However, it remains unclear what kind of decision will be taken by the Pentagon leadership, given that similar trends are now manifesting themselves around the world..
One administration official, speaking on condition of anonymity, noted that the Southern Command had previously been downsized and suffered from a reallocation of funds..
“Just by way of observation – ten years ago … for intelligence purposes, we had an [reconnaissance] unit in Colombia. A whole division of analysts working on Colombia. Now we have only two analysts dealing with Colombia, ”the source said..
A downsizing of analysts in some areas and a shift in focus to growing threats from Russia and China means “we are taking risks in a number of areas to deal with this problem,” added an administration official..