American Troops Abroad

January 15, 1964

Report Outline
Reappraisal of U.S. Troop Commitments
Changes in American Strength Overseas
Weapons Technology and Overseas Forces
Special Focus

Reappraisal of U.S. Troop Commitments

Discussion of Need for Big Garrison in Europe

President Johnson's pledge to the North Atlantic Council, December 16, that the United States would “keep in Europe the equivalent of six American divisions that are now deployed there, so long as they are needed” was intended to dispel fears that this country planned to recall a substantial number of its overseas military units. Only four days before the President sent his message of reassurance, the Pentagon had announced that seven overseas bases would be shut down in the next three and one-half years. American allies in Western Europe, living in the shadow of Soviet military power, fear that reduction of American armed strength on the Continent might encourage Soviet aggression or foreshadow adoption of a “Fortress America” policy.

Former President Eisenhower asserted in the Saturday Evening Post last Oct. 18, however, that “One American division in Europe can ‘show the flag’ as definitely as can several.” In his opinion, the United States had the “right and duty of insisting that her NATO partners assume more of the burden of defending Western Europe.” Sen. Barry Goldwater (R Ariz.), now an announced candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, declared six days later that he favored cutting the number of American divisions in Europe by “at least one-third.”

Defense Department officials have thrown out hints that the overseas garrison could be reduced without endangering the security of the United States or its allies. At Chicago, Oct. 19, the then Deputy Defense Secretary, Roswell L. Gilpatric, asserted that “There lies ahead of the U.S. military establishment a series of evolutionary changes in the composition and disposition of its military units stationed overseas.” Gilpatric said that, “for the foreseeable future,” this country would maintain “both large overseas deployments and significant capabilities to reinforce such military power with great rapidity.” But he added that “Some shifts in the form our military presence has taken in recent decades are beginning to be practicable.” These shifts would result from the ability, lacking 10 years ago, “to put in the field large quantities of logistical support and, through longer range tactical aircraft, to bring to bear in combat theaters U.S.-based airpower in no more time than it took previously to deploy planes stationed on rear bases overseas.”

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
U.S. Military
Oct. 04, 2019  Veterans' Struggles
Sep. 23, 2011  Military Suicides
Sep. 05, 2008  Rise in Counterinsurgency
Aug. 31, 2007  Wounded Veterans
Nov. 19, 2004  Treatment of Veterans
Jun. 25, 2004  Privatizing the Military
May 30, 2003  Reforming the Corps
Apr. 26, 1996  New Military Culture
Jun. 08, 1990  Downsizing America's Armed Forces
Jul. 20, 1966  American Forces in Europe
Jan. 15, 1964  American Troops Abroad
May 21, 1958  Military Reorganization
Feb. 28, 1952  Benefits for Korean Veterans
May 12, 1948  Militarization
Nov. 06, 1946  Veterans' Bonus
Jul. 17, 1946  War Veterans in Civil Life
Nov. 27, 1941  Government Aid to Ex-Service Men
Sep. 27, 1932  The Bonus After the 1932 Elections
Oct. 06, 1930  Veteran-Aid Policies of the United States
Jan. 07, 1924  Congress and the Bonus
Defense Technology and Force Planning
Military Bases