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A U.S. Marine takes photographs as a South Korean army's K-55 self-propelled artillery vehicle gets out of a barge during the Combined Joint Logistics Over The Shore (CJLOTS) exercise, at a seashore in Taean, South Korea, July 6, 2015.  REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji
Research Report

Overseas basing logistics at a crossroads in the Middle East, sub-Sahara Africa, and the western Indian Ocean

Executive summary

The United States has declared that the post-Cold War era is over and that competition among today’s major world powers will shape what comes next.1 The 2022 National Security Strategy (NSS) and National Defense Strategy (NDS) state that the top two U.S. strategic priorities are outcompeting China and constraining Russia.2 To pursue these goals, the United States must project power globally and maintain a sustained regional presence in multiple regions. In the Middle East (ME), Sub-Sahara Africa (SSA), and the Western Indian Ocean (WIO), meeting the NSS and NDS objectives are at a crossroads.3 The United States could fail in today’s security environment if they continue using current U.S. basing practices and limited resources. A new strategy of building robust logistics networks can help the U.S. meet its goals to keep pace with China and deter Russia.

The views expressed herein are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the U.S. government or the Brookings Institution.


  1. “National Security Strategy,” Washington, DC: White House, October 2022,
  2. “National Defense Strategy,” Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Defense, October 2022,
  3. The Western Indian Ocean (WIO) covers coastal East Africa, the Red Sea, the Gulf of Oman, and the island nations of the Arabian Sea.


The author sincerely thanks Andrew Yeo of the Brookings Institution and Isaac Kardon of the U.S. Naval War College for their significant contributions to this brief, as well as Michael O’Hanlon of the Brookings Institution for his constructive feedback and insightful perspectives. The author also thanks Hanna Foreman for her valuable research assistance, Lori Merritt for her helpful edits, and Rachel Slattery for her expert layout of the brief.

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