Austin called for a “global force posture review of U.S. military footprint, resources, strategy and missions,” in a statement on Thursday.
“It will inform my advice to the Commander-in-Chief about how we best allocate military forces in pursuit of national interests. The review will be led by the Acting Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, in close consultation with the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff,” Austin said.
He added that he will consult with allies and partners on the review, and work to build better relationships.
“The United States stands shoulder-to-shoulder with allies old and new, partners big and small,” the statement said. “Each of them brings to the mission unique skills, knowledge and capabilities, and each of them represents a relationship worth tending, preserving and respecting.”
Austin’s plans were revealed after Biden spoke on foreign policy on Thursday.
“We will repair our alliances and engage with the world once again, not to meet yesterday’s challenges, but today’s and tomorrow’s,” Biden said Thursday in a speech at the State Department.
“American leadership must meet this new moment of advancing authoritarianism, including the growing ambitions of China to rival the United States and the determination of Russia to damage and disrupt our democracy,” Biden said.
Austin’s remarks came after the White House announced a halt to a plan to remove U.S. troops from Germany this week, a holdover from the previous administration.
The proposed removal of about 12,000 troops, or about one-third of the U.S. force in Germany, was criticized by NATO, other U.S. allies and legislators of both parties in Congress.
“The previous planning that was ongoing for the previous initiatives that have been put on freeze,” U.S. European Command chief Gen. Tod Wolters said on Wednesday.
On Wednesday, Austin said on the Defense Secretary’s Twitter account that “Per direction from @POTUS, I’ll be leading a Global Posture Review of U.S. military forces around the world so our footprint aligns with our national interests.”
“We need to make sure we have the right capabilities in the right places & we are supporting the work of our diplomats,” Austin tweeted.