As the dust settles from impeachment and a near-war with Iran, it has become clear that President Donald Trump plans to use his fourth year in office to push for dramatic changes to the Defense Department that focus the military on preparing for war with China and Russia — changes Defense Secretary Mark Esper aims to make “irreversible.”
We’ll see about that. One thing is certain: under Trump, nothing is certain.
The president, elected in part by people weary of U.S. military interventions overseas, has sought largely unsuccessfully to “bring home” U.S. troops. Pentagon officials continue to insist that U.S. troops will leave Syria as soon as they have ensured “the enduring defeat of ISIS,” something the president has repeatedly and falsely claimed has already been done. But then there’s the question of all the other far-flung counterterrorism missions in which U.S. is engaged around the globe, like in Africa. As the administration tries to refocus its attention on great power competition with China and Russia, will more CT missions see reductions in 2020? What will that mean for the Pentagon?
We took a service-by-service look at these questions and more. Read on: