The United States has yet to undertake a fundamental reassessment of its foreign military and security commitments since the end of the Cold War. Rather, the U.S. has maintained, and in some cases deepened, its commitments in the Middle East, South Asia, and Europe without evaluating whether these commitments are the best policies to advance national interests. This current inquiry aims to develop an inventory of U.S. global security commitments, and then to assess systematically whether the benefits of those commitments outweigh the costs and whether the interests served by these commitments could be achieved in less costly ways.
The Tobin Project launched this research inquiry in August 2011 with a seminar of thirteen scholars and officials from the Departments of Defense and State, chaired by Benjamin Valentino (Dartmouth College, Government). Participants examined U.S. global security commitments through regionally-focused discussion sessions on NATO and Europe, the Middle East, and East Asia. The Tobin Project plans to collaborate with the seminar participants to advance further research on this topic, with the aim of producing both academic and policy articles. In addition, the research that develops from this seminar will provide a baseline of U.S. global security commitments that will inform future Tobin Project research on sustainable security strategy.