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At the Center of the Crossroads: A New U.S. Strategy for the East Med

The Eastern Mediterranean sits at the geographic and geostrategic nexus of Europe, Africa, and the Middle East. This “sea between the lands” has become a crucial maritime connector for expansionist forces – including Turkey, Iran, Russia, China, and Islamist jihadists seeking to exert power from one of the surrounding regions to the next. At the same time, the Eastern Mediterranean itself is becoming an object of competition, its recently discovered undersea natural gas resources rendering a rich prize for whoever can discover, develop, and export them. In the face of these strategic developments, U.S. partners from around the region and beyond are trying to create new security arrangements to address this growing competition and maintain stability.

Despite these geopolitical realignments and the Eastern Mediterranean’s growing salience, current U.S. capabilities in the region are insufficient either to defend its interests or to support regional partners. And, as policymakers in Washington focus on competing in the Indo-Pacific, nearby U.S. forces that could contribute to Eastern Mediterranean security from Europe, Africa, and the Middle East likely will be reallocated. To balance its growing interests in the region’s stability with the coming realignment of its global force posture, the United States should re-envision the Eastern Mediterranean as a strategic asset and a multi-theater power projection platform, from which a smaller contingent of U.S. forces can effectively and efficiently address threats not just in the immediate vicinity but in surrounding areas as well.

Click here to read the report.

Eastern Mediterranean Policy Project Co-Chairs

Amb. Eric Edelman
Former Under Secretary of Defense for Policy

Gen Charles “Chuck” Wald, USAF (ret.)
Former Deputy Commander of U.S. European Command

Eastern Mediterranean Policy Project Members

Gen Philip M. Breedlove, USAF (ret.)
Former NATO Supreme Allied Commander and former Commander of U.S. European Command

Gen Kevin P. Chilton, USAF (ret.)
Former Commander, U.S. Strategic Command

Svante E. Cornell
Policy Advisor, JINSA Gemunder Center for Defense & Strategy

ADM Kirkland H. Donald, USN (ret.)
Former Director, Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program

VADM Mark Fox, USN (ret.)
Former Deputy Commander, U.S. Central Command

ADM Bill Gortney, USN (ret.)
Former Commander, North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD)

John Hannah
Former Assistant for National Security Affairs to the Vice President; JINSA Gemunder Center Senior Fellow

Reuben Jeffery
Former Under Secretary of State for Economic, Business and Agricultural Affairs

Alan Makovsky
Former Senior Professional Staff Member at U.S. House Foreign Relations Committee

GEN David Rodriguez, USA (ret.)
Former Commander, U.S. Africa Command

Lt Gen Thomas “Tom” Trask, USAF (ret.)
Former Vice Commander, U.S. Special Operations Command

This report is made possible by the generous support of the Gettler Family Foundation. A portion of the research for this report was conducted on JINSA’s 2019 Benjamin Gettler International Policy Trip to Greece.

Click here to learn more about JINSA’s Benjamin Gettler Annual Policy Trip.