History Department
History Department

"Should I Stay or Should I Go Now? Assessing the Future of U.S. Presence in the Persian Gulf"

Tue, November 13, 2012 | Bass Lecture Hall, LBJ 2.104

12:15 PM - 1:30 PM

The Robert S. Strauss Center for International Security and Law invites you to Should I Stay or Should I Go Now? Assessing the Future of U.S. Presence in the Persian Gulf with Caitlin Talmadge, Assistant Professor at George Washington University, on Tuesday, November 13 at 12:15 pm in Bass Lecture Hall, LBJ 2.104. Refreshments will be provided.

Since the 1991 Gulf War, the United States has permanently forward deployed large military forces in the Persian Gulf, a posture whose results have been mixed at best with respect to protecting U.S. regional interests. With the winding down of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the United States has the ability to seriously reconsider this force posture for the first time in two decades. Some analysts have called for maintaining a heavy forward presence in the region for its deterrent benefits, while others have emphasized the advantages of withdrawing virtually all U.S. military forces over the horizon.

In this presentation, Caitlin Talmadge argues that the United States should instead embrace the middle ground between these two extremes, maintaining a residual forward presence of carefully tailored, low-profile combat capabilities, especially air and naval power, while eschewing the highly visible forward deployed ground forces of the last 20 years. The talk outlines how such a posture would work in practice and draws on extensive interview work by Talmadge, including discussions with senior U.S. military commanders and diplomats in Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, the UAE, and Washington, DC.

Caitlin Talmadge is Assistant Professor of Political Science and International Affairs at the George Washington University. She regularly publishes and lectures to American and international audiences on civil-military relations, U.S. military operations and strategy, nuclear proliferation, and Persian Gulf security issues. Her book U.S. Defense Politics (with Harvey Sapolsky and Eugene Gholz) is assigned widely at American universities and war colleges, with a second edition forthcoming in 2013. Her other writings have appeared in The Washington Quarterly, International Security, The Non-Proliferation Review, The Christian Science Monitor, Foreign Policy.com, and the Harvard International Review. Her current book project, Explaining Military Effectiveness, explores the sources of fighting power on the modern battlefield, with a particular focus on the armies of authoritarian regimes. Other ongoing projects examine the future of U.S. presence in the Middle East, and the relationship between interstate war and coups.

Professor Talmadge is a graduate of Harvard (A.B., summa cum laude) and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Ph.D.), and has held fellowships from Harvard University, the Smith Richardson Foundation, and the Brookings Institution. Prior to graduate school, Professor Talmadge worked as a research assistant at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington. She also has previously worked as a consultant to the Office of Net Assessment at the U.S. Department of Defense and was named a Next Generation National Security Leader by the Center for a New American Security in 2009. She is a native Texan, born in Conroe, and survived an elementary school stint in Bryan-College Station to become the proud sister of two Longhorns, Jeffrey (’11) and Chelsea (’07).

Sponsored by: The Robert S. Strauss Center for International Security and Law

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