Much had been written about political efforts to turn the U.S.military around for the wars of occupation, away from conventional warfare against high-tech opponents. The effects of such efforts on the R&D and procurement budgets were modest. Germany and other European countries with participation in Afghanistan and (some) even Iraq had similar efforts, and again with little effect on R&D and procurement budgets. The military bureaucracies have a lot of inertia and hardly anybody seriously suggested to ditch all those expensive conventional warfare big ticket programs in favour of what little occupation-specific gear could be developed and purchased. Eventually, the GWOT hysteria offered the budgets to pay for both anyway.

Another politically mandated shift of focus was the much-discussed "Pacific pivot", the intent to re-orient the U.S. armed forces against the PR China. This move was particularly useful to the navy, less so to the air force and the army wasn't happy with it. Again, it didn't take long till journalists and pundits began to point out that much talk, many presentations and papers later, little had changed actually.

Now ISAF ended, and Europeans have begun to pay attention to actual collective defence in Europe again after witnessing the events in the Ukraine. There's actually no need for arms racing or such because the EU has more than enough military power to keep Russia at bay. Mental and planning preparations for Baltic defence scenarios are in short supply, but tanks, fighter jets and the like aren't.
Still, European military bureaucracies welcome the return to their preferred mode, and welcomed the excuse for their current and future big ticket programs.
According to my observation much less Americans paid attention and pondered whether some more conventional land campaign capability would make sense for East European scenarios.

This begs the questions

Will the Americans truly focus on the air-sea arena in the Western Pacific region?

Will the Europeans truly focus on the air-land arena in the Eastern European region?

How long both will have lost the appetite for invasion & occupation?

It's perfectly possible that what looks like long-term trends will prove to be mere gusts of wind without lasting consequences. Examples:
A collapse of Cuba or Venezuela could draw the Americans into Latin America. The French may become busy stabilizing artificial states in West Africa. The Russians could cancel their military reform efforts for want of funds. The Japanese might turn into a military great power and oppose the Chinese almost single-handedly.

Personally, I would prefer a European focus on collective defence, but one with a rational appraisal of the actual balance of forces in Eastern Europe. A focus on collective defence means we can cancel the occupation-related budget positions. It does not mean we need to build up some new mechanized corps.


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