This repositioning could include new combat forces in Kuwait capable of responding to security failures in Iraq or a military confrontation with Iran, the paper said.
The plans, under discussion for months, gained new urgency after President Obama’s announcement this month that the last American soldiers would be brought home from Iraq by the end of December. Ending the eight-year war was a central pledge of his presidential campaign, but American military officers and diplomats, as well as officials of several countries in the region, worry that the withdrawal could leave instability or worse in its wake.
In addition to negotiations on maintaining a ground combat presence in Kuwait, the U.S. is considering sending more naval warships through international waters in the region, the paper said.
With an eye on the threat of a belligerent Iran, the administration is also seeking to expand military ties with the six nations in the Gulf Cooperation Council - Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Oman.
At the same time, the U.S. administration and the military are trying to foster a new "security architecture" for the Persian Gulf that would integrate air and naval patrols and missile defense, the paper said.
The size of the American combat force to be stationed in Kuwait remains the subject of negotiations, with an answer expected in coming days, the newspaper said.
During town-hall-style meetings with military personnel in Asia last week, the secretary of defense, Leon E. Panetta, noted that the United States had 40,000 troops in the region, including 23,000 in Kuwait, though the bulk of those serve as logistical support for the forces in Iraq.