This case study assesses the efforts of the Trump administration to deliver on one of its early national security priorities: to extricate US military forces from simmering conflicts in the Middle East. The report highlights three principal sources of policy continuity and inertia. The first is ‘resistance’ mounted by officials in the State Department and Department of Defense. Even when Trump himself spoke of a change in policy, there were officials reluctant to fully implement these directives. Next, the Trump administration lacked an adequate ‘agent of change.’ Despite their statements, senior officials within the administration remained largely ambivalent about the nature and pace of the strategic realignment which they sought to deliver. Finally, the report shines light on the importance of public perception—in this case, a feeling within US society that American presence in the Middle East remains both affordable and sustainable.