Sunday, February 20, 2011

U.S. Overseas Military Deployments and Bases

Some 370,000 U.S. military forces are deployed in more than 150 countries around the globe.  Many deployments are minimal, below 100.  Two of three largest are 50,000 in Iraq and about 100,000 in combat operations in Afghanistan.  The 50,000 in Iraq are scheduled to depart by December 31, 2011.

Other substantial deployments are 57,000 in Germany, 32,500 in Japan, 28,500 in South Korea, 10,500 in Kuwait, just under almost 10,000 in both the United Kingdom and Italy, 8,000 in Qatar, and 3,500 in Djibouti, Africa.  About 78,000 are in Europe, and 61,000 in Asia.



(Key:  Light blue, more than 1000 troops.  Dark blue, more than 100 troops.  Purple, use of military facilities.)

By service, the Army has bases or servicing agreements in Bulgaria, Germany, Iraq, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kuwait, Kosovo, and South Korea; the Marine Corps in Afghanistan, Germany, and Japan; the Navy in Bahrain, British Overseas Ocean Territory, Brazil, Cuba, Spain, Japan, Guam, Italy, Israel, Greece, and South Korea; and, the Air Force in Afghanistan, Australia, Bulgaria, Germany, Greenland, Guam, Italy, Japan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Korea, Kyrgyzstan, Netherlands, Phillippines, Portugal, Spain, Turkey, and the U.K.

Many of these deployments are decades old.  Are all of them still needed at current staffing levels?  Is there opportunity for cost savings without substantially diminishing military capabilities around the globe?

Look at the deployments and bases from China’s viewpoint.  The ring of U.S. forces could be construed as threatening.  In marked contrast, China has only several refueling stations in South Asia and the Gulf, but no active overseas military bases in foreign countries.

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