Military

These Are the Countries Where America Has the Most Soldiers Stationed

An American ship is moored in the Harbor. Ship on the background of the us flag. American fleet. The naval forces of America. us army. Participation of ships in military conflicts.
FOTOGRIN / Shutterstock.com

The USA is a country that proactively keeps an eye on global threats and promotes American ideals throughout the world.

During the two World Wars and the subsequent Cold War, the military and intelligence capabilities of the USA were under severe stress. In modern times with conflict and/or challenges from Russia, Ukraine, China, Korea and the Middle East the USA has to be able to react very quickly to threats.

The US maintains military bases around the world. This gives them the ability to strike anywhere in the world very quickly. As of July 2021, the US had more than 750 military bases, with more than 173,000 troops in 80 countries around the world. The US has the economic power to maintain all these bases. The country accounts for 40% of all defense spending worldwide.

The country with the most number of US military bases is Japan, with 120 active bases. This is compared to Germany, which has 119, and South Korea with 73. The US also has bases in the Middle East, with the largest installation being the Al Udeid Air Base, located west of Doha, Qatar.

US troops are stationed overseas because of different reasons. This can vary from the necessity to protect US forces and other citizens in the region, to help strengthen a military detergent across the region against different actors. In the recent conflict in the Middle East, this would be to prevent the escalation of the conflict from Gaza to neighboring states and to coordinate the critical military assistance to Israel.

To determine the 15 countries where America has the most soldiers, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed unclassified military personnel data from the Department of Defense Personnel, Workforce Reports & Publications, using data from Sept. 30, 2022 — the most recent fully updated report. The number of military sites came from Base Structure Report FY22 published by the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Energy, Installations, and Environment with a snapshot as of Sept. 30, 2021.

A third of the 15 countries where America has the most active-duty personnel are in EU member states, not including one in the U.K. Four of the 15 are located in the Middle East, including Turkey, and three are in the Asia-Pacific region, including Australia. The other two countries with the most active-duty troops are located in Djibouti and Cuba. Not included on the list, the U.S. also maintains bases in its Pacific territories such as Guam.  

About nine out of 10 of these U.S. uniformed service members are located at these 15 bases, with nearly 75% located in Japan, Germany, South Korea, and Italy.

These are the countries where the U.S. stations most of its military personnel abroad.  

15. Qatar

American flag and Qatar flag on cloudy sky. fly in the sky
Source: Andy.LIU / Shutterstock.com
  • Number of active-duty US troops: 397
  • Number of US military sites: 2 – #27 most

14. Netherlands

Pride of the USA. Soldier and military dog covered with American national flag celebrating Independence day.
Source: Aleksandar Malivuk / Shutterstock.com
  • Number of active-duty US troops: 434
  • Number of US military sites: 6 – #19 most

13. Djibouti

US navy sixt fleet warship transits Istanbul Strait towards the Black Sea in Turkey
Source: Archaeonavall / Shutterstock.com
  • Number of active-duty US troops: 509
  • Number of US military sites: 1 – #30 most

12. Cuba

US Coast Guard Boat
Source: Elias H. Debbas II / Shutterstock.com
  • Number of active-duty US troops: 596
  • Number of US military sites: 1 – #30 most

11. Kuwait

US Air Force jet at high speed
Source: Ivan Cholakov / Shutterstock.com
  • Number of active-duty US troops: 714
  • Number of US military sites: 7 – #17 most

10. Belgium

A soldier works on his laptop.
Source: VHarasymiv / Shutterstock.com
  • Number of active-duty US troops: 1,143
  • Number of US military sites: 11 – #12 most

9. Australia

A US Navy ship departs San Diego Bay for the Pacific Ocean.
Source: Bill Chizek / Shutterstock.com
  • Number of active-duty US troops: 1,580
  • Number of US military sites: 9 – #15 most

8. Turkey

United States military helicopter. Combat US air force
Source: Cristi Croitoru / Shutterstock.com
  • Number of active-duty US troops: 1,735
  • Number of US military sites: 12 – #10 most

7. Spain

Military parade of American troops. A warship with sailors on the deck against the background of the us flag. American fleet. The naval forces of America. Protection of the country's water borders.
Source: FOTOGRIN / Shutterstock.com
  • Number of active-duty US troops: 3,164
  • Number of US military sites: 4 – #22 most

6. Bahrain

Parachute Attack Airborne , US Army paratroopers , Member of Red Star history club wears historical American paratrooper uniform during historical reenactment of WWII
Source: ANURAKE SINGTO-ON / Shutterstock.com
  • Number of active-duty US troops: 3,698
  • Number of US military sites: 12 – #10 most

5. United Kingdom

Dark room against portrait of military saluting
Source: vectorfusionart / Shutterstock.com
  • Number of active-duty US troops: 9,840
  • Number of US military sites: 23 – #7 most

4. Italy

US Navy attack
Source: Ivan Cholakov / Shutterstock.com
  • Number of active-duty US troops: 12,432
  • Number of US military sites: 49 – #6 most

3. South Korea

Hispanic American Female Soldier in uniform saluting in front of American flags
Source: Mie Ahmt / Shutterstock.com
  • Number of active-duty US troops: 25,372
  • Number of US military sites: 79 – #4 most

2. Germany

Thunderbirds in formation in the sky
Source: Michael T. Bonanza / Shutterstock.com
  • Number of active-duty US troops: 35,781
  • Number of US military sites: 123 – #1 most

1. Japan

Scenery of warships seen from the YOKOSUKA military port tour boat
Source: Princess_Anmitsu / Shutterstock.com
  • Number of active-duty US troops: 53,973
  • Number of US military sites: 113 – #2 most

Sponsored: Want to Retire Early? Here’s a Great First Step

Want retirement to come a few years earlier than you’d planned? Or are you ready to retire now, but want an extra set of eyes on your finances?

Now you can speak with up to 3 financial experts in your area for FREE. By simply clicking here you can begin to match with financial professionals who can help you build your plan to retire early. And the best part? The first conversation with them is free.

Click here to match with up to 3 financial pros who would be excited to help you make financial decisions.

Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us?
Contact the 24/7 Wall St. editorial team.