The United States has by far the strongest military in the world. To maintain its global presence, the United States operates more than 500 military bases on foreign sites across every continent except for Antarctica.
These facilities are used for training and troop deployments, for maintaining and testing weapons systems, for research and education, and for aircraft testing. Given the space these exercises often require, the physical size of these installations can be considerable.
24/7 Wall St. has compiled a list of America’s 50 largest military bases overseas. The facilities are listed in order of physical size, according to data from the Department of Defense’s Base Structure Report — Fiscal Year 2018 Baseline. The report provides characteristics of bases overseas as of Sept. 30, 2017, including base size by acreage, and the cost of replacing the base in terms of today’s construction costs and standards.
Many of the bases on this list were initially established as a practical war-time necessity. Of the 50 installations on the list, 18 are in Japan, and many of those are on the island of Okinawa, a legacy of the intense fighting there during World War II. Nine bases are in South Korea as the United States and South Korea partnered to defend against an attack from communist North Korea following the Korean War. Here is a complete list of the countries with the most U.S. military bases.
While the U.S. certainly has a large international military footprint, the vast majority of the largest American bases are located inside U.S. borders. In fact, only one base on this list is large enough to rank among the 50 largest domestic military bases. Here is a look at the 50 largest military bases in the United States.