Special Report

Countries Where The US Has The Biggest Military Presence

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5. United Kingdom
> Number of US troops: 9,274
> Number of US bases: 25 – #6 most

The U.S. military presence in the United Kingdom is the largest outside of continental Europe and Asia and dates back to 1942, when Britain invited the Americans to use Royal Air Force airfields. Today, the U.S. operates numerous bases in Britain, such as the extensive RAF Alconbury military base in Cambridgeshire, about 60 miles from London. This and other bases are operated by the U.S., but the rules and regulations are created and enforced by the British government.

4. Italy
> Number of US troops: 12,247
> Number of US bases: 44 – #5 most

Italy’s proximity to the Middle East, North Africa, and Eastern Europe has made it an ideal location for the U.S. to plant one of its largest centers of military power abroad. While Germany remains home to Europe’s largest U.S. overseas military infrastructure, the U.S. has pivoted toward southern Europe since the global war on terror began after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. The U.S. maintains numerous military complexes in Italy, from Naples and Sicily in the south to Aviano and Pisa in the north.

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3. South Korea
> Number of US troops: 25,414
> Number of US bases: 73 – #3 most

Though the Korean War technically ended in 1953, the two Koreas have never signed a peace treaty, which has made the Korean Peninsula one of the world’s hot spots for a potential military eruption. The United States maintains one of its largest military presences abroad in South Korea, assuring that any attack from the Hermit Kingdom in the north would immediately involve the U.S. in direct military confrontation. The largest U.S. overseas military base is Camp Humphreys, a U.S. Army garrison located about 40 miles south of Seoul.

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2. Germany
> Number of US troops: 33,948
> Number of US bases: 119 – #2 most

Germany has been vital to U.S. military strategy in Europe since the end of World War II, through the decade-long post-war Allied occupation of the county and the tumultuous years of the Cold War that divided Germany. The U.S. European Command, the coordinator of all American forces in 51 countries, is headquartered in the southwestern city of Stuttgart.

Germany remains home to the second-largest U.S. overseas military presence in the world, but the number of American active service members there has declined in recent years as the U.S. responds to a “shifting and increasingly global security situation,” reported German news agency Deutsche Welle in 2020.

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1. Japan
> Number of US troops: 53,713
> Number of US bases: 120 – #1 most

Recent tensions between the People’s Republic of China and the U.S., which included a recent military exercise by China, including reportedly a ballistic missile launched into Japanese waters, all but assure a continued robust U.S. military footprint in Japan.

The country has long hosted the largest U.S. overseas military presence in the world. U.S. Forces Japan is headquartered at Yokota Air Base in Fussa city, in western Tokyo, where operations supporting the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command are centered. The command is similar to the U.S. European Command in Stuttgart, Germany.

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