The United States, the world’s preeminent military power, operates about 750 U.S. military base sites abroad in 80 countries and territories, according to the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft. The U.S. has at least three times as many overseas bases as all other nations combined. Maintaining these bases abroad costs American taxpayers an estimated $55 billion annually.
To determine the countries with the most active U.S. military bases that are overseas, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed military think-tank the Quincy Institute’s 2021 article Drawdown: Improving U.S. and Global Security Through Military Base Closures Abroad. We ranked the countries according to the number of active bases within each country. We did not include countries with less than four bases. All data is from the Quincy Institute.
With the exception of South America, the U.S. has bases on every continent. The overwhelming majority of facilities are in Europe and Asia, a vestige of America’s involvement in World War II and responsibilities stemming from confronting communism during the Cold War. Though the Department of Defense considers its installations as U.S. military facilities, many of them are operated jointly with the host nation or through alliances such as NATO. (Here are all NATO members ranked by military power.)
The United States has added bases in Africa in recent years, including in the nations of Niger and Somalia.
There is a growing debate among government officials over the need for so many U.S. overseas facilities. Besides the cost, there are concerns that the bases are a lightning rod for hostility toward the United States and serve as a recruiting tool for militant groups. The Quincy Institute notes that foreign installations have made it easier for America to become involved in wars of choice. (Also see, the six European bases where the U.S. is storing nuclear bombs.)
Click here to see countries with the most U.S. military bases.
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