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Countries across the globe with the most U.S. military bases

  • Countries across the globe with the most U.S. military bases

    In 2019, the United States increased its defense budget by 4.9%, bringing the total number of dollars to be spent to $717 billion. Those who argued for the budget increase alleged that the sum was necessary in order to “maintain the [U.S. Military’s] position as the world’s military superpower.” It’s a gamble that seems to have paid off. So far Global Firepower recognized the United States’ military as the most powerful military in the world once again when it released its 2019 rankings.

    According to Global Firepower, the United States military has 2,141,900 total personnel and 1,218,900 active-duty personnel. Its airpower, land strength, and naval strength are among the top in the world with 13,298 total aircraft (the most of any country) and 415 total naval assets. That’s on top of 6,287 tanks, 1,056 rocket projectors, and 39,223 armored fighting vehicles.

    So where is the most powerful military in the world keeping all of its troops and vehicles? It turns out, all over the world. In this article Stacker looks at the countries across the globe with the most U.S. military bases. Using data from MilitaryBases.com, which was updated in 2018, Stacker has ranked the top 25 countries by the total number of U.S. military bases in each location. Ties were broken by the number of Air Force bases. It’s also important to note that Kuwait, Italy, Iraq, South Korea, Germany, Japan, and Kyrgyzstan all have one or more bases that are closed, but these bases are still included in the final count.

    From Peru to Saudi Arabia to Japan, read on to find out which country has the most bases and why. Along the way, Stacker will be looking at strategic, interesting, and notable bases in each country. Military historians and civilians alike are sure to learn something new. 

    You may also like: Countries spending the most on their militaries

  • #25. Peru

    - Total number of U.S. military bases: 1
    --- Army bases: 0
    --- Navy bases: 1
    --- Air Force bases: 0
    --- Marine bases: 0
    --- Joint bases: 0

    Peru is home to one military base, Naval Medical Research Unit 6, which houses 16 active duty military members and 300 civilians. Opened in 1983, the base’s main goal is to increase general wellbeing in the military as well as to identify and reduce potential ailments. The base’s current commander, Capt. Guillermo Pimentel has led more than 150 projects of this nature.

  • #24. Greece

    - Total number of U.S. military bases: 1
    --- Army bases: 0
    --- Navy bases: 1
    --- Air Force bases: 0
    --- Marine bases: 0
    --- Joint bases: 0

    One of the military’s most valuable bases in Europe, the Naval Support Activity Souda Bay, is located on the island of Crete with close proximity to mainland Europe, northern Africa, and the Middle East. In a perpetual state of “standby mode,” the base’s main objective is to provide support to the Navy when unexpected or critical situations arise.

  • #23. Djibouti

    - Total number of U.S. military bases: 1
    --- Army bases: 0
    --- Navy bases: 1
    --- Air Force bases: 0
    --- Marine bases: 0
    --- Joint bases: 0

    The primary base of operations for U.S. Africa Command and Djibouti's sole military base, Camp Lemonnier, is also the only permanent U.S. base in Africa. A Navy-led base, Camp Lemonnier is home to 4,000 allied military forces and civilian personnel (including 1,000 special forces members), as well as to U.S. Department of Defense contractors and 100 regional workers. The base is in a constant state of combat readiness but also works year-round to encourage positive relations between the United States and Africa.

  • #22. Cuba

    - Total number of U.S. military bases: 1
    --- Army bases: 0
    --- Navy bases: 1
    --- Air Force bases: 0
    --- Marine bases: 0
    --- Joint bases: 0

    The oldest military base established outside of the country, Guantánamo Naval Base is an essential part of the United States treaty with Cuba. The base is home to one of the world’s most notorious military prisons, but the base’s main aim is to help in the fight against illegal drug traffic (much of which comes through the Carribean). It’s also the only U.S. military base established in a communist country.

  • #21. Kosovo

    - Total number of U.S. military bases: 1
    --- Army bases: 1
    --- Navy bases: 0
    --- Air Force bases: 0
    --- Marine bases: 0
    --- Joint bases: 0

    Camp Bondsteel is located on the eastern side of Kosovo and is the United State’s main military base in the region. Run under the Kosovo Force (KFOR) laws and regulations, the base is responsible for maintaining the peace in this problematic section of Europe. It has also been accused of housing severe and harsh detention facilities, which have been described by human rights officers as being “less significant versions of Guantánamo.”

  • #20. Qatar

    - Total number of U.S. military bases: 1
    --- Army bases: 0
    --- Navy bases: 0
    --- Air Force bases: 1
    --- Marine bases: 0
    --- Joint bases: 0

    Owned by the Qatar Emiri Air Force, Al Udeid Air Force Base, located just west of Qatar's capital, Doha, is home to the United States Central Command and the United States Air Force Central Command. Used primarily during the War in Afghanistan, it housed over 4,000 soldiers at its peak and hundreds of warplanes. To combat the summer heat, the airbase also has two military-issued above-ground swimming pools for the airmen to use.

  • #19. Portugal

    - Total number of U.S. military bases: 1
    --- Army bases: 0
    --- Navy bases: 0
    --- Air Force bases: 1
    --- Marine bases: 0
    --- Joint bases: 0

    In 1949, Portugal became a part of NATO and brought arguably its most important contribution, Lajes Field Air Base, into the alliance. According to the NATO agreement, any of the member states could use the base, which is how the United States Air Force began to utilize this Portuguese Air Force-owned base. Lajes Field was used intensively by the U.S. during the Cold War and the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, but today it houses only one American unit.

  • #18. Kyrgyzstan

    - Total number of U.S. military bases: 1
    --- Army bases: 0
    --- Navy bases: 0
    --- Air Force bases: 1
    --- Marine bases: 0
    --- Joint bases: 0

    One of the newer U.S. Air Force bases, Ganci Air Base, or the Transit Center at Manassas, was a part of the Afghanistan invasion plan. Established shortly after 9/11, it originally housed a number of American troops and various allied forces troops, but today, it’s used primarily for Americans entering and exiting Afghanistan. While it’s a strategic base for America, not every country appreciates its existence—at one point Russia and China worked together to push for the base’s closure, a fight they ended up losing.

  • #17. Greenland

    - Total number of U.S. military bases: 1
    --- Army bases: 0
    --- Navy bases: 0
    --- Air Force bases: 1
    --- Marine bases: 0
    --- Joint bases: 0

    About 750 miles away from the North Pole lies Thule Air Force Base, the United State’s northernmost military base. An unusual base, Thule is located at the only point in the world where three glaciers come together and can provide once in a lifetime sightings of various polar animals. The base’s main job is to provide missile warning operations and to work for general space control.

  • #16. Singapore

    - Total number of U.S. military bases: 2
    --- Army bases: 0
    --- Navy bases: 2
    --- Air Force bases: 0
    --- Marine bases: 0
    --- Joint bases: 0

    One of the newest and most advanced military bases in all of Asia, Singapore’s COMLOG Westpac Navy Base maintains a constant state of combat readiness and works closely with Singaporean forces. It was originally established to better relations between America and Singapore, but it has since become responsible for maintaining communications and relationships with the Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Brunei. Because of its huge number of responsibilities, the base has become critical to the United States military.

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