Where Is the U.S. Keeping Its Forces?
America isn’t limited to the fifty states. Our country is a global superpower with assets, responsibilities, and political interests all over the world. The government has troops stashed in all seven continents for dozens of different reasons. The most important reason is that America has much of its wealth invested overseas with a Net International Investment Position of over eight billion, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis. Beyond financial interests, America is also deeply committed to keeping its allies out of harm’s way. Beef up your knowledge of U.S. international relations and take a look at where our troops are stationed around the world.
Foreign Policy by the Numbers
You might be surprised at how far U.S. control extends throughout the world. We have troops stationed in over 150 countries with 1.3 million military personnel in total. You can usually find our troops at one of America’s 662 military bases. Although they vary in size, from massive complexes to minor facilities, all of this foreign involvement comes at a steep price. The Department of Defense spent 598 billion dollars in 2015 alone.
Coming in at number one on the list is Japan. Our country currently has over 48,000 troops in the nation of Japan. That’s largely due to how WWII came to an end. In order to keep an eye on the country’s nuclear program and prevent more casualties, the U.S. insisted on having several military bases in the country. With the U.S. refusing to budge, the majority of those bases are still up and running today.
U.S. Central Command Area of Responsibility
The U.S. Central Command Area of Responsibility has been at the heart of all U.S. military involvement in the Middle East since the 1980s. This U.S. Central Command is responsible for overseeing twenty countries throughout the Middle East and North Africa including Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Iran. The U.S. currently has over 44,000 troops stationed at the U.S. Central Command Area of Responsibility. A hefty chunck of that is still going to Afghanistan after President Obama decided to keep nearly 6,000 troops stationed on Afghan soil through 2016. Depending on how the conflict in Syria develops over the next several months, we might start to see those numbers rise.
Rounding out the top five, Germany is currently hosting over 37,000 of our troops. Those numbers are high for same reasons that Japan is on this list. Winning the Second World War gave the U.S. permission to keep an eye on the countries that it saw as a threat. Of course, our enemies today are not the same as the ones we had in the 1940s.
In an effort to keep an eye on its neighbor, the U.S. currently has over 27,000 troops in South Korea. Completely cut off from the rest of the world, North Korea has long been seen as a ticking time bomb. It poses a direct threat to the U.S. and many of its allies. Staking out some territory in South Korea is as close as the generals can get.
Italy comes in fifth with over 11,000 U.S. troops to its name. For a soldier, hanging out in Italy probably doesn’t sound too bad.