US military counterterrorism operations extend far beyond the Middle East


Nearly 20 months after the September 11 attacks, President George W. Bush stood on an aircraft carrier under a giant banner “Mission Accomplished” and declared that “Major combat operations in Iraq are over.” Almost 18 years later, the United States is still involved in military action in the Middle East and beyond.

After the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq in the aftermath of 9/11, much of the US military’s activities have focused on counterterrorism efforts, either in direct combat, or through drone attacks, border patrols, intelligence gathering, or training of state security forces. Other.

These globe-spanning operations have cost the United States in blood and money and have had an enormous impact on populations around the world. The latest Nonmilitary threats from climate change to cyberattacks raise questions about the feasibility of holding hundreds of foreign bases Tens of thousands of troops are deployed abroad.

The United States conducted counterterrorism operations in 85 countries from 2018 to 2020

Although Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria were once on the top of the minds of the American public, the footprint was bigger – and newer – for the US military. New data from researcher Stephanie Saville to Costs of War Project At Brown University’s Watson Institute, it appears that the United States has been active for the past three years in at least 85 countries.

Expanding the US Army

The cost of war data shows the extent of recent activity abroad, but the United States has been the dominant military power in the world since the end of World War II. Here you can find out when and where the bases were opened, including expansion after 2001.

Meanwhile, China – considered by many to be the biggest competitor and threat to the United States – has only one official overseas base, in Djibouti, a country in East Africa. The Pentagon says China is building bases in Pakistan and in the Western Pacific.

Outside the battlefield

A closer look at the number of American military and civilian personnel spread around the world shows the existence of large concentrations of American military personnel in Europe, which partly reflects the legacy of World War II, and in Asia since the Korean War and North Korea’s belligerent regime.

Data from the US Department of Defense.

Echoes of September 11th

America’s war on terror has killed hundreds of thousands of civilians and thousands of American soldiers, he says Brown University’s Costs of War Project.

More than 37 million people have been displaced or become refugees

It lasted nearly two decades and cost about $ 6.4 trillion.

While some military experts say the benefits to American security outweigh the costs, others say it is time for a reassessment.

Cyber ​​attacks are not the future of war.  It does happen

Leading China and Russia Cyber ​​attacks against US private and government computer networks. The Pentagon acknowledged that cybersecurity is an increased risk with potential for mass disruption.

Meanwhile, US domestic extremists, not foreign terrorists, represent the most dangerous terrorist threat to the United States, according to it. Report from the Department of Homeland Security Released on October. Experts say epidemics and severe weather due to climate change and economic or infrastructure instability also pose national security risks.

The United States leads the world in military spending

The United States spent more than $ 731 billion on its military in 2019. While defense allocations are lower than they were in 2010, military spending has begun to increase.

The amount in US dollars in 2019 is more than the next ten countries combined, including China and Russia. And the

Supporters of overseas bases say they are allowing the United States to respond quickly to events in remote areas, including international outbreaks. But rising costs and changing threats may compel the new Biden administration to consider changes to external deployments.

Up to 800 military bases abroad

America’s vast reach illustrates why it has been called the “police of the world” – a country, critics say, that seeks global dominance through a military empire despite emerging nonmilitary threats. There are as many as 800 US military bases overseas, according to data from the Pentagon and David Vine, an expert at American University.

This map shows the approximately 350 bases for which USA TODAY has designated opening dates and locations.

Read more: “The reckoning is near”: America has a vast overseas military empire. Do you still need it?

Source: USA TODAY Reports and Research; Council on Foreign Relations; Costs of War Project, Watson Institute, Brown University; Stockholm International Peace Research Institute



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