Tag Archives: Foreign military bases

A US Soldier Died in Niger. What on Earth Are We Doing There? by Peter Certo

Peter Certo asks the same question SLL asked in “Pay Any Price.” From Certo at antiwar.com:

In our military-revering culture, it’s a strange thing for a president to start a war of words with the grieving families of slain soldiers.

Strange, yes. But from Donald Trump’s campaign season feud with the parents of Humayun Khan, who died protecting fellow soldiers in Iraq, to his recent feud with the mourning widow of La David Johnson, who died on patrol in Niger, it’s no longer surprising.

At root in the latest spat is a comment Trump made to La David’s widow Myeshia Johnson: “He knew what he signed up for.” Myeshia thought that remark was disrespectful – she later said it “made me cry.”

Beyond insensitive, though, there’s a good chance it simply wasn’t true.

Why, after all, should La David have expected to die in a dusty corner of Niger – a Saharan country most Americans (and, one suspects, their president) couldn’t find on a map? And where the U.S. isn’t actually at war?

If you were surprised to learn the U.S. has nearly a thousand troops in Niger, you’re not alone. Senator Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican who serves on the Armed Forces Committee, told NBC he “had no idea.” Neither did Chuck Schumer, the Senate’s top Democrat.

Well, the surprises may keep coming.

The New York Times notes tthat the U.S. now has “over 240,000 active-duty and reserve troops in at least 172 countries and territories.” Count it again: 172 countries, out of 193 UN member states.

Most of us remain at least dimly aware that we still have thousands of troops in war zones like Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as in Cold War outposts like Japan, South Korea, and Germany. But what about the 160-plus others? And where are the nearly 38,000 troops whose location the Pentagon lists as “unknown”?

To continue reading: A US Soldier Died in Niger. What on Earth Are We Doing There?

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U.S. Military Personnel Deployments by Country, by The Visual Capitalism

Good information on the American Empire’s outposts, and military spending, from visualcapitalist.com:

U.S. Military Personnel Deployments by Country

200K ACTIVE TROOPS OVERSEAS IN 177 COUNTRIES

The Chart of the Week is a weekly Visual Capitalist feature on Fridays.

There was no shortage of cuts proposed in Trump’s budget for 2018, which was released earlier this week.

However, one of the few departments that did not receive a haircut was the Department of Defense. If the proposed budget ultimately passes in Congress, the DoD would be allocated an extra $54 billion in federal funding – a 10% increase that would be one of the largest one-year defense budget increases in American History.

To put the proposed increase in context, the United States already spends more on defense than the next seven countries combined. Meanwhile, the additional $54 billion is about the size of the United Kingdom’s entire defense budget.

Country Military Spending (2015) Share

United States $596 billion 35.8%
China $215 billion 12.9%
Saudi Arabia $87 billion 5.2%
Russia $66 billion 4.0%
United Kingdom $55 billion 3.3%
India $51 billion 3.1%
France $51 billion 3.1%
Japan $41 billion 2.5%
Germany $39 billion 2.4%
South Korea $36 billion 2.2%
Others $427 billion 25.6%

“BE ALL YOU CAN BE”

With over half of all U.S. discretionary spending being put towards the military each year, the U.S. is able to have extensive operations both at home and abroad. Our chart for this week breaks down military personnel based on the latest numbers released by the DoD on February 27, 2017.

In total, excluding civilian support staff, there are about 2.1 million troops. Of those, 1.3 million are on active duty, while about 800,000 are in reserve or part of the National Guard.

On a domestic basis, there are about 1.1 million active troops stationed in the United States, and here’s how they are grouped based on branch of service:

Military Branch Active Domestic Personnel As a Percentage
Army 394,236
35%
Navy 283,499
25%
Marine Corps 149,992
13%
Air Force 249,738
22%
Coast Guard 38,659
3%
Total 1,116,124
100%
Internationally, there are just under 200,000 troops that are stationed in 177 countries throughout the world.

To continue reading: U.S. Military Personnel Deployments by Country