The Cost of the Global US Military Presence

Anita Dancs

The U.S.
military's global presence is vast and costly. More than one-third of
U.S. troops are currently based abroad or afloat in international
waters, and hundreds of bases and access agreements exist throughout
the world. At the beginning of the 21st century, the government pushed
to expand this presence through a variety of mechanisms. Yet the
Department of Defense's budget presentations lack enough detail to make
it possible to know the precise cost. The budgets don't break down the
numbers, for example, on maintaining bases at home and overseas.

Nevertheless, from data on personnel, bases, and the Pentagon's
budgets, it's possible to make an estimate. This number comes from the
proportion of each branch's budget devoted to military personnel
stationed overseas, excluding troops based in and around Iraq and
Afghanistan. Since one-fourth of these military personnel are stationed
overseas, the overall figure includes one-fourth of the defense-wide
budget. Finally, it includes the cost of the wars in Iraq and
Afghanistan, and the amount of military assistance to other countries.
The report does not include subsidies from governments that host bases,
three-quarters of which come from Japan alone.

The final bill: The United States spends approximately $250 billion
annually to maintain troops, equipment, fleets, and bases overseas.

For the full report, please click here.


Our Summer Campaign Is Underway

Support Common Dreams Today

Independent News and Views Putting People Over Profit

Anita Dancs is research director for the
National Priorities Project, a member of the Security Policy Working
Group, the Task Force for a Unified Security Budget, and a Foreign Policy In Focus analyst.


This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do. Without Your Support We Won't Exist.

Please select a donation method:

Share This Article

More in: