What Countries Have Overseas Military Bases?

Written by danica sorber
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What Countries Have Overseas Military Bases?
Military bases are a show of military might and national defence abroad. (Thinkstock/Comstock/Getty Images)

Governments stationing bases in other countries for the purposes of military strength abroad are not new to history. The Roman civilisation pioneered this method nearly 2,000 years ago. Notably in Great Britain, this method was continued with the assigning of military outposts and garrisons in an effort to influence local policy and matters of state. At present, the policy of "strength abroad" continues.

United States

As of 2011, The United States has nearly 1,000 military bases operating in more than 100 countries. As one of the founding members of North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the world's largest military alliance, the United States maintains the majority of its military bases on foreign soil for the purposes of ally defence and rapid response to threats against national security. At many of these bases, other foreign nationals and members of the National Air Transportation Association (NATA) work with United States personnel. There is speculation that not even the Pentagon knows exactly how many overseas military bases and personnel are currently operating on foreign soil.


The French Foreign Legion, established in 1831, has a long history of recruiting foreign nationals into their ranks. Not only has this developed esprit de corps among this unique military force, but it has also aided in developing foreign military bases in Djibouti, French Guiana-Kourou, and Mayotte in the Comorian islands to protect their trade interests and colonies.


Britain's role as a world military power has faded within the last 100 years and the number of foreign occupations with it. During its time in global power, extensive foreign territories were formed and developed. As of 2011, Britain maintains two military bases within the Cyprus Republic. Britain also houses aircraft and personnel at Ascension Island, Kenya and within the Falkland Islands.


Japan, historically insular, has very recently opened its first overseas army military base in Djibouti. This was done in an effort to stem the flow of piracy within the Gulf of Aden and protect Japanese maritime commerce. In the eternal race to secure peace or prepare for war, Japan is the latest country to reach out in an effort to protect its assets and livelihood in the global marketplace.

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