Where Has the U.S. Military Been Engaged Around the World, and Why?

Since 1991, the United States military has been engaged in over 200 countries, with a peak of 800,000. But where they have been engaged has been wildly different by region.


Since 1991, the U.S. has largely avoided major troop deployment on the African content, but with two exceptions. The U.S. deployed 6,345 troops to Somalia in 1993, drawing down to 0 by 1996; and it deployed 498 to Djibouti in 2003, increasing to a peak of 3,172 by 2013. By 2020, there were only 249 deployed across both countries.

With 52 countries on the content of Africa, why were there so many U.S. troops in only about 4 percent of them?

As you can see in this chart, U.S. military involvement during this period is primarily broken out in two phases: before and after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. The U.S. intervened in Somalia from 1992-1995 as part of a humanitarian peacekeeping effort during Somalia's civil war. The intervention culminated with the Battle of Mogadishu in 1993.

Djibouti is a more complicated story. The country is by the Bab-el Mandeb Staight, which controls approaches to the Suez Canal. As a result, multiple countries have significant bases in Djibouti, including Japan and China.The United States took over the Camp Lemonnier base in September 2002, and it currently pays $63 million a year to lease it from the French.


In 2017, The Trump administration withdrew United States troops from China, as well as world wide leadership positions, such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Paris climate agreement. In 2019, China banned U.S. Military visits to Hong Kong.


Turkey, Macedonia, and Serbia are all in close proximity but have differing patterns of troop deployment despite their similar geographic location. In Macedonia, the number of troops significantly increased throughout the Yugoslav wars, which included the peak of US military involvement in 1999 at 1100 troops. The number decreased by nearly 75% the next year as US troops were moved out of Macedonia.

Belgium, Portal and the United Kingdom are all in close proximity and have seen a general decline in troop deployment since 1991.

Israel, Germany and Iceland are in different regions, but have all seen a general decline in troop deployment since 1991. After the end of the Cold War, Germany continued to withdraw troops on a consistent basis.

Latin America

South America

Since 1991, The United States has activarted military personel to many different South American countires. Countries such as Haiti, Panama, and Bermuda have seen massive shifts in active US militray perosnel throughout this time period.


In Bermuda, American troops left in 1995. This was because of a running US Air Force and Naval base that ceased operation in 1995. The former base had over 1000 troops in the early 90's but the country has not had American troops for the past 25 years. The former US military base in Bermuda now acts as the countiries international airport on St. Davids Islands

The Middle East

This data set shows the downward trend in Middle East troop deployments from 2010-2020. You can see where some withdraws happen from different countries with different presidencies.

The United States were uninvolved in Afghanistan until 2001 after the attacks on 9/11. Weeks later, the US, under the supervision of President George W. Bush, deployed troops to Afghanistan and began launching attacks aggainst Al Qaeda and various Taliban targets. The amount of troops involved steadily increased as tensions rose until the late 2010's when President Donald Trump took office.