Carefully researched Interactive Map of US Military Deployment and Installations Worldwide
The vast sums expended in the name of national defense dwarfs everything else in the federal budget. As of 2008, the Pentagon reported having 1,174 stateside bases with a combined “replacement value” of a staggering $586 billion. The Defense Department estimates it will spend $651.2 billion in 2009, nearly 20 percent of the total federal budget, to fight the war on terror, grow and strengthen the Army, Marines, and National Guard, fund secret operations, create AFRICOM to increase the US presence in Africa, build martial partnerships with other countries, shift global basing to adjust to the post-Cold War era, and fund major domestic basing changes recommended in 2005 by the Defense Base Closure and Realignment Commission (BRAC).
Those realignments and closures are scheduled for completion by September 15, 2011, and there’s some indication that the Bush administration has used the process to reward states that have supported it and punish states that haven’t. The plan consolidates and increases military presence in certain areas, especially the South, while proposing the closure of bases in states such as Maine, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, California, and Connecticut. The Christian Science Monitor characterized the move as one that placed bases in states “more tied to martial traditions.” The Northeast and DC, for instance, stand to lose about 27,600 base-related jobs, while the Deep South gains about 16,700. The biggest winner: Georgia.
The Pentagon estimates that BRAC will save nearly $50 billion over 20 years (this at a time when the war in Iraq alone costs $2 billion a week). But the cuts also mean economic hardship for communities where bases are being closed, and trouble for the politicians approving the closures. Sen. Olympia Snowe, a Maine Republican, called the plan a “travesty and a strategic blunder of epic proportions on the part of the Defense Department.” Presumably she did not mean BRAC was a danger to global security; two Maine naval facilities were on the closure list.