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US Military Deployment 1969 to the Present
Each year since 1950, the U.S. Department of Defense has provided on its web site detailed information about the deployment of American troops around the world. A study of this data shows how the U.S. military's size and scope has changed over the past 35 years: from its peak in 1969 as a conscripted force of 2.4 million troops, heavily dispersed around the globe, to today's all-volunteer force of only 1.4 million, concentrated in a handful of countries.

Broken down by administration, this data reveals how different administrations have approached geopolitical conflict. For instance, almost 750,000 U.S. troops were present in the East Asia and Pacific theater at the height of the Vietnam War, but when America declared war on Iraq twenty years later, only about 70,000 troops were deployed. When the U.S. participated in the NATO-lead war in Kosovo in 1999, air strikes were substituted for large numbers of ground forces and no more than 13,500 troops were in the immediate area-that is a fraction of the more than 200,000 troops deployed in the Middle East as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

1969-1974 1975-1976 1977-1980 1981-1984

1985-1988 1989-1992 1993-1996 1997-2000 2001-2004

Gerald R. Ford Administration (1975-1976)

Note: Except where noted, troop deployments for each region are calculated as the mean of all years included in the presidential administration. Annual troop deployment figures are given for regions where their numbers fluctuated widely. Troop deployments for the 1974 fiscal year are included in the Nixon administration average because the Defense Department's fiscal year is from Sept. to Sept., and Nixon remained in office until August of 1974.

The fall of Saigon on April 30, 1975, marks the official withdrawal of the U. S. from Vietnam and from a war that had cost over 50,000 American lives . Diplomatic relations with the country will not be restored until 1995 . In the wake of Vietnam, the U.S. military wanes for almost a decade and does not participate in any significant military interventions during the Ford administration. In 1976, the U.S. military withdraws most of its 15,000 troops from its bases in Thailand, where America has had a substantial military presence since the 1950s.


U.S. and territories-
Including the continental U.S., Alaska, Hawaii, Project Deep Freeze (Antarctica), Guantanamo Naval Base (Cuba), Guam, Johnston Island, Midway Island, Panama Canal Zone, Puerto Rico, American Samoa, U.S. Virgin Islands, Wake Island, and others afloat.

Western Europe-
Including Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany*, Greece, Greenland, Iceland, Ireland, Italy*, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain*, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey*, Tunisia, United Kingdom*, Yugoslavia, and others afloat.
*Denotes major U.S. military presence (e.g. more than 5,000 troops)

Africa, the Middle East and South Asia-
Including Afghanistan, Bahrain, Cambodia, Cameroon, Chad, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Ghana, India, Iran, Israel, Ivory Coast, Jordan, Laos, Lebanon, Liberia, Malagasy, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Seychelles Islands, Somalia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Egypt, Zaire.

The Pacific-
Including Australia, Burma, Canton Island, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, the Philippines, Malaysia, Marshall Islands, New Zealand, Taiwan, Singapore, South Korea, and others afloat.

Western Hemisphere-
Including Antigua, Argentina, Bahamas, Barbados, Bermuda, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Columbia, Costa Rica, Cuba. Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, St. Helena, Uruguay, Venezuela.

USSR and Eastern Europe-
Including Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Poland, Romania, and the Soviet Union.

Total Worldwide-
Active-duty U.S. military personnel, in the U.S. or abroad.

A Note about the Data:
The Defense Department reports troop deployments at the end of each fiscal year on Sept. 30th. In the following maps, troop deployments are listed as the average, by region, for the four years of each presidential administration. The exceptions to this rule are the maps representing the Nixon and Ford administrations. Where a region's average does not adequately reflect the troop deployments over an entire administration (such as the average for East Asia and the Pacific during the Nixon administration), annual troop levels are listed instead. Whenever possible, the caption at the bottom of each map has tried to explain fluctuations in data that might skew the averages. Finally, when viewing these maps, it is important to keep in mind that the Defense Department regularly changes the names of it's geographical regions and the countries included in them. A color-coded system is used for national makeup of each region to help clarify this.

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posted oct. 26, 2004

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