The United States currently spends substantial sums of money on military infrastructure. Not all of it is required to keep the country safe. The Pentagon estimates that the several services are carrying over twenty-percent of excess basing capacity. These underutilized, and in some cases, unused, bases waste tax dollars and force the military to look elsewhere to economize.

Abroad, the United States maintains a veritable empire of military bases — about 800 of them in more than 70 countries. Many view our bases as a symbol of our status as the dominant world power. But America’s forward-deployed military posture incurs substantial costs and disadvantages, exposing the United States to unnecessary risks and unintended consequences.

The Pentagon should be authorized to reduce its excess overhead at home, and, wherever possible, return the property to local communities for redevelopment. U.S. policymakers should also revisit the wisdom of stationing hundreds of thousands of American troops in overseas bases.

More on Military Infrastructure

Commentary

The Case against U.S. Overseas Military Bases

By John Glaser. Foreign Affairs. July 25, 2017.

Turning Former Military Bases into Economic Development

By Lucian Niemeyer and Christopher A. Preble. Real Clear Defense. March 1, 2017.

What Does America Really Gain from Excess Military Bases?

By Christopher A. Preble and Todd Harrison. The National Interest (Online). February 25, 2017.

Cato Studies

Budgetary Savings from Military Restraint

By Benjamin H. Friedman and Christopher A. Preble. Policy Analysis No. 667. September 21, 2010.

Public Filings

An Open Letter on BRAC

By Christopher A. Preble, Mackenzie Eaglen, and Todd Harrison. Public Comments. June 19, 2017.

Military Restraint and Defense Savings

By Benjamin H. Friedman. Testimony. July 20, 2010.

Events

Life after BRAC: Has the Time Come for Another Round?

Featuring Christopher A. Preble, Kurt Couchman, and Peter Russo. February 23, 2017. Capitol Hill Briefing.