U.S. Military Reposturings
The distribution of U.S. military forces around the world has undergone several major "reposturings", especially since World War II.
1789-1898 U.S. forces extended along America's frontier to defend settlers.
1898-1940 Garrisons established to protect colonies acquired in the Spanish American War and kindred annexations.
1941-1945 World War II saw the first major buildup of U.S. bases overseas.
1945-1950 In one of the few instances of forces pulling back, there was a rapid build down of American bases abroad after World War II.
1950-1960 The start of the Cold War saw the rapid expansion of bases to counter the Soviet Union, including medium-range bomber bases around the Soviet periphery.
1960-1975 Bases were gradually built in and around Vietnam and subsequently withdrawn after the end of the Vietnam War.
1975-1990 The later period of the Cold War was generally stable, although there was a gradual buildup of bases in southwest Asia.
1990-2001 The post-Cold War period saw continued buildup in southwest Asia, residual bases in Europe, Korea and Japan and a U.S. withdrawal from the Philippines.
2001- ?? In the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks, the Pentagon is preparing to reduce the size of U.S. bases abroad while increasing their number and positioning them in more remote and unstable areas of the world.