Cue music (composed by Lalo Schifrin):
Noone knows how many bases the US military maintains. The best guess estimates put the total number at more than 1,000, with 500-600 outside of the US in several dozen (36+) countries. These bases are, of course, used to project US power through staging military adventurism around the globe, such as the JSOC operations reputedly ongoing in more than 100 countries.
In an effort to get to the bottom of this, Josh Begley, a data artist, began a project to map all known U.S. military bases around the world, collect satellite pictures of them using Google and Bing Maps, and display them online.
You can check out his work to date, and read a nice write-up on Mashable. Finally, the ever excellent TomDispatch.com offers a thorough expose on the US Military’s global presence.
Interestingly, while most of the satellite images are clear, several have been fudged to obscure the base. What could they be hiding from the eyes in the sky, I wonder? Certainly, the bad guys have access to unfudged images, so why bother?
Good luck, Josh. Enquiring minds want to know.
- TomDispatch comes through again with an expose on the secret military within the military — US Special Operations Command (SOCOM). In 2012 and 2013, U.S. Special Operations forces (SOF) were likely deployed to — or training, advising, or operating with the personnel of — more than 100 foreign countries. In 2011, Special Operations publicly stated its personnel were annually sent to 120 countries around the world, about 60% of the nations on the planet.