This item has been corrected.
On Mar. 24, US president Barack Obama announced that all 9,800 US troops currently stationed in Afghanistan will remain until the end of 2015. This generated a fair amount of criticism: it was, after all, Obama’s promise that the last American troop would leave the country in 2014.
Those expecting the US to leave Afghanistan, however, should take a minute to consider this: the US still hasn’t left Germany. In fact, there are quite a few places the US hasn’t left, and while certainly most of them don’t pose a threat to American soldiers, they reveal a pattern about the US staying, rather than leaving.
According to official information provided by the Department of Defense (DoD) and its Defense Manpower Data Center (DMDC) there are still about 40,000 US troops, and 179 US bases in Germany, over 50,000 troops in Japan (and 109 bases), and tens of thousands of troops, with hundreds of bases, all over Europe. Over 28,000 US troops are present in 85 bases in South Korea, and have been since 1957.
Altogether, based on information contained in the DoD’s latest Base Structure Report (BSR), the US has bases in at least 74 countries and troops practically all over the world, ranging from thousands to just one in some countries (it could be a military attaché, for instance).
Calculating the extent of the US military presence abroad is not an easy task. The data released by the Department of Defense is incomplete, and inconsistencies are found within documents. Quartz has requested clarification from the Department of Defense, but hasn’t received a response.
In his forthcoming book Base Nation: How US Military Bases Abroad Harm America and the World, David Vine, associate professor of anthropology at American University details the difficulties of assessing the US military presence abroad. He writes:
according to the most recent publicized count, the U.S. military currently still occupies 686 “base sites” outside the fifty states and Washington, DC.
While 686 base sites is quite a figure in its own right, that tally strangely excludes many well-known U.S. bases, like those in Kosovo, Kuwait, and Qatar. Less surprisingly, the Pentagon’s count also excludes secret (or secretive) American bases, like those reported in Israel and Saudi Arabia. There are so many bases, the Pentagon itself doesn’t even know the true total.
That is not the only issue—even a definitive count of bases would include a wide range of facilities. “Base” itself is an umbrella term that includes locations referred to as “post,” “station,” “camp,” or “fort” by different military bodies. Vine explains:
bases come in all sizes and shapes, from massive sites in Germany and Japan to small radar facilities in Peru and Puerto Rico. […] Even military resorts and recreation areas in places like Tuscany and Seoul are bases of a kind; worldwide, the military runs more than 170 golf courses.
The map below represents US military bases abroad, according to the official BSR, and from independent research conducted by Vine (and Quartz) using verified news reports as well as cross-referencing information with Google Maps. This map does not take into account NATO bases, including a rumored base in Turkmenistan and a base in Algeria, reported by Wikileaks to be a suspected US base.
Most of the countries appear to have a small concentration of US bases (below 10). That’s compared to Germany’s 179, Puerto Rico’s 37, or Italy’s 58. The largest military footprint remains in countries that the US invaded in WWII, while its presence in areas of more recent contention, such as the Middle East, is somewhat reduced, at least in terms of bases.
It has been noted by commentators before that not all the bases are of significant size. However, given the information available it’s hard to truly gauge the size of the different installation. Vine writes:
The Pentagon says that it has just 64 “active major installations” overseas and that most of its base sites are “small installations or locations.” But it defines “small” as having a reported value of up to $915 million. In other words, small can be not so small.
The information about troops abroad, too, isn’t completely clear, which makes it difficult to know the true extent of the American military footprint. IHS Jane’s armed forces analyst Dylan Lehrke told Quartz that it’s hard to even settle on the definition of military presence—for the government, that means bases or deployed troops, although it would seem acceptable to include other forms of presence:
Surely one could say that the US has a military presence in Syria at the moment. They may not have bases and troops on the ground but we should include the warplanes in the sky. The US military arguably has more presence in Syria than it does in Germany […]. To take this idea further, it would also be rational to say the US has a military presence wherever it uses unmanned aerial vehicles to strike targets.
All the countries that have some sort of American military presence—from one military attaché to the troops involved in Iraq and Afghanistan—essentially results in highlighting pretty much the entire world (Russia included, where the DoD reports having 24 military personnel).
Taking into account a sizable troop presence, existence of bases, and whether the US is conducting drone strikes (Yemen, Syria, Pakistan) in a country results in the geographic representation of US military power abroad as below:
Correction: A previous version of the featured maps of US bases abroad and US military presence indicated that there were US bases in India.
Several days before US president Donald Trump banned entry by citizens of seven majority-Muslim countries, a draft of the order was obtained by several news organizations, including the Los Angeles Times and Huffington Post. Comparing the draft with the final version reveals significant editing of the controversial action.
The draft, for instance, imposed only a 30-day ban, but the ultimate order extended that to 90 days. The draft called for the creation of “safe zones” for Syrian refugees, but that was dropped by the final version. A passage claiming “hundreds” of foreigners had been involved in terrorism since Sept. 11, 2011, was changed to “numerous.”
Below, see all of the deletions and additions to the text of the executive order between the draft and the order that Trump signed. (We used the document obtained by LA Times for this comparison.)
* * *
PROTECTING THE NATION FROM TERRORST ATTACKS BY FOREIGN NATIONALSFOREIGN TERRORIST ENTRY INTO THE UNITED STATES
By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and laws of the United States of America, including the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), 8 U.S.C. 10011101 et seq .)., (INA), and section 301 of title 3, United States Code, and to protect the American people from terrorist attacks by foreign nationals admitted to the United States, it is hereby ordered as follows:
Section 1. Purpose. The visa-issuance process plays a crucial role in detecting individuals with terrorist ties and stopping them from entering the United States. Perhaps in no instance was that more apparent than with the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, when State Department policy prevented consular officers from properly scrutinizing the visa applications of several of the 19 foreign nationals who went on to murder nearly 3,000 Americans. And while the visa-issuance process was reviewed and amended after the September 11 attacks to better detect would-be terrorists from receiving visas, these measures did not stop attacks by foreign nationals who were admitted to the United States.
Hundreds ofNumerous foreign-born individuals have been convicted or implicated in terrorism-related crimes since September 11, 2001, including foreign nationals who entered the United States afterclaiming asylum; after receiving visitor, student, or employment visas ;,or who entered through the U.S.United States refugee resettlement program. Deteriorating conditions in certain countries due to war, strife, disaster, and civil unrest increase the likelihood that terrorists will use any means possible to enter our countrythe United States. The United States must be vigilant during the visa-issuance process to ensure that those approved for admission do not intend to harm Americans and that they have no ties to terrorism.
In order to protect Americans, wethe United States must ensure that those admitted to this country do not bear hostile attitudes toward our countryit and its founding principles. WeThe United States cannot, and should not, admit into our country those who do not support the U.S.Constitution, or those who would place violent religiousideologiesedicts over American law. In addition, the United States should not admit those who engage in acts of bigotry andor hatred (including “honor” killings, other forms of violence against women, or the persecution of those who practice other religions different from their own) or those who would oppress membersAmericans of oneany race, one gender, or sexual orientation.
Sec. 2. Policy. It is the policy of the United States to: (a) protect ouritscitizens from foreign nationals who intend to commit terrorist attacks in the United States; and (b)to prevent the admission of foreign nationals who intend to exploit United States immigration laws for malevolent purposes.
Sec. 3. Suspension of Issuance of Visas and Other Immigration Benefits to Nationals of Countries of Particular Concern. (a) The Secretary of Homeland Security, in consultation with the Secretary of State and the Director of National Intelligence, shall immediately conduct a review to determine the information needed from any country fortoadjudicationadjudicate of any visa, admission, or other benefit under the INA (adjudications) adequatein order to determine that the individual seeking the benefit is who the individual claims to be and is not a security or public-safety threat.
(b) The Secretary of Homeland Security, in consultation with the Secretary of State and the Director of National Intelligence , shall submit to the President a report on the results of the review described in subsection(a) of this section, including the Secretary of Homeland Security’ s determination of the information needed for adjudications and a list of countries that do not provide adequate information, within 30 days of the date of this order. (excluding those foreign nationals traveling on diplomatic visas, North Atlantic Treaty Organization visas, and visas for travel to the United Nations). The Secretary of Homeland Security shall provide a copy of the report to the Secretary of State andthe Director of National Intelligence .
(c) To temporarily reduce investigative burdens toon relevant agencies during the review period described in subsection (a) of this section, to ensure – the proper review and maximum utilization of available resources for the screening of foreign nationals, and to ensure that adequate standards are established to prevent the terrorist or criminal infiltration of foreign nationalsinfiltration by foreign terrorists or criminals, pursuant to section 212(f) of the INA, 8 U.S.C. 1182(f), I hereby findproclaim that the immigrant and non-immigrantnonimmigrant entry into the United States of aliens from countries designated pursuant to Division O, Title II, Section 203 of the 2016 consolidated Appropriations Act (HR 2029, PL 114-113)referred to in section 217(a)(12) of the INA, 8 U.S.C 1187(a)(12), would be detrimental to the interests of the United States, and I hereby suspend entry into the United States, as immigrants and nonimmigrants, of such persons for 3090 days from the date of this order . (excluding those foreign nationals traveling on diplomatic visas, North Atlantic Treaty Organization visas, C-2 visas for travel to the United Nations, and G-1, G-2, G-3, and G-4 visas).
(d) Immediately upon receipt of the report described in subsection (b) of this section regarding the information needed for adjudications, the Secretary of State shall request all foreign governments that do not supply such information to start providing such information regarding their nationals within 60 days of notification.
(e) After the 60-day period described in subsection (d) of this section expires, the Secretary of Homeland Security, in consultation with the Secretary of State, shall submit to the President a list of countries recommended for inclusion on a Presidential proclamation that would prohibit the entry of foreign nationals (excluding those foreign nationals traveling on diplomatic visas, North Atlantic Treaty Organization visas, and C-2 visas for travel to the United Nations, and G-1, G-2, G-3, and G-4 visas ) from countries that do not provide the information requested pursuant to subsection (d) of this ordersectionuntil compliance occurs.
(f) At any point after submitting the list described in subsection (e) of this section, the Secretary of State or the Secretary of Homeland Security may submit to the President the names of any additional countries recommended for similar treatment.
(g) Notwithstanding a suspension pursuant to subsection (c) of this section or pursuant to a Presidential proclamation described in subsection (e) of this section, the Secretaries of State and Homeland Security may, on a case-by-case basis, and when in the national interest, issue visas or other immigration benefits to nationals of countries for which visas and benefits are otherwise blocked.
(h) The Secretaries of State and Homeland Security shall submit to the President a joint report on the progress in implementing this order within 30 days of the date of this order, a second report within 60 days of the date of this order, a third report within 90 days of the date of this order, and a fourth report within 120 days of the date of this order.
Sec. 4. Implementing Uniform Screening Standards for allAllImmigration Programs. (a) The Secretary of State, the Secretary of Homeland Security, the Director of National Intelligence, and the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation shall implement a program, duringas part of the adjudication process for immigration benefits, to identify individuals seeking to enter the United States on a fraudulent basis , with the intent to cause harm, or who are at risk of causing harm subsequent to their admission . This program will include the development of a uniform screening standardsstandard and proceduresprocedure, such as in-person interviews; the creation of a database of identity documents proffered by applicants to ensure that duplicate documents are not used by multiple applicants; amended application forms that include questions aimed at identifying fraudulent answers and malicious intent; a mechanism to ensure that the applicant is who the applicant claims to be; a process to evaluate the applicant’s likelihood of becoming a positivepositively contributing member of society , and the applicant’s ability to make contributions to the national interest; and , a mechanism to assess whether or not the applicant has the intent to commit criminal or terrorist acts after entering the United States.
(b) The Secretary of Homeland Security, in conjunction with the Secretary of State,the Director of National Intelligence, and the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, shall submit to the President an initial report on the progress of this directive within 60 days of the date of this order, a second report within 100 days of the date of this order, and a third report within 200 days of the date of this order.
Sec. 5. Realignment of the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program for Fiscal Year 2017. (a) The Secretary of State shall suspend the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP) for 120 days. During the 120-day period, the Secretary of State, in conjunction with the Secretary of Homeland Security and in consultation with the Director of National Intelligence , shall review the USRAP application and adjudication process to determine what additional procedures canshould be taken to ensure that those approved for refugee admission do not pose a threat to the security and welfare of the United States, and shall implement such additional procedures. Refugee applicants who are already in the USRAP process may be admitted upon the initiation and completion of these revised procedures. Upon the date that is 120 days afterthe date ofthis order, the Secretary of State shall resume USRAP admissions only for nationals of countries for whomwhich the Secretary of Homeland SecurityState, the Secretary of StateHomeland Security, and the Director of National Intelligence have jointly determined that sufficient safeguardssuch additional proceduresare in placeadequate to ensure the security and welfare of the United States.
(b) Upon the resumption of USRAP admissions, the Secretary of State, in consultation with the Secretary of Homeland Security, is further directed to make changes, to the extent permitted by law, to prioritize refugee claims made by individuals on the basis of religious-based persecution, provided that the religion of the individual is a minority religion in the individual’ s country of nationality. Where necessary and appropriate, the Secretaries of State and Homeland Security shall recommend legislation to the President tothat would assist with such prioritization.
(c) The Secretaries of State and Homeland Security as appropriate, shal cease refugee processing of and the addmittancePursuant to section 21(f) of the INA, 8 U.S.C. 1182(f), I hereby proclaim that the entry of nationals of Syria as refugees is detrimental to the interests of the United States and thus suspend any such entry until such time as I have determined that sufficient changes have been made to the USRAP to ensure its alignmentthat admission of Syrian refugees is consistentwith the national interest.
(d) Notwithstanding any previous Presidential determination regarding the number of refugee admissions for Fiscal Year 2017, the Secretaries of State and Homeland Security may only process and admit a total ofPursuant to section 212(f) of the INA, 8 U.S.C. 1182(f), I hereby proclaim that the entry of more than 50,000 refugees duringin Fiscal Yearfiscal year 2017 . During the 120-day suspension provided by section 5(a) the Secretary of State and the Secretary of Homeland Security shall initiate appropriate consultations in connection with this determination, including with respect to the allocation among refugees of special humanitarian concern to the United States.would be detrimental to the interests of the United States, and thus suspend any such entry until such time as I determine that additional admissions would be in the national interest.
( fe) Notwithstanding the temporary suspension imposed pursuant to subsection (a) of this section, the Secretaries of State and Homeland Security may jointly determine to admit individuals to the United States as refugees on a case-by-case basis, when in the national interest. Further, during the temporary suspension period described in subsection (TK) the Secretaries of State and Homeland Security may continue to process as refugees those refugee claims made by indiciduals on the basistheir discretion, but only so long as they determine that the admission of such individuals as refugees is in the national interest — including when the person is a religious minority in his country of nationality facingreligious-based persecution, provided that the religion of the individual is a minority religionwhen admitting the person would enable the United States to conform its conduct to a preexisting international agreement, or when the person is already in transit and denying admission would cause undue hardship — and it would not pose a risk to the individual’s country of nationalitysecurity or welfare of the United States.
( gf ) The Secretary of State shall submit to the President an initial report on the progress of the directive in subsection (b) of this section regarding prioritization of claims made by individuals on the basis of religious-based persecution within 100 days of the date of this order and shall submit a second report within 200 days of the date of this order.
(g) It is the policy of the executive branch that, to the extent permitted by law and as practicable, State and local jurisdictions be granted a role in the process of determining the placement or settlement in their jurisdictions of aliens eligible to be admitted to the United States as refugees. To that end, the Secretary of Homeland Security shall examine existing law to determine the extent to which, consistent with applicable law, State and local jurisdictions may have greater involvement in the process of determining the placement or resettlement of refugees in their jurisdictions, and shall devise a proposal to lawfully promote such involvement.
Sec. 6. Establishment of Safe Zones to Protect Vulnerable Syrian Populations. Pursuant to the cessation of refugee processing for Syrian nationals, the Secretary of State, in conjunction with the Secretary of Defense, is directed within 90 days of the date of this order to produce a plan to provide safe areas in Syria and in the surrounding region in which Syrian nationals displaced from their homeland can await firm settlement, such as repatriation or potential third-country resettlement.
Sec. 76 . Rescission of Exercise of Authority Relating to the Terrorism Grounds of Inadmissibility. The Secretaries of State and Homeland Security shall, in consultation with the Attorney General, consider rescinding the exercises of authority in section 212 of the INA, 8 U.S.C. 1182, relating to the terrorism grounds of inadmissibility, as well as any related implementing memoranda..
Sec. 87 . Expedited Completion of the Biometric Entry-Exit Tracking System. (a) The Secretary of Homeland Security shall expedite the completion and implementation of a biometric entry-exit tracking system for all travelers to the United States, as recommended by the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States.
(b) The Secretary of Homeland Security shall submit to the President periodic reports on the progress of the directive contained in subsection (a) of this section. The initial report shall be submitted within 100 days of the date of this order, a second report shall be submitted within 200 days of the date of this order, and a third report shall be submitted within 365 days of the date of this order. Further, the Secretary shall submit a report every 180 days thereafter until the system is fully deployed and operational.
Sec. 98 . Visa Interview Security. (a) The Secretary of State shall immediately suspend the Visa Interview Waiver Program and ensure compliance with section 222 of the INA,8 U.S.C. 1222, which requires that all individuals seeking a nonimmigrant visa , undergo an in-person interview, subject to specific statutory exceptions.
(b) To the extent permitted by law and subject to the availability of appropriations, the Secretary of State shall immediately expand the Consular Fellows Program, including by substantially increasing the number of Fellows, lengthening or making permanent the period of service, and making language training at the Foreign Service Institute available to Fellows for assignment to posts outside of their area of core linguistic ability, to ensure that non-immigrant visa – interview wait times are not unduly affected.
Sec. 109 . Visa Validity Reciprocity. The Secretary of State shall review all nonimmigrant visa reciprocity agreements to ensure that they are, with respect to each visa classification, truly reciprocal insofar as practicable with respect to validity period and fees, as urgedrequired by sections 221(c) and 281 of the INA, 8 U.S.C. 1201(c) and 1351, and other treatment. If a country does not treat U.S.United States nationals seeking nonimmigrant visas in a reciprocal manner, the Secretary of State shall adjust the visa validity period, fee schedule, or other treatment to match the treatment of U.S.United States nationals by the foreign country, to the extent practicable.
Sec. 1110. Transparency and Data Collection. (a) To be more transparent with the American people, and in order to more effectively implement policies and practices that serve the national interest, the Secretary of Homeland Security, in consultation with the Attorney General, shall, consistent with applicable law and national security , collect and make publicly available within 180 days, and every 180 days thereafter:
( ai) information regarding the number of foreign -bornindividualsnationals in the United States who have been charged with terrorism-related offenses while in the United States; convicted of terrorism-related offenses while in the United States; or removed from the United States based on terrorism-related activity, affiliation, or material support to a terrorism-related organization, or any other national security reasons since the date of this order or the last reporting period, whichever is later;
( bii) information regarding the number of foreign -bornindividualsnationals in the United States who have been radicalized after entry into the United States and engaged in terrorism-related acts, or who have provided material support to terrorism-related organizations in countries that pose a threat to the United States, since the date of this order or the last reporting period, whichever is later; and
( ciii ) information regarding the number and types of acts of gender-based violence against women, orincluding honor killings, in the United States by foreign nationals, since the date of this order or the last reporting period, whichever is later; and
(iv) any other information relevant to public safety and security as determined by the Secretary of Homeland Security and the Attorney General, including information on the immigration status of foreign nationals charged with major offenses.
(b) The Secretary of State shall, within one year of the date of this order, provide a report on the estimated long-term costs of the USRAP at the Federal, State, and local levels.
Sec. 1211. General Provisions. (a) Nothing in this order shall be construed to impair or otherwise affect:
(i) the authority granted by law to an executive department , or agency, or the head thereof; or
(ii) the functions of the Director of the Office of Management and Budget relating to budgetary, administrative, or legislative proposals.
(b) This order shall be implemented consistent with applicable law and subject to the availability of appropriations.
(c) This order is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.