United States military deployments
The military of the United States is deployed in more than 150 countries around the world, with more than 160,000 of its active-duty personnel stationed outside the United States and its territories. This list consists of deployments excepting active combat deployments, which consist of troops in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Syria. The exact number of these troops is currently in flux due to troop withdrawals.
Outside of active combat, US personnel are typically deployed as part of several peacekeeping missions, military attachés, or are part of embassy and consulate security. Nearly 40,000 are assigned to classified missions in locations that the US government refuses to disclose.
The deployment of the US Military in foreign countries can also have prominent effects on the host economy and community. Namely, the benefits include economic improvements and decrease in human rights violations, while the risks consist of increase in crimes, especially of sexual nature, displacement of native residents, and negative environmental impacts.
The following regional tables provide detail of where personnel from the five major branches of the US military are currently deployed. These numbers do not include any military or civilian contractors or dependents. Additionally, countries in which US military are engaged in active combat operations are not included. The numbers are based on the most recent United States Department of Defense statistics as of September 30, 2020.
| United States
(excl. Alaska & Hawaii)
East Asia, Southeast Asia, and Pacific Ocean
West Asia, Central Asia, South Asia, and Indian Ocean
|United Arab Emirates||195||21||27||64||83||0|
Effects of Military Deployments on Host Economy and Community
The stated benefits of hosting a US military base, especially for underdeveloped countries, include learning new marketing strategies, development of modern technology found in the US, and increased security from the presence of a large-scale military. Moreover, the initial creation of the base creates brief economic growth as materials are purchased from the local markets, and construction jobs are out-sourced to the local residents. One year, 2005, upwards of 80,000 locals were employed by US bases in foreign countries. As long as it is not central to the US global defense, and thus the US does not have a strong incentive to stay under the presence of human rights violations, the host state may also show increased respect for human rights.
The negative effects include relocation of and violence against native residents, which may also lead to destruction of local government; negative environmental impacts including the destruction of native landscape; and economic dependence created by the newly implemented marketing strategies and technology. The presence of US military can also have direct effects on increase in prostitution and sex-trafficking, because of the greater demand for adult entertainment created through the surge of mainly male residents in these areas. Moreover, the significant physical space taken up by the base could instead be used for schools, businesses or housing amenities which can support the local economy and increase skilled workers.
Effects of Military Deployments on the United States
In addition to impacts on the host country, there are also many impacts of military deployments on military families. In the United States, about 1.4 million children have a parent in the military. In many studies of military deployments, it is proven that there are negative impacts on not only the soldier, but also the military spouse and children. Military deployments are associated with higher suicide rates, behavioral problems in children, and a higher risk of divorce. In a study of 1,507 children aged 11–17 with a deployed parent, it was found that these children had more emotional difficulties than children in national samples.
Veteran families may experience conflict from actions or feelings of withdrawal, numbing, and irritability that are caused by post-traumatic stress disorder. Generally, these families also struggle with role ambiguity from the parent or partner that was deployed, due to anxiety and/or post-traumatic stress disorder.
Impact on Childhood Development
Notably, the number of spouses/partners and children of deployed military personnel far outnumber the actual number of service members. These families must navigate long or extended deployment separations, relocations, destruction of familial routines or role changes, and the threat posed against their loved one. This combined with contextual factors, such as living arrangements during deployment, stress levels of the parent who remains home, and frequency of contact with the deployed parent can positively or adversely impact the family members, and lead to increased rate of mental health issues, work/academic issues, internal familial conflict, or maltreatment. These stressors pose a significant threat to the development of the children, depending on how old they are when they occur. For instance, young children may not fully understand the implications and threats posed on their loved one during deployment, but their definite absence in an indefinite amount of time can be highly stressful.
Children under five experience the most significant physical, emotional, and cognitive advancements because this occurs during this first five years of life, and they also make up the largest group of children with deployed service members (i.e., parents). Children above three with a deployed parent, are more likely to display behavior problems, such as need for attention, clinginess, temper tantrums, questions regarding deployed parents, defiance, appetite changes, and sleep problems or nightmares.
Elementary school-aged children may also be hindered by their limited coping/problem-solving skills regarding their parent's absence. Middle school-aged children may be more heavily impacted due to pubertal transitions and elicited questions or increased responsibilities to help out at home. Within this age group, significant levels of anxiety, both separation anxiety and physical symptoms, were found, and a study of five- to twelve-year-olds showed that one-third was in high-risk range for “psychosocial morbidity”, according to the Pediatric Symptom Checklist. Acute stress reaction/adjustments, mood, and behavioral disorders are also common.
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