The US Military Presence Is Shrinking Abroad

Now that you have the facts, contact your elected representative for issues you care about.

The US has maintained a global military presence over the past 70 years, but in recent years the number of active duty military abroad has declined. In 2017, there were 215,249 active duty members abroad, down 41.9% from September 2008. In Iraq, troop levels declined 93% from over 100,000 in 2008 to less than 10,000 in 2017 (Fig. 100).

The total number of active duty military personnel declined 36.2% since 1980, with significant decreases in all branches except the Marine Corps, which held steady (Fig. 102). In 2018, there were 1,317,325 active duty military down 8.4% from 2003, when there were 1,437,450 active duty military members–the highest level since the 9/11 attacks (Fig. 101).