Report: Cost of Overseas US Bases Soaring as Usefulness Lags

Foreign Funding Falls Behind Soaring Costs

A new Congressional report details the rising costs of keeping massive US bases overseas at a time when the Pentagon is looking to reduce its footprint in many of those countries, revealing a $10 billion annual cost just for the bases, and the bulk of that coming in Germany, Japan and South Korea.

Congressmen are expressing considerable annoyance that the host nations stuck with the bases, who are expected to “contribute” to their upkeep, are seeing their contributions lagging behind the ever-soaring US expenses. They say more contributions should be made since some of these bases may conceivably eventually be given back to those nations some day.

Yet the utility of these bases is also lagging, with Germany’s role as the front-line in the Cold War over for decades, and Japanese officials openly calling for the US to leave, even as the US pushes them to cough up more and more for those bases.

The $10 billion is a drop in the bucket for the Pentagon’s enormous budget, yet only reflects the costs of physically keeping the bases there, not the costs of keeping them staffed. This is also a source of considerable waste, with the Pentagon spending $200,000 in Germany just to buy “sunrooms” for high-ranking officers deployed there.

The expenses in Germany are particularly unwise, as the Pentagon has openly talked about reducing military presence there for years, since the troops aren’t really do much there anymore anyhow.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of