USBasesBy Kelly Martin, David Vine

Even though the U.S. military has fewer bases that it did at the end of the Cold War, it has increasingly inserted itself into new corners of the globe with the help of small, often secretive “lily pad” bases; today, there are bases in around 80 countries and U.S. territories — roughly twice as many as in 1989.

Formally called “cooperative security locations,” lily pads are small, spartan installations that often house prepositioned weaponry and allow troops to deploy quickly into battle, like frogs jumping across a pond. While the new bases appear to offer a low-cost, low-profile alternative to giant, city-sized installations, lily pads can easily transform into larger bases and commitments, potentially plunging the country into new, little-known conflicts.

Click on the image and then on the symbols for more detail about particular bases.