The U.S. defense budget – by far the largest of any country in the world – is the subject of regular controversy. But while multi-billion dollar weapons development programs that blow past budgets and deadlines will always be subject to political scrutiny, much of America’s annual military spending is less controversial. Nearly one-quarter of the $718 billion in U.S. military spending in fiscal 2021 went to pay and retirement benefits of service members. (Here is a look at the failed weapons the U.S. wasted the most money on.)
Though there are thousands of active-duty U.S. military personnel deployed abroad and on ships at sea, the vast majority of American troops are stationed at bases within the United States. Across the country, there are hundreds of military bases that are collectively home to over 1 million active-duty service members and their families. These domestic military installations vary considerably in personnel capacity, and many of them have populations equivalent to that of a mid-size city.
According to the Department of Defense’s report Demographics Profile of the Military Community for 2019 – the most recent year of comprehensive data by base – Naval Station Great Lakes, located 30 miles from Chicago, ranks as the largest military base in Illinois by troop count.
The base, run by the Navy, is home to 15,726 active-duty service members. Including military family members and other dependents, there are a total of 21,875 people at the base.
StateLargest baseService BranchNearest major cityTotal active-duty troopsAll personnel, including dependentsAlabamaFort RuckerArmyDothan3,8609,805AlaskaFort Jonathan WainwrightArmyFairbanks6,11713,112ArizonaDavis-Monthan AFBAir ForceTucson5,99512,919ArkansasLittle Rock AFBAir ForceLittle Rock3,5368,108CaliforniaCamp PendletonMarine CorpsSan Diego39,69070,700ColoradoFort CarsonArmyColorado Springs24,52057,473ConnecticutNew London NAVSUBBASENavyHartford6,38513,856DelawareDover AFBAir ForceDover3,4847,718FloridaMayport NAVSTANavyJacksonville10,44225,013GeorgiaFort BenningArmyColumbus24,30546,785HawaiiSchofield BarracksArmyHonolulu15,05734,022IdahoMountain Home AFBAir ForceBoise3,3877,171IllinoisNaval Station Great LakesNavyChicago15,72621,875IndianaDFAS Indianapolis CenterDoDIndianapolis149450IowaNo base with over 100 troopsN/AN/AN/AN/AKansasFort RileyArmyTopeka15,21433,295KentuckyFort CampbellArmyNashville26,82462,977LouisianaFort PolkArmyAlexandria7,78317,384MaineBrunswhick NASNavyPortland4041,011MarylandFort George G. MeadeArmyBaltimore11,14026,041MassachusettsHanscom AFBAir ForceBoston8331,957MichiganDetroit ArsenalArmyWarren127480MinnesotaFort SnellingArmyMinneapolis262799MississippiKeesler AFBAir ForceBiloxi5,1629,587MissouriFort Leonard WoodArmySpringfield12,21823,479MontanaMalmstrom AFBAir ForceGreat Falls3,2426,792NebraskaOffutt AFBAir ForceOmaha6,01214,379NevadaNellis AFBAir ForceLas Vegas10,16821,937New HampshirePortsmouth Naval ShipyardNavyPortsmouth9592,064New JerseyMcGuire AFBAir ForceTrenton4,5109,755New MexicoCannon AFBAir ForceClovis4,6338,986New YorkFort DrumArmyWatertown15,19532,011North CarolinaFort BraggArmyFayetteville45,055109,101North DakotaMinot AFBAir ForceMinot5,62511,031OhioWright-Patterson AFBAir ForceDayton5,40113,914OklahomaFort SillArmyOklahoma City13,31026,189OregonNo base with over 100 troopsN/AN/AN/AN/APennsylvaniaCarlisle BarracksArmyHarrisburg5031,903Rhode IslandNaval Station NewportNavyNewport3,2697,191South CarolinaFort JacksonArmyColumbia11,54520,589South DakotaEllsworth AFBAir ForceRapid City3,3487,118TennesseeNaval Support Activity Mid-SouthNavyMemphis6762,014TexasFort HoodArmyKilleen36,69783,815UtahHill AFBAir ForceOgden4,2019,985VermontBurlington IAP-AGSAir ForceAlbany113266VirginiaNorfolk Naval BaseNavyNorfolk47,368100,893WashingtonFort LewisArmyTacoma26,51262,831West VirginiaNo base with over 100 troopsN/AN/AN/AN/AWisconsinFort McCoyArmyLa Crosse2901,072WyomingFrancis E Warren AFBAir ForceCheyenne3,0666,716