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Military Bases

An interesting overview of military bases can be found in the Google Earth map of foreign military bases worldwide made by the Transnational Institute.


Belgium hosts the political and military headquarters of NATO. The political headquarters are located in Brussels. SHAPE, the military headquarter is located in Mons. Near Mons it is served in logistical terms by the airforce base of Chièvres, which is run by US forces. Another support structure is the NATO Satcom installation in Kester.

Belgium is also host of US nuclear weapons on the airforce base of Kleine Brogel. This base contains a US MUNSS or Munition Support Squadron as guards and maintenance group for the nuclear weapons. But the base has mostly Belgian military and the F-16 wing tasked with flying nuclear weapons is Belgian as well.
The other airforce base with F-16's is Florennes. In total the Belgian airforce has 72 operational F-16's, of which 60 have NATO tasks. Through the Control and Reporting Centre in Glons and the Air Traffic Control Centre in Semmerzake the air operations are co-ordinated.


French bases: nouveau dispositif territorial
French overseas airbases


See also http://www.usarmygermany.com/USAREUR_Kasernes.htm





For more than 40 years, Turkey has been guarding the U.S. tactical nuclear weapons silently. During the Cold War, the US positioned intermediate-range nuclear missiles and bombers there to serve as a bulwark against the Soviet Union.

As of 2009, Turkey is one of five NATO member states which are part of the nuclear sharing policy of the alliance, together with Belgium, Germany, Italy, and the Netherlands. A total of 90 B61 nuclear bombs are hosted at the Incirlik Air Base, 40 of which are allocated for use by the Turkish Air Force. However, no permanent nuclear-capable U.S. fighter wing is based at Incirlik, and the Turkish Air Force is reportedly not certified for NATO nuclear missions. Thus, the nuclear weapons deployed in Turkey are more of symbolic indicators of strategic alliance between the US and Turkey.

For the last couple of years, Washington has supported Turkey's role as a regional energy supplier and encouraged Ankara as it undertakes difficult political reforms and works to resolve regional diplomatic conflicts. In return, Turkey recently doubled its troop contribution to NATO's Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan, as a favor to U.S. efforts there.

Incirlik Air Base

Close to many of the world’s potential trouble spots—Iraq, Armenia and Iran to name a few— Incirlik Air Base, located about 7.5 miles east of Adana, is an important base in NATO’s Southern Region.

As a prime staging location, Incirlik offers a 10,000-foot main runway and 9,000-foot alternate runway, both sitting amidst 57 hardened aircraft shelters. It also serves as a regional storage center for war reserve materials — supplies and equipment used in combat operations. Prior to September 11, 2001 the base’s human element included nearly 1,400 US Air Force military members. A new mission kicked off in mid-2005 with the arrival and departure of C-17 Globemaster IIIs carrying cargo to Iraq supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom. The new mission, which works on a “hub and spoke” concept, calls for cargo to come into the base from Charleston Air Force Base, S. C., and be transferred to several locations in Iraq. The cargo hub mission moved to Incirlik from Rhein-Main Air Base, Germany, in an effort to conserve Air Force resources. It’s a fuel and flying time issue. It is more efficient for the C-17 because the cargo is delivered closer to Iraq without going to Iraq itself. By moving it to Incirlik, it is possible to move more cargo with fewer planes.

Throughout events such as the stand-up of NATO units and arms embargoes between Turkey and America, Incirlik has been a mainstay in Adana. The base was a key contributor in the Gulf War era serving as a hub for operations such as Operations Quick Transit, Provide Comfort and Northern Watch. Later it supported Operations Enduring and Iraqi Freedom.




Spanish military is still in transition from the model of Franco's dictatorship (extensive military control of the territory against potential internal enemies) to the interventionist one, characterized by small highly deployable and combinable brigade-size units, and a strong investment in transport equipment, communication systems and new generation armament. It maintains a large number of bases and other military facilities all over the spanish territory while follows the NATO recommendations and increases the military budget, modernizes equipment and armament, and transforms its large divisions into interoperable brigades. Moreover, a chronical lack of soldiers, partly caused by the sustained action of the antimilitarist movement since the early 70's, is forcing the closing down of some bases and the dissolution of some units. The spanish military is today around 30.000 troops below of the figures planned in 1997, when the total profesionalization process started.

The interventionist core of the spanish military is mainly made up of the following units:

  • Airforce: the 12th Wing (2 squadrons of F-18A fighter-bombers in Torrejón), the 15th Wing (2 squadrons of F-18A in Zaragoza), the 11th Wing (1 squadron of EF-2000 Typhoon in Morón), and the 35th Wing (9 C-295 transport airplanes in Getafe).
  • Army: The units that compose the spanish Rapid Action Force participate in international operations since 1990. With its command HQ located in Madrid, the FAR is made up of the Legionary Brigade (BRILEG) in Almería and Málaga, the Airborne Light Brigade (BRILAT) in Vigo, the Armored Vehicles Regiment in Marines (Valencia), the Special Operations Group in Alicante, the Parachute Brigade in Alcalá, the Mountain Brigade in Pamplona and Jaca, and the helicopter battalions in Valencia, Sevilla, Madrid and Almagro.
  • Navy: F-100 series frigates usually transport troops and equipment from the Naval Stations of Cartagena and Rota, and the harbours of Valencia and Alicante. They also participate in multinational maritime deployments with US Navy (aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt strike Group in 2005) and the Royal Navy (this year). The spanish Strike Group Alpha has participated in international operations.


Until now, the spanish military interventions are much better characterized by internal objectives like propaganda, public image clean-up and relegitimation of the military than by economic or strategic ones. The list of UN military interventions with spanish participation is very long. It starts with the deployment of the Parachute Brigade in Kurdistan in 1989 and ends with the highly controversial interventions in Haiti and Lebanon. But it was in Bosnia where the spanish government finally realized of the huge potential of legitimation contained in the “humanitarian” missions, despite of the fact that the spanish troops were far from being neutral and often were passive in front of the ethnic cleansing of the muslim population of Bosnia carried up by the croatian and serbian troops.


Spain joined NATO political (not militar) structure in 1986 when the socialist party government at the time won a referendum on this issue against the population. Geopolitical changes in the following years and the tale of the “new NATO” served as an excuse for the Aznar government to force the integration of Spain in the Alliance military structure in 1996. Since then (and even before) units of the Airforce and the Rapid Action Force have increasingly participated in NATO operations.

Within the NATO intervention framework, some F-18A from Zaragoza and Torrejón airbases have participated in NATO bombings of Bosnia in 1994 (Deliberate Force) and of Serbia-Kosova in 1999 (Allied Force). Troops from the units of the Rapid Action Force have been deployed in Bosnia (SFOR), Kosovo (KFOR) and Afghanistan (ISAF). This units are also part of the the new interventionist corps NATO Response Force (NRF) in almost everyone of its semestral rotations.

Besides of this increasing contribution to NATO military muscle, the spanish governments have decided to increase the role of spanish military within the NATO force and command structure, and is offering almost obsolete bases to host NATO facilities. In this way, the city of Valencia hosts a command headquarter of NRF, and near of Madrid is located the headquarter of the NATO Land Command Component, a third level command depending of that of Naples. Other bases are also candidates for NATO facilities. The airforce base of Albacete could host in 2009 the Tactic Leadership Programme (TLP), and that of Zaragoza could receive the AWACS airplanes of the Alliance Ground Surveillance (AGS).

The military exercise fields of Zaragoza and Albacete are regularly used for multinational exercises.


Some units of the Rapid Action Force are assigned to Eurocorps: the Heavy Forces Command in Burgos, the Airborne Brigade in Vigo, and the Mountain Brigade. The spanish military also contributes to the European Union Battle Groups in 2008 with troops from the Mountain Brigade, Armoured Vehicles Brigade, and transport helicopters from the Valencia battalion.

The new european transport airplane A-400M are partly produced in the factories of the consortium European Aeronautics Defence and Space Company in Sevilla. The EF-2000 Typhoon fighter airplane is mounted in its factory in Getafe.


In order to break the international isolation, Franco's regime signed in 1953 an agreement with the USA. The Pact of Madrid established that Spain would host US bases in exchange of economic assistance. In this way, since 1955 the airbases of Torrejón, Zaragoza, Morón and Rota hosted US forces (and maybe in some cases, US nuclear weapons). Since the early 90's, Torrejón and Zaragoza are no longer US bases but used frequently by the USAF for stopover and refueling. Rota and Morón are two key sites for the US deployment in the Mediterranean Sea, Middle East and Central Asia, as logistic and support bases, and as platform for bombing missions. For example, during Gulf War I the spanish government authorized 294 B-52 bombing flights to Iraq from the airbase in Morón, and in 2007 Rota coordinated the relief of 40 Black Hawk attack helicopters coming from Afghanistan in the frame of US operation Enduring Freedom.

Spanish troops from brigades of the Rapid Action Force participated in the first stages of the occupation of Iraq, once the war “ended”. From July 2003 to April 2004, a total of 2600 troops formed the “Plus Ultra” Brigade, based in Diwaniya, south of Baghdad. In April 2004, began the spanish withdrawal.

Spanish ships also participate regularly in US deployments like Active Endeavour, a so-called counter-terrorist surveillance operation in the Mediterranean Sea started in 2001. In 2005 the frigate F-101 was part of the US aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt Strike Group, deployed in the frame of “Iraqi Freedom” operation.

The bombing range in Bardenas (Navarra) is believed to be the main training site of the USAF airplanes in Europe.

United Kingdom

Overview RAF bases: http://www.raf.mod.uk/organisation/stations.cfm