Workers' Weekly On-Line
Volume 50 Number 43, December 5, 2020 ARCHIVE HOME JBCENTRE SUBSCRIBE

Britain's Global Military Presence

Britain's Military's Overseas Base Network Involves 145 Sites in 42 Countries

In Norway, the British military has a helicopter base codenamed "Clockwork" at Bardufoss airport, deep in the Arctic Circle. The base is frequently used for mountain warfare exercises and lies 350 miles from the headquarters of Russia's northern fleet in Severomorsk near Murmansk.

A report published by Declassified UK reveals that Britain has the second largest network of military bases around the world after the United States. These bases include 60 that Britain manages itself in addition to 85 facilities where Britain has a significant presence, and which Britain has easy access to as and when required. The findings come in the wake of the government's announcement of an extra £16 billion of military spending over the next four years - a 10% increase.

Declassified UK says:

"The spending announcement was originally meant to be combined with a review of defence strategy, that was being championed by Johnson's former chief adviser Dominic Cummings. The results of Whitehall's 'integrated defence review' are now not expected until next year. Indications suggest the review will recommend a traditional British strategy of building more overseas military bases.

"Last month, former Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said the UK needs a more permanent presence in the Asia-Pacific region. The current Defence Secretary, Ben Wallace, has gone further. In September he announced a £23.8-million investment to expand Britain's army and navy bases in Oman, to accommodate the Royal Navy's new aircraft carriers as well as many tanks."

The report sums up Britain's global military presence as follows:

Declassified UK explains: "We have defined 'overseas' as outside the United Kingdom. The base must have a permanent or long-term British presence in 2020 for it to be counted. We included bases run by other nations, but only where the UK has constant access or a significant presence. We only counted NATO bases where the UK has a major combat presence e.g with Typhoon jets deployed, not just officers stationed on a reciprocal basis."

For the full and comprehensive report, including maps, see:


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