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 - Fort Riley, located 50 miles from Topeka, ranks as the largest military base in Kansas by troop count.

The base, run by the Army, is home to 15,214 active-duty service members. Including military family members and other dependents, there are a total of 33,295 people at the base.

 

StateLargest baseService BranchNearest major cityTotal active-duty troopsAll personnel, including dependents
AlabamaFort RuckerArmyDothan3,8609,805
AlaskaFort Jonathan WainwrightArmyFairbanks6,11713,112
ArizonaDavis-Monthan AFBAir ForceTucson5,99512,919
ArkansasLittle Rock AFBAir ForceLittle Rock3,5368,108
CaliforniaCamp PendletonMarine CorpsSan Diego39,69070,700
ColoradoFort CarsonArmyColorado Springs24,52057,473
ConnecticutNew London NAVSUBBASENavyHartford6,38513,856
DelawareDover AFBAir ForceDover3,4847,718
FloridaMayport NAVSTANavyJacksonville10,44225,013
GeorgiaFort BenningArmyColumbus24,30546,785
HawaiiSchofield BarracksArmyHonolulu15,05734,022
IdahoMountain Home AFBAir ForceBoise3,3877,171
IllinoisNaval Station Great LakesNavyChicago15,72621,875
IndianaDFAS Indianapolis CenterDoDIndianapolis149450
IowaNo base with over 100 troopsN/AN/AN/AN/A
KansasFort RileyArmyTopeka15,21433,295
KentuckyFort CampbellArmyNashville26,82462,977
LouisianaFort PolkArmyAlexandria7,78317,384
MaineBrunswhick NASNavyPortland4041,011
MarylandFort George G. MeadeArmyBaltimore11,14026,041
MassachusettsHanscom AFBAir ForceBoston8331,957
MichiganDetroit ArsenalArmyWarren127480
MinnesotaFort SnellingArmyMinneapolis262799
MississippiKeesler AFBAir ForceBiloxi5,1629,587
MissouriFort Leonard WoodArmySpringfield12,21823,479
MontanaMalmstrom AFBAir ForceGreat Falls3,2426,792
NebraskaOffutt AFBAir ForceOmaha6,01214,379
NevadaNellis AFBAir ForceLas Vegas10,16821,937
New HampshirePortsmouth Naval ShipyardNavyPortsmouth9592,064
New JerseyMcGuire AFBAir ForceTrenton4,5109,755
New MexicoCannon AFBAir ForceClovis4,6338,986
New YorkFort DrumArmyWatertown15,19532,011
North CarolinaFort BraggArmyFayetteville45,055109,101
North DakotaMinot AFBAir ForceMinot5,62511,031
OhioWright-Patterson AFBAir ForceDayton5,40113,914
OklahomaFort SillArmyOklahoma City13,31026,189
OregonNo base with over 100 troopsN/AN/AN/AN/A
PennsylvaniaCarlisle BarracksArmyHarrisburg5031,903
Rhode IslandNaval Station NewportNavyNewport3,2697,191
South CarolinaFort JacksonArmyColumbia11,54520,589
South DakotaEllsworth AFBAir ForceRapid City3,3487,118
TennesseeNaval Support Activity Mid-SouthNavyMemphis6762,014
TexasFort HoodArmyKilleen36,69783,815
UtahHill AFBAir ForceOgden4,2019,985
VermontBurlington IAP-AGSAir ForceAlbany113266
VirginiaNorfolk Naval BaseNavyNorfolk47,368100,893
WashingtonFort LewisArmyTacoma26,51262,831
West VirginiaNo base with over 100 troopsN/AN/AN/AN/A
WisconsinFort McCoyArmyLa Crosse2901,072
WyomingFrancis E Warren AFBAir ForceCheyenne3,0666,716