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The US military has been in the south for centuries and it’s not hard to find bases in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Texas, Mississippi, North Carolina or South Carolina. A lot of America’s military installations are in states located below the Mason-Dixon Line. Whether it’s to protect the US from foreign invasion, or for national defense or training purposes, we look at why this is.
1. Population spread
Simply put, it’s a matter of numbers. Southern states have higher populations than northern ones and because military installations require people to run them, having more people means more installations.
2. National security needs
The biggest reason for the number of military bases, though, is because of national security needs. Southern states are strategically located to be able to defend the US from foreign invasion and to provide a base for military action overseas in case of war.
Many people who live in southern US states may not realize that these states were established on the premise of protecting the country from military threats from other countries and you can find bases nearly everywhere in these states. These states are all home to the US Navy, Air Force and Army.
3. Developed as a Job program
The Great Depression had a devastating effect on the south, millions lost their jobs and there were few jobs available to replace them. Military bases were opened to provide these desperately needed employment opportunities.
4. Early real-estate investments
The government needed a place to put their bases, so they often purchased land from the citizens who were willing to sell at discounted prices and the region found itself housing many military installations. People in the south continued selling land to the government over the years, so that there are more bases now than there were decades ago.
5. Land was cheaper
Due to the fact that the south faced so many problems during the great depression, land was offered at a very low price. Once it became clear that these bases would exist for long periods of time, it made sense to purchase as much land as possible in order to cut future costs.
6. The weather is warm in the south
If you’re a military person, then when it comes to warm weather in the south, you know what I’m talking about. The climate is extremely hospitable for bases and it enables the military to run these places very successfully.
Also remember that during the installation of these bases, lots of them didn’t have heating, hence planting them in the south made it much cheaper to maintain.
7. Military bases in the south are camouflaged among civilian populations
Having military bases in the south helps prevent a foreign enemy from knowing where these bases are located or what troops are being trained at them. This way, the enemy doesn’t know when they may be attacked and can’t use this knowledge to plan an attack. Military installations are often disguised as factories, farms and even hospitals.
8. Transport logistics during deployment
To be able to move a large group of soldiers anywhere in the country quickly, they have to be close to airports, ports and other transportation centers. Developing military installations in the south made it much easier to move troops and equipment around.