Thought this graph was effective at illustrating where/when American troops have been deployed abroad. One thing “missing” from this picture is naval presence – it’s pretty much impossible to capture in a graph like this, but I’d be curious to see a similar graph for which bodies of waters have how carriers, expeditionary forces, tomahawk shooters, etc. Carrier presence is not insignificant – if there’s a policy in place to always have say a carrier in a given area, that’s a couple thousand people not reflected in this graph.
Especially since we appear to be shifting our focus to Asia, Naval forces will be that much more important. Moving 2500 Marines to Australia is getting headlines – twice that number of Sailors moves every time a CVN gets underway.