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Military base is an extremely broad term that can be used to describe any facility that provides shelter or support to a military formation. Modern bases range from huge logistical, training, storage, and housing sites—such as Fort Bragg, North Carolina, home of over 50,000 active-duty military personnel along with over 150,000 family members, reservists, and civilian employees—to tiny fortified compounds or barracks, housing just a handful of soldiers.

Throughout history, bases have ranged from medieval castles to docks and shipyards to border-crossing posts to costal defense forts to military settler colonies. The economic impact of bases is thus extremely varied, although since bases usually do not produce significant economic goods and employ an overwhelmingly male and young workforce, their economic effect on the surrounding area is ...

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