Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs
Costs of War

United States Counterterrorism Operations Under the Biden Administration, 2021-2023

Between 2021 and 2023, the U.S. government conducted counterterrorism operations in 78 countries. These operations include ground combat in at least nine countries and air strikes in at least four countries during the first three years of the Biden Administration. Though the total number of countries with U.S. counterterrorism operations has decreased slightly from 2018-2020 – from 85 countries – the counterterrorism footprint remains remarkably similar to what it was under the Trump Administration.

Many U.S. military operations are not included in the report – notably, those aimed at what U.S. officials and media identify as the military threat posed by Russia and China, the focus of much current U.S. foreign policy; military bases that have housed counterterrorism operations; arms sales to foreign governments; and all deployments of U.S. special operations forces and Central Intelligence Agency operations. Further, the map does not display “military information support operations,” or “psychological operations,” which the U.S. military carries out in many countries on the map and beyond, such as in Iran. All of these are significant elements of the bigger picture of U.S. counterterrorism strategy but beyond the scope of the current data set.

The map illustrates that the war launched by the United States government in response to the 9/11 terror attacks continues.