For the Record: All U.S. Forces' Responses to Situations, 1970-2000 (With Additions Covering 2000-2003)
The U.S. military responded to international situations, including humanitarian responses, roughly 170 times in the 1970s (that's not 170 situations, but 170 responses -- some in chains for one situation), increasing that total by approximately one-third in the 1980s (to roughly 230 cases) and then again by approximately one-fifth (up to approximately 280 cases) in the 1990s. Add that altogether and you have a grand three-decade total of just under 700 responses, with roughly 40 percent of the responses occurring since the end of the Cold War. This growth represents a significant increases in response totals, but when these cases are weighted in terms of cumulative duration of response by each service, one gets the sense of a far greater increase in U.S. military operations overseas in the 1990s. However, close examination shows that most of the increases in responses are for only four situations: Somalia, Haiti, the former Yugoslavia (Bosnia and Kosovo), and the Gulf, mostly to do with Iraq, and that actual combat covered only 6 percent of the total days of the post-Cold War period 1989-2001.