The US is most likely to enter into a military operation in the Middle East or the Balkans, according to a study of its most recent military activities which was published in the US magazine The National Interest.
Author Daniel Sukman created a graphic to display the US' combat and peacekeeping operations over the last 35 years, from which he deduced the next most likely targets.
"If recent history is a guide to the future, the next major combat operation will likely occur in either the Middle East or the Balkans. Indeed, the current crisis in Syria and Iraq lend a degree of confirmation to this prediction," wrote Sukman.
Europe's position as a bridge to the Middle East is one of the elements contributing to the possibility of US combat operations there, particularly in the Balkans, said Sukman.
"The US military also continues to provide both the backbone and muscle of NATO, having contributed air power over Kosovo and major logistical support to NATO allies."
Sukman, a US Army strategist, recommended that the US invest in infrastructure so that its armed forces are able to travel to combat operations in Europe and the Middle East. He also questioned the effectiveness of the current US strategy that favors air and naval power, and relies on partner nations to provide ground forces.