Camp Justice is a United States Navy support facility located in the central Indian Ocean 1,909 miles off the eastern coast of Tanzania and 1,357 miles south of India. The base located on a British owned coral atoll known as Diego Garcia. Though technically operated by the US Navy, the base is shared with the US Air Force, which controls all airspace in the surrounding area. Despite the physical ground being owned by the United Kingdom, the base is almost entirely inhabited by American troops and contractors.
In December of 1966 the Unite States signed a 50 year lease of the area with the government of the United Kingdom. At the expiration of the lease in 2016, a 20 year extension clause exists, which both parties must agree upon by the end of 2014.
Though located in a relatively small area, the Camp Justice and the Diego Garcia facility fill several roles. The installation serves as a support facility for both surface fleets and submarine units in addition supplying regional operations in conjunction with Military Sealift Command. The base is also home to a sophisticated radar, space tracking and communications facility along with a fully operational joint Navy and Air Force airfield.
The area of Diego Garcia was discovered in 1512 by Portuguese explorers who named the area Dom Garcia. Control of the atoll and surrounding islands was taken by the French over the next century, where it would remain for the next 300 years. In 1814, as part of the Treaty of Paris, which ended the Napoleonic Wars, the area of present day Diego Garcia became a British Colony.
The area was used as a stopover point for ships, a Royal Air Force airfield and a fleet station over the next 150 years. American involvement in the area begins in early 1970, shortly after the US leaded the area. Construction of an airfield, harbor and communications center began in 1971, finishing in 1973. Over the next several years a range of international events including the fall of Saigon, international base closures and revolutions forced the United States to negotiate for base expansions. These expansions eventually resulted in the construction of a full fledged US Navy Fleet Station. Expansion of base assets and personnel was furthered as a result of Soviet posts that were established in the late 1970’s.
Starting in 1990, the base saw another round of rapid improvement and expansion to the tune of $400 million. Middle Eastern instability necessitated the construction of two exceptionally long (2.3 mile) runways, heavy aircraft storage and maintenance facilities and a large fuel depot.
In order to protect the natural flora and fauna of the area, the United Kingdom applied for and was granted Ramsar Site Status for the base in 2004. As a result, economic, recreational and cultural facets of the area were recognized and regulated to minimize impact. The area around Camp Justice and Diego Garcia was also recognized as a Marin Protected Area in 2010, meaning the area cannot be used for industrial development and commerce, particularly those pertaining to fishing and oil exploration.