The United States naval base at Guantanamo Bay comprises 45 square miles of Cuban land and water, including the 2.5-mile-wide bay itself. For the military, the base serves multiple functions: It's the logistics center for the Navy's Atlantic fleet, a critical hub in the Navy's counter-drug operations in the Caribbean, and an outpost for U.S. immigration operations. In early 2002, the base became an important--and controversial--focal point in the war in Afghanistan, as detainees were transferred to Guantanamo Bay's newly established detention camp.
But apart from the military mission, the Guantanamo U.S. Naval Base is also quite possibly the best-kept secret among American scientists who work there--from herpetologists to botanists, and marine scientists to entomologists.