The United States of America is spending around $886 billion on the military. This is submitted to the Congress, by the President for the year 2019; that is to say from October 1, 2018, to September 30, 2019. The military spending is eating the federal budget, and it is second only to Social Security. America spends more on the military than the nine countries which are next on the list, combined.
The military budget can be divided into four categories. The first one refers to the Department of Defense and its $597.1 billion base budget. Another portion of the money goes overseas, and it is used by Department of Defense for combating the Islamic state. The total amount of that money is $88.9 billion. Furthermore, there are some other agencies and departments which receive a chunk of the federal budget. They include Department of Veterans Affairs ($83.1 billion), State Department ($28.3 billion), Homeland Security ($46 billion), National Nuclear Security Administration that operates under the Department of Energy ($15.1 billion) and FBI and Cybersecurity in the Department of Justice ($8.8 billion). Last but not least, there are $18.7 billion in OCO funds for the State Department and Homeland Security in the war against ISIS.
In early February, Congress passed a spending bill, and $700 billion will be used as the defense base budget and for overseas contingency operations. The spending was delineated for the other departments in March.
Defense Department Base Budget
Department of Defense requested the base budget of $597.1 billion and here is what they plan to do with the money. First of all, hire more people in all four branches and rise that number from 1.314 million to 1.338 million. Secondly, they want to increase salaries by 2.6 percent.
Keeping the Missile Defeat and Defense Enhancement initiatives active is also one of the primary goals for the Department of Defense, but so is acquiring advanced munitions. With this money, they will also buy ten combat ships and modernize equipment for the second Army Armored Brigade Combat Team. A part of the budget will be spent on the increased production of the F-35 and F/A-18 aircraft. Last but not least, modernizing nuclear triads is expected and so are the rise in the use of technology innovations and improved communications in space.
Overseas Contingency Operations
As you may have noticed, the cost of wars is not included in the Department of Defense base budget. This falls under this category, and $64.6 billion will be given to Department of Defense and $12 billion for the State Department.
Military Spending Since 2003
Let’s take a look at this brief overview of the military spending since 2003. We are not going to go through it year by year, but we will try to point some changes in the spending.
Years 2003 and 2004 were important because of the Iraq war and the Abu Ghraib controversies. In the two years respectively total spending were $437.4 and $467.6 billion. Costs kept rising, and they jumped dramatically in 2006 and 2007 when most of the money was spent for the war in Iraq. The spending kept growing until 2011 when it reached the high point of $855.1 billion. In the next four years, the spending has been reduced, totaling $736.4 billion in 2015, but ever since then, it has been on the gradual rise.
Cut The Money
The Department of Defense needs to improve its efficiency as soon as possible. If they don’t change anything in the upcoming years, they will be spending more than a half of their budget on personnel and maintenance. Currently, one-third of the total budget is reserved for that segment.
What they need to do is reduce the civilian workforce which grew by 100,000 in previous ten years. They plan to raise salaries and benefits for each soldier instead of lowering it. Last but not least, all military bases which are unneeded have to be closed, and this may be the most important point. However, this will never happen because of the Bi-Partisan Budget Act of 2013 that blocs future military base closings. That being said, the base spending of The Defense Department is expected to be on a constant rise, year in year out.