For my first post on this subject matter, I would like to talk about how much the U.S spends annually on its military, how that number compares to other line items in the budget, and whether military spending has remained consistent, percentage wise, over the years.
The Recent Trend is to Decrease Military Spending
According to defense.gov, the projected amount spent on the U.S military in FY 2016 is $585 billion. Since 2010, the amount spent on the military has gone done in all but 2 years (2014 & 2016) and has decreased a total of $106 billion, as compared to 2010 numbers.
In 2015, the amount spent on military defense accounted for a little over 50% of discretionary spending. Discretionary spending includes other line items such as: transportation, education, government, medicare & health, etc. Second to military spending, a few different line items are each tied for the next largest category of spending at 6% of total discretionary spending.
Military Budget in Terms of Total Federal Spending and GDP
Although the amount spent on our military is a significant percentage of the discretionary fund budget, the amount spent in 2016 is quite a bit less, percentage wise, to amounts spent in past years. For example, in the 1950s, military defense represented 57% of total federal spending. During Vietnam and the Reagan years, the percentages were 43% and 26.8%, respectively. Today, our spending only represents 14.3% of total federal spending.
When we look at the same points in time as referenced above, and examine our military spending in terms of GDP, spending during the Korean War peaked at 12%, the Vietnam War was at 9%, and the Reagan years were at 6%. Today, our defense spending only represents 3.1% of GDP.
By viewing military spending in terms of total federal spending and as a share of the economy (GDP), as indicated in the aforementioned paragraphs, we clearly see that our military budget is significantly lower than it has been in the past. Actually, since 2000, our military spending has been the lowest it has been since 1950.
A Decrease in Spending is Concerning
As the United States continues to be the world’s supreme military and superpower, I wonder if our current budget is sufficient to meet the needs of our military in this increasingly hostile world. Terrorism is a global threat and the Middle East is still largely unstable. With growing concerns related to Russian and China, I am concerned about whether or not our military is being stretched too thin.
Tomorrow, I will post another article examining our military strength as compared to other world leaders and superpowers.
Thanks for stopping by today, I hope you enjoyed this information.