How Big is US Defense Spending ?

The U.S. easily beats other countries in defense spending. In fact, its defense expenditures accounted for 37% of the world’s military budgets in 2015.  Last year the total US spending on defense reached $596 billion. This figure is more than the defense spending by the next seven countries combined according to Peterson Foundation.

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US Defense Spending vs Major Countries

Source: Peter G.Peterson Foundation

Military Expenditures in US Discretionary Spending:

Military spending alone is projected to account for more than half (54%) of all US discretionary spending in fiscal year 2015.

US Defense Spending in Federal Budget

Source: National Priorities Project

Some thoughts on US defense spending:

US allies benefit from the high spending on defense by the US since they are protected by the US military and they are able to divert their resources to other expenses such as social spending.

High spending on military keeps a large part of the economy active and booming at all times. For instance, defense contractors employ thousands of workers producing all kinds of weapons for the military.

Though it may unnecessary to devote more than half the nation’s budget to defense, there are many benefits. For example, military spending many wonderful innovations such as the internet and not the over-hype up venture capital industry.

For millions of middle to poor Americans the US military is the only outlet for getting a job, education and career for a variety of reasons. Without high defense budgets most of these folks would join the ranks of the unemployed. So in a sense the military can be considered as “the employer of last resort”.

Since the world is constantly changing and threats are everywhere, having a powerful world-class military ensures enemies are kept at bay. During peace times, military is a great tool to offer humanitarian assistance to people in need. From Hurricane Katrina to Haiti Earthquakes and thousands of other natural and human disasters, US military personnel provided immeasurable aid and service to victims.

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