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A new report released today by SIPRI, a Swedish-based think tank, reveals that U.S. military spending has almost doubled since 2001. The U.S. spent an astounding $698 billion on the military last year, an 81% increase over the last decade. U.S. spending on the military last year far exceeded any other country. We spent six times more than China — the second largest spender.
In 2008, the United States spent $607 billion on our military. Far more than any other country as British author David McCandless illustrates in the graphic to the right. But as McCandless goes on to show in the rest of this Datablog post , focusing on spending totals alone doe not provide an accurate context to judge U.S. military spending by.
The Senate on Thursday sent the massive 2010 Pentagon policy bill to the president's desk for signing. The Senate approved the bill authorizing $680 billion in defense spending by a vote of 68-29. For the first time in a decade-long effort, the bill will include a provision that expands the federal hate-crimes law to cover offenses based on sexual orientation.
The global financial and economic crisis has resulted in many nations cutting back on all sorts of public spending (often against the criticism of targeting sectors that were not responsible for the crisis), and yet military spending seems to be increasing. How is that justified? It should be noted that just before the crisis hit, many nations were enjoying either high economic growth or far easier access to credit without any knowledge of what was to come. A combination of factors explained increased military spending in recent years before the economic crisis as earlier SIPRI reports had also noted, for example: Foreign policy objectives Real or perceived threats Armed conflict and policies to contribute to multilateral peacekeeping operations Availability of economic resources The last point refers to rapidly developing nations like China and India that have seen their economies boom in recent years.
Why Do the Percentages Vary from Group to Group? The U.S. Government says that military spending amounts to 20% of the budget, the Center for Defense Information (CDI) reports 51%, the Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL) reports 43%, and the War Resisters League claims 54%.
That depends entirely on what you want from your military. Our force structure is currently larger than it needs to be; but not by much. We probably need to shrink the Army and Marine Corps back to the level it was prior to 9/11 or very close to that. We do not make the most of our budget and we could afford to shrink that some as well.