United States Defense spending
In the fiscal year of 2015, 54% of discretionary spending and roughly 16% of federal spending went towards military spending. Defense spending went to things such as “war spending, nuclear weapons spending, international assistance, as well as pentagon related spending” (NPP). Compared to many other countries such as China, Russia, and Saudi Arabia, the US spends more than all these countries put together. Why is it that the U.S puts so much money towards Military spending? Is this necessary? Throughout my research paper I will break down where most of the funding go towards and why it is necessary.
What is defense spending?
A Military expenditure is the military budget or known as defense budget. The world bank describes it as “All current and capital expenditures on the armed forces, including peacekeeping forces; defense ministries and other government agencies engaged in defense projects; paramilitary forces, if these are judged to be trained and equipped for military operations; and military space activities. Such expenditures include military and civil personnel, including retirement pensions of military personnel and social services for personnel; operation and maintenance; procurement; military research and development; and military aid.” This expenditure also goes towards salaries, training, as well as maintaining equipment and training personal on using these equipment’s’. Not only this but “the budget funds four branches of the U.S. military: The Army, Marine Corps, Navy, and Air force” (Wikipedia). For the most part, this spending is so massive due to the fact that the US may experience future threats. The US is widely known for its remarkable armed forces. The budget funds many military activities. To further break this down, the four branches of the military, Navy, Air force, army, and defense-wide receive a great portion of the spending.
Many believe that military spending correlates with economic development and stability but at the same time many people believe that this funding could be spent elsewhere. Although this may be true many operations are at risk if spending is cut. Many Americans are unaware how exactly the U.S uses its budget for military spending. “There are four components. First is the $597.1 billion base budget for the Department of Defense. Second is the overseas contingency operations for DoD to fight the Islamic State group ($88.9 billion). Third is the total of other agencies that protect our nation. These expenses are $181.3 billion. They include the Department of Veterans Affairs ($83.1 billion), the State Department ($28.3 billion), Homeland Security ($46 billion), FBI and Cybersecurity in the Department of Justice ($8.8 billion) and the National Nuclear Security Administration in the Department of Energy ($15.1 billion). The last component is $18.7 billion in OCO funds for the State Department and Homeland Security to fight ISIS.” (AMADEO 2018) Taking this to account many may find that defense spending my just be as necessary as anything else.
Another huge part of the spending goes towards operations and or maintenance and military personnel and covering the salaries of officers who receive a generous amount as well as generals. When you take that into account majority of defense spending goes towards maintaining and salaries. whereas in the past two years the US has had a budget of less than 800 billion. In the upcoming years the US plans on increasing its base budget This increase for the next two years the US plans on it being nearly $100 billion dollars more. This may be due to the fact that the advancement in technology may be a threat to the balance of power. According to the Washington Post, “New technologies mean that the West in general and the United States in particular are losing their technological edge, the report found. Countries such as Russia and China have been showcasing new systems and technological advances that show the balance of power may be shifting.” (Taylor and Karklis 2016). Increasing the budget could be necessary in this case. With China and Russia being two countries that could be a threat to the US in the near future advancing technology is very much vital. Older technologies can be out smarted and not as operational. These technologies should not only include machinery, weapons, and mobiliary, but as well as equipment that could be used by troops. Equipment that allows troops to avoid as much combat as possible. There may be fewer casualties as well as more precision. Some equipment could include things such as robots also known as artificial intelligence. We have seen the enhancement with A.I. how more intelligent these things can be and how accurate they can be as well. Artificial intelligence in today’s world plays a huge part in how people live their everyday lives. It’s easier to communicate and with the US being an international superpower Artificial Intelligence comes in handy. Equipment such as drones and further advancement in training simulators all contribute to budget spending.
Another factor that could contribute to the need to increase the budget is the decline in new recruits. Before the Vietnam war of 1968, President Franklin Roosevelt signed a “Selective Training and Service Act” in 1940 which allowed the U.S armed forces (or the department of defense) to use a peacetime draft as back up server for assistance during wars. After the end of the Vietnam War in 1973, the draft was eliminated and have not been used since meanwhile today, drafting is only on a voluntary basis. Since then, military quotes have failed to be met and every year it declines. As of now, as far as new recruits, the US offers paid trainings funding for schooling and so much more to make joining the military appealing. Budget cuts would further cut into the declining number of new recruits.