Talk:Military budget of the United States

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bias and objectivity[edit]

It is important to protect Wikipedia from polemicism. In this article unreliable and invalid budgetary data from a leftist organization, SIPRI, are manipulated to advance an ideological perspective. We should ask the writer to remove the absurd graph or at least admit the distortions. Consider these observations from "Many caveats should be kept in mind when making international comparisons of military expenditures: Data for developing and nondemocratic countries may be incomplete, which may lead to crude estimates or underestimates of military spending. Conversions from local currencies to a common currency (here, US dollars) may lead to misleading comparisons of the spending of different nations. Currency conversions can be done using official (or market) exchange rates or with "purchasing power parity" (PPP) The previous two caveats imply that estimates of world military spending must also be treated with caution." A better comparative tool for examining US defense expenditure is to use percent of gdp, both from the perspective of history (perhaps since 1960) and relative to other countries (with the caveats above). I suspect that would provide equitable ammunition for both sides of the defense expenditure debate, and would serve to provide a more objective start point for the conversation. (end).

I find the opinion above very interesting. The individual above mentions "unreliable and invalid budgetary data from a leftist organization", but then points to the clear right-wing bias of for "objective" observations. There is not an objective, unbiased economist on the planet who would recommend examining trends in regards to US military/defense expenditure solely through comparison to the GDP. Take something that has exploded in size within the past sixty years (the US GDP), and use that as a base for the formulation of a ratio to measure the objective, independent growth of US military/defense expenditure in comparison to other countries? Now that's misleading.--Jackbirdsong 05:43, 8 August 2006 (UTC)

I think I should pre-empt any furor over the caption I provided in my chart. The United States has maintained the indicated hegemony since the end of the second World War. This means that the trend of the world's economy has been noticably in favor of the interests of the US, inarguably, and peaking in the 1950's. I say that this is in decline because, first of all, the developing world, notably China, has been catching up and pushing for fairer trade policies in institutions such as the WTO, and also the European Union is functioning in an increasingly unified manner, albeit that its interests frequently coincide with those of the United States. In purely economic terms--that is, in numbers, to say nothing of ideology--the caption is true. I'm thinking now it could maybe be rephrased, though. What it has to do with an article on the US's military budget should be obvious. It's well-documented that an economic hegemony is much more effective with a large military to back it up and protect its interests. Just look at previous such nations throughout history: Mother England, the USA's immediate predecessor; Rome; the Ottomans. Aratuk 23:22, 28 Mar 2005 (UTC) Update: rephrased. Aratuk

Anyone who pops on here and starts using the usually manipulative partisan wordings, e.g. "leftist", etc. is not worth the time to read. This is a very serious issue - and, with a significant amount of homework, the real numbers can ultimately be determined. The only question is whether there is a genuine interest in accurate numbers or simply partisan manipulation. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Aner25 (talkcontribs) 23:35, 18 April 2010 (UTC)

"It is important to protect Wikipedia from polemicism" -- Are you suggesting that your rant be deleted? -- (talk) 08:05, 24 November 2011 (UTC)

Actual accounting of military expenditures[edit]

It should be noted that determining the amount of money actually spent on "military" expenditures is not as clear cut as it seems. For example, in government figures, interest on indebted past military expenditures is generally ignored, and unbudgeted military requests are rarely calculated in the total picture of government spending. Lord help you if you want to find a percentage, because the total nature of government spending is

This infamous POV documents the wide discrepancy better than i can. I'm not saying either of the POVs on that page are correct (tho I have my leanings), but I do think this is an issue that ought to be documented further. --Combuchan 07:25, 23 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Wow that POV is really biased. It inflates the percentage of military expenditures by removing large portions of the federal budget, like the vast majority of federal entitlement programs. Then it credits the overwhelming majority of the federal debt (80%) to past military spending instead of basing it on the military's percentage of actual previous federal spending. Jeff the Baptist 20:11, 5 January 2007 (UTC)
See: War_Resisters_League#Current_activities, for a critical look at this graph. In this section is the link: How Much Does It Cost Your Household for War? by Bill Sardi, apologetic to these groups, which lists four organizations estimates of actual military spending. Ikip (talk) 23:37, 11 April 2009 (UTC)
"removing large portions of the federal budget, like the vast majority of federal entitlement programs" -- to call that "biased" is biased. Suppose I gave you several billion dollars for safekeeping. In your budget, you must now include paying that money back to me. Should your expenditures on groceries (for instance) now be considered a much smaller percentage of your overall budget? -- (talk) 08:18, 24 November 2011 (UTC)

Multicountry comparison[edit]

I think the table is biased. Not enough to make an NPOV dispute, but it ought to be rationalised with purchasing power parity or not displayed at all. Another option would be to compare the actual percentages of military spending (if we ever determine that, see my complaints above). The USA wouldn't be at all on top then.

Then again, I think a certain part of expenditure comparsion between countries is meaningless. During the Cold War, NASA developed a ballpoint pen at an enormous sum for pilots in low gravity conditions. The russians simply used a pencil. Both did the exact same thing. --Combuchan 07:25, 23 Apr 2005 (UTC)

The above statement about NASA is untrue. [1] -- Scott5834 17:10, 31 May 2006 (UTC)
The principle it is trying to explain, on the other hand, is not in error. (talk)rohny —Preceding undated comment added 10:53, 22 May 2009 (UTC).
The "principle" is not only based entirely on false anecdotes, it is also completely bogus in its own right ... expenditures are expenditures, whether wise or not. -- (talk) 08:31, 24 November 2011 (UTC)


I removed the following table from Military history of the United States, where it really didn't belong (not enough historical perspective). Free to a good home. --Kevin Myers 05:59, Apr 1, 2005 (UTC)

As of 2005, according to the General Accounting Office, the U.S. budget included the following planned or requested military expenses:

U.S. military budget request per Fiscal Year
Year Budget
2005 $420.7 billion
2004 $399.1 billion
2003 $396.1 billion
2002 $343.2 billion
2001 $310 billion
2000 $288.8 billion


Specifically, with respect to this: "As of the early 21st century, the United States is the only military in the world which is capable of global operations." - it certainly sounds like a gross overstatement to me. What about China, Russia, EU? --int19h 05:56, 22 August 2005 (UTC)

Noted and edited. China is lagging in some areas like having an operational carrier, which seven other countries do other than the US. Shawnc 12:04, 10 October 2005 (UTC)

Actually, I'd argue it's not a gross overstatement. No other military in the world can operate, long term, anywhere in the world, other than the United States'. European forces require American logistical support, and China can't project power beyond flight range of her shores. Russia can barely feed her soldiers, supplying them outside Russia is just impossible.

And don't forget that the US Navy is still the only navy with a true multirole carrier, all the others are either VSTOL carriers or carry a much smaller airwing. (And there's only one or two of the second type extant.)

-Sounds like a bad case of hubris. What, does the lack of a "multirole" carrier actually prevent these other forces from projecting power around the world if they wish it? I think not.

-First, you're just confusing Europe's desire to have the US pay for things like logistical support if they can get it. Don't mistake "using/accepting" American help with "relying/needing" it. Postwar Europe hasn't truly needed to project it's military capabilities somewhere longterm without the US first stepping in and "offering" its help (thereby preserving its raison d'etre for having so many military bases around Europe and keeping Europe from developing a true rival force of power projection). American "help" to other countries serves its own economic/political purposes as well.

-Second, you're just talking about the quality of force projection, but as we all noticed in Korea, Vietnam, (Iraq?), highest-tech weaponry doesn't in itself guarantee dominance (let alone indicate their full power capability).

-And what about the military forces (Self Defense Forces) of Japan? Don't laugh: China and (both) Koreas sure aren't. They have the technology, carriers, airpower, resources, manpower and capabilities necessary to project long term power anywhere in the world (yes, even without US help, again were it necessary). Of course, memories of past wars, Article 9 of their Constitution and the current anti-war sentiment of a majority of its population prevents them from said projection, but we aren't talking about the "will" here, we're talking about if they have the the "way" or means to do so. Right?

What we need to avoid is looking at this from the perspective of "could have" the statement is that the US military is presently the only military capable of sustaining global imperialism, if you can name one other global imperial power then you can remove the statement. Will to dominate is just as much a factor in 'projecting global sustained power' as size of the force or logistics know-how. (talk)Rohny —Preceding undated comment added 10:45, 22 May 2009 (UTC).

Uphold democracy?[edit]

"National belief that the United States must maintain a global military presence to uphold democracy". I suppose the word "belief" is crucial here, because the US is _very_ selective in "upholding democracy". In fact, I think an analysis of the US actions rather than the rethorics would show that economic interests are a lot more fundamental in US military decisions than politics. Unless someone objects, I will rephrase this to simply "that the United States must maintain a global military presence". Piet 16:09, 13 January 2006 (UTC)

I have a question about the statement: "The current (2005) United States military budget is larger than the military budgets of the next twenty biggest spenders combined, and six times larger than China's, which places second." Now, the actual military spending of PRC and its ranking are still unclear according to the corresponding article in Wikipedia. The statement give the impression that the problem is settled and the conclusion is finalized, which is apparently not the case. I suggest the statement should refer to the page about military spending of PRC.

Discretionary Spending[edit]

The article makes the point that Iraq and Afghanistan Wars are funded entirely through supplemental discretionary spending several times. I don't believe this to be entirely true. Supplemental spending is used to cover yearly budget shortfalls, but I believe large segments of the conflict are now financed directly through the defense budget. Each year's defense budget is adjusted based on all the past years spending including any supplemental spending. So while the first year of the war was largely supplemental, this years defense budget includes previous years supplemental spending incorporated within the current budgeted items.

Also why does the chart in the discussion above list a different level of defense spending than in the main article. This is an inconsistancy which should be research and fixed.

-As for supplemental spending not being included in the current year's budget, both the British American Security Information Council (BASIC) ( as well as the online blog "Iraq Slogger" ( in addition to the National Priorities Project ( all maintain that the war efforts in these two countries are still funded through the use of supplemental spending. However, the last source states (at that there were two exceptions to this for Iraq (i.e. extra money for Iraq was added to the Department of Defense budget). The total of these two exceptions are around US$65 Billion dollars (or around 18-20% of total funds devoted to the Iraq effort.) Take your pick of sources and hope it helps.

Military spending as subsidies to high technology business[edit]

This page could comment on the role of military spending as a subsidy for the high technology industry (not only in the USA, of course).

Reasons for large U.S. military expenditures[edit]

I would say that parts of this section may not be totally objective. It seems to me that this section was written with the aim of justifying the military budget amount, rather than objectively stating facts. For example;

In the first reason: "Since the 1940s, there has been a national consensus within the United States...", and "there remains a national belief that..."

In the third reason: "while there is a national consensus...there is also a national consensus..."

The phrases 'national consensus' and 'national belief' stand out here. Does every single American agree that '<the> military must maintain the capability to fight and win wars overseas in order to defend American allies and to maintain control over the high seas to protect American trade from disruption.'? If a majority of Americans do agree, it might be good to cite a reference that states this.

In the second point, we see that 'the spending represents only a fraction of its enormous national economy.', and 'the current rate of expenditure is sustainable'. I hope I do not misinterpret these statements when I say they are pro-military spending.

The third reason outlines 'improvements in technology' that have been the result of 'an expensive research program'. Has there been any detriment to Americans, or the world, as a result of these 'improvements'? Here, as in the first two reasons, we see only one side of the story.

Perhaps by looking at the first three reasons, it can be seen that the fourth reason may be more justification of military spending than objective, non-partisan commentary.

I certainly do not wish to get into a discussion about the merits/demerits of the US military budget. Also, I don't wish to suggest that the author(s) of this section had ulterior motives. I would merely suggest that this section may be better suited to another article, or possibly left out in its entirety. It would be rude of me to make such a massive edit without seeking the opinion of other editors.--ThurstonZ 04:59, 27 September 2006 (UTC)

I would like to address what is said in the above paragraphs... Your stated suggestions betray your beliefs and your inability to be objective

Thank you for your comment. Could you please clarify what you said in your last sentence? I am unsure as to exactly what part of my statement was objectionable to you.--ThurstonZ 19:44, 6 October 2006 (UTC)

Defense budget for 2006[edit]

There is an inconsistancy in "Budget for 2006" concerning the "Department of Energy" -The table includes a line item for "Department of Energy Defense Activities $17.0 Bil." -Yet the next line says "This does not include many military-related items that are outside of the Defense Department budget, such as nuclear weapons research, maintenance and production (which is in the Department of Energy budget).

Percentage of GDP[edit]

The article claims the US spends 4% of its GDP on the military. 2005 GDP: $12,455,825 Billion. 2005 GAO Military Budget: $420.7 Billion. My calculator shows that's 3.37%. With the '06 Budget and '05 GDP, you get 3.77%. Where does 4% come from?

From the CIA factbook. There is a reference in the article. Mathijs Romans 11:31, 27 January 2007 (UTC)

Older budgets[edit]

Looking back at older revisions, I see budgets from 2004, etc. The present version has only 2007 data. I was trying to look up the past budgets, but now I have to sift through older versions .. why? Could these brought back and either placed here or in separate articles? Thanks! +mt 14:49, 25 July 2007 (UTC)

Agreed, there should be data on past defense budgets in its own section, as the data is out there. --RightCowLeftCoast (talk) 23:00, 9 September 2009 (UTC)

Defense Budget Composition[edit]

I have a great article that hits dead on regarding the problems with the R&D portion of the budget. This problem has been ongoing for many years. I know this from personal experience and the article states it well. I'd like to know what the best approach to incorporating this information into the page is. Advice? Thanks.--The Founders Intent 14:52, 26 October 2007 (UTC)

Still waiting......... --THE FOUNDERS INTENT TALK 21:38, 10 November 2007 (UTC)

Improvement possibilities for this article[edit]

  1. Increase number of links to this article, for example in budget-related articles, military-related articles, military-industrial complex-related articles.
  2. Take information from the GAO ([1]) instead of just from the presidential budget. Their numbers are very different. johnpseudo 17:53, 2 April 2008 (UTC)
  3. No Washington budget is created in a vacuum, it is passed by people who are influenced by forces with varying interests, largely monetary. While I can see that it is a political minefield to talk about, ignoring the forces which shape the budget leaves the article incomplete. Would you describe a solar eclipse without mentioning the sun and the moon? Perhaps we could have names and expenditures related to these influences. E.g. Organizations and their operators who have lobbied for increases in the budget vs. organizations and operators who have lobbied for reductions? Maybe a little bit about social psychology and propaganda-Remember the Maine?Outofthebox (talk) 05:48, 30 July 2011 (UTC)

WikiProject Military history/Assessment/Tag & Assess 2008[edit]

Article reassessed and graded as start class. --dashiellx (talk) 18:56, 23 May 2008 (UTC)

I would like to see how much the US spends on the military bases outside of the US, and what the difference would be if they shut them down and brought everyone home. No other nation has military bases in other countries, except for ones that are colonies, etc, or territories. There seems to be a focus on homeland security, but really, how can that happen when there is hardly enough people to protect the country when they are all overseas?

Roben, 12:07, July 8, 2008 —Preceding unsigned comment added by Roben.anderson (talkcontribs) 17:07, 8 July 2008 (UTC)

Segregate Navy/Marine Corps[edit]

They may fall under the same secretary, but as seperate services the combined listing betrays the lack of funding for the Navy and especially the Marine Corps and the gross overfunding of the Air Force. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:54, 31 August 2008 (UTC)


"The 2005 U.S. military budget is almost as much as the rest of the world's defense spending combined [6] and is less than eight times less than the official military budget of China."

Am I crazy, or is this sentence self-contradictory? zafiroblue05 | Talk 04:37, 21 September 2008 (UTC)

Military spending outside of the DoD[edit]

There is signifigant military spending outside of the DOD's budgetary purview. Specifially the Department of Energy which maintains the nuclear weapons stockpile as well as other nuclear actives which add up to several billion. Also, the Department of State which finances foreign militaries as well as other programs and actions of strategic military importance, are not counted in the DOD budget. The FBI also has a highly funded counter terrorism operation which is of military importance too. Not to mention various other programs and 053 and 051 functions which add up to almost 800 billion for 2009. Should these other military related activities be included?--Mibs (talk) 21:15, 27 September 2008 (UTC)

Definitely. According to the article's definition, spending on nuclear weapons doesn't count as part of military spending. The definition and figures should be revised to include portions of the Department of Energy and probably Homeland Security spending. kd24 (talk) 02:32, 13 May 2009 (UTC)

Information within this article has expanded outside of the scope of the article's introductory paragraph. Such information should be moved to an appropriate article. Furthermore, any change to the scope of this article should be done via consensus. --RightCowLeftCoast (talk) 07:33, 18 October 2009 (UTC)

Historically low?[edit]

This statement makes no sense:

This is historically low for the United States since it peaked in 1944 at 37.8% of GDP (it reached the lowest point of 3.0% in 1999-2001).

This is nuts. You can't compare military spending in peacetime to the height of WWII. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:51, 26 December 2008 (UTC)

I've removed the political comments "American Empire"[edit]

It didn't fit with Wiki's neutrality, and was also inappropriate for the article. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:10, 6 April 2009 (UTC)

Military Spending vs. Entitlement Spending[edit]

RightCowLeftCoast wants to add this: "As a total of GDP the U.S. Defense Budget is around 4% of the federal budget, which is less than half of the 8.4% spent on entitlements, that are part of mandatory spending." I don't think that is relevant to the Military budget of the United States, which this article is about. Perhaps if this article were about the entire budget of the United States, or the federal deficit... but it seems like you're trying to make a political point that doesn't belong here. johnpseudo 13:11, 23 June 2009 (UTC)

Part of the language of this article has been about how the US Spends X amount on military spending. Such an article, where part of its language is aimed at saying that the US spends to much on defense, should also include information that shows how little is spent on defense as compared to other budget expenditures. --RightCowLeftCoast (talk) 15:11, 23 June 2009 (UTC)
If you wish, you can edit it to include only information about the percentage of the defense budget spent on federal spending, which is also part of the cited source, as was done on the federal budget article. That would be an acceptable compromise. --RightCowLeftCoast (talk) 15:11, 23 June 2009 (UTC)
Do you mean the percentage of the federal budget that is spent on defense? Because that's already covered extensively in this article, without your addition. johnpseudo 20:06, 23 June 2009 (UTC)
I see that it has been touched upon in two sections, however the commentary made by the cited report has not been made on this article, and should be added to the commentary section, where after some thought it would be more appropriate. --RightCowLeftCoast (talk) 10:00, 25 June 2009 (UTC)
Again, you haven't answered why the material is appropriate for this article. We don't talk about NASA spending, Federal highway spending, or the FDA's budget. Why should we talk about entitlement spending? It's just not relevant. johnpseudo 13:06, 25 June 2009 (UTC)
It is relevant because it is stated in the article that defense makes up X percentage of discretionary spending, thus making it appear like it is one of largest single expenditures of the federal budget, which the statistic shows clearly is not the case. --RightCowLeftCoast (talk) 08:46, 26 June 2009 (UTC)
Besides being irrelevant, to which I guess your argument is, "But there are other big things, and we should point out what they are!", the sentence is blatantly wrong. The U.S. Defense Budget is not "4% of the federal budget". It is 4% of the nation's GDP. And so I guess if you really wanted to make a point of how small the defense budget is, which seems to be your agenda, you could point out that we spend 10% of our GDP on food, or 11% of our GDP on housing. But don't you see how that would be irrelevant too? Comparing the defense budget to the entitlements budget only makes sense if you're trying to score a political point. And that's not appropriate for a wikipedia article. johnpseudo 13:14, 26 June 2009 (UTC)
My only agenda is stating relevent facts to the article to improve it. You are right in the fact that I misstated that it was 4% of the federal budget, rather than the GDP, which I meant to say. But everyone mispeaks from time to time. The fact that the % of GDP spend on defense is smaller than the % of GDP spent by the Federal Government on larger programs/categories is just that, fact. This isn't about how much the private sector spends but how much the Federal Government spends. That is the point of this article. To have this article exist in a void, without giving a quick comparison to other expenditures, is to misrepresent it.
Edit the text if you believe that it contains a POV, but leave the cited fact in the article, as it is from a reliable source and relevent to the article overall.--RightCowLeftCoast (talk) 13:27, 26 June 2009 (UTC)
It isn't relevant. The difference between discretionary and non-discretionary spending is best left to the federal budget article, not this article. Yes, it's a fact that the amount spent on military spending is less than entitlement spending, but why is that relevant to the Military Budget article? Entitlement spending is no more relevant to this Military Budget article than private sector spending. The only reason this story was generated in the first place is because the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank, wants to decrease entitlement spending and increase defense spending. Inserting that point of view by adding a fact that is irrelevant to the topic of this article is not a neutral, objective way to develop this article. johnpseudo 14:23, 26 June 2009 (UTC)
Facts are neutral, these facts pertain to the subject of the article, therefore it is very relevant. Because as you said, it is from the Heritage Foundation, something clearly stated in the most recent edit, it is placed in the commentary section, as the strait GDP spending is already mentioned in the article, as you had pointed out. Again, facts do not contain a POV.
For instance, fact. The average temperature for this season has so far been lower this year in San Diego. Opinion, this is a clear sign of global cooling. See, one is fact, one is extrapulation of opinion from fact. What the statement as it now stands, is stating two facts, relevant to the subject of the article. --RightCowLeftCoast (talk) 10:41, 27 June 2009 (UTC)
Declaring a fact when it is irrelevant can force a point of view. For instance: if you added "The temperature in San Diego was higher this year than last year, but still much lower than Dallas, which is generally one of the hottest cities in the United States" into the article for "San Diego", that would be pushing a point of view (that San Diego's increased temperature is perfectly alright, because it has better weather than Dallas). But Dallas has nothing to do with San Diego, as entitlement spending has nothing to do with defense spending. So why are you mentioning it? johnpseudo 20:31, 27 June 2009 (UTC)
The fact of the % of GDP spent on entitlements by the federal government gives context to the % of GDP spent on defense by the federal government, and does not interject any POV. --RightCowLeftCoast (talk) 11:30, 28 June 2009 (UTC)
There is already an entire section of the article "Military budget and total US federal spending" that gives context to the amount spent on defense, with a pie chart that gives your comparison in a more-neutral form. That pie chart, by comparing defense spending to all the other different types of spending, is more neutral because it doesn't single out "entitlement spending" as the only thing defense spending should be compared to. There is no reason to single out entitlement spending in this article, because this is an article about defense spending. We're going around in circles here without anybody else to express their opinion. Wikipedia policy is to leave out any information that doesn't reach a consensus. With only the two of us here arguing, we have not reached a consensus, so the information should be removed. johnpseudo 16:11, 28 June 2009 (UTC)
However, the way that section is written it gives the POV that the US spends a significant amount, exceeding other amounts, of its budget on defense, while the GDP expenditure is buried at the end of the next section. I have compromised as I have placed the neutral facts in the commentary section, but you have not been willing to compromise at all. The facts are NPOV, and provide context to the data of this article. --RightCowLeftCoast (talk) 11:01, 29 June 2009 (UTC)


I’ve come here in response to a request for a third opinion. My real-life job includes analyzing the US defense budget, among other things. Frankly, I think you are both right: including the entitlement comparison statement is harmless, neutral, informative, and not particularly relevant. I think that what RCLC wants to address can be best handled in a way that should be acceptable to Johnpseudo by two changes in the “Military budget and total US federal spending” section.

"Military discretionary spending accounts for roughly X% of the entire United States federal budget and more than half of its discretionary spending (that portion of the total budget that is not appropriated for mandatory spending)." I would also recommend that the pie chart be simplified to reflect only defense spending, other discretionary spending, non-discretionary (entitlement) spending, and debt-servicing. Greater detail is available in the United States federal budget article, which uses the same chart. Are these suggestions amenable to you both? Askari Mark (Talk) 00:26, 29 June 2009 (UTC)

May I suggest the possible rewording of the part of the section section that you are talking about:

In the 2008 Fiscal Budget the Department of Defense Budget accounts for 21% of the federal budget, which equals roughly 4% of the national GDP. It is discretionary spending due to the constitutional limitations of military funding and makes up more than half of non-mandatory spending. Total discretionary spending is approx. 1/3 of the federal budget. --RightCowLeftCoast (talk) 11:01, 29 June 2009 (UTC)

I think better to just change the sentence to "Military discretionary spending accounts for 21% of the federal budget and more than half of discretionary spending, which is all of the U.S. federal government budget that is not appropriated for mandatory spending." The GDP % is mentioned in the "Comparison with other countries" section already. I don't really know how to change the pie chart. johnpseudo 12:28, 29 June 2009 (UTC)
And the difference between discretionary spending, and mandatory spending should be explained, not just given a wikilink, as should there be a mention that it's under discretionary spending due to constitutional law. The GDP statement is factual and should be included. --RightCowLeftCoast (talk) 19:35, 30 June 2009 (UTC)
Factual, and irrelevant, like Askari said. What do you mean that it's under discretionary spending due to constitutional law? Where in the constitution does it say that military spending must be discretionary? johnpseudo 19:39, 30 June 2009 (UTC)
I don't think you understand WP:CONSENSUS. It doesn't mean that you can put whatever you want in the article, unless everyone (including yourself) agree to take it out. It means that, until a consensus is reached, the change stays out of the article. Changes, such as the one you are suggesting, are only made WITH consensus. I've followed Askari's suggestion, and you have simply demanded that you have your way despite his opinion. johnpseudo 21:22, 30 June 2009 (UTC)
Maybe I am misunderstanding WP:Consensus as you said, as presently 1 v 1 equals no consensus at all, so maybe you are right about the fact that my edit should be removed. But if that is the case than I would say that the way that the article is written before my overal minor edit is weighted in a manor which leans towards a POV, a POV that it appears you support, and thus the appropriate tag should be added and the entire article should be written to be stricktly neutral, and state only facts.
As for the U.S. Constitution limiting defense spending to discretionary spending, it is due to the fact that as stated in the enumerated powers the following:

To raise and support armies, but no appropriation of money to that use shall be for a longer term than two years

Therefore, any spending cannot be mandated by law in future budgets due to the aforementioned constitutional restiction.--RightCowLeftCoast (talk) 07:41, 2 July 2009 (UTC)
That's interesting- I didn't know that. I agree that that would be an informative, relevant addition to the article, unlike the entitlement spending comparison. I just don't understand what point of view you think I'm pushing. I'm for keeping the article very politically neutral, instead of inserting comparisons to political hot topics like entitlement spending for no reason relevant to the article's topic.
I think you're ignoring Askari's kind contribution to our dialog here. He suggested that we 1) Put what % defense spending is of the entire federal budget and the discretionary budget, and 2) That we simplify the pie chart into his 4 mentioned categories. I've implemented the first suggestion, and I don't know how to implement his second suggestion. You, on the other hand, have ignored his suggestion and kept insisting on your own content. To my mind, this makes 2 vs 1. But consensus isn't about numbers. If you have a reason that you think entitlement spending is relevant to this article, please make it known. johnpseudo 13:38, 2 July 2009 (UTC)

[outdent] If you don’t mind, I’m removing the article POV tag. It is not relevant to the article as a whole, and the issue at hand appears to me to be more of a content dispute with two different ideas on how to present information in one paragraph. If there is a true POV dispute here, I’m having trouble seeing just what is being pushed by each of you. I like some of what each of you have proposed as changes, so please let me offer a new version of the first two paragraphs that may better address both of your concerns (as I understand them).

The U.S. defense budget is a discretionary spending account, and for Fiscal Year 2008 it accounted for approximately 21% of the entire United States federal budget. (A discretionary spending account permits government planners to have more flexibility to changes to spending plans on a year-to-year basis, as opposed to mandatory spending accounts which mandate spending on programs outside of the budgetary process.) Military spending is discretionary due to the constitutional limitations on military funding. In recent years, discretionary spending as a whole has amounted to about one-third of total federal outlays,[7] with defense making up more than half of such spending. According to the Center for Defense Information, the US outlays for defense as a percentage of federal discretionary spending, has from Fiscal Year 2003 consumed more than half (50.5%) of all such funding and has risen steadily.[6]
For FY 2008, basic spending on defense amounted to roughly 4% of the national GDP. Because the U.S. GDP has risen over time, the military budget can rise in absolute terms while shrinking as a percentage of the GDP. Therefore, comparing nominal dollar values of military spending over the course of decades fails to account for the impact of inflationary forces, for which military spending as a percentage of GDP does account. {There have been proposals to tie overall defense spending to a given level of GDP to keep military spending stable with regard to inflationary pressures, but opponents have pointed out that economic setbacks, such as recessions, can introduce instabilities not tied to real-world demands upon the armed forces.}

Basically, I’ve restructured them to deal with discretionary spending in the one and with the GDP in the other. (I’ve also appended to the latter in braces an extension – that needs further development and footnoting – which provides some context for including references defense spending in terms of GDP.) I would also like to encourage you both to review the existing footnotes as in checking several, I found that they were not always appropriate or in which it was difficult to find the related information. I would also recommend adding a paragraph that shows the impact of adding subsequent supplementary budgets to these amounts. I hope these suggestions help you both further develop this article. Cheers, Askari Mark (Talk) 23:39, 4 July 2009 (UTC)

Of more concern to those trying to get an overall idea of total defense spending is the taxpayer money vs. taxpayer plus money collected not as income tax. For example, Social Security is partly funded through people's paycheck deductions and not fully from income tax. Since I am paying for my Social Security, at least partly, and getting my money back (or part of it), its confusing to see Social Security lumped in with Defense. There is no extra 'Defense' deduction from my paychecks. I do not get money back when the Air Force makes a new $120 million dollar plane. This has the effect of making Social Security look like its a huge part of general taxes, which its not. Defense spending is funded through income tax. Any comments? Perhaps there is another page which I should be discussing this on? Does the pie chart represent all sources of federal money? If so, perhaps this can be explained somewhere. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:31, 11 June 2011 (UTC)

The budget is closer to 5%, not 4%, of the national GDP[edit]

At least according to this article from CATO (I know, not the most neutral sources, but still...): Cameron Nedland (talk) 15:47, 10 July 2009 (UTC)

I think the confusion here has to do with the year chosen. In 2007, it was 4.0% of GDP, but the expected number in 2009 is 4.5%. (OMB) Still, I don't know where the 4.7% number came from. johnpseudo 19:09, 13 July 2009 (UTC)
The amount also differs with whether or not the supplemental is included with the base budget, so that might be the source of the difference. Askari Mark (Talk) 21:16, 13 July 2009 (UTC)

Not a policy discussion[edit]

Hcobb, this article is not the place for discussions of whether the U.S. should spend more or less on its military. PRRfan (talk) 18:51, 27 July 2009 (UTC)

What's the value of a number without a context? Hcobb (talk) 19:03, 27 July 2009 (UTC)
The problem is that one man's "Obama defense crunch" and "expanded missions" are another's "return to sanity" and "U.S. adventurism." Not defending these points of view; just saying we could find citations for them. Neither is appropriate for this article, in my view. On the other hand, I see a "Commentary" section at the end of the piece. This is also inappropriate, in my view, but I'm not up for launching a consensus-based assault on it. What if we agree that the "Military budget and total US federal spending" section, at least, is not the place for discussions of whether the U.S. should spend more or less on its military? PRRfan (talk) 20:45, 27 July 2009 (UTC)

The two big questions are:

A> Why does the USA have a defense budget? (ref to Def Policy of USA) and B> Why does the budget level change over time? (on topic when changes are shown)

The issues I listed were straight out of the CRS report showing how stated policy was in conflict with budget realities. If you've got some reference that states that the CRS is a highly biased source then I'd love to see it. Hcobb (talk) 20:53, 27 July 2009 (UTC)

Not saying CRS was biased; saying the discussion is much bigger than this section. PRRfan (talk) 21:02, 27 July 2009 (UTC)


Why is it information added by the Heritage Foundation is seen as being a non-reliable source due to perceived bias, yet other editors are using other sources that can as easily be perceived has having their own bias, and thus just as equally non-reliable? --RightCowLeftCoast (talk) 22:57, 9 September 2009 (UTC)

I would like to challange the neutrality of the sources and, each group has an agenda, and their information, whether accurate or not, should not be made to push POV here. --RightCowLeftCoast (talk) 12:55, 17 October 2009 (UTC)

We allow POV sources as long as they're reliable. Is there some specific fact from those sources that you dispute? johnpseudo 22:34, 17 October 2009 (UTC)
If what you say was true, why was the sources from the Heritage Foundation removed in the past? --RightCowLeftCoast (talk) 07:29, 18 October 2009 (UTC)
Maybe because it was inaccurate? I don't know exactly which source you're referring to. johnpseudo 20:49, 18 October 2009 (UTC)
Eaglen, Mackenzie; Eric Sayers (23-Mar-2009). "USA: A 21st Century Maritime Posture for an Uncertain Future". Defense Industry Daily. Retrieved June 21, 2009. 
Remember, we had to get a third opinion regarding text referenced to it, that you argued was not relevent to the subject of this article? --RightCowLeftCoast (talk) 09:56, 19 October 2009 (UTC)
Oh that one! Right- it wasn't relevant. My opposition to your edit didn't have anything to do with the source. johnpseudo 12:01, 19 October 2009 (UTC)
I thought you did, sorry if I interpreted your opposition the wrong way, but I could have sworn that you opposed it because you didn't see the Heritage Foundation as a neutral reliable source. --RightCowLeftCoast (talk) 19:10, 19 October 2009 (UTC)
The Heritage Foundation is biased in how they present facts and in selecting which facts to present, but they can be generally relied upon not to tell an outright lie. I did bring up the Heritage Foundation's bias in order to explain why the entitlement statistic was included in the article about defense spending. But wikipedia editors should use sources to support facts, not to decide what facts are relevant to any given article. johnpseudo 19:50, 19 October 2009 (UTC)

Need some expert advice, or at least someone who knows what to look for[edit]

The subject of this article is the "military budget" of the united states, but some of my recent edits have dealt with the more-general "spending" (as distinct from "budgeted" spending) for "defense" (as distinct from simple military purposes). Am I wrong in thinking that these numbers are relevant? And what are the most reliable sources for "spending" and "budgets"? This article always seems to vary in where it gets its data from year to year. It's frustrating to me that the data is so opaque. It seems like you almost need to be a military budget expert to sort the spin from the facts. johnpseudo 22:13, 16 October 2009 (UTC)


I know that anyone can look back at an older version of this article, via the history tab, however, it would be nice if we could have a basic history of each year previously given on this article within it. By basic I mean amount spent, percentage of GDP, and percentage of total budget. Of course that may be more difficult then I imagine, as current active editors appear to disagree on what the scope of the article is. --RightCowLeftCoast (talk) 19:14, 19 October 2009 (UTC)

I totally agree- the article is much too focused on the current year and not enough on how it has changed over the course of U.S. history. I presume you're referring to me as a "current active editor", but what disagreement about scope are you talking about? johnpseudo 19:30, 19 October 2009 (UTC)
LOL, yah, you are the most active editor recently, and I just watch this article for the most part (and others), to make sure that nothing to erogenous or what I see as to POV is added/subtracted. As for the scope question lets move that to the relevant area of discussion.--RightCowLeftCoast (talk) 19:33, 19 October 2009 (UTC)

Article Scope[edit]

Per the current introductory paragraph, and my humble opinion, expenditures out of the budget of the Department of Defense (and supplement to said budget) are outside of the scope of this article. It has been argued that Department of Veterans Affairs, the Department of Homeland Security, and certain programs within the Department of Energy and other Departments be included as making up the total military budget. That opinion of the total military budget, in my opinion is erroneous, because not all programs are military, or uniformed for that matter, in nature. For example, the U.S. Border Patrol, or the former USDA division APHIS (at least those that I am familiar with at Port of entry areas) are part of Homeland Security, but aren't military. I can see including expenditures of other uniformed services, including the USCG, to be military expenditures. However, outside of that other expenditures related to national defense would be outside of the scope of this article. Now if this article were to be the National Defense Budget of the United States, that would be different, and thus the topic is what does National Defense encompass, not what does the Military Budget encompass. And if that change is to take place, as this is a major article due to the subject that it covers, I think we need consensus before that change is made.

Furthermore, inclusion of the VA expenditures, would be like saying that the funding of the retirement benefits of former civil service employees of the Department of Education is an education expenditure. --RightCowLeftCoast (talk) 19:46, 19 October 2009 (UTC)

Or like saying that the retirement benefits of former General Motors workers are a General Motors expenditure? Of course the VA is a military expenditure. VA benefits are a huge draw for military recruitment. Just because the cost comes after the soldier has left active duty doesn't mean it isn't part of the military's expenditures.
I agree with you that not all of the Department of Homeland Security it military, but certainly some of it is. And another problem with the expanded scope which you didn't bring up, is the fact that a lot of our "military spending" is not "budgeted" (e.g. funding for the GWOT and Iraq/Afghanistan). And finally, the amount spent on interest on debt incurred in past wars is a very iffy thing to include in "military spending". But here's my issue: I think that these numbers would all be of interest to someone trying to figure out how much we spend on our military. And if they don't find it here, where will they?
Besides deciding which types of expenditures to include, I think that if this article is going to be about the military "budget", it needs to talk a lot more about the procedural elements of how the budget is derived and enacted. Who writes the budget? How is it used? How has it changed? In that respect, this article is already about the "types of military expenditures" rather than the "budget for military spending". :I think that removing information would be unhelpful. Rather, we need to try to delineate between what we mean by "military budget", "defense budget", "military spending", and "defense spending", and either rename the article to something that encompasses everything or simply write the article clearly enough that it isn't confusing. johnpseudo 20:11, 19 October 2009 (UTC)
As it stands now, the scope of the article is military budget only. I can and would understand an expansion of, or an additional article on the National Defense Budget of the United States, with sub-articles (not sections but articles (due to the size of each and how much it can be expanded upon) on the Military Budget (five armed services)(this article), Military Related budget (other uniformed services, nuclear program under the department of energy, and VA), and non-military Natioanal Defense Budget (Homeland security (except for Coast Guard), FBI, CIA, state defense forces, etc.). The US Government is not GM, since although the funding is all the same (the IRS), the legal funding routes are different, under different parts of the U.S. Code. The government is wierd like that, I am sure you understand what I am getting at.
As for how the budget is written, should that be another article in and of itself, possibly connected to the total federal budget? I wouldn't mind seeing that article being created as well, if it isn't around in some form already. --RightCowLeftCoast (talk) 12:56, 23 October 2009 (UTC)
So you basically want to split everything up as much as possible? Don't you see how that detracts from the value of this article? johnpseudo 13:28, 23 October 2009 (UTC)
I want to be able to have each article stand on its own, because of the length that each one could get, especially if each program was given a small blurb, imagine how long just the Military article could get. This way there would be the main national defense article, which is what I think you are looking for, and rather than having long categories for each of section, have a small blurb giving a summary, with a larger article which expands on that area of the budget. The Federal budget when printed is a rather thick document, if you've ever seen one at a library, so I wouldn't imagine that the article that summarizes those areas of the budget couldn't be rather large themselves. --RightCowLeftCoast (talk) 21:51, 23 October 2009 (UTC)
Personally, I think this article could use three experts, one from the left side of the aisle, one from the right side of the aisle, and one from an actual non-partisan (not just in name only) defense analysis think tank. This way each can balance each other's perspectives out, and the non-partisan individual could serve as a third opinion. However, failing that, there is us, and I wouldn't consider myself an expert on the matter, even if I have an interest in the overall subject. --RightCowLeftCoast (talk) 21:54, 23 October 2009 (UTC)

I continue to maintain that the VA is a non-military expenditure. The VA is a non-uniformed service department of the executive branch of the federal government. Furthermore the VA is not part of the Department of Defense, nor does it fall under the Department of Defense during a time of war. --RightCowLeftCoast (talk) 01:21, 14 December 2009 (UTC)

And war is peace, and we've always been at war with Eurasia. Seriously though, the "Veterans Affairs" department is "non-military"? What do you think they are veterans of? johnpseudo 13:26, 14 December 2009 (UTC)
Thank you for your opinion and satire, however, it is besides the point
They, the Department of Veterans Affairs, do provide services to military veterans, who are qualified benefit recipients of the federal government; however, they themselves are not military. There maybe some uniformed Public Health Service officers who work in VA hospitals, however, they do not fall into what is considered a military service. --RightCowLeftCoast (talk) 01:33, 15 December 2009 (UTC)
That's a strange rationale for what constitutes "military spending". By that reasoning, virtually all of the Department of Defense's procurement budget is "non-military" because it goes to private, non-uniformed contractors. johnpseudo 12:03, 15 December 2009 (UTC)
Per the request for input from the MilHist page I have a few thoughts.
Expenditure on military capabilities does extend somewhat beyond the organisational boundaries of a single department, and I'd agree that it's overly simplistic and somewhat deceptive to exclude defence funding from other areas. That said the inclusion does need to be adequately referenced. I've certainly been involved in US projects that were funded from outside DoD but had an explicit military effect. There are also expenditures from DoD that deliver effect under the umbrella of other departments. One that springs to mind is the USMC guard force for Embassies, although I'm conscious that there may be a financial contribution from State for that, it's unlikely to account for the TCO of personnel in the guard force. Another would be USAid projects that use military personnel for all or part of the delivery. The challenge you've got is finding reliable sources that conflate the effect and the funder.
Much military effort, particularly for the national guard, is constabulary or Aid to Civil Authority related so the argument that it should only be related to military effect is somewhat specious.
With respect to the VA expenditure, I would consider this a direct defence expenditure. The funding for VA has to be forecast based on military activities; pensions, benefits, medical requirements etc. Whilst the department may not deliver an explicit military effect it has a very clear implied effect inasmuch as veteran benefits are an element of the employers value proposition. I would consider it unusual to suggest that it might be somehow separate. That said the VA expenditure is ringfenced inasmuch as it can't be diverted to fund current military activities.
ALR (talk) 16:10, 15 December 2009 (UTC)
I wish there were more reliable sources to answer the question of what parts of the U.S. budget are "defense related". The only two sources I've found have a decidedly liberal slant: [2], [3], and aren't from particularly authoritative sources. Still, I don't think that's an excuse to avoid the question entirely, thereby implying through omission that defense spending is entirely contained within the Department of Defense budget- a position even less-grounded in reliable sourcing. johnpseudo 16:42, 15 December 2009 (UTC)
I have a feeling that you'd need to get access to papers either from academia or thinktanks about the economics of military and foreign expenditure. The issue is not defence related per se, since I would contend that it is very naive to imagine that government expenditure can be neatly packaged by department. Departments have to work together and inevitably the effect of the funding crosses boundaries. I'd be more concerned if it didn't as I'd rather that the effect of expenditure is delivery focused.
I am cognisant that the issue here may not be specifically about how military expenditure is bounded, but what use is being made of that aspect of the economics, but frankly the political perspectives have little to do with it. Delivery of military effect is not purely a military activity, the uniformed element is only one part of the supply chain.
Consider the delivery of a munition in theatre, if that's a US manufactured munition then what elements of the cost have come purely from the defence budget? In the delivery of trained people how much of the TCO do you consider comes from the education system, putting someone into the training pipeline in a fit state to make use of the training delivered?
You need to work on getting hold of something authoritative, there are bound to be academic papers around that consider the economics of defence. Given the migration of senior people to and from academia and industry there are probably some papers in the War College archive that would apply.
ALR (talk) 22:20, 15 December 2009 (UTC)

Perhaps the name of the article needs to be changed to Defense budget of the United States? --RightCowLeftCoast (talk) 19:16, 15 December 2009 (UTC)

Depends what you're trying to do with the proposition. I would say that it's intellectually unsound to try to suggest that the economics of defence isn't a complex and broad ranging topic that doesn't suit trite soundbites, from either side of the political divide.
ALR (talk) 22:20, 15 December 2009 (UTC)
I am in favor of changing it to "Defense budget". And I don't think it's as simple as "getting access to papers" (although if you can find such a paper, I would be very grateful!). There's not nearly as much research on the subject of the U.S. military budget as you'd think. Ultimately, the military controls the data, and they can restrict public access to that data if it suits their agenda. johnpseudo 23:43, 15 December 2009 (UTC)
My proposal is that if we are talking about a military budget we are talking about the United States Military, and as such, the contents of the article have already exceeded that scope. However, if we are talking about the Defense of the United States, and its budget, it increases the scope of the article to what is already contained. --RightCowLeftCoast (talk) 04:16, 16 December 2009 (UTC)
Students at the War College and on secondment to academic programmes at Harvard and others write academic papers on topics like the economics of defence. These are publicly available and could be referenced, meeting the needs of verifiability.
ALR (talk) 09:48, 16 December 2009 (UTC)
It's one thing to find papers on the economics of defense and another to find one that breaks down the actual federal budget. If you're aware of relevant papers, I would appreciate your assistance in finding them. I don't think we have already exceeded the scope of the "military budget" title, because "defense" is a very similar and relevant topic to the military. Most of the article deals only with the Department of Defense budget, and in the "Non-DOD spending" section the meaning of "military budget" is clarified by contrasting it with the broader defense budget. Still, if you want to change the title, I'm fine with it. johnpseudo 11:33, 16 December 2009 (UTC)

Prior administration critism[edit]

Keeping with neutral POV and WP:CRIT, this article should be used to attack present, or past admistrations regarding their defense budgets, or for that matter the size of the budget in general. In a recent edit a sentance was added, with a reference, regarding funding of PMCs. Only including a single sentance without giving due weight to the reasons given by the past administration as to why those companies were contracted gives unde weight to certain opinions regarding those companies.

In the interest of content neutrality I kindly ask that the user who added the content remove it, or provide due weight regarding the reasons given by the government as to why the companies were contracted. --RightCowLeftCoast (talk) 05:32, 6 December 2009 (UTC)

Yes, BHO has not changed the policy. But this is an important shift that has ample notice in the media. Shall I drag in a half dozen other references and expand into its own section? Hcobb (talk) 18:17, 6 December 2009 (UTC)
Perhaps the reasoning as to why contracting to PMCs and other companies, if done in a neutral point of view, would be a relevent extension. For instance the reasoning why food preparation has been largely delegated to contractors, rather than having Army Cooks doing the majority of food preparation. Only giving one side of the issue gives undue weight, and this is not keeping with policy. --RightCowLeftCoast (talk) 22:51, 6 December 2009 (UTC)
I've cleaned it up, but haven't done the OR suggested. It seems to me that the only issue left is Reality's well known liberal bias so can we remove the tag now? Hcobb (talk) 00:08, 10 December 2009 (UTC)
It seems to me that the only issue left is Reality's well known liberal bias. Looking for a neutral Wikipedia editor brings to mind Diogenes' search for an honest man. But I do agree we can do without all this rubbish from NPR and the so-called peer-reviewed literature, both of which suffer from a well-known liberal bias. --Vaughan Pratt (talk) 03:04, 21 September 2011 (UTC)
It need not be OR, as you claim I suggested. There are surely reliable source references discussing why PMCs and other companies are contracted to due tasks previously carried out by non combat arms military servicemembers. --RightCowLeftCoast (talk) 19:19, 15 December 2009 (UTC)
And 90 percent of those refs say it was all about political connections to the Cheney/Halliburton administration. Hcobb (talk) 19:30, 15 December 2009 (UTC)
I'd imagine that many of those references would not fall under reliable source or would be considered opinion or speculation of the writer.
The last thing I want this article to devolve into is for it to be a used as a criticism article regarding military expenditures or individual administration members.--RightCowLeftCoast (talk) 19:50, 15 December 2009 (UTC)
So report the numbers and leave the reasons to others. Hcobb (talk) 20:22, 15 December 2009 (UTC)
That appears to be a fair decisions. --RightCowLeftCoast (talk) 20:39, 15 December 2009 (UTC)
I think it would be foolish and borderline dishonest to suggest that outsourcing does not happen, military effect has always depended to some extent on some functions being undertaken by civilians. I get the impression that the sensitivities being displayed are not so much about the use of contracted services but the widespread allegations of impropriety around how the contracts were awarded. Financial and commercial impropriety is a recurring issue in US politics, and I think it could be reasonable to mention it, although that would need to be supported by authoritative and competent sources that discuss it over time. I've seen mention of allegations of corruption and fraud in both WWI and WWII, Korea, Vietnam and more recently, so there must be something out there that is reliable enough to use and not so focused on recent activities that it gives undue weight to that, to the exclusion of a broader look at the issue.
I did recall some discussion when I was in DC at one stage of a paper that looked at inappropriate behaviour around the BRAC process, given the economic effect of establishments and base closures it was widely recognised as a potential issue and whilst mostly prevented there are apparently some decisions that were considered to be vulnerable to investigation.
It may be worth broadening the discussion.
ALR (talk) 22:30, 15 December 2009 (UTC)
Those events need to be listed under the Support Service Contractors page, which is clearly needed as KBR is neither Boeing nor Blackwater. Hcobb (talk) 23:56, 15 December 2009 (UTC)

Also the insourcing impacts on industrial base issues. Hcobb (talk) 14:41, 15 December 2009 (UTC)

potential resource[edit]

A Shrinking Military Budget May Take Neighbors With It by BINYAMIN APPELBAUM published NYT January 6, 2012. A version of this article appeared in print on January 7, 2012, on page A1 of the New York edition. (talk) 19:56, 8 January 2012 (UTC)

Slightly Deceptive Comparison[edit]

It seems a little misleading to compare the current US military budget as a percentage of the GPD to that at which it peaked without proper context, as the peak year mentioned, 1944, was both the third year that the US was in WWII, and it was the year before they used the first atomic bomb in history, as well as the fact that there was a large drop in GDP at the end of the war, referenced on Wikipedia as the Recession of 1945. Providing no context when comparing to the relatively low necessity we have for military action today and the significantly higher GDP when adjusted for inflation seems to be somewhat misleading and may be biased. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:28, 26 May 2012 (UTC)

I understand your point yet I believe most readers will quickly understand why the WWII years' spending is much greater than normal "peace-time" spending or even Cold War spending. Indicating the years of expenditure should be a good enough context. In any case it is informative to see what share of GDP belonged to the military throughout history. ArticunoWebon (talk) 10:06, 14 August 2012 (UTC)

Percent of Budget[edit]

2010 Budget request

Percentage of Total


$244.9 billion 31.8% In FY2011 $17,175,805,014.00 dollars was paid to retired Soldiers and Survivors, which is about 6.9% of the total Army Budget

Navy $149.9 billion 23.4% excluding Marine Corps

Marine Corps $29.0 billion 4% Total Budget taken allotted from Department of Navy

Air Force $170.6 billion 22%

Thats in the article. But there is an error with the Navy (because of the Marines I guess?) and the Air Force. The Air Force got 170,6 Billion and 22% - the Navy with her 149.9 Billion got 23.4%? This is 20.7 Billion less and however 1.4% more? The Marines 29,0 Billion and 4% would make the Navy 178.9 Billion (23.4 + 4% = 27.4%?). This however doesn't work if you compare the 170.6 Billion and 22% from the Air Force. I mean the amounts are useful but the percent are wrong. If you take 244.9 / 31.8 you get = 7,701 Billion for 1%. If you take 170.6 / 22.0 you get = 7,754 and if you take 29 / 4 you get 7,250 and 149.9 / 23.4 = 6,4059829059829059829059829059829, 178.9 / 23.4 = 7,645. I think the numbers have been rounded up or down (7,701 - 7,754 and 7,645 are in such a small corridor, only the Marines 7,250 is completely wrong).

I would remove all of the percents or at least the Navy-Percents. That a large amount of money is spent for many many other projects doesn't make this thing easier. Army 31,8% + 23,4% Navy + 22% Airforce makes "only" = 77,2%. Since the values are in the one table from the FY 09/10 and the next chart shows FY 2011 numbers this is really confusing, since the USA got Fiscal Year 2013 already since 44 Days and the FY 2012 (Oct 2011 - Sep 2012) is not mentioned in the charts. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Kilon22 (talkcontribs) 16:09, 13 November 2012 (UTC)

Interest for financing defense spending[edit]

The entire US debt is financed with $200 B in interest. How can defense be more than that amount? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:25, 7 March 2013 (UTC)

Footnote 8 is unreliable[edit] (talk) 16:26, 10 September 2013 (UTC)The source for footnote 8 is unreliable, and irrelevant. First, the amount cited, $3.7 trillion for the cost of the wars, is too high. I would believe $2 trillion all day long, but not $3.7 trillion. The article itself cites $100 billion a year, which is about right, plus the VA costs. Second, the article does not cite any source for costs or display any math anywhere, the $3.7 appears out of thin air, while it talks about total "human cost." It is an obvious anti-war slant, which is fine, but makes it useless for this Wikipedia topic.

  1. ^ Snopes. "The Write Stuff". Retrieved May 31.  Unknown parameter |accessyear= ignored (help);