Backstory: The U.S. Military Budget (2022)

Remember, just about every single military or political problem you see in the world right now stems from the money allocated in these ‘defense’ budgets.

05 April 2022 | James Porteous | Clipper Media News

The announcement of US military’s yearly budget is treated as little more than a future trivia question, but, as you will see below, the ‘military budget’ is the second-largest expense category after Social Security.

We all know how much politicians hate paying for Social Security (what a waste of money!) but you will never hear a wimper over ‘military budget.’

Oh sure, every politician in America is happy to welcome a new submarine base in their district and they take full advantage of the wonderful system of quid pro quo that this entails, but surely there is more to it than that. 

Of course. The threats to ‘democracy’ are endless. Isn’t ‘the world’ forever on the brink war? Are we not, even now, watching the lit fuse that is Ukraine vs. Russia?

Well yes, but as sure as night turns to day (at least for now) as one ‘conflict’ is resolved, another one will take its place. In fact, the US is involved in at least three or four other conflicts right at this moment. So someone has to pay for these conflicts.

And this is where the muddy water gets a tad… murky. You see, the $800 billion ‘DoD base budget does not include the cost of wars. That falls under Overseas Contingency Operations.’

So, even with the allocation of $800 billion for the military for just one year, the money to pay for the wars this military will take part in comes from another… budget. 

And where are the details of that other budget? Well, the details are in the same place you might find the details for the ‘regular’ budget. 

You can see the problem. 

And never mind the beleaguered Department of Veterans Affairs. Most people take at least some comfort in the assumption that ‘soldiers’ are sent ‘away’ (very few battles actually take place in the US proper) and if they become injured, the government will do whatever it takes to heal and rehabilitate them and lead them back into society. Just like Social Security.

If only any of these issues were so simple. The cost of medical care for the injured literally never ends. (‘A North Carolina woman is the daughter of a Civil War veteran, and still collects his benefits U.S. Still Paying a Civil War Pension). And nor does the love the politicians and business leaders who have always had a… special fondness for the monetary benefits of the war economy.

By now some of you are probably thinking: Isn’t all of this mainly the purview of anti-war activists? 

Perhaps, but keep in mind that no one has any real idea how much the US spends on its military each and every year (The Pentagon Has Never Passed An Audit. Some Senators Want To Change That

And it is also important to bear witness because of the existing ‘understanding’ between government and media that allows both to pretend that spending $800 billion dollars a year is hardly even worth mentioning. 

And finally, it is worth remembering that just about every single military and political problem you see in the world right now, today and forever, stems in some way or another from the money -your money- allocated in these various ‘defense’ budgets. 

I don’t expect any more than five people will be ‘exposed’ to this post today, but I have found that the archived ‘Backstory’ items are useful because many other people will eventually want to know the same information I have set out to find in putting together this post. And it is never easy to find.

James Porteous | Clipper Media

silhouette of soldiers walking
Photo by Pixabay on

U.S. Military Budget, Its Components, Challenges, and Growth

24 February 2022 | KIMBERLY AMADEO | The Balance

Why U.S. Military Spending Is More Than You Think It Is

The estimated U.S. military spending for the fiscal year 2022 is $754 billion. It covers the period October 1, 2021, through September 30, 2022.1

 Military spending is the second-largest item in the federal budget after Social Security.2

This figure is more than the $715 billion outlined by the Department of Defense alone.3 The United States has many departments that support its defense. All these departments must be included to get an accurate picture of how much America spends on its military operations.

The Components of U.S. Military Spending

If you really want to get a handle on what the United States spends on defense, you need to look at multiple components.

The $715 billion base budget for the Department of Defense is the main contributor to the defense budget, but there are a number of other agencies that protect our nation as well, and much of their spending is devoted to the military effort.4 

They include the Department of Veterans Affairs ($113.1 billion). Funding for the VA has been increased by nearly $30 billion over 2018 levels. That’s to fund the VA MISSION Act and the VA’s healthcare system.5 

The other agencies are: Homeland Security ($54.9 billion), the State Department ($63.6 billion), and the FBI and Cybersecurity in the Department of Justice ($10.3 billion).6

Defense Department Base Budget

The defense base budget for the fiscal year 2022 was established by the annual National Defense Allocation Act (NDAA), signed into law on December 27, 2021.1 It granted the DoD $715 billion to fund many longstanding efforts as well as a few new initiatives.3

First on the list are Nuclear Modernization ($27.7 billion), Missile Defense ($20.4 billion), and Long Range Fires ($6.6 billion).

Science and Technology ($14.7 billion) and Advanced Capability Enablers receive heightened attention in FY 2022, with $112 billion allotted for Research, Development, Test and Evaluation (RDT&E) alone.

The Air Force will spend $52.4 billion, including $12 billion for 85 F-35 Joint Strike Fighters. The Navy will spend $34.6 billion and the Army receives $12.3 billion.

The Department of Defense will also spend $20.6 billion on Space-Based Systems and $10.4 billion on Cyberspace Activities.

Additional funding goes to each department for readiness development. This includes $27.8 billion to the Army, $48.5 billion to the Navy and Marine Corps, $36.5 billion to the Air Force, and $9.4 billion for Special Ops.

Service members will receive a 2.7% pay raise and an increase in their housing allowance. Family members receive $8.6 billion for child care, education, and professional development.

DoD will spend $25 billion on building maintenance and construction.

Overseas Contingency Operations

Ironically, the DoD base budget does not include the cost of wars. That falls under Overseas Contingency Operations.7 It’s budgeted at $69 billion for DoD. Since 2001, the OCO budget has spent $2 trillion to pay for the War on Terror.8


US soldiers line up during the visit of NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg at the Mihail Kogalniceanu airbase, near the Black Sea port city of Constanta, eastern Romania, Friday, Feb. 11, 2022 [Credit: AP Photo/Andreea Alexandru]

More guns, less butter: Biden’s World War III budget

01 April 2022 | Andre Damon |WSWS

With the proxy war between US/NATO and Russia over Ukraine now in its second month, the social consequences of the conflict are coming into sharper focus.

All over the world, governments are massively increasing military spending. The German government has tripled its military budget with the aim of making the German army the largest in Europe. France, Italy, the United Kingdom and Australia are all implementing or planning major increases in expenditures on war.

However, nowhere is this process clearer than in the United States, the center of world imperialism. On Monday, the White House announced the largest US military budget in American history, focused overwhelmingly on preparations to fight a war with Russia and China.

The budget proposes spending $813 billion on the US military, up from $782 billion in 2022. When the costs of the Department of Veterans Affairs and the cost of debt from previous defense spending is added in, the figure rises to over $1 trillion. And that is not to mention the hundreds of billions spent on federal, state, and local police forces and the United States’ intelligence apparatus.

The US spends more on its military than the next 10 countries combined. Writing in Newsweek, Lindsay Koshgarian of the Institute for Policy Studies noted, “The U.S. alone already spends 12 times more on its military than Russia. When combined with Europe’s biggest military spenders, the U.S. and its allies on the continent outspend Russia by at least 15 to 1.”

Announcing the budget proposal, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said, “We are requesting … more than $40.8 billion for sea power, to include nine more battle force ships, and nearly $12.6 billion to modernize Army and Marine Corps fighting vehicles. We are requesting more than $130.1 billion for research and development in this budget—an all-time high.”

The budget proposes to upgrade and modernize every single aspect of the US nuclear arsenal, from nuclear submarines to bombers and missiles. It includes $35.4 billion to “develop, procure, and modernize” the United States’ nuclear weapons, including:

  • $6.3 billion for the Columbia-class Ballistic Missile Submarine;
  • $5 billion for the B-21 Long Range Strike Bomber;
  • $3.6 billion for the Ground Based Strategic Deterrent, a new class of intercontinental ballistic missiles; and
  • $1 billion for the Long-Range Stand-Off (LRSO) Missile, a new generation of nuclear cruise missiles.

In addition, the budget allocates $56.5 billion for “Lethal Air Forces,” including the purchase of 61 F-35 Joint Strike Fighters at the price of $11 billion. It allocates another $25 billion for missile defense, $7.2 billion for “long-range fires,” including hypersonic missiles, and $27 billion for the “Space Force” created under former President Trump.

The 2017 defense budget, the last budget prepared by the Obama administration, amounted to $583 billion. In every year of his presidency, Donald Trump increased the military budget, despite presiding over a drawdown of US troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.


U.S. Army vehicles stand on the grounds of the Grafenwoehr military training area in Bavaria, Vilseck, on February 9, 2022.

Amid Russia’s War, Some US Hawks Are Calling for Trillion-Dollar Military Budget

22 March 2022 | William D. HartungNick Cleveland-Stout & Taylor GiornoTomDispatch

growing chorus of pundits and policymakers has suggested that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine marks the beginning of a new Cold War. If so, that means trillions of additional dollars for the Pentagon in the years to come coupled with a more aggressive military posture in every corner of the world.

Before this country succumbs to calls for a return to Cold War-style Pentagon spending, it’s important to note that the United States is already spending substantially more than it did at the height of the Korean and Vietnam Wars or, in fact, any other moment in that first Cold War.

Even before the invasion of Ukraine began, the Biden administration’s proposed Pentagon budget (as well as related work like nuclear-warhead development at the Department of Energy) was already guaranteed to soar even higher than that, perhaps to $800 billion or more for 2023.

Here’s the irony: going back to Cold War levels of Pentagon funding would mean reducing, not increasing spending. Of course, that’s anything but what the advocates of such military outlays had in mind, even before the present crisis.

Some supporters of higher Pentagon spending have, in fact, been promoting figures as awe inspiring as they are absurd. Rich Lowry, the editor of the conservative National Review, is advocating a trillion-dollar military budget, while Matthew Kroenig of the Atlantic Council called for the United States to prepare to win simultaneous wars against Russia and China.

He even suggested that Congress “could go so far as to double its defense spending” without straining our resources. That would translate into a proposed annual defense budget of perhaps $1.6 trillion. Neither of those astronomical figures is likely to be implemented soon, but that they’re being talked about at all is indicative of where the Washington debate on Pentagon spending is heading in the wake of the Ukraine disaster.

Ex-government officials are pressing for similarly staggering military budgets. As former Reagan-era State Department official and Iran-Contra operative Elliott Abrams argued in a recent Foreign Affairs piece titled “The New Cold War”: “It should be crystal clear now that a larger percentage of GDP [gross domestic product] will need to be spent on defense.”

Similarly, in a Washington Post op-ed, former Defense Secretary Robert Gates insisted that “we need a larger, more advanced military in every branch, taking full advantage of new technologies to fight in new ways.” No matter that the U.S. already outspends China by a three-to-one margin and Russia by 10-to-one.

Truth be told, current levels of Pentagon spending could easily accommodate even a robust program of arming Ukraine as well as a shift of yet more U.S. troops to Eastern Europe. However, as hawkish voices exploit the Russian invasion to justify higher military budgets, don’t expect that sort of information to get much traction. At least for now, cries for more are going to drown out realistic views on the subject.

Beyond the danger of breaking the budget and siphoning off resources urgently needed to address pressing challenges like pandemics, climate change, and racial and economic injustice, a new Cold War could have devastating consequences. Under such a rubric, the U.S. would undoubtedly launch yet more military initiatives, while embracing unsavory allies in the name of fending off Russian and Chinese influence.


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(Kayla White/U.S. Air Force )

Space Force is requesting $24.5 billion to fund its third year of operations to allow the newest service branch to add more personnel and keep pace with Chinese advances in space.

The service’s budget proposal is about $7 billion more than last year’s request and marks the first year that the service branch will maintain its own personnel accounts. Officials with the Department of the Air Force presented the proposal Monday as part of the Pentagon’s proposed $773 billion fiscal year 2023 budget.

“The rapid transformation of China’s military capabilities over the last 30 years demonstrates the urgency with which we must prioritize our own transformation and modernization efforts to ensure air and space superiority,” Undersecretary of the Air Force Gina Ortiz Jones said during Monday’s budget presentation.

The funding decisions were based on seven “operational imperatives” identified by Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall, she said.

Hammered by several years of losses within its commercial plane-making business, Boeing now stands to gain billions of dollars in defense work if Congress green-lights the Biden administration’s 2023 budget request.

Projects run by the Chicago-based aerospace and defense giant were front and center in the spending proposal sent to lawmakers on Monday. And comments made by senior defense officials hint that even more business could be on the way.

A Boeing KC-46 Pegasus sits on the tarmac at the 2021 Dubai Airshow. GIUSEPPE CACACE/AFP VIA GETTY IMAGES

The largest revelation is that Air Force might not hold a competition for its next class of aerial refueling tankers. Instead, the service might just go with a modified version of the KC-46, a Boeing-made aircraft whose development problems have cost the company more than $5 billion.

“As we…look further out, the requirements start to look like a modified KC-46 more than they do a completely new design,” Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall told reporters Friday. “So, we’re working our way through that and finalizing those requirements.”

The Air Force is in the process of buying 179 KC-46 tankers, which are converted Boeing 767 airliners. The full contract is worth about $35 billion. Last year, the Air Force began its search for 160 additional tankers. Lockheed Martin and Boeing’s European-rival Airbus have formed a partnership to pitch a modified A330 airliner, branded the LMXT, the KC-46’s main competitor in the international market.

 The U.S. Army’s fiscal 2023 $178 billion budget aims to preserve its modernization plans but trims the total number of troops, according to service budget documents released March 28.

The budget is comprised of $163 billion in base funding and $15 billion for overseas operations.

STRYKER assigned to 1st Brigade Combat Team, 4-17 Infantry Battalion passed the Combat Aviation Brigade’s convoy on the way to Division’s wide Iron Focus field exercise. (Photo by Spc. TIN P. VUONG/ U.S. Army)

The request is a 1.7% boost over the Army’s $175 billion fiscal 2022 enacted budget and is level with FY21 enacted funding.

The increase over FY22 allows the Army “to maintain the readiness, continue the transformation of our modernization efforts as well as take care of our people,” Maj. Gen. Mark Bennett, director of the Army budget, said in a March 25 briefing to reporters.

He said the increase accounts for both inflation and real growth; the Army used a 2% inflation rate when crafting the budget, Bennett said.

The budget in FY23 “allows us to do two things fundamentally,” Army Under Secretary Gabe Camarillo said in the advance briefing.


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