There’s Defense, and then there’s Defense.

This was posted a couple of days ago by Steve Clemmons. It's a table of US defense expenditures compiled by Winslow Wheeler at the Center for Defense Information. What's cool is that it collects information on expenditures on defense and security-related spending more broadly (Department of Energy, Veterans Affairs, Department of Homeland Security, etc.). The fact that total spending on defense and security exceeds the figures that we typically cite out of the defense budget is not really big news, but I've not seen anything tabulated like this before. I'm sure some spending categories could be added or removed, but the overall figure is impressive still.

The DOD base budget still comprises the majority of spending, but it's interesting to see how the categories stack up against one another. Overseas contingency operations are a large part of what we pay to prosecute the wars overseas, and the figures for this category shown in the table have dropped quite a bit comapred to the last 5-6 years or so. Whatever gains we make in this category, I suspect, will be offset to some extent by inreased expenses associated with veterans' healthcare, retirement, etc. Consequently, this helps to illustrate how the costs of war, even from a strictly financial perspective, far exceed the end of the actual conflict. It's also not hard for me to imagine this figure topping $1 trillion in the next couple of years as supplemental spending packages are almost always passed in recent years after the fiscal year's budget has been approved. 

About Michael Flynn

Michael Flynn is currently an assistant professor in the Department of Political Science at Kansas State University. He received his Ph.D. in Political Science from Binghamton University in 2013. His research focuses on the political and economic determinants of foreign economic and security policy, security issues, and state repression.

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